Virginia Barn Dance (WDVA)
In June of 1949, the Virginia Barn Dance began to broadcast over WDVA
out of Danville, Virginia as a regular Saturday night program. The show
gained in popularity and got the notice of the Mutual Broadcasting Network
as they aired a half-hour segment of the show on their nationwide network.
The Virginia Barn Dance was a three and a half-hour show that took
place in a special building or as some might call it, a barn, on
the Danville Fair Association grounds.
The said that one end of the barn contained the stage and dressing rooms.
The stage itself was decorated to represent the '...inside of a typical
The show would kick off each Saturday night at 8:00pm. Clybe Moody
and his Woodchoppers were the the headline act along with Simon Bowes
and the Bowes Brothers. Mug and Jug were the comedy team.
The master of ceremonies for the show was also the Radio Farm Director
for WDVA, Homer "Little Bit" Thomasson, who dressed the part of a farmer
The show appears to have been broadcast from 8:00pm to 9:30pm over WDVA
on those Saturday nights. After it went off the air, the chairs in the
auditorium / barn were pushed back and the floor cleared. The audience
would then dance to the music on the concrete floor that was painted to
provide a smooth finish for the dancers to do their numbers. At the time,
it may have been a unique feature of a network barn dance show - allowing the patrons to
actually participate in the barn dancing following the show.
Each week, the Virginia Barn Dance would salute a member, male or female,
of the armed forces as "Serviceman of the Week". In this picture we found,
Homer Thomasson is congratulating Bill Adams of Indianapolis, IN.
When the show knew it was going to have a larger crowd for special attractions
or time of the year, the show moved from the barn to the outdoor stage
and grandstand at the Danville Fair Association grounds. In addition, for
fans of the show who didn't have a car, free bus transportation was provided
from downtown Danville.
And barn dancing or dancing in the barn wasn't the only thing that patrons
got to experience at the Virginia Barn Dance. It seems that a couple of
fellows would get together during the shows and talk of new ways to
entertain the audiences. Curtis Finch, (manager of the Danville Fair
Association) and Emerwon J. Pryor, (Vice-President and General Manager) of
WDVA got together as they often did one summer night and developed something
called "sand dancing" where the the dancers would take off their shoes
and dance in the sand outside the barn. Not to worry that the dancers couldn't
hear the music, the show had speakers outside. Not only that, patrons could
check their shoes while 'sand dancing'.
Homer 'Little Bit' Thomason
Ralph 'Grandpa' Carden
Mug and Jug
Simon Bowes and the Bowes Brothers