By Jack Hackley
When I asked if anyone had attended a Hadacol Caravan Show, the only response I received was from John Cline, my classmate from Independence who reads my column in the Focus On Oak Grove.
John and I attended the show with another classmate. We were both having a hard time remembering who was there, so I got in to the archives of the Kansas City Star at the library and found the advertising for the show.
There were 14 acts including Jim Durante, Carmen Miranda, Rochester, Dick Haymes, Jack Dempsey, Candy Candido, Minnie Pearl and Hank Williams.
Of course, we went to see Hank Williams, but 62 years later, the only act we could remember was Jimmy Durante because as part of his act he tore a piano apart and threw the boards off stage.
It was said in the southern states, the crowds would boo Bob Hope off the stage, hollering “We want Hank”.
Hank Williams, the greatest country singer and songwriter the world has ever known, appeared in Kansas City two times, once at the Ivanhoe Temple in 1950, and the second time at the Hadacol Caravan in 1951. My two high school buddies and I saw both shows.
In high school when we would go out on Saturday night, we would first listen to the Grand Old Opry on WSM out of Nashville. Then when it was over, we would listen to the Earnest Tubb Record Shop, then tune in to the Super Station in Del Rio, Texas, that broadcast country music from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday nights.
We figured their radio tower had to be a mile high for us to be able receive the station loud and clear in Oak Grove.
Little did we realize the station was located in Mexico and broadcast with a million watts, and could not only be heard in Missouri, but in all of Canada. If you happened to tune in Del Rio before 10 o’clock, there was nothing but religious programs, and if you sent the preacher two dollars, he would send you an autographed picture of Jesus Christ.
Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.jackremembers.com