“Country Music Memories on RFD-TV from the Willie Nelson / Act IV Video Tape Library”

From www.rfdtv.com

“One day Willie Nelson was in Nashville on the bus with his sidekick, Frank Oakley, who with his wife Jeanie, is the storekeeper for Willie Nelson’s General Store and Museum which was founded on July 4, 1979.  The sidekick was bringing Willie up to date about what was happening in Nashville since his last visit.  One of the bits of news was that Norman Lear (creator of the “All in the Family” tv sitcom) had bought a satellite TV station in Nashville, and along with the station,  the old Show Biz, Inc. video tape library was part of the assets.

Norman wasn’t interested in owning a bunch of old hillbuilly shows and wanted to sell them because it was costing him money to rent space to store them.  A local TV station and a production company were interested in buying them.  But, after hearing this news, Willie said, “Hell, why don’t we buy them?”  The reason Willie wanted the shows is that not only did he have the idea of going on the air with his own country music satellite channel, but he wanted to preserve the history of his friends performing.   Willie thinks it is very important to ‘keep this music alive along with the stars who create it’, and this is what RTDtv is attempting to do.  We are working to make the tapes available to the public.”

The Show Biz Tape Library consists of the folloiwng shows:

The Porter Wagoner Show (1960 – 1980):
This 20-year series, produced in Nashville, is in many ways the most successful country music half-hour show in history, and many country music performers appeared:

Hank Williams, TillisTillis;ed;Willie Nelson;Waylon Jennings;   Faron Young; Bill Monroe; George Jones; Lester Flatt;
Mary Robbins; Merle Haggard; Lefty Frizzell; Webb Pierce; George Morgan; Roy Acuff; Tex Ritter, Dottie West; and many more.

Pop Goes the Country (1974 - 1982):
Also produced in Nashville, this show was the precurser to Ralph Emery’s cable offering on TNN – “Nashville Now”.  Ralph Emery was host for first six years, followed by Tom T. Hall.

The Wilburn Brothers Show (1966 – 1974):
Doyle and Teddy Wilburn had these successful travelling country music shows in the 1960’s, and brought a rich history of country music to television.  Perhaps the highlight of the series was their singer, a young Loretta Lynn, who appears on most of the 354 half-hour episodes.

Nashville on the Road (1975 – 1982):
This show was produced in various venues around the USA, and starred Jim Ed Brown.  It showcased major names in country music, and also showcased a major tourist destination each week.

Gospel Singing Jubilee (1965 – 1975):
Non-stop southern gospel music featuring the most famous, white gospel groups of the 60’s and ’70’s.  The 376 one-hour, color episodes were hosted by Les Beasley and the Florid Boys.

The Beat (1966 – 1967):
This rhythm and blues series is the only non-country show in the catalogue.  It was hosted by Nashville dee-jay Bill “Hoss” Allen.

The Country Carnival (1969 – 1971):
This is another half-hour series starring Jim Ed Brown, and featured Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn’s little sister.  There are 100 episodes, all in color.

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