Monday, January 30, 2006

raccoons and watermelons

If I had lived in Knoxville during the Cas Walker era, I probably would not have liked him. From what I've heard, he was against most kinds of progress and many of his decisions kept Knoxville entrenched in the past. But as it turns out, Cas was dead before I knew anything about East Tennessee. So to me, he's just a fascinating old coot, a cartoon character from a time gone by. I am not alone in this. I once saw Johnny Knoxville wearing a Cas Walker grocery t-shirt on a VH-1 clip show. If I could find one of those shirts I would wear it too. There's a chance the shirts are available at the Dollywood gift shop named after Cas, but I doubt it.

For his birthday last year, I bought a guitar for my son at the Ciderville Music Store. It's a down-home, good ol' boy type of place. We were there on soup day. Every Thursday, all customers are invited into the kitchen in the back of the store for soup and crackers. Out front by the entrance there's a rack with assorted music instruction books and CDs by local (extremely local, as in the guy playing banjo in the next room local) artists. The rack also had some Cas Walker VHS tapes. I would have bought one if they had been DVDs. I should have been impressed that they even had the VHS format instead of kinescopes.

WBIR-TV is celebrating its 50th anniversary with weekly looks back at their history of covering East Tennessee. Last week's retrospective was all about Cas Walker. You can see the story on their website as well as some bonus video of Walker speaking out against fluoridation of the water supply and another one where he's kicking a rock band off his show.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Finally, the better quality video has surfaced. I have owned a VHS 30-generation copy of that for years. The rock band was Poker.

Sadly, the WBIR post is no longer available. I guess I should keep the old tape that also had the often-copied Pastor Gas tacked on along with Larry "Put Me In The Movies" Williams giving directions.
Let's hope 'BIR gives us the good fortune to watch the clips on the 'net one more time.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an event you may want to attend.

Friday, October 27 – At 6 p.m. the East Tennessee Historical Center (Knoxville, TN) will host A Tribute to Cas Walker. This special tribute features live musical performances by David West and his Cider Mountain Boys, as well as vintage commercials, musical guest spots, and out-takes from Cas Walker's Farm and Home Hour show. Walker wore many hats: grocer, politician, and long-time radio and television variety show host. Love him or hate him, Walker was a major force in Knoxville's business and politics and gave many local musicians a break on his long-running television show.

Blogger Andrew said...

I was looking for a Cas Walker shirt too, did you ever find one? My mom always talked about the store, and I saw Johnny Knoxville wearing one once.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear that Hammer's in Clinton has some Cas Walker shirts.

Blogger Frank Murphy said...

The t-shirt I want is finally available online. Click here and scroll down to see the shirt with the scissor logo.


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