Memories from the 50's
I made many trips to the Opry back in the 50's. An old old friend - Paul Breidenbach and myself probably started going to Nashville when we were only 14 or 15 years old. Times were different back than. I had to give my folks a safe arrival call after we got checked into the Sam Davis Hotel. The Sam Davis was perfectly situated for us. It was just around the corner from Ryman Auditorium & the Ernest Tubb Record store & just a few blocks up the street was were WSM had it's studios in the National Life & Accident Insurance Company building.
We traveled by Greyhound bus - about a 7 hour trip from St. Louis. We arrived Friday afternoon in time to get settled in and grab a bite to eat before heading up to WSM for the Friday Night Frolic. I believe it went from 6:00 until 9:00 and had all of the regular Opry stars performing. The studio probably only seated about 150 people. Buy the way, it was free. Which was good for kids like us who didn't have much money.
Saturday we bummed around downtown and hung out at the Ernest Tubb Record shop until it was time for the pre-Opry shows up the street at WSM. These shows went from 6:00 in the evening until 7:30 when the Opry started at the Ryman. At 7:30 we scooted on down to the Opry - which was only 2 or 3 blocks away. Back than the Opry wasn't split into two shows as it is today. You had a seat straight through from 7:30 to midnight. After the Opry was over at midnight we would walk around the block for more entertainment at the ET Record Shop. It was than and still is now, 55 years later - the Midnight Jamboree. Tune into to WSM (650 AM) some Saturday night if you live East of the Rockies. If you have a broadband Internet connection, you can now listen to the whole Grand Ole Opry over the Internet. At some point in time I will post some of the recordings I made back in the 50s.I listened to the Opry on an old Zenith floor model radio back at home in St.Louis just about every Saturday night. I was quite a gerryrigger and was able to connect up an old reel to reel tape recorder to the right place in the radio to record from.
The Opry was held in Ryman Auditorium back in the days when I traveled to the Opry. Louie Buck & Grant Turner were two announcers that I remember for those days.