Branson’s Baldknobbers- “the show that started it all”

From Cirque to Elvis, a Shepherd to Broadway, music to drama, indoors to outdoors, Three Dog Night to Shoji Tabuchi, from country to pop, and just about every genre of music in between, Branson has a live show for just about every entertainment taste. Yet, in 1959, in historic downtown Branson, it all began with one small country music show held in a in a rented fifty seat room in the old city hall only on Friday and Saturday nights. That show was the “Baldknobbers.”

Called “the show that started it all” and the Baldknobbers was started by the Mabe brothers, Bob, Bill, Jim. and Lyle along with the help of Delbert Howard and Chick Allen, to provide night time fun and entertainment for tourists visiting the Branson area. The shows format was simple yet entertaining, popular country music blended with unique comedy routines.

The unique comedy came primarily from characters and material developed by two of the Mabe brothers, Lyle and Jim. Lyle created George Aggernite and Jim, Droopy Drawers and their blend of down home, corn spun, and Ozark humor rounded out the show. Coupled with a presentation by a talented and enthusiastic cast that had fun interacting with their audience it was a formula that has been bringing audiences back, not only to the Baldknobbers but to Branson, since 1959.

From an historical perspective, although the building that they started in is long gone and, as of this date, Jul. 12, 2005, there is no marker where it stood, its location is readily accessible. The building was located in what is now a parking lot located on the south east corner of Business 65 and Pacific Street. From a historical interest and entertainment synergy point of view it is interesting to note that it is located right behind what some consider Branson’s first theatre, the rustic “Owens Theater.”

The office the Downtown Branson Main Street Association, which has maps and other information about Branson, its early history, and a self guided walking tour of historic downtown Branson, is located on the north side of Pacific Street directly across from the location.