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 ½ 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
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