We’re pleased to
present the fourth edition of THE HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS Blue Ridge Country’s
new bimonthly digital issue. This edition features Stars of the Mountains.
These stories, chosen
from the BRC archive that now goes back 32 years, recall some of the most
memorable and most-sought-out pieces in the magazine’s history:
• Elvis in the
Mountains: Spin the Bottle in 1955. It’s almost too innocent and 1950s
to be true: A teenage girl, some friends and her parents go to a concert in Kingsport,
Tennessee, with the parents there to see headliners Hank Snow and Cowboy Copas,
and the girls to see the 20-year-old heartthrob who would later spend some of
the evening with them.
• Mt. Airy,
Mayberry and How Andy Griffith Made them Meet. Our writer, a long-time
fan, sets out to find the real Mt. Airy, the spirit of Mayberry and all the
pieces that arose out of the 259-episode TV show shot in California that tied
together the real, the mythical and the magical in the North Carolina mountains,
all under the gentle influence of Sheriff Andy Taylor.
Dolls Forever. It’s one thing when a man, in 1926, a man creates a
pair of dolls that love the woods. It’s another layer altogether when that man’s
grandson—some 75 years later—works to keep the legend and magic of Raggedy Ann
and Andy alive and well in the North Carolina mountains.
• Patsy Cline: Just
‘Naughty Virginia Hensley’ to her Hometown. The person Tammy Wynette called
“the standard-bearer of all female country singers” was by the time of our 1992
piece still largely persona non grata in her hometown of Winchester,
Virginia. Some people were working to bring deserved recognition for the singer
whose hits like “Crazy” and “I Fall to Pieces” had made her a star by the time
she died, at 30, in a 1963 plane crash. Many others were still too busy
gossiping about that girl who drank beer in public, said what she thought and
could break up a marriage.
• Earl Hamner,
Jr. and John-Boy: Making a Piece of Virginia Their Own. The lives and times
of the writer and his main character have remained alive in Nelson Country,
Virginia, where fact and fiction commingle in a gentle way not too different
from the way they do in Mt. Airy/Mayberry, North Carolina.
• A Friendly Guy and a Goofy Puppet. When TV was came to the U.S. in the ‘40s and ‘50s, it was Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob Smith who led the way. The 27-inch, goofy-grinned puppet and the man who lived his later years in Flat Rock, North Carolina held the number-one spot on NBC-TV during those years. There were no ratings, but in 1948, when Howdy Doody ran for president of all the kids in America, NBC received write -in requests for 250,000 campaign buttons, more than 10 times the number of television sets in the U.S. at the time.. "The Howdy Doody Show" outlasted even the “Mickey Mouse Show,” spawned other children's programming, and sent Buffalo Bob on years of nostalgia tours after the series ended.
• A Different
Kind of Star: Mimi the Deer. The plan all along was to return the
rescued deer to the wild. Then several things struck at once, not least of
which was a severe illness for one member of the couple who were taking care of
the deer. A rare bond developed. And flourished, for both man and deer.
Please note, we’ve
digitized these pieces just as they appeared in their original print form.
Please remember that as a result, all quotes and references to “present day”
things such as artifacts and other items are contemporaneous to the time of
publication rather than the current time.
This is the fourth in
our ongoing HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS series. If you have not already, we invite
you to enjoy the first three installments: Heroic Women of the Blue Ridge,
Tales of the Strange but True
and Tragic Crime Stories. Coming soon: Our Presidents in the