The second annual Country Music Association Awards was the first ever country music awards show aired on television (now it appears there's one every other month, even if the music isn't really that "country") and aired on the weekly hour-long variety show KRAFT MUSIC HALL for the first few years. This show knocks out ten awards and seven performances in under an hour - THAT's the way award shows should go, folks, all meat and no filler! Filmed at the Grand Ole Opry's Ryman Auditorium, the program is hosted by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, who open the show with a melody of vintage country songs that paved the way for modern country music (YOUR CHEATIN' HEART, TENNESSEE WALTZ, YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE, SAN ANTONIO ROSE).
Country legends Jimmie Davis and Bob Wills receive a standing ovation when they come out to present the Song of the Year honors, and Wills receives a second one at the close of the show when he is the surprise inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Pat Boone pays a musical tribute to his recently deceased father-in-law Red Foley, the previous year's Hall of Fame honoree, singing Foley's PEACE IN THE VALLEY and all five nominees for Single of the Year perform their hit (Johnny Cash's FOLSOM PRISON BLUES, Bobby Goldboro's HONEY, Glen Campbell's BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX, Tammy Wynette's D-I-V-O-R-C-E, and the winner, Jeannie C. Riley's HARPER VALLEY PTA).
It's fascinating to see the very short acceptance speeches, apparently celebrities back then knew a simple thank you or two would suffice. Also amazing to see the young, gorgeous and shy (!!!) Dolly Parton mumble a thank you as she receives her first major award, Best Vocal Duo/Group with Porter Wagoner. If there's one flaw it's that the presenters are reading (in some cases, very obviously) from some sort of teleprompter, at the top of the podium (a turning "wheel", apparently), worse Glen Campbell bungles the Female Vocalist nominees and omits Lynn Anderson's name (is it really that hard to remember five names?) and is apparently given a cue that he missed one and corrects himself before announcing the winner. Roy and Dale do a very good job as hosts. Country award shows have come a long way since this modest beginning but looking at the taste and class in which this one is handled the question may well be have they gone too far?
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