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Local History

Effort Underway to Make Entire Episodes of the Ozark Jubilee Available to the Public

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County Music Hall of Fame and Museum
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Money is being raised to digitize several episodes of the Ozark Jubilee.  KSMU's Michele Skalicky has more.

The Ozark Jubilee, a country-western variety show, was broadcast live nationwide from the Jewell Theater in downtown Springfield from 1955 to 1960.  Now, 60 years later, local history buffs are hoping to put some episodes online for anyone to see.

Until now, only snippets of episodes have been available on Youtube, according to Tom Peters, dean of library services at Missouri State University.

Wayne Glenn, “The Old Record Collector,” learned about the existence of 62 episodes of the show on kinescope at UCLA’s Film and Television Archive.  He suspects the only reason they were recorded was for an advertising company or business to see what their ad looked like on the show.  He launched an effort to preserve the shows and make them available to the public because he said cultural history is something that needs to be preserved.

"And to be able to document with video, in this case kinescopes from the 1950s, the way things were at a given time, at a given place, in Springfield, in Greene County, in the heart of the Ozarks is something that deserves to be kept and treasured," he said.

Tom Peters is leading a fundraising effort to digitize the Ozark Jubilee episodes.  So far, nearly $2500 has been raised through a crowdfunding site to do one episode.  An episode from 1955 was recently digitized to make sure the quality would be adequate.  Glenn described the quality as “amazingly good.”  He was seven or eight-years-old when that show, which featured Jeannie Shepherd, Red Foley and Porter Waggoner singing “Satisfied Mind” as a trio, aired.  And he remembers watching it as a child.

"It stuck with me, and it was a thrill, no doubt about it, to see something that you hadn't seen in 60 years for the first time in those 60 years," he said.

Tom Peters hopes to eventually have a YouTube channel devoted to the episodes and to oral histories about the Ozark Jubilee. 

"I think that it will be appreciated worldwide but especially here in the Ozarks because this is part of our culture," he said.

You can donate to the cause at missouristate crowdfunding.org.