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The Porter Wagoner Show is one of the first television programs to
become a staple in many Ameriucan homes every week. It was not only the
music, but the warm personality that Porter gave to all of his
listeners during the 23 years he was on television. Watching the Porter
Wagoner Show was like watching a portion of the Grand Ole Opry,
especially in the early years when Black Draught was a sponsor (and
later sponsored by a laundry detergent company) and the commercials
were a part of the show.
Porter Wagoner always had the most wonderful guests and excellent regular performers to be a part of his show. Norma Jean was his female counterpart from 1961 through 1966, and many folks even to this day prefer her over Dolly Parton on his earliest programs. Of course, when Norma Jean left the show, Dolly came in after a year of different female guests were tried out on the show (which included Jeannie Seely and Dottie West, among others). Along with Norma Jean and Dolly, there was the great electric banjo sound of Buck Trent, the "Dancing Fiddle Man" Mac McGaha, and Don Hauser doing the emcee work. George Riddle also would play guitar through most of the later programs, and of course, the Porter Wagoner Trio was on there the first few years of the show's run. Speck Rhodes was on the show for much of its run beginning in 1964, and who can forget the funny phone conversations he would have with "Sadie"? After Opryland USA was completed, the Porter Wagoner Show was filmed from there in the park for many years (from different locations including the Showboat, the Roy Acuff Theatre, the television studio in the Opry House, and the Country Music USA show in the park). I saw it as a kid at the showboat in 1975, and again saw Porter a lot in person when I worked in Opryland USA in the mid-eighties.
This is a historic show to say the least and gave much credence to other country music shows that came before and after it. Television needs more new shows produced like this one was. I give it five stars all the way.
I remember watching the Porter Wagoner Show as a kid. As I grew, I thought country music was 'corny', but I was a fan of bands such as Charlie Daniels Band, Marshall Tucker Band, Outlaws, etc. Little did I know that I was born and will die a country music lover. Porter Wagoner was one of the greats, and an inspiration and influence to many of today's stars. My dad even grew up in Northeast Arkansas, home of Speck Rhodes and his family. The first people to see my dad after his birth was the Rhodes'. My dad even attended Speck's brother, Slim's funeral in 1966. Porter Wagoner set a standard for style with his shiny 'Nudie' suits; Artists and bands such as ZZ Top and Gram Parsons were inspired to wear the flashy suits after seeing Wagoner in his full 'Nudie' regalia. Country music lost a pioneer and a fine man when Porter passed in 2007.
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