Music and Branson have always gone together. Not like it is now, of course, but
equally enjoyed and appreciated. The earliest form of musical entertainment was simply, local folks getting
together to play music and sing on their front porches or lawns. The tourists staying in the little resorts along
the waterfront would naturally gravitate to the sounds and were welcomed by the local folks. There was no charge
for this entertainment, but it certainly helped bring people back to the area, year after year.
The first officially recognized music show in Branson was the Baldknobbers Show. This show, started by the Mabe brothers, began in the downtown area of Branson and has since moved to their present location on Highway 76. The Baldknobber's not only had the first show, they also had the first theater in Branson! The Baldknobbers opened their first theater in Branson in 1963. It was an old skating rink and the Baldknobbers (Mabe Family) remodeled it to seat 600 people nightly. Their friends, the Presley Family opened the first theater on Highway 76 in 1967. The Baldknobbers moved to their present location in 1968.
Music has even been an important part of Silver Dollar City Theme Park and Shepherd
of the Hills Homestead and Play.
The great entertainer and country music legend, Roy Clark, is to be given much
credit for bringing many of the stars to Branson. Many of these entertainers have had or still have theaters here
and have learned to love the area and the people as well as the type of crowds that come to see the shows in
Branson. The shows and entertainment in Branson are places you can take your grandparents or your grandchildren
and not worry about their safety or being offended by off-color humor and/or music. Branson IS family
entertainment at it's finest.
One of the other things that Branson has become known for is traffic. Well, we're
very pleased to let you know that things are better now and getting better each year. There are nearly 20 miles
of new roads and streets in Branson, in addition to the brand new 4 lane Highway 65 from Branson to Springfield,
Missouri. These new roadways have alleviated most of the traffic situations you might have read or heard about.
It has been said (humorously) that Branson is an old Indian word that means traffic jam. Well, that could now be
changed to traffic flow . Don't hesitate to ask the locals for directions, they know all the new roads and
shortcuts. Don't get stuck on Highway 76 again!
Nowadays Branson is home to nearly 70 different music and variety type shows as
well as miniature golf courses, go-cart tracks, museums, train rides, fishing trips, etc, hosting nearly 6
million visitors a year. These visitors will stay in one of the nearly 25,000 lodging rooms and eat at one of the
many restaurants (about 30,000 seats) and enjoy shows in one of the nearly 75,000 theater seats. All of this
business in a little town with a population of about 6,500 people.
The town was named after Rueben Branson, the owner of The Branson General Store in
1881. Uncle Rube as he was called, would be very pleased to see the success of his town today. In fact, he and
Mrs. Branson are laid to rest in the Branson Cemetery, located downtown near the Historic Shopping District. On
behalf of the Branson's and all the other local folks, we invite and encourage you to come see and enjoy the
beauty, serenity and entertainment that Branson and the Ozarks area has to offer. To quote a line from Harold
Bell Wright's book, The Shepherd of the Hills; "When God made these here hills, He shore did some of His best
work". We invite you to come see for yourself!