Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 18th Opry Shows

Sometimes it is fun to look back at some of the classic Grand Ole Opry shows from year past. I thought it would be interesting to post several shows that took place years apart, on June 18, just so people could compare the line-ups. The first one goes way back to Saturday June 18, 1955. Remember back in those days there was one show that went from 7:30 until Midnight.

7:30: Prince Albert
Hank Snow (host): Would You Mind
Old Hickory Singers: Bill Bailey
Carlisles: Bargain Day
Fiddle Tune: Fire in the Mountain
Hank Snow: The Last Mile of the Way
Moon Mullican: Mean Mama Blues
Carlisles: It's Bed Time Bill
Grandpa Jones: Uncle Eph's Got the Coon
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got to See You Once Again
Fiddle Tune: Saint Ann's Reel

8:00: Martha White
Ernest Tubb (host): Kansas City Blues
Ferlin Huskey: I'll Baby Sit With You
George Morgan: The Best Mistake
Louvin Brothers: Make Me A Soldier
Possum Hunters: Turkey in the Straw
Ernest Tubb: I't A Lonely World
Mother Maybelle: Gold Watch and Chain
Ferlin Huskey: Cuz You're So Sweet
Louvin Brothers: Just a Little Light of Mine
Ernest Tubb: Daisy May
Fiddle Tune: Old Joe Clark

8:30: Federal Fertilizer Co.
Faron Young (host): If You Ain't Lovin, You Ain't Livin'
Fiddle Tune: Ragtime Annie
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Eddie Hill: Smack Dab in the Middle
Fiddle Tune: Black Eyed Susan

8:45: American Ace
Faron Young (host): Live Fast, Love Hard, and Die Young
Goldie Hill: I'm The Lonesomest Gal in Town
Bill Monroe: Rose of Old Kentucky
Faron Young: Forgive Me Dear
Fiddle Tune: Sleepy Lou

9:00: Royal Crown Cola
Hank Snow (host): Golden Rocket
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Marty Robbins: It Looks Like I'm Just In Your Way
Grandpa Jones: Kitty Clyde
Ray Price: Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes
Carlisles: No Help Wanted
Hank Snow: Yellow Roses
Marty Robbins: I'll Love You Till The Day I Die
Carlisles: Shake A Leg
Fiddle Tune: Arkansas Traveler

9:30: Jefferson Island Salt
Carl Smith (host): There She Goes
Hank Snow: Why Don't You Leave This Town
Jordanaires: Go On By
Anita Carter: Making Believe
Crook Brothers: Cotton Eyed Joe
Lew Childre: Hang Out The Front Door Key
Carl Smith: Old Lonesome Times
Anita, Rita and Ruby: Pledging My Love
Chet Atkins: Alabama Jubilee
Hawkshaw Hawkins: How Can Anything So Pretty Be So Doggone Mean
Fiddle Tune: Buff Creek Gal

10:00: Wall-Rite
George Morgan (host): Look What Followed Me
Bill Monroe: Close By
Eddie Hill: Cuz I Have You
George Morgan: I Like to Know
Fiddle Tune: Leather Britches

10:15: Dr. Le Gear
Marty Robbins (host): That's Alright Mother
Goldie Hill: Treat Me Kind
Moon Mullican: Pipe Liner Blues
Marty Robbins: Time Goes By
Fiddle Tune: Bill Cheatham

10:30: Hester Battery
Ernest Tubb (host): Jealous Lovin' Heart
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Rattle Shake Daddy
Annie Lou and Danny: Satisfied Mind
Ernest Tubb: Mississippi Gal
Fiddle Tune: Billy in the Low Ground

10:45: D Con
Hank Snow (host): Music Making Mama
Jimmy Snow: Someone Else's Heartaches
Salty and Matty: I Found My Mama
Gully Jumpers: Bile Them Cabbage Down
Hank Snow: I Don't Hurt Anymore

11:00: W. E. Stephens
Carl Smith (host): Loose Talk
Ferlin Huskey: She's Always There
Ray Price: Release Me
Grandpa Jones: Darby's Run
Carl Smith: More Than Anything Else in the World
Crook Brothers: Buff Creek Gal
Mother Maybelle: Foggy Mountain Top
Ferlin Huskey: I Fell Better All Over
Ray Price: I'll Be There
Carl Smith: Go Boy Go
Fiddle Tune: Mississippi Sawyer

11:30: Delited
Faron Young (host): Place For Girls Like You
Louvin Brothers: The Family Who Prays
Paul Howard: Stay A Little Longer
Lew Childre: Maple on the Hill
Carlisles: Rusty Old Halo
Sam and Kirk: Peach Picking Time in Georgia
Faron Young: If That's the Fashion
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Smith's Ral
Louvin Brothers: Love Thy Neighbor
Faron Young: Just Married
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

Now let's move forward 33 years to Saturday June 18, 1988. There were 2 shows on Saturday night.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Billy Walker (host): Charlie's Shoes
4 Guys: Fanny Mae
Billy Walker: Wild Texas Rose/Funny How Time Slips Away

6:45: Rudys
Grandpa Jones (host): Going Down The Country
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Grandpa Jones: The Baby O

7:00: Shoney's
Charlie Walker (host): There's Not A Cow In Texas
Ernie Ashworth: Memphis Memory
Ray Pillow: Congratulations, You're Absolutely Right
Patty Loveless: Lonely Days, Lonely Nights/If My Heart Had Windows
Charlie Walker: Cherokee Maiden/Take Me Back To Tulsa
Charlie Walker & Carolee Singers: In The Garden

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Clark (host): Uncle Pen
Jan Howard: Take Me As I Am
Vic Willis Trio: Shenendoah
Ed Bruce: Evil Angel/You're The Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had
Roy Clark: If I Had To Do It All Over Again

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jack Greene: What Locks the Door/There Goes My Everything
The Whites: Move it On Over/It's Not What You Know, It's Who You Know
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers" Sugar in the Goard
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

8:30: Music Valley Merchants
Hank Snow (host): Between Fire & Water
Roy Drusky: The Moon is Still Over Her Shoulders
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away From Coming Home
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Grandpa Jones (host): Nelly Bly
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Teddy Wilburn: I've Loved You All Over The World
Patty Loveless: A Little Bit In Love/Slow Healing Heart
Joe Carroll: Just One Time

10:00: Little Debbie
Charlie Walker (host): Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Charlie Nagatoni: Room Full of Roses
Charlie Walker: Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Roy Clark: Thank God and Greyhound You're Gone/Rocky Top/I Saw The Light

10:30: Pet Milk
Jack Greene (host): Happy Tracks
Ed Bruce: My First Taste of Texas
Jack Greene: You Are My Treasure

10:45: B. C. Powder
Roy Drusky (host): As Long As I Live
Dottie West: You're Cheating Heart
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Soldier's Joy
Roy Drusky: One Day at A Time

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): The Call of the Wild
Ray Pillow: Too Many Memories
Jan Howard: Will The Circle Be Unbroken
The Whites: Daddy's Hands/Alabama Jubilee
Hank Snow: That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine

11:30: Creamettes
4 Guys (host): Look Out For Me, O Muddy Water
Jeannie Seely: That May Be All I Need to Know
Vic Willis Trio: We'll Sing in the Sunshine
Charlie Louvin: Till the End
Bill Carlisle: Knothole
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On

I just thought it would be interesting to look back and compare the line-ups over the years, especially with the line-ups at the Opry today.


  1. What became of Salty & Matty Holmes? Where they Opry Members?

  2. Great stuff! But it struck me that in the 1955 lineup, the cast included some people who never really could be described as having a hit record--not just the comics but Lew Childre, Paul Howard, Grandpa Jones and, at the time, Ray Price. So even some of the big names weren't THAT big. But look at the lists. If I'm correct, about 30 members in 1955, and 22 in 1988. The times have changed, and not for the better.

  3. It seems strange to find Roy Acuff missing from the 1955 lineup. If I recall correctly, he was on leave touring with Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright.

    On the 1988 show, anyone know if Vic Willis had the two ladies with him at this point?

    These lineups are always interesting. Thanks Byron.


  4. I checked most of the Grand Ole Opry books that I have and nothing is listed for them, including in my 1952 book, which would have been a little before their time. All I could find was some on-line information that said they played the Opry until they were divorced in 1956. Salty's real name was Floyd Holmes and his wife was Jean Chapel.

  5. Fred in Bismarck:

    Interesting, to be sure, particularly all the string-band and oldtime numbers in the '55 show. Ah, to be able to go down to Avis or Hertz and rent a time machine!

    The "fiddle tunes" unidentified by artist: Would these have been done by a staff band? I was already listening to the Opry in those days, but memory does not serve.

  6. I would assume that the fiddle tunes were done by some of the stringbands, as they were still being featured on the show. I would also assume that they used the fiddle tunes to close out segments.

  7. Byron, am I right that Tommy Jackson was performing at the Opry then? Also, since the bands were billed but these were identified as "fiddle tunes," is it possible they were band members of the host artist or someone else on the segment?

    Also, I poked around the internet and the Holmeses had a daughter, Lana Chapel, who, like her mother, became a songwriter.

  8. Wonderful! Wish we could listen to a tape of that 1955 show! What a lineup. What about some of the sponsors? Who or what was "Delited" and "Dr. Le Gear" and "American Ace"? I was at the Opry in 1988, but in August not in June. That was an anual trip for me, on the first or second weekend in August from 1977 until 1999. Thanks!

  9. Forgot to add this, but you're probably aware that Jean Chapel/Mattie Holmes was a sister to Martha Carson, a one-time Opry member. I don't have my references in front of me right now, but I believe their birth name was Amburgey. Don Chapel, their brother, was once married to Tammy Wynette. Salty Holmes, if I'm remembering correctly, was several years before 1955 a member of the Prairie Ramblers, from WLS and the National Barn Dance out of Chicago.

  10. Actually, I did not know the Martha Carson connection. Thanks so much.

    As far as the sponsors, American Ace was a coffee company. They were a part of the Opry since the 1940s, at least, and had a syndicated Opry radio show that they sponsored.

    Dr Le Gear was an actually veterinarian, who owned one of the largest veterinary supply companies in the region and was also an early Opry sponsor.

  11. I remember reading that American Ace had a commercial slogan, "Elmer, don't forget the American Ace Coffee!" and that when the segment came on, usually Minnie Pearl yelled it.

    I notice that Bass Pro Shops is no longer with the Opry, which is down to three sponsors. I know that Fisher has talked about "branding" and "partnerships" and all that other stuff, but I really think he's too lazy to look for sponsors.

  12. Interesting that the are promoting the Opry Backstage Grill as one of the segment sponsors. All through the Opry's history, they have done this, from sponsoring Opryland, the Opry Fan Club, Ryman Auditorium, Opry Cruise, etc.

    But that is what happens when you no longer want to deal with regional sponsors. Personally, I would be interested to know why a company such as Coke gave up their sponsorship, since they continue to see Coke at the Opry House and Coke still does a lot of cross-promotions with the Opry.

  13. I saw a great irony in Coke, which isn't exactly regional. Coke started sponsoring the Opry in 1956. In 2004, its sponsorship ended. I know that Coke had long sponsored the 11:00 portion, and then was moved to 9:30, and I wondered whether that and Buchanan's and Fisher's "branding" efforts had anything to do with it. Anyway, the 11:00 segment long was associated with Hank Snow, who mentioned in his autobiography that RCA let him go just as he was about to become the first artist to be with the same record label for half a century, and what a stupid move it was because of the promotional possibilities associated with that. So, the longtime sponsor of his segment leaves the Opry for whatever reason--I emailed Peter Cooper and the Tennessean business editor to try to find out and never got the courtesy of an answer, since they seem to be too busy keeping their noses up certain parts of the Gaylord company to look around--just as its 50th anniversary nears.

  14. Thanks as always for the historical programs, Byron. The "fiddle tune" at the close of many of the segments in the 1955 program were not performed by the string bands. The string bands during this era were performing only during the spots in which they were listed. Like most of the Opry stars during these years, they each had regular spots in which they performed most weeks. The closing "fiddle tune" was used more as a theme, much like Roy Acuff used in his later years, and the announcer would wrap the show up over the music. Usually the fiddler on these would be whatever fiddler was in the band of the host of the portion, and in the rare case that the band had no regular fiddler, someone like Tommy Jackson would play (in 1955 just about every Opry star in the "hosting" rotation had a fiddler). Some weeks the program would list the fiddler, but others (such as the week reprinted here) it was just generically printed. Recordings of complete Opry portions from this era are VERY rare, but on the ones that survive it is a fiddler such as Dale Potter or Tommy Vaden playing the closing tune.
    Also, I thought Paul Howard's appearance was intersting. He had been an Opry member through much of the 1940s, but hadn't he left the Opry by 1955? I'm thinking he left the Opry around 1948.

  15. Good info, Robert -- many thanks.

    -- Fred in Bismarck

  16. In the 1952 Opry book that I have, Paul Howard is not listed, so it would appear that he was at least gone at that point.

    And Robert, as always, thanks for filling in the blanks. (I did not forget, I am still working on it).

    1. Do you guys recall Paul Howard appearing on the homecoming show April, 9, 1983? At the time I doubt I knew who he was and I'm not sure I recorded anything on him that night.


    2. I was there the night of April 9, 1983 (it was my first full Saturday night at the Grand Ole Opry by myself at the age of 18) and Paul Howard was indeed there. In fact, I interacted with him that night following his appearance on the first show. His guitarist was Perry Massengale and they both were standing just inside the door of the green room when Paul started talking to me. I did not know him at all but I did ask him what the name of the song was that he had performed on the Opry that night. It was "The Boogie's Fine Tonight", a song that I sang at dances for the last couple of years, having learned the song from an old 78 I acquired sometime after that meeting with Paul Howard. He was the most friendly man I had met, as were most of the people that night, but the unusual thing was that he asked me if I sang. I told him I sang in church, and he wanted me to sing for him right there! I was scared out of my wits but I did sing a little bit for him, and he accompanied me right there in the hall. The place where it happened backstage and I took my wife there last year and stood in that same spot. It is one of the few places that Fisher and Gaylord have not changed.

      I am not sure if this was his final appearance on the Opry, as I don't remember if he was there anymore after that night. I know I never saw him again. I spent the better part of three years backstage during the period from 1984-1986 (when I wasn't working in the park or the hotel on weekend nights). I am hoping to get my books back out of storage before long so that I can post that lineup for that Friday and Saturday night (I used to keep a written log in notebooks of who was on the Opry from 1977-2003). Maybe Byron can post that night here sometime as well.