An Ole Seagull would answer that question by saying, “The same thing that helped bring Andy, Mickey, Jim et al. to Branson originally. Individually, each of them is an irreplaceable entertainment treasure, but from a Branson shows perspective they are simply a part of the total diverse and exciting entertainment experience that Branson provides every day. The day before they retire as well as the day after they retire, Branson entertainers will be doing the same thing they were doing that attracted the millions of people to Branson that played a role in attracting Andy, Mickey, Jim et al to Branson in the first place, providing a great entertainment experience for each guest they entertain.”
That “great entertainment experience” was a major source of discussion this week in a thread entitled, “Branson shows are definitely current and great entertainment” on the Branson Shows Forum of www.1Branson.Com. It started off innocuously enough when the Ole Seagull referenced a post by “Branson Bluesman (BB)” relating to appearances in Springfield, MO of “Chicago” and “Sheryl Crow” where BB said, “Definitely more current acts that you can see in Branson.” The Ole Seagull said, “That it depends on one’s definition of the word ‘definitely’ and ‘current’” and expressed his belief that in terms of entertaining their audiences, it “definitely” doesn’t get much more “current” than the fresh, exciting live entertainment that Branson shows provide to millions of Branson visitors each year.
Five days and over 85 posts later everything from the definition of “current,” to the Ole Seagulls “not getting it,” what the Ole Seagull calls “the conspiracy” to keep alternative entertainment out of Branson, etc. was discussed. Although some may be discussed in future columns, the post that hit a note for this column was by one of the Ole Seagull’s favorite 1Branson.com posters “Okie Anon.”
That post expressed a concern that the Ole Seagull has heard many times before saying, “This is not to say I don’t have some concern’s though. I look at the Show’s the way you’d look at a mall layout. The big name touring acts are your mall’s special event…. the Mickey Gilley’s and Andy William’s are your anchor store’s like Dillard’s and J.C. Penny’s…. the rest are your smaller stores like Famous Footwear, the hair salons and such….
“I can have a great time with the smaller show’s, the Presley’s, Six etc… but those anchor type show’s like Gilley, Williams, Bandy, Tillis, Stafford, are sure nice to throw into a schedule…. and there is my concern. Is it age or what, I don’t know but some aren’t there and some have cut back their dates, I notice a trend to more and more of them performing in the fall and Christmas season, Lee Greenwood will be there, the Oak Ridge Boys show up, Mel come’s back, you get Neil McCoy coming in more often. I think for the sake of the smaller show’s you need the above mentioned shows, and if they aren’t there in the summer or if they are gone completely in a couple years….. who will replace them?”
An Ole Seagull would respectfully suggest that, in the case of Branson, when the “big names” came, the “mall” had already been built. Shows like the Baldknobbers Jamboree, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, the Braschler Music Show, Shoji Tabuchi, Doug Gabriel, the Plummer Family, Foggy River Boys and others were already drawing millions of people to Branson each year. Branson entertainment has been evolving and keeping itself fresh ever since the “Baldknobbers started it all.” That evolution includes all the “big names” mentioned and the hundreds of other new shows and acts that have entertained Branson visitors over the last 50 plus years and are entertaining them today.
To an Ole Seagull it’s not a matter of replacing anyone, it’s simply a matter of continuing to provide fresh quality entertainment experience for Branson’s guests. As has been proven dozens of times in the past, “the mall of Branson shows” is open to anyone who has the willingness to pay the price in terms of the funding, effort, blood, sweat, and tears etc. necessary to present, market and sustain a show. Just look at the diversity of quality entertainment provided by the number and variety of shows that Branson offers on a daily basis.
In terms of Branson’s show future, an Ole Seagull would paraphrase a line from the song “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie “Titanic.” His prayer would be, that in terms of their spirit, freshness and the quality entertainment experience that they provide that “Branson’s shows ‘will go on and on.’”