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About the Group
About The Group
The "Hayloft Sweethearts" were known as one of the 'happiest and best loved' families on the air. They both came from the mountains back east. In 1938, they were voted by listeners as one of the top three in popularity.
They were said to have had that indefinable "something" that is difficult to describe when trying to explain their popularity. George Biggar wrote in their song folio back in 1941 that they were 'natural'.
Throughout their career, as popular as they were, they always seemed to have a singular goal in mind - to get back to that cabin in the pines, a place in the Big Smoky mountains in North Carolina. They eventually got that home and were able to visit it once in a while before eventually retiring. It was near Ingalls, North Carolina. Scotty used to heard his family's sheep over this same land.
Scotty was the seventh child in Mr. and Mrs. Ed Wiseman's family. He had a hobby back then of playing harmonica and guitar for square dances. As a teen, he began collecting mountain ballads. He went to Duke University for a year after high school, then spent three years at Fairmount, WV Teachers College. It was while he was at Fairmount that he got a job on radio station WMMN; he sang those mountain ballads he had collected and helped in program work. When he graduated from the Teachers College, he became their program manager for a few months, when the opportunity came to join the WLS staff.
Along about 1940, though they had left the WLS National Barn Dance. In reading the book, "Not Just A Sound, The History of WLW" by Dick Perry, it seems a few of the crew such as Charles Biggar and Bill McCluskey. McCluskey was brought in to be the goodwill ambassador and handle the talent at WLW. He was there they pulled a coup got Lulu Belle and Scotty to join the Boone County Jamboree on 50,000 watt clear-channel WLW.
About four years after Scotty was born, a Myrtle Cooper was born in Boone, North Carolina to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper. In 1929, her family moved to Evanston, Illinois. It didn't take long for John Cooper to go to the WLS studio and as them to hear his daughter sang; he thought she was as good as anything that was on the Barn Dance. She auditioned and in a few weeks, she was part of the hayloft gang at the theatre on Eighth Street. She was nicknamed "Lulu Belle" - a sort of 'cut-up' of a girl in a calico dress and high-topped shoes.
Through it all, fame never seemed to cause them to be anything other than the same natural 'mountain folk' that they had always been and longed to return to later in life. They received a lot of fan mail and played to sold out audiences in mid-western theatres. They were always amazed that folks would make such a 'to-do' about them.
Reading their story, you can see perhaps where Scotty got the inspiration to write "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You"...
Trivia and Timeline Notes