Country, Western & Gospel Music

A History And Encyclopedia Of Composers, Artists & Songs

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
I drove into town one late drizzly Saturday afternoon and started looking vainly for a cop. I wanted to ask how to get to Ryman Auditorium, the ancient barny hall where the Opry is staged. Presently, at an intersection, I was blocked by thousands of people standing in the rain. In a moment I realized I had found the auditorium; this crowd was waiting to buy tickets (reserved, 60 cents; unreserved, 30 cents) to get in. This was my first surprise; never be­fore have I heard of a radio show which charged admission.
By the time I parked the hearse, grabbed a sandwich, and walked back, only a few hundred folks were outside; the rest had squished into the hall's 3,542 seats and the show had started. I went around to the stage door and discovered why I hadn't seen a cop on the streets; they were all in the wings laughing their heads off. Not one even glanced at me, so I blundered around in the half-dark until I found a door, opened it—and found myself on the stage staring google-eyed at 3,542 customers.
As I tried to back off, a duncey mountaineer with shaggy red hair and droopy overalls rammed his knee playfully into my sitting room and drawled affably, "Come on out, Bub; you can see betteh out heah." He shoved me onto the stage, where a sad young man with a shiny guitar was telling the microphone that his sweetheart had run off with a travelin' man. I couldn't blame her; I wanted to run, too, but all I could do was try to hide behind the singer.
As he gave his golden-throated all, dozens of characters were dashing around the stage doing anything that came to mind. Three of them grabbed a fourth and dunked him into a washtub filled with crushed ice and soda pop. He grinned vacantly, rushed down for a bottle of pop, pulled off the cap with his teeth and swizzled contentedly. A man strolled in with a tall stepladder, set it squarely in front of the singer, climbed up and changed an electric light bulb on the prose-cenium.
A shy-looking lad in city clothes wandered out, pulled a bench in front of the singer, sat down, and stared at him owlishly. Presently a honey-haired country girl came along, spied the boy, and sat down beside him. I learned later that this was the Opry's feminine star, man-hungry Cousin Min­nie Pearl. She whispered coyly to the boy, who looked