Tuesday, August 19, 2008


If Branson is the Las Vegas of the Bible Belt, then Jim Stafford is the Wayne Newton of Branson. The "Jim Stafford Show" is mostly made up of Jim's comedic monologues with some musical interludes and a couple of dance numbers mixed in. My wife and I went to the show on Monday night. The 64-year-old Stafford shared the spotlight with his 15-year-old son Shea and his 11-year-old daughter G.G., who showcased their talents on the piano.

Jim's voice, cadence and breathiness into the mic all reminded me of Garrison Keillor, which I found surprising. My wife watched Jim's TV show as a child and was more familiar with his delivery. I kept thinking that the whole stage show had the feel of a slightly Southern edition of "A Prairie Home Companion."

The Stafford staff passes cards out to the audience before the show begins. Guests can write down a joke or embarrassing story from their lives. Jim reads a few aloud after intermission. There's a space on the card for the respondent to give permission for the submitted anecdote to be published in a book of "Jim's Gems." The back of the card has room to write the name and address of someone you want to nominate to be included in "Jim Stafford's Knuckleheads." The card says it's a network special that Jim plans to tape at his theatre. Or maybe he already did and the card is out of date.

I think we were close to being the youngest ones in the audience. If not for the people who brought their kids, we would have been. It didn't matter though. The show is appropriate for all ages. It isn't tailored for the retirement crowd except for a few jokes about age. Maybe his kids keep him young. Jim even has a MySpace page. A more typical bit revolves around a cow patty. Jim sings a song about them and then tosses some brown foam flying discs into the audience. They sell the patties in the gift shop. And they put Jim's name on the bottled water at the refreshment stand.

Cow patties and water bottles aren't the only moneymaking opportunities the show creates. You can also buy harmonicas that Jim has played for $24.95 and harmonicas that he has played and autographed for $35.00.

We were only in Branson for one night. If we ever get back, I would like to see the guy who was on TV during my childhood, Andy Williams, assuming he's still performing. One of my wife's aunts said that the show to see is that Shoji dude.

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Anonymous Sandy Weaver Carman said...

Sounds like you and Jere are having a wonderful trip...first a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the world's largest rocking chair rock, and now Jim Stafford, complete with cow pies. I bet his show was good...like Jere, I remember watching his show when I was a kid.

Inquiring minds want to know...WHO did you nominate for the Knucklehead show???

Blogger bean said...

frank, is that really jim stafford? or a realistic wax figure of same? hmmm......and did he do his top ten hit from the 70s 'my girl bill' or was it too racy for 2008?

Blogger Frank Murphy said...

Yes, that's really him. We were sitting about five rows back. He allows photography during his show except during "Spiders and Snakes" due to the high tech blacklight effect.

He did not sing "My Girl Bill" in the show we saw. Maybe he would have done it if there were more youngsters in the audience like Jere and me!

Blogger Stephanie Byerly said...

I can't believe you didn't make a comment about the duct tape watches that you can see to the right in the harmonica picture!

Blogger Tony W said...

Hey i can think of two people you might have put on the back of that card but i won't ask wich one it was.It sound's like you and jere are haveing a awesome time but it will be hard to top the rocking chair.


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