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Curley Myers
Born:  April 1, 1920
WFBM Indiana Hoedown
WDAN Danville, IL
WLS Chicago, IL
WLW Cincinnati, OH

Gerald L. "Curley" Myers, former member of Captain Stubby's Buccaneers and former member of the Indiana Hoedown cast, was born April 1, 1920, on a farm approximately 12 miles east of Lebanon, Indiana. From the age of eight he was in love with music. As he progressed through school he played a bass violin in the school orchestra. Somewhere later in life he took up the banjo and guitar, and each served him through a successful career in show business.

Early on he became a part of a group of musicians in his local church that formed a band called the Woodside Harmonica Band. This lead to a group called "The Hoosier Ramblers", and they secured a radio spot on radio station WDAN in Danville, Illinois. In addition to Curley Myers, the group included Carl Smith (not the Carl Smith), Jim Stokes, Tom "Stubby" Fouts, Jerry Richards, and Tiny Stokes.

George Biggar, program director for WLS in Chicago, passed through Danville one day and happened to hear their program. He told them he was in the process of changing jobs from WLS to WLW in Cincinnati, and if they were ever out of a job, to come on down to Cincinnati. Within a year they were on WLW as Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers. This was in 1939, and they were there until 1944, working the Boone County Jamboree and other WLW programs. Other acts on the station at that time included Doris Day, The Williams Brothers with Andy Williams, Merle Travis, The Girls of the Golden West, Lulu Belle and Scotty, Bradley Kincaid, the Delmore Brothers and many more.

This came to an end because of World War II. Lieutenant Commander Bob Elson, a well known Chicago sportscaster contacted the group informing them he wanted them to entertain the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor. All members passed their physical except Curley. For some time he had indications of a lung problem which was confirmed during his attempt to enlist in the Navy, so he stayed behind as the balance of the group went into the service and entertained. Curley's doctor confined him to bed eventually for eight or nine months in 1945.

When the Buccaneers came out of the Navy in 1946, they went to the Village Barn in New York for three years, and then to the WLS National Barn Dance for nine years. Curley's doctor advised him against getting back into show business because of the strenuous life style. He became involved in sales with the Credit Bureau of Frankfort, Indiana, but by 1949 his interest in music drew him back into the business, only in a different way.

He located a small country setting approximately 1 miles east of Mulberry, Indiana, owned by Owen Skiles. He convinced Skiles this would be an ideal location for a country music park, and Skiles agreed to provide for the construction of buildings and preparation of the ground; Curley would finance the promotion, advertising and talent search to get the park going. The heavily shaded area became know as "Shady Acres Ranch". The first show held at Shady Acres was on Sunday, June 12th, 1949, and the featured attraction was Pee Wee King and the Golden West Cowboys.

Shady Acres Ranch enjoyed eight years of prosperity with personalities such as Roy Acuff, Webb Pierce, Hank Snow, Rex Allen and dozens of the biggest stars in country music at that time. By 1957 things were changing in the entertainment industry. With the gaining popularity of television, people became captives to their television sets as they stayed home on Sunday nights to watch Milton Berle, Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, and the attendance at the park started dropping off. Curley says, "Seemed like the more I'd spend on advertising, the less effect it would have, so I finally through in the towel.

Early in 1955 Indianapolis TV station WFBM channel 6 began airing the Indiana Hoedown, starring entertainers who had been on WLW in Cincinnati, including Charlie Gore and the Rangers, Herb and Kay Adams and Lee Jones. Curley Myers and the Ranch Boys soon found a spot on this show and Curley used his influence to bring Louie Innis over from Cincinnati to be master of ceremonies. Curley and Louie had worked together on WLW when Louie was a part of Hank Penny's band. In addition to working the Hoedown, Curley had Curley's Cowboy Theater for seven or eight years, then did a Saturday morning kids show with Captain Starr and Harlow Hickenlooper.

In May, 1972 word came down that the TV station had been sold and the new owners planned a change of programming formats and personalities. This lead to a kind of semi-retirement from the music business. He became employed by Culligan Water Conditioning but continued entertaining, getting together again with the Buccaneers for some shows, but performing mostly with Tiny Stokes as the Two Bucs. For a period of time in the late seventies and early eighties all five buccaneers worked for Martin Buildings, a farm pole building company, performing at state fairs throughout the Midwest, on Caribbean cruises and even one trip to London. In the mid eighties the Two Bucs were performing Wednesday through Saturday at the Best Western.

On the personal side, Curley married his wife Algilee on November 24, 1940. They are the parents of 5 children, Gary Von, Connie Jo, Vickie Ellen, Katina Kay and Penny Dee.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to thank Clarence Grelle for providing this article and pictures with it where attribution is provided. He indicates his sources as follows:
    • September 1985 interview of Curley Myers by Clarence Grelle
    • Sport Scene Magazine; June 1982
    • Journal and Courier; September 4, 1983; Lafayette, IN
    • Shady Acres Ranch Souvenir Album
    • Book - The Curley Myers Collection

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