We just came back from Branson, Missouri. I don't know how much you know about it, so here's Branson 101.
Where is it? It's four hours outside St. Louis in the Ozark "Mountains." And come on. If your ears don't pop it's not a mountain.
What is it? Take sixties Las Vegas, but kick it back another decade into the fifties. Then take away the gambling. And the alcohol. And the electric lighting. Then replace Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin with Yakov Smirnoff and these people:
Who Are Those Baldknobber People? I don't know. We didn't go see the Baldknobbers Jamboree Show, primarily because of the scary man with the buck teeth, but also because preliminary research on Baldknobbers shows that historically they were some kind or ersatz Klan with Mexican wrestling masks:
What Is The History of Branson? Beverly Hillbillies with wrestling masks. (If you want to know what pristine Branson looked like, watch the start of season eight of The Beverly Hillbillies, when the Clampetts go back home. It was filmed in Branson.)
When I was growing up the only thing in that neck of the Ozarks was Silver Dollar City, an Ozark-themed Colonial Williamsburg-type village. I never went there. Gary went when he was a kid fifty years ago. When we were dating, I asked him his impressions of Silver Dollar City.
"BORING." You could tell he was still angry. "Just a bunch of stupid people acting like blacksmiths and churning milk." Fifty years later he was still disgusted. Silver Dollar City is now an enormous theme park (still with blacksmiths).
In the eighties, country stars began building theaters there, and in the nineties Andy Williams and others put down roots, and then everyone started going there.
Why Did You Go There? My god it's cheap. Airline miles paid for the hotel, the hotel had free breakfast in the morning and cobbler at night, and gas was two bucks a gallon. We went to three shows and I think the whole thing cost us two hundred dollars.
Did You Like It? Gary liked it. He wants to go back.
Did YOU like it? It was so tacky it was surreal. I'll give you details in the days to come. It was also very Country. We made up a drinking game called Do A Shot In Jesus' Name, only Jesus' name came up three times in the ten minutes after we invented it, and there was no alcohol. Because these are the values of Branson:
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100. Stuck-up city folk
And I'm a sarcastic, stuck-up city girl. I like Jesus, of course, I just don't like the idea he'd be hanging out with those Baldknobbers people.