Colorado Hayride, Barn Dance & Western Star Theatre

Music was always in Buddy’s blood. None of his children Kitty, Pat and I can really remember a time when Dad was not involved in music and the Rangers. When Buddy became involved in radio, he had his band on the radio. When he became involved in television, he had his band on TV.

The evening shows were on Thursday nights for an hour and were called initially the Colorado Hayride and later the Barn Dance. The Hayride had Cliff Hendrix as the master of ceremonies, and for a while had local square dance groups appearing.

Cliff Hendrix was a mainstay on KCSJ radio for years. Along with Buddy and others, they worked both on radio and TV.

The 1956 TV version of The Colorado Rangers, top Buddy (drums, vocals and occasionally bass). Second row left to right, Red “Skeeter" Fanning (piano), Clarence "Russ" Hayes (steel guitar and vocals). Bottom row, Roy "Pinky" Leatherman (guitar), "Chet" Lee Calcote (guitar), and Duane "Duke" Farrin (fiddle and vocals). Chet was with the band for two of the TV years, while the others played with Buddy from 10 to over 20 years.

This publicity photograph was for the evening music shows, both on TV and radio. This is when Buddy’s band was playing evenings on KCSJ radio and TV. Left to right, Dave Yarberry (trumpet), Duke Farrin (fiddle), Buddy (drums/vocals), Roy Leatherman (guitar), and Dell Boyles (piano).

This is the largest group Buddy had on his evening TV shows, a seven-man band. Left to right, Russ Hayes (steel guitar), Dave Yarberry (trumpet), LeRoy Meyers (here on drums), Duke Ferrin (seated, fiddle). Behind him is Roy Leatherman (guitar), Buddy (here on bass/vocals), and Dell Boyles (piano).

This is a music play list for the Rangers on the evening of Thursday, June 25, 1957 show of the Barn Dance.

Buddy preplanned everything as much as possible. The evening music shows were held with large live audiences which were encouraged to dance and join in. These shows were broadcast from the same studio as
the Adventurer’s Club.

Notice the ink smudges. Dad typed the play lists using carbon paper, something unknown to today’s computer users, to produce multiple copies, for the band, and some for the production crew televising the show live. If the show ran too long or too short, the director would know where the band was on its playlist, and convey this to the floor director.

Here’s one of the groups of square dancers who appeared on the Colorado Hayride evening live music show.

Front row, left to right, Sally Anderson, Ceila Osomanski, Bill Meredith (caller), Mary Jean Ciruli, Suzanne Taylor, and Connie Lenocia. Back row, left to right, Larry Mazer, Danny Steckman, Ely Jensen, Van Petry, and Lowell Custard.

07-07 25A Buddy and big 5

Looking back all these years later, it was no wonder that Dad always seemed to be gone from our home in Beulah. They were long days, as his first gig was his noon Buddy Johnson western music radio show. Then the Adventurer’s Club, and finally the evening lineup, like his radio show with the Rangers, or the TV Barn Dance, Colorado Hayride or Western Star Theatre, which could end at midnight, depending on the movie.

On Tuesday nights, Buddy hosted the Western Star Theatre, which featured Western movies. Often, during breaks in the shows, he would tell stories about people in the films that he knew personally.

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