Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Classic Grand Ole Opry-March 5 & 6, 1976

Here is another in our series of Grand Ole Opry line-ups from the past. This time we go back to the weekend of March 5 & 6, 1976. There was 1 show on Friday night and 2 shows on Saturday night. Opryland was not open for the season, so there were no matinee shows scheduled.

Friday March 5, 1976:
8:00-Odom Sausage: Del Reeves(host); The Four Guys; Ronnie Milsap
8:30-Krogers/Sunbeam: Roy Acuff(host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Stonewall Jackson
9:00-Baltz Bros./Schlitz: Roy Drusky(host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Walker
9:30-Acme Boot/Beechnut Tobacco: David Houston(host); Ray Pillow; Justin Tubb
10:00-Cee Bee/Schlitz: Jack Greene(host); The Carlisles; Stu Phillips
10:30-Rudy's: The Osborne Brothers(host); Skeeter Davis; Lonzo & Oscar; Ernie Ashworth
11:05-Grand Ole Gospel: Rev. Jimmie Snow; The Evangel Temple Choir; Larry Gatlin

Saturday March 6,1976:
First Show
6:30-Mrs. Grissom's: Ray Pillow(host); Justin Tubb; The Willis Brothers
6:45-Rudys: Charlie Walker(host); Roy Drusky; Barbara Mandrell
7:00-Shoneys: Porter Wagoner(host); Skeeter Davis; The Carlisles; Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Ernie Ashworth
7:30-Standard Candy: Roy Acuff(host); Jean Shepard; Bashful Brother Oswald; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mt. Cloggers
8:00-Martha White: Jack Greene(host); Stonewall Jackson; Stu Phillips; Melba Montgomery
8:30-Stephens Work Clothes: Hank Snow(host); David Houston; Lonzo & Oscar; The Fruit Jar Drinkers

Second Show
9:30-Kellogg's: Roy Drusky(host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Ray Pillow; Justin Tubb; Barbara Mandrell
10:00-Fender Guitar: Porter Wagoner(host); Charlie Walker; Skeeter Davis
10:15-Union '76: Roy Acuff(host); Jean Shepard
10:30-Trailblazer: Jack Greene(host); The Carlisles; Ernie Ashworth
10:45-Beechnut Tobacco: Stonewall Jackson(host); Stu Phillips; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mt. Cloggers
11:00-Coca Cola: Hank Snow(host); Melba Montgomery; The Fruit Jar Drinkers; Kirk McGee
11:30-Baltz Bros.: David Houston(host); Lonzo & Oscar; Jimmy Martin

A couple of notes and observations:
>As you look at the Grand Ole Opry line-ups in the 1970's, it is interesting to see that pattern of which artists appear during the shows. There is a lot of consistency. Hank Snow always on at 8:30 and 11:00; Roy Acuff always on 7:30 adn 10:15; Porter Wagoner always on 7:00 and 10:00. The pattern does not vary much from week to week.
>Interesting to see Jimmy Martin on the Opry, and in the last slot on Saturday night. As his career went on and he became older, he was no fan of the Opry management. I have read that he always wanted to be a member, but was never asked and became bitter about it in his later years.
>Larry Gatlin, who was on the Grand Ole Gospel show on Friday night was not a member of the Opry as of yet. He would become a member later in the year, on Christmas night.
>Melba Montgomery was one of the fine young female artists in country music and had a number of hit records, and duets with George Jones and Charlie Louvin. Some people thought she would have a huge career in country music, but her career seemed to peak with her huge hit "No Charge", and it never seemed to get back on track after that.
>During the 1st show on Saturday night, Bashful Brother Oswald had his own slot. Roy Acuff would do that once in a while, spotlighting members of the Smoky Mountain Boys.
>Of all the sponsors listed, only Martha White is with the show today. Standard Candy, Shoneys, Coca Cola and Rudys would last into the 1990's.

Hope you enjoy!!!


  1. Also, the Fruit Jar Drinkers were always on with Snow, and the Crook Brothers and whichever dance group was in would be on at 7:30 and 10:45. The changes came later with the telecasts--first, Porter giving up the 7 p.m. show, then Mr. Acuff moving to 8 p.m. when TNN began televising at 7:30.

    Interesting that Jimmy Martin wasn't on the first show. Also, early in her career, Melba Montgomery was part of Mr. Acuff's show. And on older programs I have seen from the 1950s, on Mr. Acuff's segments, Oswald would be listed separately, and several of is group--especially Jimmie Riddle, Howdy Forester, and Robert Lunn--would get separate listings, too.

  2. I can't remember a time when Hank Snow did any slot other than 8:30 and 11. Later, when he began doing the Friday night show, he would do those same time slots on nights when there were 2 shows on Friday.

    This brings back memories. I was a freshman in high school and there wasn't much for a kid that age to do on a Saturday night so I was always near a radio tuned to WSM. Ronnie Milsap was the newest Opry member having just joined a month earlier and Barbara Mandrell was a consistent hitmaker just about to have her biggest successes on the charts and the CMA Awards.

    Onie Wheeler was another member of Acuff's band who would be featured on the show. His daughter, Karen, was having some success on the charts and was a frequent Opry guest in the 70's. In 1984, Onie Wheeler collapsed and died on the Opry stage during an appearance on Grand Ole Gospel Time.

  3. Barry, when I was a kid, we couldn't get the Opry on the radio out here, so Saturday nights were for Lawrence Welk and Hee Haw. But when we got the Opry for 30 minutes on TV ....

    Onie Wheeler is still the only person to die on the Opry stage. I have it on tape where he would "blow the whistle" to start the Cannonball. What a talent he was.

    If I remember correctly, when the Opry was one long show on Saturday nights, 7:30 to midnight, Hank Snow did the 9:30 and 11:00 segments. And when there was one show Friday nights, Mr. Acuff would be on at 8:30 and Mr. Snow at 9:00. Years before, I read in an Opry history book that Mr. Acuff really didn't care what time he was on as long as it wasn't first or last. Marty Robbins and Johnny Russell were really the only ones who liked doing the last segment.

  4. I am searching for a lady who entertained at the Opry in the early to mid fifties. Her name was Ama Jean Haney. I dont know if she had a different stage name or not. She was shot and killed in 1956 in indiana by her soon to be ex husband. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Even any tips on how to find out some ways to tracj her down would be great


    Michael Stallo my e-mail is -