Occasionally, I delve back into my childhood to revisit cherished memories of yesteryear. My favorite radio show of the early-to-mid 1950s was, without question, "Big Jon & Sparkie." The program ran from 1948 until 1958.
In the past, I wrote about several carnivals and circuses that came to Northeast Tennessee. They included the Mighty Haag Railroad Shows, Gentry Brothers, Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, The Great New York and New Orleans Zoological and Equestrian Exposition, John Robinson's Circus and J.J. Page Carnival. The latter wintered in Johnson City along Love Street.
Governor "Our Bob" Taylor often commented about the John Robinson Circus that he occasionally visited. It was the first one that he ever witnessed, never forgetting the lingering memories of it. Bob speculated that he would always remain young as long as this circus would fill his memories of those special days long passed by. He was convinced that it was the best tonic old men could ingest.
The recent passing of W. Hanes Lancaster, Jr. evoked my recollections and fondness of early television comedians whom I eagerly looked forward to watching every week. The following is an brief exercise to see how many of the funnymen listed below you can match with their corresponding descriptors. If you do well on it, you are likely on Social Security.
It is enjoyable to explore the genealogy of old buildings in downtown Johnson City. In particular, one edifice at 236 E. Main had a long and varied subsistence. Many of us associate several businesses with that location: Wallace Shoe Store (1970-72), Jo-Ann's Shops (1950s-60s), Christiansen's Cafe (late 1940s) and Dinty Moore Cafe (early 1940s).
The recent announcement by Dolly Parton that a $300M expansion was coming to Dollywood prompted today's column. Dolly's dream park evolved over a duration of 25 years through a series of ownership and business name changes.
Today's column deals with the stirring news of the grand opening in June 1926 of the Majestic Theatre's new $20,000 Wurlitzer pipe organ. The information was gleaned from a full-page advertisement sent to me by Jerry Honeycutt, a frequent contributor to my articles.
A circus visited Johnson City on Wednesday, June 16, 1909 carrying the name, The Mighty Haag Railroad Shows. It came by rail for a two-show, one-day only event. Ernest Haag formed his entertainment business in 1895 as the Mighty Haag Shows, then renamed it The Mighty Haag Railroad Shows from 1909 until 1915 when it became The Mighty Haag Circus. It wintered first in Shreveport, Louisiana and later in Marianna, Florida.
Charles Kuralt is remembered for his popular 25-year “On the Road” program for CBS, a television series that began as a three-month trial in October 1967. Teamed with a cameraman and a soundman, the American journalist logged more than one million miles in six motor homes while producing approximately 500 segments. His formula for success was simple - stay off interstate highways and abide by no set itinerary. It worked.
A vintage boarding house (a.k.a. a lodging house or rooming house) referred to a home where the owners rented one or more of their rooms to paying customers. Room and board typically meant lodging and food for the guests. Initially, boarders shared washing and toilet facilities, but later each room normally had its own amenities. Depending on arrangements made with the landlord, duration of stay at a facility varied from a few days to several weeks to a year or more.