Lee Mace's Ozark Opry
Before every show, the audience would hear Lee Mace ask, "How
many of you folks here came to have a good time?"
Lee Mace was born in a litle town of 74 people on a farm
near Brumley, MO, just 10 miles away from teh Lake of the Ozarks.
As a youngster, it was said he remembered going with his family
to friends' homes for musical get togethers (sound familiar?) where
"everyone picked and sang and had a grand time."
His trademark was playing a 'rousing, slapping, free-wheeling bass fiddle'.
It seems that back in 1953, they decided they didn't like living out
of suitcases and wanted to settle down in the Lake of the Ozarks. And
also knew that there was a lot of old-time country traditions and
flavor that they wanted to preserve.
They started out renting a building almost next to the Bagnell Dam. (..."it
would hold around 200 if some of'em brought their own chairs."), got
some folks from nearby to perform and began putting on shows two nights a week.
Soon, it was up to three shows a week. And later up to four.
In 1957, the Maces built a new Ozark Opry Auditorium that had an original seating
capacity that grew to 1000 seats later. The Opry's season runs from Mid-April
Back then, the Ozark Opry as also on TV each week in a half-hour show. It
was on every Thursday evening at 6:30pm on KRCG-TV in Jefferson City, MO and
also on KMOS-TV in Sedalia, MO. Back then, it ranked fourth in the
Neilson ratings around the Columbia, MO, state capitol area. (This appears
to have been around 1966 judging by the dates and times given in the