The Bad Taste Tour of Branson, MO.
February 5, 2002 9:14 PM   Subscribe

The Bad Taste Tour of Branson, MO. "Branson is a strange, kooky place nestling deep in the Ozarks. One of those quaint, old-fashioned American country towns where ... the menus in the restaurants have Biblical quotes next to the appetizers and where people walk around wearing orange duck beaks. "
posted by grabbingsand (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've always wondered how Anita Bryant's Theater managed to stay open as long as it did. No wonder it closed. How can you run a homosexual free theater? Duh!

Tacky bitch.
posted by evanizer at 9:34 PM on February 5, 2002 [1 favorite]

What was Dennis Miller's line about Branson? Something about "Las Vegas for people with no teeth"? Hehhehe-hehe ...
posted by RavinDave at 9:37 PM on February 5, 2002

Of course, I could be wrong ...
posted by RavinDave at 9:39 PM on February 5, 2002

I have a good friend that married into one of the big, powerful Branson families. He is utterly lost to me now. Very sad.

As P.J. O'Rourke said on a visit to Heritage USA: "Making fun of these people is about as difficult as hunting dairy cows with a high-powered rifle and scope."
posted by Ty Webb at 9:43 PM on February 5, 2002

Being a college student, the only real vacations I get are the ones where Kirby comes and shows you a vacuum and you get a free trip to someplace that tries to sell you a timeshare. i tell them that I'm a college student who couldn't give a shit about what they're offering me and I'm usually in and out in a hour.

Back on topic, I just got another voucher for one of these trips. One of the options is Branson. I think I might go there just out of morbid curiosity. It's gotta be better than Tunica.
posted by ttrendel at 9:51 PM on February 5, 2002 [1 favorite]

I've heard it described as "just like Vegas, but without the gambling. And drinking. And staying up late." Just the show numbers, then, and busloads of seniors, and... oh, it sounds like a magical place.
posted by D at 9:52 PM on February 5, 2002 [1 favorite]

This people are sick! They slaughter innocent ducks and then wear the beaks on their heads.... how barbaric.

My grandparents went there once.. there's this guy Yakov there that they talk so much about....
posted by insomnyuk at 9:53 PM on February 5, 2002 [1 favorite]

I live about an hour and a half from Branson. I like the place. There is a lot more to do in the area than seeing country music shows and piloting giant duck-boats, but it is definitely one big tourist trap. There are a lot of malls, water parks, miniature golf courses, etc. Also some nature trails and caves and parks to wander around in if you like that sort of thing, which I do. And the drive is beautiful any time of the year. Several beautiful lakes in the area too.

I have very little interest in the country music part of the Branson experience, but I did see Ray Stevens there once. That was… different. I like Silver Dollar City. It’s nestled into the woods and I like just walking around in the place and watching the people. And eating the funnel cakes. I like funnel cakes. A lot.
posted by bargle at 10:12 PM on February 5, 2002 [1 favorite]

I believe this is the guy that insomnyuk's grandparents are referring to. I always wondered who his target audience was.
posted by Optamystic at 10:13 PM on February 5, 2002

i've been there, staying in a tiny little town next to the river, in a (ahem) resort, with nearly no amenities. it was great to get away from everything and basically do absolutely nothing. the locals left us competely alone, and we didn't antagonize them. branson is it's own world, and if you live in an urban (or even suburban, really) environment, it's likely to be a huge cultural shock.

david foster wallace sums it up best in 'a supposedly fun thing i'll never do again', a short non-fiction about the illinois state fair.

...There's an atmosphere in the room -- not racist, but aggressively white. It's hard to describe. the atmosphere's the same at a lot of rural Midwest public events. It's not like if a black person came in he'd be ill-treated; it's more like it would just never occur to a black person to come in here.

it's a land without irony, and the people there don't give a damn if you think the whole thing shebang is tacky.
posted by lescour at 10:19 PM on February 5, 2002 [1 favorite]

Wait a sec, I thought the biggest (legitimate) ball of twine was in Minnesota...
posted by mrbula at 10:28 PM on February 5, 2002

Homer says "it’s like Vegas—if it were run by Ned Flanders."

The scary thing is, I'd been to Branson before it was Branson. I have family in southern Missouri, so I experienced the cultural delights of The Baldknobbers Jamboree Show and Silver Dollar City long before Branson became huge. And bargles is right: in addition to duck boats and music shows, there is also bass fishing, and lots and lots of caves Jesse James used to hide out in.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:31 PM on February 5, 2002 [1 favorite]

As far as I understand it, Branson has the world's largest ball of string, imported from Texas. As for the actual twine ball, it's a toss up between Darwin, MN and Cawker City, KS.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 11:38 PM on February 5, 2002

I remember Branson. Soo much mini golf.
posted by brian at 1:50 AM on February 6, 2002

Las Vegas if it were run by Ned Flanders.
posted by benjh at 4:38 AM on February 6, 2002

I thought most places beyond the Delaware were more like Branson than New York....
posted by ParisParamus at 4:54 AM on February 6, 2002

My wife's family had a reunion at a resort in Branson in around 1991. As far as I'm concerned it's the heart of flyover country -- a big, strange, poorly planned Las Vegas with no vice and lots of entertainers whose careers haven't been the same since Lawrence Welk and Ed Sullivan died. I made a pilgrimage to the Wayne Newton Theater and bought a few holy relics, but didn't get a chance to see any shows.

One of the more charming aspects of the town is that it grew and grew without any forethought about roads and zoning. When I was there, all of the attractions were on one long two-lane road that was always filled with slow-moving caravans of God-fearing Americans.
posted by rcade at 6:07 AM on February 6, 2002

A former step father of mine was the drummer for a famous Cajun singer--well, famous if you're into Cajun music at least. He ended up playing in Branson for a few weeks when I was 15. My Mom decided we should go up and see him play.

Branson, I believe, is best described this way: Take a whole bunch of people whose musical career was finished long before it started, give them all ridiculously big performance halls with pictures of their heads on the front, ship them to the Ozarks, add a few hundred motels that call themselves "resorts", add an outlet mall or two, and bingo--you've got Branson.
posted by Swifty at 6:15 AM on February 6, 2002 [1 favorite]

Branson doesn't have a lot to say for itself, but my 13 year old recollection of the place is that during the holidays, they certainly do a pretty light show. Personally, I'd like to go back just to go to the theatre of Shoji Tabuchi, the Japanese country fiddler. The restrooms there are the size of many people's homes and are a spectacle of marble, billiard tables, wainscoting, chandeliers, orchids, gold -- they sell postcards featuring pictures of the bathrooms at the gift shop. (My brother sent me one once.)
posted by Dreama at 6:30 AM on February 6, 2002 [1 favorite]

Yep, it's the ultimate tacky tourist trap - haven't been there for quite a few years, but I can see it hasn't changed, other than the addition of several square miles of new tack.

I don't think you coastal dwellers realize that Branson is like Mecca to a LOT of people from the south and midwest, my own parents and relatives included. But if you're into Lawrence Welk et al, where else are you going to go?

On a whim, we went to the "Waltzing Waters" show. A theater full of synchronized fountains, spewing forth to musical accompaniment. Now THAT'S entertainment!

Don't let the tack keep you from visiting the area, though. The Ozarks are beautiful and worth exploring.
posted by groundhog at 8:55 AM on February 6, 2002 [1 favorite]

My favorite pictures I took in Branson, they seem tasteless to me.

Yakov Theater Sign
Yakov Theater Roof
posted by obfusciatrist at 9:11 AM on February 6, 2002

Branson, MO is proof positive that you don't have to be intelligent, educated, good-looking, talented, tasteful, topical, relevant, sophisticated, or young in order to make a boatload of money.
posted by yesster at 9:49 AM on February 6, 2002 [1 favorite]

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