Branson’s first show, “Branson’s Famous Baldknobbers,” are joining forces with the Blackwood family for a special “area appreciation” show Wednesday at 8 p.m., with a 7:15 p.m. preshow, at the Branson Famous Theatre.
“This is a special show for us to show the community some of what we have to offer at the Branson Famous Theatre,” the theater’s General Manager and third-generation performer Brandon Mabe said. “The Blackwoods will do 50 minutes or an hour, then we’ll have an intermission, then we’ll do 50 minutes or an hour.
“The Blackwoods are a part of country music and gospel history and we feel honored that they brought their show to us, and we’re joining forces for this show.”
The Mabe brothers, Lyle, Bob, Bill and Jim, decided the local fisherman needed something to do in the evenings, so in 1959, they geared up with hillbilly costumes and played country and hillbilly music. They decided to call themselves “The Baldknobbers” after the Ozarks’ vigilante group that met on the bald tops, or knobs, of mountains in the area in the late 1800s.
In addition to performing on the lakeside, the Baldknobbers played during the intermission square dance at the “Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama.” The Baldknobbers performed in the Old Community Building in 1960 before relocating to the Sammy Lane Pavilion Building down on the Lake Taneycomo Lakefront.
Three years later, the Mabes moved to the “old skating rink,” which was also located on the lakefront.
“I believe the Baldknobbers, in a nutshell, is Branson,” Mabe said. “We represent the culture and values of this town — family, God and country — that were here back when the family started this whole thing. They are still important parts of the formula that is Branson today.”
In 1968, construction began on the Baldknobber’s Theatre, a 1,500-seat venue in the heart of Branson’s “Strip.”
Several years ago, the show moved into a new venue, the Branson Famous Theatre, which is where they’ll celebrate the 60th anniversary later this year.
They’ll be joined by the Blackwoods, whose name dates back more 75 years, starting with the Blackwood Brothers Quartet in 1934 with James, Roy, Doyle and Roy’s son R.W. Blackwood, Sr.
In 1954, R.W Blackwood Sr., Bill Lyles and Johnny Ogburn died in a plane crash. J.D. Sumner then joined the Blackwood Brothers Quartet as the bass singer. Today, the Blackwood family legacy is carried on today by R.W. Blackwood Jr. and his wife Donna. In all, the Blackwood Singers have been awarded eight Grammys, 27 Dove Awards, five All-American Music Awards, the Publishers Choice Diamond Award, the coveted Living Legend Award in Gospel Music, as well as several local awards for their Branson show.
Tickets are available at the box office, and special rates are available for “select local residents.
Visit baldknobbers.com for more.