eFactory Speaker Series Recap: Ozark Pioneers & Early Entrepreneurs – Wayne Glenn (The Old Record Collector)

April 7, 2016 | Branden Schwab

During his talk, Glenn described how local pioneers and entrepreneurs in radio and early television were able to tie together far-flung rural communities (and customers) under a golden banner of anticipation, casually slung around the swinging hips and tapping toes of a weekly live entertainment program. In its heydey, the Ozark Jubilee featured country music stars, local performers, and backwoods pickers and pluckers, all serving up a generous slice of midwestern hospitality to regional residents and the nation at large.

Glenn also revealed the recent discovery of an archived stockpile of nearly a quarter of the total original recordings from the television program that put Ozarks music and entertainment on the map.

Keep an eye out for a set of videos to be featured this spring at the Gillioz Theater.

Last month at the eFactory (on Tuesday, March 15 from noon – 1 PM), local historian and self-proclaimed hillbilly, Wayne Glenn, aka The Old Record Collector from KTXR-FM 101.3, spoke to a room of local entrepreneurs and folks interested in learning about the history of entertainment in Springfield, including the weekly 1950s ABC-TV program, Ozark Jubilee.

Glenn, a radio personality since 1977, has penned 12 books about the Ozarks, exploring the stories, myths and mysteries contributing to our colorful history.  As a long-standing fixture of local radio, it’s difficult to pinpoint when and where one would have first encountered The Old Record Collector. His voice and listening selections have long been floating across the airwaves, suspended in the ether like so many other familiar parts of our day-to-day Springfield experience that tend to fade into the background, only bubbling to the surface at some innocuous moment…

While the specific date eludes me, there are a myriad of details about my first Wayne Glenn radio memory that are unforgettable. On a stretch of highway somewhere between Clinton and Bolivar, radio dial tuned to 101.3, the unmistakable excitement and hop-scotch cadence of his voice ruptured the hissing silence between a string of rockabilly, bluegrass and country songs with a knowingness and potency that’s difficult to describe, yet impossible to forget or ignore. Like many of his listeners, I found myself abruptly engaged, eagerly awaiting the next song selection as I bowled indiscriminately down a two-lane ribbon of pavement, following buggy beams of headlight as I wheeled closer and closer to “home.” The sun setting on a sparsely populated rural evening, leaving a thin shelf of purple and orange lingering on the horizon betwixt a weightless black sky above and a cool brown earth below.

I remember the first song because I wrote it down: “Maybellene” by Chuck Berry. I was thinking those coming-home thoughts about the people and places, both the ones I would soon see and the ones I was leaving behind.

Red Foley & the Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy

The Old Record Collector’s programs are punctuated by anecdotal gems — much like his talk at the eFactory. Alone, his stories are well-rounded, amiable and entertaining. But when pieced together, these historical and personal snippets from the music and entertainment industry constellate an elaborate tapestry both too strange and too familiar not to be true.

During his talk, Glenn was careful to cast a positive light on Red Foley, who hosted the Ozark Jubilee from 1955-1960 and was notorious for his drinking. Glenn attests that Foley’s run-ins with the IRS over tax-evasion charges were probably trumped up, part of an attempt to throw shade towards a gifted musician and performer who happened to be bad with money and good at partying while living in the Bible Belt.

Other local historical figures and business tycoons discussed at length by Glenn included Robert Foster, John Ramey and Lester Cox whose names you probably recognize from some of Springfield’s longest-standing institutions, including Missouri State University, Price-Cutter supermarkets, the Assemblies of God church, Cox Hospital & the KGBX radio station.

For episodes of Ozark Jubilee:



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