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and not learn nothing, and he can go to Yale for six years and not learn nothing, but you let him go to a girl's school for one week and, brother, he'll learn plenty!"
"Talking about school, there was an old maid down home that took a correspondence course, and the first week she was supposed to get lessons in simple arithmetic. But us kids switched her mail with somebody else's and she got a package of love letters from a soldier to his girl. She read about six of them, and then she rushed out and sent a tele­gram saying, 'if this is simple arithmetic, rush course in higher mathematics immediately'! . . . Well, I'm going back to the wagon boys; these shoes are killin' me."
As he bustled past like the March Hare he grabbed my arm and tugged, and that ended my career on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.
Then and later I learned a lot about this fantastic pro­gram. It starts about dark each Saturday and gallops along until everybody gets tired, which is never before midnight. One 30-minute segment is piped over the full coast-to-coast NBC network, during which pollsters say, it has 9,500,000 faithful listeners. There is sort of script for this 30 minutes but it is studded with such notations as: "Somebody tell a few jokes here." The script for the rest of the show is sel­dom more than a few scribbles on an old envelope. Re­hearsals are virtually unknown. Most of the people on the stage never know what they're going to do next, and neither does anybody else. Yet, almost miraculously, the program flows onto the air with the speed and impact of a rocket.
The cast varies from 120 to 137 performers, depending upon how many show up. Pay is small (one featured singer gets $19.50 a week), but advertising value to the individual is enormous, since the Opry is considered the top hillbilly talent showcase. Stars who appear for $75 get as much as $1,500 for a single personal appearance elsewhere. There are surprisingly few women on the show because (a) women usually don't like to be laughed at, and (b) backwoodsmen in the audience with their wives would get their ears slapped down if they stared at a strange female, much less applauded her. That is why attractive Cousin Minnie Pearl deliberately tries to make herself homely.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III