Sunday, November 22, 2009

Classic Grand Ole Opry Line-up-April 19/20, 1974

It has been a while since I posted a Grand Ole Opry line-up from years long past. This time, I go back to the weekend of April 19 & 20, 1974. On this weekend, the Opry had 1 show on Friday night, 2 shows on Saturday night, a Saturday matinee and a Sunday Grand Ole Gospel show. Let's take a look back:

Friday April 19, 1974
8:00: Stu Phillips(host); Barbara Mandrell; The Promenaders; Bashful Brother Oswald
8:30: George Jones(host); The Carlisles; Patsy Sledd; Harold Morrison
9:00: Charlie Walker(host); Jan Howard; Mel Street; The Promenaders
9:30: Billy Grammer(host); The Willis Brothers; Jim Mundy
10:00: The Osborne Brothers(host); Louie Roberts; Del Wood
10:30: Bill Monore(host); Ray Pillow; Jim & Jesse

11:05: Grand Ole Gospel Show: Rev. Jimmy R. Snow; The Evangel Temple Choir & Special Guest

Saturday Matinee
3:00: Jimmy C. Newman; Jan Howard
3:30: Lester Flatt; Ernie Ashworth
4:00: Charlie Walker; Lonzo & Oscar
4:30: Stu Phillips; Louie Roberts

Saturday April 20, 1974
6:30: The Willis Brothers(host); Mac Wiseman
6:45: Jimmy C. Newman(host); Ernie Ashworth; Del Wood
7:00: Billy Grammer(host); Jan Howard; Stu Phillips; Norvel Felts
7:30: Charlie Walker(host); Minnie Pearl; Dottie West; Bashful Brother Oswald; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mt. Cloggers
8:00: Lester Flatt(host); Marion Worth; Lonzo & Oscar; Louie Roberts
8:30: George Jones(host); Justin Tubb; Patsy Sledd; Harold Morrison; The Fruit Jar Drinkers

9:30: Charlie Walker(host); The Willis Brothers; Minnie Pearl; Ernie Ashworth
10:00: Jimmy C. Newman(host); Jan Howard; Norvel Felts
10:15: Billy Grammer(host); Mac Wiseman; Dottie West
10:30: Lester Flatt(host); Lonzo & Oscar
10:45: Justin Tubb(host); Del Wood; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mt. Cloggers
11:00: George Jones(host); Patsy Sledd; Harold Morrison; The Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam & Kirk McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins(host); Marion Worth; Louie Roberts

Sunday Grand Ole Gospel
7:00: The Masters Four Quartet; The Joymen Quartet
7:30: The Regents Quartet; Alvis and the Barnetts
8:00: Coy Cook and the Premiers; The Dixie Echos
8:30: The Statesmen Quartet

I bet some of those Sunday Grand Ole Gospel shows were great. Some great quartet singing there. Also, looking at the Grand Ole Opry line-ups from that weekend, a lot of the big stars are missing: Roy Acuff, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Grandpa Jones, Bill Anderson, Porter Wagoner, Bill Monroe only on Friday, Ernest Tubb....


  1. Great to see, and I notice a pretty spare number of members at that time. It also was only a month after the new Opry House had opened, so I wonder how many of them were trying to make up for some lost time on the road.

    I have to guess that Mr. Acuff was sick or away on business of some kind since Oswald was there--so far as I know, he is the only Opry performer whose band would work the Opry without him. The other legends of that time like Ernest Tubb and Hank Snow were still hitting the road in those days.

    By the way, do you have the sponsors? It would be interesting to see which ones were around.

  2. Michael:Thanks for the comments. As far as the sponsors, here they are:
    From Friday night, Odom Sausage/U.S.Borax; Kroger Stores; Baltz Bros/Schlitz Malt Liquor; Acme Boot Co./Beechnut Chewing Tabacco; Cee Bee Food Stores/Schlitz; Shoney's.
    From Saturday night, Mrs. Grissoms; Rudy's; Rudy's; Standard Candy; Martha White; Stephens Work Clothes; Kellogg's; Fender Guitar; Union 76; Trailblazer; Beechnut Chewing Tabacco; Coca Cola; Baltz Brothers.
    From Sunday, Martha White

    Those are the ones that were around. Martha White is the only one left that still does the Opry, and a few of the sponsors are not even in business anymore.

  3. Thanks! I love those old ads, and the Martha White theme. I guess they still sell Goo Goos at the Opry, but dropped them as a sponsor when they went to the partner sponsorships. The one I really thought was weird was Coca Cola, which had been there longer than anybody but Martha White when that sponsorship ended.

  4. The thing that I really miss with the old commercials is that a lot of the stars did them live, such as Porter Wagoner and Roy Acuff, with RC Cola. They always played the Coke theme live also. Now it is either read by Mike or Eddie or it is a pre-recorded announcement. They used to have a lot of fun with the commercials. It was either Coke or RC Cola that rolled out the cooler and when they opened the lid to reach in and take out a bottle, Brother Oswald would somethimes jump out. It got to be a running joke back in the 50's. You are right about Goo Goos still being sold at the Opry, as is Coke.

  5. I remember Oswald saying that they used to have the RC cooler on stage and the management always said they had to be entertaining during the commercials for the people in the audience, so Os would wind up getting thrown into the cooler. That's when Mr. Acuff would do a lot of his yoyo tricks, so you would hear roaring in the background. And I remember Hairl and Harold, the Goo Goo twins, having the audience sing the jingle each week. That helps make for a better show--it keeps the audience involved. They could learn a lesson from that today.

  6. At one time I actually had a portion of this Saturday night show on cassette. A dear friend of our family was a lifelong Nashville resident and would send me tapes of various parts of the show from time to time. I'm sure that tape is still around somewhere...if I had the equipment to transfer it to cd! I do recall George Jones closing the Stephens show with "White Lightning" and Minnie Pearl's back and forth with the Willis Brothers on the late show. As I recall, they mentioned that Acuff was under the weather that night.

    A lot of the guest stars on the show were "regular" guests at the time. Jim Mundy was an up-and-coming artist at the time but his career never really seemed to take off. He's still working at one of the theatres in Branson. Narvel Felts was riding on the success of "Drift Away" and just a few months from his biggest hit of the 70's with "Reconsider Me". A few years ago, he was named to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and still works on occasion out of southern Missouri. Louie Roberts was also a regular guest of the Opry in the early 70's. He left the Nashville scene and I had forgotten about him until recently. He was a regular on the "Carolina Opry" for many years and is now involved in music ministry for children in Myrtle Beach. There are some YouTube videos of him on the Porter Wagoner Show floating around in cyberspace.

    Patsy Sledd and Harold Morrison were members of the George Jones/ Tammy Wynette road show at the time hence their appearance on those portions of the show. Patsy later went on to become a premiere costume designer for Barbara Mandrell and other entertainers. Harold Morrison was an outstanding banjo player and comedian who stayed active in the music business until his passing in 1993.

    Among some of the more useless trivia lodged in my mind is the number of advertising jingles that were done by the Willis Brothers during this period. They almost always performed commercials for Kellogg's live and could be heard doing the introductory music for Fender Guitar and Acme Boot. I can still hear Guy Willis saying "It's Acme Boot Pickin' Time!" and a lot of people still remember the tongue twisting Fender theme song: "Did you ever stop and ponder when a guitar picker picks what kind a guitar picker likes to pick upon? If a picker picks good like a guitar picker should, a picky guitar picker picks a Fender." They also did one based on the song "Mama Don't 'Low No Banjo Pickin' In Here".

    There were also a lot of Nashville based sponsors on the show like Mrs. Grissom's, Kroger, Shoney's, Standard Candy, W.E. Stephens (who always advertised themselves as "The Oldest Advertiser on the Grand Ole Opry"), Baltz Brothers and Rudy's Farm. In fact, the old Rudy farm was still standing (where Music Valley Drive is located today) when I first came to Nashville in the early 80's.

    October through January were always the best Opry shows because most artists were off the road during that time. The summer fair circuit was the big money maker for most acts back then and a lot of the acts you mention as being absent, like Porter Wagoner, Bill Anderson, Del Reeves, Hank Snow, Jean Shepard and Jack Greene, were still top concert draws at the time.

  7. Barry, that is a wonderful post. Great memories. Also, it reminds us of how much more diverse the old shows were--not only the Opry, but the touring shows. People like Speck Rhodes with Porter Wagoner and Mary Lou Turner with Bill Anderson would get the chance to do stuff on the segments hosted by their bosses. It was a lot different then.

  8. Thanks so much for the info Barry, Great stuff. If I remember right, Harold Morrison also worked with some other people on their shows. I seem to remember that he was pretty popular among many of the entertainers.

  9. It's a shame the commercials are no longer "entertaining". Part of the magic and one of the unique qualities of the Opry were the colorful backdrops and the commercials jingles. Cool things I remember about the commercial spots: The W. E. Stephens, Kelloggs and Acme jingles, The Shoney's ceramic Big Boy they would roll out during their segment, the dinner Bell Grant Turner used to ring during Rudy's portion and the upright Coca-Cola cooler. The giant Goo-Goo was cool too. Jim Ed Brown used to be the Dollar General spokesman and would sing their jingle when he hosted that segment. Making the commercials entertaining was a neat part of the Opry that has totally disappeared for the most part under the current management's watch with these repetitive same 4 or 5 corporate sponsers on every show.

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  11. Want to comment too on Louie Roberts name on that Sat Matinee. You all probably already know this, but he is the son of Kayton Roberts who played steel guitar for Hank Snow for many years and Kayton too has been on with Marty Stuart a few times since Hank died. I saw Louie as a teen on a matinee in 1975, so he played the Opry several times. Louie Roberts is a performer on the Carolina Opry nowadays. It was funny(or maybe not so funny and tells you who's in charge now)a few months ago when someone asked the Question lady on the Opry website who Louie Roberts was and she/he had absolutely no clue and made no mention of the connection to Kayton or Hank Snow, nor his afflilation with the Carolina Opry as I recall. I just thought it really would not have been that difficult to ask a Carol Lee or Dennis McCall or Tim Atwood or somebody who actually has been around a while and knows Kayton, who this guy was before they put the question out on their official website. They went to some kind of book and couldn't find much on him. How soon they forget. I guess if it ain't Carrie Underwood or Rascal Flatts. . . . .

  12. Thanks for the info on Louie. I vaguely remembered that he was Kayton's son. I have never found the Q&A on the Opry website to be all that informative. They should give it to our blogger here to do!

    By the way, I have to mention that I read an interview with Kayton in which he said that Hank Snow was a good boss but he "had his ways." One of the more interesting people, I've always thought, given his background and stage persona, on the Opry. And I always think of Kayton playing "The Bells of St. Mary's," and Snow pointing out at the end of it that at no time did Kayton's fingers leave his arms.

    1. I got autographs of Louie Roberts, Hank Snow, and Hank Lockland (not sure of spelling) in April, 1971 as a senior in high school as a BETA member. A small group of us waited at a back door of Ryman Auditorium and they were all so kind and patient with us. I treasure the memory and I still have their autographs amongst many others. Thanks for info!!!

  13. We attended The Grand Ole Opry on the night of June 8, 1974 as part of our honeymoon trip to Nashville. I remember Grandpa Jones and Roy Acuff but very little else. Who was in the line that night?