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Owning A Small Piece Of The Grand Ole Opry Curtain From The Ryman Auditorium

April 8, 2008

A small piece of the legend that is the Grand Ole Opry now sits on my desk waiting to be framed. 

While browsing for albums recently in a second hand store in Madison, thinking I had seen about everything, and just about to leave, I happened to glance down at some albums near the floor.  I will be forever pleased I bent over to get a better look.  There among albums of classical music and opera was a two-album set from RCA released in 1967, called “Stars Of The Grand Ole Opry”.   As part of the promotion for the album (as has happened one other time with an Opry release) was a booklet and a plastic wrap containing a small piece of fabric that once had been the stage curtain for the Opry at the Ryman Auditorium.  The fabric measures 2.5″ x3″ and is labeled as limited edition No. D 801. 

In 1965 or 1966 the Ryman Opry stage changed curtains from the dark red to a yellow/gold color.  The Opry allowed two companies to cut and use portions of the famed curtain that went up for the likes of Patsy Cline, Porter Wagoner, Roy Acuff, and Minnie Pearl.

In a separate such promotion in the 1970’s when the Opry left the Ryman, better known as the ‘Mother Church Of Country Music’, leftover fabric from the new curtain at the Opryland stage was used as a promotion tool.   The Grand Ole Opry has also done the same things with canvas backdrops; Cracker Barrel and Stephens Work Clothes are two of the sponsors that come to mind. They sold these items through charities or promotions.  To find one of those is a rare thing nowadays since these were last sold in the eighties.

The 1967 album set I bought for $2.50 was like new, and the plastic wrap was still not opened that contained the dark red fabric.  Even the albums were in perfect condition.  After checking with some collectors on-line it was determined that the patch of cloth was authentic, and to find this album was rare indeed. 

As a long-time lover of the oldest radio show in the nation, and all that it encompasses, I am truly pleased.

And to think I almost walked right past it.

The famed Ryman Auditorium.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2011 10:54 PM

    John,

    I never did find a value to it. Yet, I still find it valuable, as I am sure you do. If only we could go back and have the curtain lift and see a show that once was…….

  2. john thilking permalink
    May 5, 2011 10:42 PM

    I happen to stumble across the same package in a forclosure, did you find out if it was worth anything, my curtain number is U687

  3. charles permalink
    November 21, 2009 4:03 PM

    i have the 70s version of this record, with the green fabric..can anyone tell me what it might be worth?? Write a response here for me to read.

  4. MATHILDA RICHARD permalink
    September 18, 2008 7:27 PM

    I HAVE THE SAME ALBUM. I BOUGHT MINE AT A YARD SALE IN 1982.I PAID 2 DOLLARS FOR IT.I DON’T KNOW WHERE THE NUMBER IS ON IT ;BUT WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT IT IS WORTH .WILL SELL FOR THE RIGHT PRICE

  5. James Scobee permalink
    April 22, 2008 4:08 PM

    I have a piece of the Ryman I’d like to sell if anybody might be interested. It is one of the original signs that hung on front next to the doors and reads, “Ryman Auditorium WSM Home of Grand Ole Opry”. Can anyone suggest where I might show it or sell it? You can reach me at jscobee@gmail.com.
    Pictures on request.
    Thanks,
    James

  6. Richard White permalink
    April 10, 2008 1:22 PM

    I am so glad you wrote the article – very good, Deke! I have an extensive collection of Grand Ole Opry memorabilia – I also have the same album as you do and it, too, has the unopened Opry curtain piece in it. Mine is numbered D 0447. I wonder how many of these pieces were distibuted and who got #0001?

    I am also the one who posted the information, some of which you reported in your article, on another site. i appreciate your reporting it to the folks who read – so many times, misinformation is repeated as fact when it sometimes could not be farther from it. Such is the moniker that the Ryman is the original home of the Grand Ole Opry – the original home is really the studios of the old National Life Building, torn down in 1981, and it moved also to the Hillsboro Theatre in October, 1934, Fatherland Tabernacle on June 13, 1936, the War Memorial Auditorium in July, 1939, and then to the Ryman Auditorium on June 5, 1943. The Ryman is actually its sixth home, but most remmebered because that is where the majority of the people surviving today remember it being from and where it also seen its most exposure to the public and had its best days.

    Thanks for writing a wonderful article Deke!

  7. Randy Bridges permalink
    April 10, 2008 4:06 AM

    The Ryman Auditorium will always be “The Grand Ol’ Opry” to me. Patsy, Hank Sr (and Miss Audrey), Skeeter Davis, Loretta, Ernest Tubb and so many country legends have appeared there. I love the “new” Opry, but there’s something special about that building, a feeling I don’t get at the newer building. Plus two of my most favorite country ladies, Tammy Wynette and Skeeter Davis (possibly my all-time favorite country singer) had their funeral services (or memorial services) there. The Ryman still has that magical feeling.

  8. Barry permalink
    April 10, 2008 12:05 AM

    One of the funny things about the “old Ryman days artifact” thing is that, really, these stil ARE
    the ryman days for the Opry–November through february!

    People stand on that circle of “old floor” at the Opry house and sigh–just like they’ve been
    taught to; they’re touching the old Ryman. oddly, none of that feels necessary when you’re
    AT the Ryman with the sounds filling the room again–new floor, new curtain and all!
    And the Ryman gets sued all the time–Opry and non-Opry like. It’s a wonderful place to
    hear music–or people talking, for that matter–, and it was already full of memories of
    performances even earlier when the Opry moved in there. (The general press refers to it as
    the “original” home of the Opry all the timee which, of course, it hardly was, For the rercord.)

    Barry, at home–9 minutes from the Ryman

  9. John duff permalink
    April 9, 2008 1:30 PM

    I managed to visit Nashville for the first time in September 1992 and was proud to have stood on the stage of the original Grand Ole Opry in the Ryman Auditorium. The feelings were overwhelming and tears rolled down my cheeks as I stood there touching the old style microphone and thought about all those stars “Who have graced that stage”. To have a peice of the curtain and a record of those performances must be like owning a peice of Country Music history.

    Take care of it and treasure it like the most precious thing on this earth because we live in a throw away society nowadays. Nothing is precious or sentimental. The memories of that first trip are engraved in my mind. My son and girlfriend took video and pictures of our vacation and of the Country Hall of fame as it was originaly. Nashville is not the place it used to be but my and many millions of country fans memories will keep that heritage alive.

    Countryfied, BJ colt.

  10. April 9, 2008 12:20 PM

    That’s an excellent find. I love stories like this!

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