Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up-Weekend of May 17, 1986

As we try to do each week, here is another in our series of classic Grand Ole Opry line-ups from the past. This week, we look back on the year 1986. Hope you enjoy!!!

Friday May 16, 1986
First Show:
6:30(Block Drug): Porter Wagoner(host); Skeeter Davis; Roy Drusky; The 4 Guys; Boxcar Willie
7:00(Cat's Paw Rubber Co.): Ricky Skaggs(host): Jack Greene; Jan Howard; Riders In The Sky; Charlie Louvin
7:30(Cracker Barrel): Roy Acuff(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Jimmy Dickens; Minnie Pearl
8:00(Nabisco, Taco Bell): Bill Monroe(host); Tom T. Hall; Jean Shepard
8:30(Kroger, Po'Folks): Hank Snow(host); Bill Anderson; Connie Smith; The Osborne Brothers

Second Show:
9:30(Music Valley Drive Merchants): Ricky Skaggs(host); Lorrie Morgan; Jimmy C. Newman; Billy Walker; Ray Pillow
10:00(Goody's Headache Powder): Roy Acuff(host); Jeannie Pruett; Bill Anderson; Boxcar Willie; Carlisles
10:30(Red Man Tobacco): Porter Wagoner(host); Tom T. Hall; Stonewall Jackson; Jeannie Seely
11:00(Luck's Foods): Hank Snow(host); The Osborne Brothers; Jean Shepard; Jimmy Dickens; Connie Smith
11:30(Heinz): Bill Monroe(host); The 4 Guys; Johnny Russell
12:05: Grand Ole Gospel-Rev. Jimmy Snow; Evangel Temple Choir

A couple of thoughts:
>A very solid line-up of Grand Ole Opry Stars. Everyone who performed on both shows were Opry members.

>Po'Folks restaurants was the national chain that Bill Anderson was the spokesperson for and he appeared on that segment.
>It is suprising that Jimmy Dickens was not hosting any segment.
>This was the time period that Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl would appear on Nashville Now and have to head over to do the Opry. The Nashville Now studio(The Gaslight Theater), was just down the sidewalk from the Opry House at Opryland.
>It is suprising the large number of artists that appeared on only 1 of the 2 shows that night.

Saturday May 17, 1986
First Show:
6:30(Mrs. Grissoms): Porter Wagoner(host); Boxcar Willie
6:45(Rudys): Tom T. Hall(host); The 4 Guys
7:00(Shoneys): Ricky Skaggs(host); Lorrie Morgan; Ray Pillow; Johnny Russell
7:30(Standard Candy): Roy Acuff(host); Jan Howard; Stonewall Jackson; Jean Shepard; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:00(Martha White): Bill Monroe(host); Skeeter Davis; Jimmy Dickens; Riders In The Sky; Billy Walker
8:30(Music Valley Drive Merchants): Hank Snow(host); Del Reeves; Jack Greene; Jeanne Pruitt; Jimmy C. Newman

Second Show:
9:30(Dollar General Store): Tom T. Hall(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Boxcar Willie; Charlie Louvin
10:00(Little Debbie Snack Cakes): Ricky Skaggs(host); Jeannie Seely
10:15(Sunbeam): Roy Acuff(host); Carlisles
10:30(Pet, Inc): Bill Monore(host); Roy Drusky
10:45(Heil Quaker): Del Reeves(host); Jean Shepard; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00(Coke): Hank Snow(host); Justin Tubb; Jimmy Dickens; Riders In The Sky; Billy Walker
11:30(Quincy's): Jack Greene(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Jeanne Pruett; Johnny Russell

A few comments on the Saturday night shows:
>Again, only Opry members appeared on both shows, with a number appearing on only 1 of the 2 shows.

>Porter Wagoner appeared only on the opening segment of the 1st show. A couple of possible reasons why: he probably had an out of town show on Sunday and did the early segment and then headed out of town(lot's of Opry members would do this), or he could also have been hosting the Opry Backstage Show that went on the air at 7(Nashville time). When Porter Wagoner hosted the Backstage show, he usually did the opening segment on the Opry. If Bill Anderson hosted, he usually was a guest on the 8:00 segment of the 1st show.
>Roy Acuff traditionally hosted the Standard Candy segment of the 1st show, at 7:30. After TNN started televising this segment, Roy then shifted to hosting the Martha White segment at 8(if he was not hosting the tv segment).
>Again, as on Friday, no segment hosted by Jimmy Dickens, and based on the line-ups, it looks like he was limited to 1 song per show.

Saturday May 17
3:00: Porter Wagoner; Charlie Louvin
3:30: Stonewall Jackson; Lorrie Morgan
4:00: Ray Pillow; The 4 Guys
4:30: Jack Greene; Amy Sue Macy; Carlisles

Only comment is I have no ideal who Amy Sue Macy is. Enjoy!!!


  1. I really enjoy seeing these old lineups. I have a pretty sizeable collection of them from the mid-70’s, and others from when I was working for the company in the early 80’s and again the mid 90’s. In 1986, I had just left Nashville and was on tour with the circus so I didn’t have much contact with the Opry at that time. I wouldn’t get really involved with it until I returned to Nashville in 1993 and worked in the Opry ticket offices while completing my college degree.

    Just a couple of additional comments on this weekend’s lineups:

    --The large number of acts appearing on only one show stems from a policy the management had recently adopted limiting the number of available slots per segment. Previously, any Opry star who was in town was guaranteed a slot even if it meant cramming 7 or 8 acts into a single half hour segment. Whether it was in response to the new musician’s union contract, stricter FCC rules or other factors, management had begun limiting the number of available slots and kicked some of the older Opry acts into “senior status” and reducing their appearances…a move that caused a considerable amount of controversy among the cast at the time. Still, the management made an effort to give as many acts as possible at least one slot per night and rotated all of the cast through the televised portion of the Saturday night show several times a year. There certainly wasn't the blatant "put 'em out to pasture" attitude toward the established artists that seems to be the policy today.

    --The “Backstage” portion of the Opry broadcast had not yet started. Originally, Keith Bilbrey was the on-air host. A few years later, they moved to a system of rotating hosts with Porter Wagoner, Bill Anderson, Johnny Russell and Boxcar Willie sharing the hosting duties. So, Porter did the early show Saturday so he could get on the road for a Sunday matinee somewhere.

    --It wasn’t unusual for Jimmy Dickens to not host a segment at this time. It would be a few more years before he really attained the “elder statesman” status that he enjoys today and appeared as a guest about as often as he appeared as a host.

    --Amy Sue Macy was a performer in one of the Opryland stage shows. The Saturday matinee almost always featured one of the performers from the park. I have some lineups that don’t list a name…just “PARK ACT” penciled into the slot where they would appear.

  2. Thanks for the update Barry. I do appreciate it. I knew about the "senior status" provision and I know it is still in the contract today between the Gaylord/Opry and the musicians union. I have a copy of the last contract and it is interesting information. Even back then, management was trying to watch costs a little more than in the old National Life days. I also know that some of the limitation on the number of guests per segment and tighter guidelines on the timing of the show was instituted after Gaylord bought the Opry. One of the comments made in those days was that all the Opry shows were the same, with the same artists on each show. This was one way they were trying to present a slightly different line-up for each performance. Thanks for the info on Amy Sue Macy. Like I said, I had just never heard of her before.

  3. I'll echo Barry on those lineups--wonderful! I'll add a couple of things:

    --Johnny Russell was the only person other than Marty Robbins who loved to close the show, so he often did the 11:30 segment, and, as with Marty, that was sometimes the only segment he did. On this Saturday, he also did the 7:00 segment on TV, so that cut a couple of others out of the early show.

    --The general rule was that Hall of Famers hosted. Ricky Skaggs got to host early on. Porter Wagoner always hosted. Dickens was the newest Hall of Famer, I believe--and, something they don't mention these days, he gave up his Opry membership in 1957 and Hal Durham brought him back in 1975, so he didn't really have seniority.

    --Justin Tubb often did the 11:00 segment and then went over to the Midnight Jamboree.

    --Roy Drusky was a Seventh-Day Adventist and observed the sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, so he often would do an early segment on Friday night and a late segment on Saturday night.

  4. A couple of interesting thoughts on how the Opry writes its own history. Michael is right that Jimmy Dickens joined the Opry in 1948, then left for a number of years, returning in 1975. Yet, when Jimmy Dickens is introduced, he is announced as a "member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 60 years". Not quite accurate. Technically, he has been a member of the Opry for about 42 years. Let's look at a couple of other Opry members with similiar circumstances. George Jones was a member of the Opry in the early 60's, left the Opry and rejoined in 1969. Yet, in his case, 1969 is considered his joining date and the previous years do not count. Mel Tillis was an Opry member early in his career and left for a long period of time, recently rejoining. His induction date is considered 07. George Hamilton originally joined the Opry in 1960, and gave up his Opry membership for a number of years, then rejoined. Yet, his Opry induction date is considered his original date, in 1960.

  5. One more on the Midnight Jamboree. By this time they had started doing the show from the original Music Valley Drive location (a stand-alone shop next to the Fiddler's Inn). When the show first moved to Opryland the Jamboree was still being held at the original shop on Broadway. It then moved to the 2nd location on Demonbreun near the old Hall of Fame building...which still required the host to drive from Opryland to downtown (so Ernest Tubb would appear on the 9:30 or 10:00 portion and then drive across town to do the midnight show). I don't recall exactly when the show moved to the Music Valley location but it was held in a shed-like structure behind the shop for several years until the current shop and theatre opened nearby.

    And one more: I always thought the late show was perfect for Johnny Russell. He was hilarious onstage and off to begin with but his particular brand of humor seemed to work so well at the "punchy" hour of the night. Aside from Minnie Pearl, I've rarely seen a performer who could milk a laugh as skillfully. The one time I got to visit with her one-on-one she told me to "never step on your laugh and give the audience time to catch up"...something I often heard from clowns and other physical performers but rarely from stand-up comics and it shows in the way they usually handle an audience. I still get a chill when I think of standing at the back of the stage and listening to a laugh roll from one side of the Opry House to the other, stop and then roll back across again with just a raised eyebrow or pregnant pause. No one did that better than Minnie but Johnny was certainly right up there with her.

    I guess that was more than a quick comment. I'll shut up now.

  6. Quick or not, it was good!

    One of Johnny's lines about running long at 11:30 was that there was no one big enough to get him off stage. One night he said that and the Opry was having a visit from Dick Butkus, the great old Chicago Bears linebacker. He walked out on stage and led Russell off.

  7. Great CLASSIC Line-ups

    A few notes...I have the Johnny Shealy Opry Notes about the line-ups and who sang what songs in the 1986 and 87 years...Sometimes the opry would not get off back then til close to 12:30am. Johnny Russell would always close. It seemed to me back in the 80's the timing of the show was of less concern...If ANYONE has any recordings from around 86 or 87 of these shows let me know. I would pay to hear a show from back then