Radio and television entertained.
Electronic entertainment started on a regular basis in 1933 when KGBX came to town and later built KWTO. Over the years the stations became close friends to people all over the Ozarks; KGBX providing much of the early network shows and KWTO concentrating on more local, homespun programming. Names like Korns-a-Kracking, May Kennedy McCord, the Goodwill Family, Fibber McGee and Molly, Don McNeill's Breakfast Club and others bring fond memories.
Television, when it came in 1953, added still another dimension and opportunity for entertainment. Besides the network programming of those early days, KTTS and KYTV (joined by KMTC in 1968) carried a variety of local programming including children's shows, man on the street programs and local country music programs.
One of those country music shows, Ozark Jubilee, was to grow into a project that put Springfield on the map for many people across the country. Started on KYTV, the program went on the ABC network in 1955 from the Jewell Theater with Red Foley as its host. Known then as Jubilee USA, the weekly show . . . first to be broadcast live from any location outside the major cities . . . outranked in the ratings for a time such shows as Ed Sullivan and brought 85,000 people yearly to the city. In 1961, the show switched its name to the Five Star Jubilee, its location to the Landers Theater and its network to NBC for a season.
|Performers on an early KWTO broadcast include Lenny Aleshire, Zed Tennis, Luke McNeeley, Don Sullivan, Lonnie and Thelma Robertson, and Floyd "Goo Goo" Rutledge.|
|Red Foley (above) hosted the Ozark Jubilee and Jubilee USA national television programs from the old Jewell Theater in the late 1950's. The program later became the Five Star Jubilee and was taped at the Landers Theater with entertainers Carl Smith, Snooky Lanson, Tex Ritter, Rex Allen, and Jimmy Wakely (below) sharing the job of emcee.|
|The early new mobile television facilities of KYTV enabled it to produce a new version of the "Shepherd of the Hills" on location which won it an award from Radio-TV Mirror Magazine as the most original program of 1959.|
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