It was 90 years ago this evening, Saturday November 28, 1925, when George D. Hay introduced Uncle Jimmy Thompson, who proceeded to play his fiddle for the next hour. Over the following weeks, he was joined by Dr. Humphrey Bate and then eventually, in January 1926, a number of other acts, and the WSM Barn Dance was underway, eventually to be known as the Grand Ole Opry. It has been reported over the years that the first musical selection that Uncle Jimmy played was "Tennessee Wagoner" and I am sure that is the song that will kick off tonight's Grand Ole Opry show. I know that the Opry celebrates in October with their birthday weekend, but hopefully tonight, the historical significance of this evening is mentioned.
And not to forget, a very Happy 70th Birthday to the founder and president of the Grand Ole Opry fan club, Glen Thompson. How lucky can one man be to be born on the Opry's birthday and then become one of the Opry's biggest fans? Glen has told me several times about taking the bus to Nashville as a young man to see the Opry for the very first time and he was hooked after that. He always has considered Roy Acuff to be the greatest Opry member of all time, and few can disagree. Females? I think Kitty Wells is at the top of his list.
Glen is from Kenosha, Wisconsin and for many years he would make the trip to Nashville to see the Opry. And not just once a year, but several times each year. And he never missed a birthday weekend. He came up with the idea of starting a fan club for the Opry and I know many of us were members. He struck up a friendship with Roy Acuff, who encouraged Glen to start the fan club. I can still remember each year receiving my fan club pin, a special gift and the quarterly newsletter. In fact, I do believe in my collection I have every newsletter, pin and memento I ever received.
I know many of us have met Glen over the years and have always enjoyed his company. So from all of us to Glen, let's all wish him a very special day on his 70th!!!
Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry and Happy Birthday Glen Thompson!!