The "Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance Song Book" provided some details about aspects of the show. The radio station reached listening audiences in Kentucky, INdiana, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
In the booklet, there are a picture that was dedicated to one of the sponsors of the show, the Eureka Flour Compoany of Beaver Dam, KY.
Research shows that the Eureka Network that broadcast the Saturday night show included 18 radio stations in five states.
The barn that was used as the background for the barn dance programs was part of the "...oldest gathering places in the entire South, having been in constant operation as a livestock selling center for over fifty years. The arena was where the first livestock auction market in the United States was established.
In April of 1950, a legal (contractual) controversy arose for the show. The Clay-Gentry Stockyards Company, Inc. asked the Fayette Circuit Court to "...prevent the Foggy Mountain Boys and five of their entertainers from performing at any place except the Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance on Saturday nights."
A news account stated that the stockyards company, brought the suit individually and as operator of the barn dance against:
A wrinkle arose from the fact that the stockyards company had quit its broadcast but was till continuing the barn dances.
The entertainers felt that when the broadcasts ended, it terminated their contract.
Clay-Gentry wanted to the court to "...prevent the entertainers from performing at any other place between 7 and 11 p.m. on Saturdays until their contract with Clay-Gentry expires, six months after November, 1949."
The next day, an article recapped what Clay-Gentry Stockyards Company wanted from the suit. The Foggy Mountain Boys had been performing on the Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance at Clay-Gentry arena since November 14, 1949. Their contract stipulated they were to perform each Saturday night between 7 and 11pm until their contract expired in six months. The court was asked to prevent the entertainers from performing "...for any other person, firm or corporation during the Saturday night hours."
Back in November 1949, Donald Horton, assistant manager at radio station WVLK, worked out a contract with the stockyards. The stipulation was that the entertainers would be paid $150 a week "...with certain bonuses for radio broadcasting of their performances."
WVLK discontinued broadcasting the show and the entertainers were in doubt as to whether they were obligated to continue perform under the contact. An attorney for the stockyards, Robert Odear, claimed the actual dispute was between the stockyards company and the radio station which had the "Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance." Under the contract, was the "Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance ... the show at the arena ... or ...the radio broadcast? A hearing on the matter was scheduled for Saturday, April 8, 1950.
Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance (WKLX)
Fayette Circuit Judge Chester D. Adams ruled that
"Clay-Gentry Stockyards Company is the originator and owner of the Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance and that radio station WVLK cannot produce a similar show under the same name. Furthermore, the Foggy Mountain Boys, including Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Bennie Simms, Curley Seckler and Cedrick Rainwater cannot perform on Saturday nights from now (April 12) until May 15 for anyone except Clay-Gentry."
Further details of how the dispute arose were in the April 12 article. The Clay-Gentry Stockyards Company decided to discontinue the broadcasts over radio station WVLK, owned and operated by the Blue Grass Broadcasting Company, Inc. It wanted to switch the broadcasts to another station. But WVLK made the decision to put on the Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance at the Woodland Auditorium as well as use the Foggy Mountain Boys on their program. But Clay-Gentry stepped up and claimed they had exclusive rights to the program and had The Foggy Mountain Boys under a six month contract. The group thought they could work for the radio station. But Judge Adams ruled that the Foggy Mountain Boys "...would have to perform for Clay-Gentry on Saturday nights or not perform at all and said the radio station count not broadcast a "Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance."
Newspaper promotional ads show that the "Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance" began airing over radio station WKLX
In December 1950, the Barn Dance had held 64 performances in the Clay-Gentry Arena since the show began. But the show was struggling to have enough seats to accommodate the crowds. Beginning with the Saturday night show on December 16, 1950, the venue was changed to the Woodland Auditorium. Mickey Stewart was cited in an article in forming fans, "Business as usual — but at a different stand." He emphasized that the show will be unchanged, with all the barn dance gang on hand to provide the entertainment. The show had been doing two shows a night at Clay-Gentry to reach a wider audience due to the seating capacity limits (about 1,400). At the Woodland venue, there would be only one program at 7:30pm.
Perhaps as part of the move to the new facility, another event occurred in December 1950. Clyde R. Varner, who was the bass fiddle player for Esco Hankins and his Tennesseans was going to mrry Ms. Marjorie Haynes of Chattanooga, TN. The wedding was to be aired on the 18-station five state hook-up. The two of them met in March of 1950 in Rome, GA and became engaged in July. After the marriage, the couple planned to live in Knoxville, TN.
Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance
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