Part II: Doug and Dan’s epic Branson adventure continues

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Former "Brady Bunch" star Barry Williams posed for a studio-quality picture with me. Williams later signed our pictures.

In my first installment, I told about the many Waffle House and Sonic Drive-in restaurants you see in Branson, the steepness of our hotel parking lot and the adventure of seeing illusionist Rick Thomas.

In this installment, our dining and entertainment adventures continue. After the Thomas show, we decided to drive around and find out where the other theaters were. Dan had to go to his time share pitch the next morning, and I wanted to see where the theater was for the show that I wanted to see while Dan was gone.

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The hotel did not offer a complimentary breakfast, so we ate at a Denny’s.

This time the hotel did not have a complimentary breakfast like last time, so we went to a Denny’s. Dan then dropped me off at the Jim Stafford Theatre to see Buck Trent. I was planning to visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum when the show got over.

As on Monday evenings, there are not a lot of shows during the morning hours, but I have enjoyed Buck Trent for many years. Buck Trent used to play on the “Porter Wagoner Show” and was on “Hee Haw” for several years. He played back up instrumentals on several famous songs, such as Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You.”

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Buck Trent’s trademark line is, “Oh, yeah!”

On “Hee Haw” he had dark curly hair and usually played the banjo. He had a segment where he was sitting alone playing the banjo and singing a silly song. He always ended with the line, “Oh, yeah!”

It was odd to see him on a rerun of “Hee Haw” very recently and then see him live 45 years later. It blew my mind. On the lining of his jackets was printed, “Oh, yeah!”

I saved $10 on my admission price with my American Legion card and then signed up for a drawing to win a $50 VISA card. It was a time-share company and if you visited their place, you got the price of your admission back plus a $100 VISA card.

I later received a call from them offering me three free nights in Branson to hear their sales pitch. I declined this.

Buck Trent came out about 20 minutes before the show and talked with the people. Most of the people who visit Branson are in their 70s and older. Several are in their 90s. There were a lot of bus tours.

Buck talked to everyone. One couple had seen him 14 times. Most of these older people had free tickets to see him. They must know how to use the time-share circuit to get free tickets. Buck is now 78 years old and performs twice a week. For some reason, he seemed leery of me at first.

The show started at 10 a.m. and included country and pop songs. There were always a main woman singer, a main man singer and several other people who sing. There were also a lot of instrumentals. Buck and his band gave a good show.

A technical problem occurred when the Plexiglas surrounding the drums fell off the platform, knocking over several of Buck’s guitars and banjos. None of the instruments was broken, and other band members retuned them for Buck.

Buck introduced a new man and a new woman performer who were visiting and had them play and sing a song on stage. Maybe someday they will be famous, but I cannot remember their names. The young woman was a nurse. They were very good.

He also introduced the lady who sings the State Farm commercial, “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farms is There.” She was visiting the theater with the singing couple. She sang the commercial on stage. She sings with Micky Gilley across the street, and Buck’s lady singer also used to sing with Micky. Now she sells real estate.

During the intermission, Buck went down on the floor and visited. Then he gave more of a show. The show lasted over two hours, and then Buck visited some more with the crowd. I had my picture taken with him A very nice lady took it for me.

Jim Stafford sang the 1974 son, "My Girl Bill," with same-sex lyrics that were ambiguous.
Jim Stafford sang the 1974 son, “My Girl Bill,” with same-sex lyrics that were ambiguous.

I would have also liked to see Jim Stafford, who recorded “Spiders and Snakes” in 1973 and “Wildwood Weed” in 1974. Buck said Stafford was backstage checking things out but would not perform until the next week.

During Buck’s show, Dan texted me, thinking that I was at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. I texted him back and told him that I was still at the show. I met Dan at a little later.

Dan said that he spent about 90 minutes at the time-share presentation and tour. The time share cost $28,800, and you had to put $6,000 down that day and finance the rest for 120 months at 16 percent interest. They said that you could refinance with someone else. You would need to have some assets because no one would finance off of a time share. They have no value.

If I figure correctly, you would pay $381.93 per month for 10 years. This totals $45,831.60 for the remaining $22,800 that you owe with the interest. Total is $51,831.60. Plus you pay just under $1,000 per year in maintenance fee. This probably goes up over time and is for the rest of your life.

They sell it as a hedge against inflation and for creating memories with your family. You can go to nearly every place in the United States except Kansas with this company. Most likely you will go to the poor house.

Of course they are high pressure and also said that you could put $500 down so that you could later buy the time share at the previously stated rate. You could also buy lower-cost packages.

Time shares must be very successful for companies if they give away free hotel stays and $100 VISA cards. I recommend not buying into these.
Time shares must be very successful for companies if they give away free hotel stays and $100 VISA cards. I recommend not buying into these.

Radio talk show host Bruce Williams used to say to stay away from time shares. He said you can go anywhere that you want and rent week to week for a lot cheaper rate that buying a time share. He is right. 16 percent interest would be great to receive as a return.

It was funny. We were listening to David Ramsey, who is a financial consultant, on the radio as we were entering Branson. Ramsey had a caller asking about how to get out of a time share. The annual maintenance fee cost more per year than it would to pay for a vacation.

Time shares must be very successful for companies if they give away free hotel stays and $100 VISA cards. I recommend not buying into these.

We drove around the strip and downtown Branson. Our next show was at 3 p.m. We ate at the Uptown Cafe. They have people singing during your meal. Dan took my picture in front of the taxi cab on display.

At 3 p.m. we went to the Grand Country Complex. Perry native Bob Dittert likes this place. We saw the Comedy Jamboree at the Grand Country Music Hall. I only saved $3 with my American Legion Card, the same as the coupon that was out in a flier from the hotel.

It was a good show, with country and pop songs. A couple of comedians who also came out as different characters. In one skit, they lampooned Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. One joke that I remember was when Trump was asked how he felt about women’s issues. He said,” I know a lot of women, and they all have issues.” My mom thought it was very funny.

Another skit had the two comedians come out and use a name similar to Peter, Paul and Mary. They said something to the effect that Peter went to be with Jesus. The crowd thought that he had passed away. Then they said, “Yeah, he is with Jesus Rodriguez, playing with his mariachi band in San Antonio.”

A lot of elderly people on bus trips were at this show. Most of the couples had been married well over 60 years and some over 70 years.

With your ticket, you could go to the breakfast buffet and get the second buffet at half price. Also you could save $10 off of your next show with this theater.

We then ate at the Great American Steak and Chicken Restaurant, a place again a lot like the Machine Shed. We then headed to see the ’70s Celebration at the Americana Theatre. I wanted to see Barry William Blenkhan, who uses the professional name Barry Williams. He played Greg Brady on the “Brady Bunch.”

I saved $7 on this show. They talked about nearly being sold out, but there were a lot of seats open. There were nine bus tours at this show, which only plays from Tuesday through Thursday.

The Barry Williams show concentrated on music and TV themes from the ’70s. Williams was the main draw. He participated in about one-third of the songs and was not usually the lead performer. He was high energy for a man nearly 62 years old.

Williams also talked about the “Brady Bunch” and other shows that he had been on, and he taught the crowd how to dance like the Brady kids did on an episode of the “Brady Bunch.” I recently saw him on “Mission Impossible,” when he was a child actor. In the plot he had to dress as a girl to get out of his country with assistance from the Impossible Missions Force.

After the show, Barry Williams met all of the bus-tour people on their buses and then came out to meet the rest of us, sign autographs and take pictures. I bought two pictures at intermission for $5 each to have signed.

Barry Williams
Barry Williams

Williams looked tired to me. He signed my pictures, and then I had a picture taken with him, and then they took a professional picture that you could buy for $20. I bought it and had it signed. Dan did the same. More “valuables” in my collection that someday my relatives will need to throw out, after I am gone, in one of those extra-large dumpsters.

We then drove down the strip to check on theaters for the next day and headed back to the hotel around 11 p.m. Dan was worn out. Apparently, he fades out after 10 p.m. I like to stay up later.

In the next installment of our epic Branson adventure, I will describe the exciting high point of our three-day dining and entertainment adventure. Please possess your soul in patience until the next installment.

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My friend Dan Haymond and I bought studio-quality pictures of ourselves with former "Brady Bunch" star Barry Williams, who signed our pictures.
My friend Dan Haymond and I bought studio-quality pictures of ourselves with former “Brady Bunch” star Barry Williams, who signed our pictures.

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