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Dairyland Barn Dance
Oshkosh, WI
Year Started:  1956
Date Started:  May 4, 1956
Year Ended:  1956
Date Ended:  May 11, 1956

Dairyland Barn Dance

During our research of the KDTH Barn Dance in Dubuque, IA, it led us to more research on Mack and Sandy Ford. They not only started a barn dance in Neenah, WI broadcast over WNAM-FM but came back to Wisconsin and tried to start the Dairyland Barn Dance in Oshkosh.

In early 1956, the local Oshkosh Northwestern newspaper ran several ads trying to entice local entertainers to audition and become a part of this new barn dance. The show was to debut on Friday night, May 4, 1956 at the Eagles Ballroom. We found no mention if this was a radio broadcast. The ads ran as early as February 1956 and as late as April 18, 1956.

But we did notice that a couple of the promotional ads contained a photo of the 'cast' as well as the unique barn backgrop with someone perhaps having a swig of someting in the hayloft. In fact, the pictures are identical except for the name below the hayloft doors.

Ad - Calls To Audition For Dairyland Barn Dance - Mack and Sandy Ford - Oshkosh, WI - Feb 1956
Classified Ad - Dairyland Barn Dance Audition - Mack and Sandy Ford - Feb 1956

The first couple of ads promoting the show to be held on May 4, 1956 listed just a signle performer - Dodo Ratchman who would be doing the dance music. It was touted as "A big western hillbilly show of music, song, and comedy. 30 people on the stage. Featuring talent of radio, television and stage." The ticket office would open at 8:30pm and admission would cost just 50 cents.

Promo Ad - Dairyland Barn Dance - Oshkosh, WI - May 1956 Dodo Ratchman was a fixture in the Oshkosh area. He led his orchestra for 50 years according to his obituary. He was also a lifetime member of the Eagles, which may have played a part in where the Barn Dance was held.

In the week prior to the debut of the barn dance, ads told readers who the performers were. Johnny and Bernice Balke; Ron Fisher; Sandy Olson; Shirley Keller; The Myers Twins, Frances Lamb, Donald LaPoint and "many others." Dance music was to be "...by the man who knows dance music, Dodo Ratchman." Readers were invited to "come and have the time of your life."

However, the show appears to have had a very short run of just two weeks. No further ads were seen for the show and the Eagles Hall was hosting other entertainers. The last ad seen was for Friday, May 11, 1956.

Promo Ad - Dairyland Barn Dance - Eagles Ballroom - Oshkosh, WI - Mack and Sandy Ford - Shirley Keller - Sandy Olson - The Myers Twins - Dodo Ratchman - Johnny and Bernice Balke - Ron Fisher - Donald LaPoint - Frances Lamb - May 2, 1956

Credits & Sources
  • Waverly Beach - Sat. Nite WNAM Barn Dance; May 21, 1948; The Post-Crescent; Appleton, WI
  • Waverly Beach; June 4, 1948; The Post-Crescent; Appleton, WI
  • Obituaries: Andrew P. (Dodo) Ratchman; November 19, 2005; The Oshkosh Northwestern; Oshkosh, WI

Sandy Ford

Mack Ford

Mack and Sandy Ford

Dodo (Andrew) Ratchman


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