I grew up in a little single wide trailer house (much too
small to be a "mobile home") and our family was poor,
though I didn't realize it until I was about 30. Our family was
really close, and even though it was the mid-sixties and things
were in turmoil all over the world, everything was calm in our
I always looked forward to Saturday night. We'd always have
something really good for supper on Saturday. My favorite was
Frito chili pie, which Mama had learned to make from watching
future Congressman Dale Milford, who was then the weatherman
for WFAA, Channel 8. Frito-Lay sponsored Dale's show and he would
do a commercial showing how to make a big family sized Frito
But, to get on with the story, by the middle of the afternoon,
we'd all start making our way to the house to get settled in
for the weekly country music marathon broadcast on Channel 11.
I really looked forward to these shows. This was just a couple
of years before I read a book by Hunter S. Thompson and discovered
Bob Dylan. That was a weird deal. It was like one day I'm listening
to Buck Owens, and the next day I can't stand him. I'm glad I
It all started in the middle of the afternoon with the "Gospel
Singing Jubilee". Then there was Cowboy Weaver from the
Sunset Ranch. Daddy always made fun of Cowboy Weaver, but I kind
of like him. This was when he was just plain old Cowboy Weaver,
and hadn't had any, well, incidents.
My memory fades here, but there was a brief parade of country
spares until it was time for "Teddy & Doyle, The Wilburn
Brothers". I don't remember any of their songs
off the top of my head, but I liked those boys. Maybe because
this was about the time Mamma would say "Supper's ready!" We'd
all walk the few feet to the kitchen and fix a plate of food,
hopefully that good Frito pie, and move back to our designated
TV watching spots. Daddy had his chair, Mamma had her end of
the couch, and the kids just fought it out.
It was time for Porter Wagoner! We all liked Porter. Maybe
it was those suits. I suspect for Daddy it was the fact that
Dolly Parton was a regular on his show. He did like Dolly!
We're into prime time now! The Ernest Tubb show! Think about
how great that was! THE ERNEST TUBB SHOW! ET opened and closed
his show with "I'm Walking the Floor Over You". I loved
Ernest Tubb, and still do. In the last years of his show, WILLIE
NELSON, sporting a black turtleneck shirt, was a regular on ET's
show. Daddy made fun of Willie, too, because he sang "through
his nose". I like Willie.
The show we all waited for was "Cowtown Jamboree"
broadcast live from the Panther Hall Ballroom in Fort Worth.
It would be fantastic if someone would discover recordings of
those shows. EVERYBODY played Panther Hall. We got to see Willie
Nelson, George Jones, Lawton Williams, and Daddy's favorite,
Purty Little Miss Wanda Jackson.
Bob Wills was on the "Cowtown Jamboree" many times.
I remember seeing Leon McCauliffe play "Steel Guitar Rag",
and Bob with that big cigar and that grin. It would
be hard to name a country star alive at that time who didn't
play Panther Hall.
The great Bill Mack of WBAP fame hosted "Cowtown Jamboree"
for a while. He would often open the show with his "Drinking
I have been looking for another copy of the album pictured
above and they seem to be pretty scarce.This past weekend's show
out at Southfork, the KHYI Summer Showdown 2000, made me think
of this album. It was recorded in 1966. Most likely Ol' Rockzilla
was sitting in that little trailer, chowing down on a big old
bowl of Frito Pie, drinking a Dr Pepper, and listening to Willie
record this album.
At the beginning of the record, Willie introduces "the
orchestra". The drummer for this album? A young man from
San Antonio named Johnny Bush. If you EVER see one of these,
buy it! Hell, Willie even does an interesting cover of the Beatles'
"Yesterday." Besides the historical significance, it
is a great album. I urge you to click on the picture and look
at the full sized image.
Anyway, Channel 11 was a big factor in my formative years.
After the country music shows, came the highlight of Mamma's
Saturday night, "Main Event Wrestling" from the Northside
Coliseum! I'll save that for another time.There has never been
anything like it.!
To let Rockzilla know how many factual errors he made in the
telling of this story, you can e-mail him at: