Branson Stories and Tips

'50s Theme Party at Sunterra

·	Dennis Kolb, ‘50s Theme Party, Fall Creek Resort Photo, Branson, Missouri

We were lucky that, on the very evening of the day we arrived in Branson, our resort (Sunterra Fall Creek) was putting on this dinner show at Clementine’s, their restaurant. As many as 20 Branson entertainers would be stopping by during the show to do a number or two. We decided that this would be a good way to get a sampling of the types of shows here for a fraction of the cost of going to each one and that it could make it easier for us to decide which shows to select. We got more than we bargained for!

When we bought the tickets, at $6.50 per adult, we were told to come early to stand in line for a good seat, because this show always sells out. Although we weren’t the first in line, we were fairly fast-moving once the doors opened – no, we didn’t push anyone else aside, but we did manage to get center-front row seats. Probably because a round end table just big enough for two had been placed up in front against a long center table, and others in larger groups all were seating themselves at the longer tables. We lucked out once again when our "row" was selected to be the first at the buffet, an all-you-can-eat selection of spaghetti, salad, bread, spice cake, and beverages, such as sodas, bottled water, and coffee.

The Show Begins Our emcees quickly got things moving when people were finishing dinner and performers began arriving. Fitting with the theme of the evening, the first to arrive were four cute young guys from Lost in the ‘50s singing a medley of songs from that decade. Not to be forgotten from the following decade, a musical duo from #1 Hits of the ‘60s came in bell bottoms and glitter to serenade us. They were followed by Dennis Michael Kolb, all in black leather. Thursday (in two more days), he was putting on "a one man show" at the resort for $18 per couple, with complimentary wine, cheese, and crackers. Dennis sings and does impressions of Roy Orbison, Elvis, Ricky Nelson, and the Beatles.

Well, if it ain’t the Duke Well, sorta… The resemblance is uncanny. John Wain looks an awful lot like John Wayne, and he does capitalize on it. At his weekend shows at the IMAX’s Little Opry Theatre, he also does Walter Brennan imitations. Janelle, the "cave lady" from Talking Rocks Cavern gave us a trivia question: "What is the main function of a cave?" Answer: "Drainage." Tours at this nearby Missouri cave range from mild to wild… Wild = "You will get very dirty in the mud cave." Dress appropriately.

My Husband, the Star Bob got picked to help Mike Douglas look-alike Dave Hamner in a magic trick using metal hoops. All he had to do was sit there, smile and look handsome, and handle some hoops - Dave did all the work. For Bob’s (minimal) efforts, we got a free ticket to Hamner-Barber Variety Show (see entry in this journal). Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede sent us a cowboy to sing "I Shoulda Been a Cowboy," which seemed a bit redundant. But although Dolly isn’t around much at the Stampede, they do have horseback riding competitions, ostrich and pig races, big four-course meals (vegetarian option available upon request), and of course, a "buffalo stampede."

Talented multi-generational Branson Families The Duttons are among them. They sing and play strings, mostly violins, and offer a variety of music, dancing, yodeling, and comedy at their own theater complex. The Hughes Brothers are another Branson family who came to entertain us, singing "Elvira" and other tunes. Country, gospel, and Broadway songs are included in their repertoire. Their family of 18 performers (and probably growing) includes wives and kids at their own Celebrity Theater on the Strip. Newcomers to Branson, the Warnocks from Wyoming work for tips only at the Branson Mall. Dad and four of his bright-eyed, angel-voiced daughters sang "Amazing Grace" for us.

Harley Worthit?: He was pretty silly, representing the Delene show, a country, gospel, and rock songstress providing afternoon shows at Hughes Brothers Theatre. Silly Harley gives new meaning to the words "mismatched." Jim Owen has a long and illustrious country music career, writing 130 hits in the last 35 years, including "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" (Loretta Lynn), and he won an Emmy for portraying Hank Williams Sr. in a 1978 PBS special. He gave us a sample of his "Bless his Heart" comedy routine about the dumb things people do, which must have been so stupid that I’ve forgotten them all.

Our Lucky Night Most performers brought brochures and discount coupons to their shows, some for as much as $8 off per person, all passed out to us, the audience. This show was winding to a close, but the emcees told us to wait because they still had door prizes to give out. Everyone had gotten a couple of free raffle tickets when they arrived, and did I say it was our lucky night? I guess it was, because we were the winners of two Passion Play tickets in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. That made it that much easier to decide where our next destination would be…

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