Monday, March 14, 2011

Final Opry Show at the Ryman-March 15, 1974

I had previously written last week about the final Saturday night Grand Ole Opry show at the Ryman Auditorium prior to the Opry's move to the new Grand Ole Opry House. That show took place on Saturday March 9, 1974. However, the actual final show was the next Friday night on March 15, 1974. The Opry had set up a schedule where they wanted to the first Opry show at the new Opry House to be a Saturday night show, so they finished up at the Ryman on the Friday night before.

As everyone who has ever been to Nashville knows, after the Opry moved from the Ryman Auditorium to the new Opry House, they kept the Ryman opened and offered tours. I think the price was either $1.00 or $2.00. I forget for sure, but it was pretty cheap. The Ryman was in terrible condition as management did not really know what to do with the place, but they let you walk around to basically anywhere you wanted to go. And, they left it just the way it was when they left that Friday night.

As part of the tour, they sold souvenir programs of the final Friday night show, which were copies of the ones sold that final Friday night. You will see them listed on ebay and other auction places but be careful when you buy a program from that final show to make sure you are getting a real one and not a copy. What is interesting is that the program lists the final "announced" line up for that show, but there were changes in the line up and some of the performers who were thre not night, were not listed in the acutal program.

So, first I am going to list the line up from the souvenir program that was sold that night, and is still being sold, and then I will list the actual line up from that night.

Friday March 15, 1974 (program line up)

7:00 Cracker Barrell
Roy Drusky(host)
Del Reeves
Charlie Walker
Jan Howard

7:30 Varallo
Bill Anderson(host)
Bob Luman
Jim & Jesse

8:00 Odom Sausage, U.S. Borax
Archie Campbell(host)
Bobby Bare
Dottie West
Justin Tubb

8:30 Kroger Stores
Roy Acuff(host)
Jean Shepard
Stonewall Jackson
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper

9:00 Baltz Bros., Schlitz
Wilburn Brothers(host)
Osborne Brothers
Jeanne Pruett
Del Wood

9:30 Acme Boot Co., Beechnut Chewing Tobacco
Jim Ed Brown(host)
Hank Locklin
Grandpa Jones
The Carlisles

10:00 Cee Bee Food Stores, Schlitz
Billy Walker(host)
Charlie Louvin
Stu Phillips
The Willis Brothers

10:30 Shoneys Big Boy
George Morgan(host)
The Four Guys
Ray Pillow
Lonzo & Oscar
Ernie Ashworth

Friday March 15, 1974 (actual on-stage line up, sponsors were the same)

Roy Drusky(host) Alone With You
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin On Me
Jan Howard: The One You Slip Around With
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Roy Drusky: Satisfied Mind
Del Reeves: Girl On The Billboard
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back To Little Rock
Charlie Walker: Wanting My Woman Again
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose

Bill Anderson(host) If You Can Live With It
Bob Luman: Lonely Women Make Good Lovers
Jim & Jesse: Diesel On My Tail
Mary Lou Turner: Poor Sweet Baby
Bill Anderson: A World Of Make Believe
Bob Luman: When You Say Love
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Bill Anderson: Po Folks

Archie Campbell(host) Make Friends
Bobby Bare: Ride Me Down Easy
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Justin Tubb: Ramblin Man
Phil Campbell: Valley Of The Never Do No Good
Bobby Bare & Son: Daddy What If
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Justin Tubb: Traveling Sunshine Man

Roy Acuff(host) Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Stonewall Jackson: Me And You And A Dog Named Boo
Minnie Pearl: Careless Love
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Big Wheel
Roy Acuff: Back In The Country
Jean Shepard: At The Time
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Roy Acuff(Cabin In Gloryland)

Wilburn Brothers(host) It's Another World
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Jeanne Pruett: You Don't Need To Move A Mountain
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Wilburn Brothers: I'm Going To Tie One On Tonight
Osborne Brothers: Ruby
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Del Wood: Down Yonder

Jim Ed Brown(host) Pop A Top
Hank Locklin: Good Bye Dear Old Ryman
Carlisles: No Help Wanted
Cates Sisters: Devils Dream
Hank Locklin: Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On
Grandpa Jones: Heading South With N'ville On My Mind
Carlisles: Too Old To Cut The Mustard
Jim Ed Brown: Sometimes Sunshine

Billy Walker(host) Sing Me A Love Song To Baby
Charlie Louvin: You're My Wife She's My Woman
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Charlie Louvin: Little Reasons, Will You Visit Me On Sunday, What Are Those Things
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Billy Walker: Charlies Shoes

George Morgan(host) Red Rose From The Blue Side Of Town
4 Guys: Let Me Be There
Ray Pillow: Excuse Me
Lonzo & Oscar: A King Size Cola & A Moon Pie
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
4 Guys: Hello Walls, Big Bad John, Wings Of A Dove
Ray Pillow: Countryfried
Ernie Ashworth: Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor
George Morgan: Candy Kisses

I am sure almost everyone has seen the video of George Morgan singing the final song and inviting everyone to the new Opry House on Saturday night. The show ran over an actually ended at 11:26.

After the Friday Night Opry came the "Grand Ole Gospel " show, starring the Reverend Jimmy Snow, Hank Snow's son. Back then, this show always followed the Friday Night Opry and lasted about on hour and was taped for a Sunday morning replay on WSM. On that night, Jimmy's guests were his dad, Hank Snow, along with Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Carl Perkins, Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Family, Gordon Terry and LeFevres, a gospel group. The last song sung that night was, of course, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken".

I find it interesting that Hank Snow, an Opry member, and Johnny Cash, June Carter and Mother Maybelle Carter, all former Opry members, did Jimmy's show, but did not appear on the Opry that Friday night.

Tomorrow, I will post the line up from the first Saturday night at the new Opry House, March 16, 1974, along with the song list for both shows.


  1. Hank Snow's not appearing on the Friday Night Opry wouldn't have been all that unusual at the time. The Friday show was always kind of considered a "secondary" show when it was at the Ryman...if you couldn't get a ticket for Saturday night you could at least see an Opry show but the "big" stars might not be there. Hank Snow didn't start doing the Friday show until the mid-90's and I don't remember Ernest Tubb EVER doing the Friday show. This might have been the first Friday show that Minnie did...the previous Saturday was supposed to be her last but she didn't want to go out on a sad note. She didn't start doing the Friday Opry again until she started appearing on TNN on Fridays with her "Let Minnie Steal Your Joke" segment.

  2. As always Barry, thanks for the comments. I think it was Jeanne Prutt who made the comment that the Friday night show was nice, but the Saturday night show was, "the big one". And in looking at my schedules from that period, you are right about Hank and Ernest not doing the Friday night show.

  3. I would add that Mr. Snow did the Friday Night Opry a little sooner, around the mid-1980s, when he had quit the road. Whether he did it every week, I don't know, but he was there often enough for it to be more of a regular thing for him. Usually, when there was one Friday night show, Mr. Acuff had the 8:30 segment and Mr. Snow the 9:00.

    The first time I ever got to listen to an entire Opry broadcast, it was in early 1992. I'll never forget Mr. Acuff cuing the sponsor, GMC Trucks, by saying to Charlie Douglas, "Charlie D., tell me about GMC." And the first 15 minutes of Mr. Snow's segment was sponsored by the Randy Travis Souvenir Shop, and he just couldn't make himself say it.

  4. I also meant to say that Hank didn't do the Friday show until the mid-80's. (By the mid 90's he had pretty much retired due to his health).

  5. Sorry. I wasn't sure if it was a typo. I know Byron talked about this but, as I recall, Mr. Snow got sick sometime in 1994, came back for a bit in 1996, and then entered his final illness.

    On a sad note, I read that Mel McDaniel apparently now has in-home hospice care due to lung cancer. I hope that is not correct.

  6. As you know Michael, I made the decision not to post any information regarding the health of Opry members unless the artist or their management put out the information themselves.

    Regarding Mel McDaniel, the information you posted is correct. Thoughts and prayers go to Mel at this time. It is good news that he did get his album finished and it is supposed to be released later this month. It will be titled, "The Last Ride".

  7. Byron, I wasn't sure about the rules there. I read it in the same place I read that Charlie Louvin was near the end and his son then complained about it and denied it. Unfortunately, it was true. But you are right about avoiding speculation like that, and I should not have said anything.

  8. No Michael, you are fine. I am ok with what is posted in the comments section. If it is "out of bounds", I would delete it or make a comment regarding it.

    What I meant was that after the Charlie Louvin deal, of which we were all correct in what we knew, that I myself would be more careful with what I put out there. I forget that sometimes when someone tells me something or emails me something, that it is not always public knowledge or meant to be.

    And you are right about the source of the Charlie Louvin and Mel McDaniel reports. I have actually emailed that person for the past several years and she has been very helpful to me in answering some questions that I had regarding various country music entertainers and she has actually quoted me in her report.

    What I did notice about that report, and I know you and a few others know what I am talking about, is that after she reported the information on Charlie and the follow up response, she made no comments at all regarding his death or funeral. She just kind of left it out there.

    If there is something of a sensitive nature that is out there, I am always more than happy to share opinions off the board and can be reached that way.

  9. And I want you to know how much I appreciate the thought and care you put into this blog. It's wonderful.