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.
And to think I almost walked right past it.
The famed Ryman Auditorium.