Sunday, August 16, 2009

Classic Grand Ole Opry-October 17, 1992

I wanted to post another in my series of classic Grand Ole Opry line-ups. This one is more recent than some that I have posted. It is from Saturday October 17, 1992, which was the Grand Ole Opry's 67th birthday celebration. Let's take a look:

First Show:
6:30: GHS Strings: Bill Monore(host); Jim Ed Brown
6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame: Grandpa Jones(host); Skeeter Davis; Roy Drusky
7:00: Shoney's: George Hamilton IV(host); Jeanne Pruett; Mike Snider; The Osborne Brothers; Jean Shepard
7:30: Standard Candy: Porter Wagoner(host); Shelly West; John Conlee
8:00: Martha White: Roy Acuff(host); Connie Smith; Bill Anderson; Opry Squaredance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Kraft: Hank Snow(host); The 4 Guys; Jan Howard; The Carlisles; The Whites

Second Show:
9:30: Dollar General Stores: Porter Wagoner(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Stonewall Jackson; The Osborne Brothers; Mike Snider
10:00: Little Debbie Snack Cakes: Bill Monroe(host); Roy Drusky; Jeannie Seely
10:15: Sunbeam Bread/Tennessee Pride: Roy Acuff(host); Hank Locklin
10:30: Pet, Inc.: Grandpa Jones(host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Walker
10:45: B.C. Powder: George Hamilton IV(host); Shelly West; Opry Squaredance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Coke: Hank Snow(host); The 4 Guys; Connie Smith; John Conlee; Justin Tubb
11:30: Creamette: Jim Ed Brown(host); Jan Howard; The Whites; The Carlisles; Johnny Russell

A couple of notes:
>Of the 28 acts that appeared at this show, 12 have passed away.
>This was Roy Acuff's final Saturday night show. His final Opry show was the Friday night Opry on October 23rd. Regarding this Saturday first show, Roy had done the matinee show that ended at 5:00. He was in such ill health and in such difficulty, that he was taken after that show to the hospital and was not expected to be released. Bill Anderson, who had hosted the backstage show on TNN, was told with 5 minutes to go until the segment was to start, to be prepared to host the segment. However, with just several minutes to go before it was time for the segment to start, Roy arrived and insisted on going on. I can tell you from sitting in the audience that night, I was shocked at how frail he had become in the short amount of time since my last Opry visit. He never really faced the audience and stood at the microphone stand the entire time. Of course, he was basically blind at this point in his life. When Bill came on for his 2 songs, he sang the classic "I wonder if God likes Country Music", for his second song and Roy stepped forward and sang his part of the song perfectly. It was a classic moment and the sold-out crowd knew it was seeing a historical moment. They gave Bill and Roy a long standing ovation and the emotion was obvious to all in the Opry House. Roy did do the 2nd show with Hank Locklin. The following Friday when he appeared at the Opry for the final time, he did the show sitting in a directors chair.
>The 7:30 segment was the portion televised by TNN. In addition to the 3 artists on that segment, the birthday cake was rolled out. This was the first year that Porter Wagoner formally handled those duties, as in the past, it was Roy that hosted the birthday segment on TNN.
>During this period of the Opry, Bill Monroe and Grandpa Jones always hosted the first two segments of the first show.

Hope you enjoy!!


  1. Great lineup and GREAT information. Bill Anderson wrote about that night in one of his books. He said that whenever he did the duet, he would go to Mr. Acuff's dressing room, and the response would be the same: Oh, no, you should do one of your songs. When Bill came out that night and looked at him, he decided to ask him to do it then and he sensed that it would be the last time. And it was. Also, he said that he was getting ready to go out on stage to start the 8:00 segment, heard a commotion, and saw Mr. Acuff almost literally being carried to the stage, that one band member had each arm and his feet were barely hitting the floor.

    By the way, I am betting that part of the logic in having Mr. Monroe and Grandpa host those segments was that if he wasn't hosting "Backstage," Porter Wagoner did the 7 p.m. segment and, with his long TV experience, he could get them out of there on time for the 7:30 p.m. televised portion.

  2. I also should add the trivia that in 1985, Porter also did the honors. Mr. Acuff had had, I believe, a pulmonary embolism and had been off of the Opry for a few months. He came out with the cake to greet the audience and explained that his doctors would not allow him to perform. The next week, he was back. I have the feeling his doctors figured out that not performing hurt him more than performing. And the show he hosted the following week was the retirement of Lonzo and Oscar. I always felt a little bad about him hosting it because they were so closely associated with Hank Snow, and it would have been fun to have him close out their careers at the Opry.

    Speaking of which, do you have any information on Rollin "Oscar" Sullivan? I know he sold or gave the characters to a couple of guys who are now performing as Lonzo and Oscar.

  3. Lonzo and Oscar were always my absolute favorite act at the Opry. It's a shame that more of their live act hasn't been preserved on record. I've got an album that features a live version of "Hole In The Bottom of the Sea" that was comes from an Opry performance some time in the 60's (with Johnny Sullivan as Lonzo) and I love listening to it over and over. Oscar was a funny old guy. Every time I saw him he had a new dirty joke to tell! The last I heard he owned a campground in Cave City, Kentucky, and was involved with the National Traditional Country Music Association (a group based in Iowa). At the moment, if you go to Google and enter "Oscar Sullivan" in the search box it will bring up links to a couple of fairly recent YouTube videos of Oscar performing.

  4. Thanks, Barry. I believe he turns 90 this year.

    This also brings me to one of my little crusades, that the Opry bring back the Homecoming Night or do something to spotlight former Opry members like Oscar. Ray Price still comes back. I know that some may no longer be able to perform--Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright. Others are or seem completely retired: Sonny James and Carl Smith. But consider: Ferlin Husky (when he's well), Leroy Van Dyke, The Jordannaires, Jim Glaser, Margie Bowes, The Four Guys, Bobby Bare, Doug Kershaw, and The Everly Brothers. Think of the great sidemen who still are out there who were on the Opry: Kenny Baker, Curly Seckler, and Kayton Roberts. They should try to get more of them onto Opry Country Classics, at least.

  5. Mike:
    It's ironic that you mention Margie Bowes. Saturday night after the Grand Ole Opry, WSM runs the classic Opry shows from the 1960's. The hour that I listened to this past week was hosted by the Willis Brothers, and the artists on included The Glaser Brothers and Skeeter Davis on one of the segments and the other segment featured Del Reeves, Ernie Ashworth, and Margie Bowes. The interesting thing about Del was that he sang "Girl On The Billboard", and he mis-sung one of the verses. Margie did a cover of a Jeannie Seely song and then for her 2nd song, song one of her own(I didn't catch the title). I am starting to enjoy the classic replays better than some of the current day Opry shows.

  6. I have to agree. I love those classic shows. I know they recorded them at the Opry, but I wish they also had the commercials. I love those old ads!