1 9 6 0 – 1 9 8 1 (USA)
686 x 30 minute episodes
Porter Wagoner was born in West Plains, Missouri, in August 1927 and began his professional career in 1951 when he was hired as a performer on KWTO in Springfield, Missouri. In 1957, he moved to Nashville and joined the Grand Ole Opry.
Wagoner’s 81 charted records include A Satisfied Mind (#1 in 1955), Misery Loves Company (#1 in 1962), Skid Row Joe (#3 in 1965), The Cold Hard Facts of Life (# 2 in 1967) and The Carroll County Accident (#2 in 1968).
The Porter Wagoner Show aired from 1960 to 1981. The shows were filmed in black & white until 1966 when they switched to colour. At its peak, the show was featured in over 100 markets, with an average viewership of over three million.
Following an opening song by Wagoner, the shows featured guest musical performances and comedic interludes.
Between 1967 and 1974, Dolly Parton co-starred. After Parton left the show (he said she was fired, she said she quit), Porter began taping the show at Opryland USA in various locations around the park.
In 1974, Parton’s song I Will Always Love You – written about her professional break from Wagoner – went to #1 on the country music chart.
Other regulars on the show included singers Norma Jean (1960 – 1965, pictured above), Jeannie Seely (1965 – 1966), Barbara Lea (1974 – 1976), Linda Carol Moore (1976 – 1978) and Mel Tillis (1968); comedian/bassist Curly Harris and announcer, Don Howser.
Porter Wagoner died from lung cancer in Nashville on 28 October 2007 with his family and Dolly Parton at his side. His funeral was held at the Grand Ole Opry House.