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Smokey Pleacher
Born:  September 30, 1921
Died:  September 15, 1971
WWVA Original Jamboree

About The Artist

Pennsylvania-born Charles Edward "Smokey" Pleacher was a noted country music comedian working most often with groups in the Northern states. Like many successful comics, Pleacher had minimal interest in formal education, but learned much about inducing laughter from an audience.

He launched these efforts at age fourteen winning a local talent show and then taking the route of an earlier generation in gaining humor experience by joining a medicine show.

Smokey's association with radio country music began about 1938 with the Old Farm Hour at WCHS in Charleston, WV and various groups in Pennsylvania.

After three years in service during World War II, he returned to the microphone stage chalking up more experience with Rambling Lou Schriver, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, and Joe and Shirley Barker, the latter three at WWVA.

Then he spent nine months with Doc Williams as a temporary replacement for an ailing "Hiram Hayseed."

He was based in Nashville for a time, where he entertained with Jean Shepard, Hawkshaw Hawkins (again), and Lonzo and Oscar.

Badger State Barn Dance Ad Racine WI February 13 1934 Green County Fair Murray Sisters Madison WI August 8 1934

It appears that in 1957, Smokey teamed up with June Carter and developed a comedy routine that was a hit with the Grand Ole Opry audiences.

Traveling to Nevada, he brought laughter in Las Vegas with the Judy Lynn Show and in Reno at Harold's Club.

In 1962, he returned to WWVA and Doc Williams' Border Riders where he stayed until his passing nine years later. Doc always thought of Smokey as his favorite comic.

In 1965, he recorded an album for Wheeling Records and then a second one which was released after his death.

In many promnotional ads for Smokey, a humorous little poem was a part of it snf was also on the cover of his album "Smokey Pleacher" (Wheeling LP 4444):

"Roses are red
Violets are blue
God made me cute
What happened to you"

Smokey died after a lengthy illness at the Altoona (PA) Veterans' Hospital in September 1971. The short article mentioning his passing was carried in newspapers around the country. Some mentioned his association with the WWVA Jamboree, others mentioned the Grand Ole Opry.

Badger State Barn Dance Ad Racine WI February 13 1934 Green County Fair Murray Sisters Madison WI August 8 1934
Badger State Barn Dance Ad Racine WI February 13 1934 Green County Fair Murray Sisters Madison WI August 8 1934

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com would like to express its thanks to Ivan M. Tribe, author of Mountaineer Jamboree — Country Music in West Virginia and other books that can be found on Amazon.com and numerous articles in other publications for providing us with information about this artist.
  • Smokey Pleacher Dies At Altoona; The Morning Call; Allentown, PA
  • Grand Ole Opry Enters Spring-Summer Season Bigger And Better Than Ever; March 30, 1957; Nashville Banner; Nashville, TN
  • Cross Country Jamboree - Here and There; July 1957; Country & Western Jamboree; Maher Publications; Chicago, IL

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