A Forest of Guitars
September 3, 2008 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Dick Stacey's Country Jamboree is now available on DVD/CD after years of slowly fading into obscurity. "I was wrong in thinking the Jamboree was a thing of the past," said Dick Stacey, a man whose three gas stations and motel took over sponsoring this uniquely Maine talent showcase on a whim in 1973—and ended up lasting just over a decade.

The original show (Frankenstein's Country Jamboree) was started by Bob Whitten in Milbridge, Maine during the late 1950s. "There were no rehearsals, and auditions were unheard of. The only thing you had to be to be on Stacey’s Country Jamboree was to be sincere and sober," said 30-year-host Charlie Tenan.

"Saturday Night Live was trying to invent characters like this...these were real people, but they were characters who couldn't be manufactured," said Nova Scotia resident and fan Brian White to The Halifax Daily News in 2001. For a sample, check out Bucksport's own Jennie Shontell sing "Wings of a Dove."

The longevity and regional success of this program (yet current lack of YouTube presence) was partly due to the bizarre "Bangor/Atlantic Canada cable connection," which also bolstered the career of the late Great Money Movie host Eddie "We'll put 'em on for ya" Driscoll, until being destroyed by a decision by Atlantic Canadian cable providers to opt for Detroit feeds instead of ones from Bangor.
posted by boost ventilator (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Good lord! Growing up in Maine I certainly watched my share of Stacey's Country Jamboree, usually with my jaw hanging open in disbelief. Perhaps I'll get a DVD for my brother for Xmas.
posted by Man-Thing at 4:38 AM on September 4, 2008

"See these hands? These hands pump gas!"

Oh, my freakin' lord... thank you for this.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:48 AM on September 4, 2008

I love this f*cking state.
posted by suki at 5:52 AM on September 4, 2008

"No chahge!" Hahaha.
posted by fish tick at 7:23 AM on September 4, 2008

Many a Saturday night I closed out the evening in a haze watching that show. When it was over, channel 5 played a recording of the Star Bangled Banner and went off the air. I remember the lady that constantly sang "On the wings of a snow white dove" was no less than 120 years old. Never failed to crack me up. Good times.
posted by reidfleming at 9:25 AM on September 4, 2008

Wow! Of all the things I never thought I'd see in the blue... that show was amazing, astounding, yes, Man-Thing, even stupefying... and how amazing too that, in the old days, TV actually went off for the night. (At least, as the mad milkman says above, here along the Down East coast back in the 1970s.)

And what a name for a country jamboree, Frankenstein's — as I always understood it, the store that sponsored the original show was called Frankenstein because the place previously had been a Ben Franklin Store, and the owner wanted to use the same letters without having to buy a new sign.

An old lady, a snow white dove, cold gassy hands... and good times indeed. Thanks for the memories, boost v.
posted by LeLiLo at 7:49 PM on September 4, 2008

"See these hands? These hands pump gas!"

That was going to be my original title, but I went with "Forest of Guitars" because that is how my late uncle used to describe it when several portly men would be standing and strumming away on the Jamboree stage.

Glad I could help jog a few memories!
posted by boost ventilator at 10:34 AM on September 5, 2008

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