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an exaltation of our Savior that brings it all home.
“In this show, there are no stars,” says Tim Mabe, the show’s producer. “e show is the star. I believe our best quality is that we entertain everyone— from the age of 2 to 92!” Tim doubles as “Droopy Drawers”, the buck-toothed hillbilly clown created by his late father, founding member Jim Mabe. It was Tim who was called upon to ll the void created by a series of tragic deaths in the Mabe family, one being that of his own seventeen year-old son Shane. Stepping
country ditty, be it a run up and down the keyboard, or a ri on a base guitar. Each time, all eyes on stage turn to give full attention to the performance. Each on stage reacts with nods of encouragement or with clapping along. It’s a simple gesture, yet powerfully, it projects honor and respect for each one’s own special gift and contribution.
Even though no rst generation Baldknobbers remain on stage, their show goes on—a testimonial of their enduring legacy. Founding brothers Bill and Jim Mabe are gone now, and surviving brothers Bob and Lyle have
into that leadership role, Tim became determined to keep Mabe family values and the Baldknobber traditions alive for this generation and beyond. “e show is the star” and entertainment for the whole family are a few of those traditions. ere are multitudes more.
eater general manager Hollye Gurley
cites another. “Tim and his wife Patty believe in treating people like you want to be treated,” she says. “To them, everybody is important and needs to be treated that way. at was the same with the original Mabe brothers. I think it’s one of the reasons there really haven’t been that many cast members over these fty years. e show has always had low turnover.”
We see these Mabe family values played out on stage. Each musician and band member is showcased for their big moment, be it a powerful solo or a sassy
long been retired from the show. But their descendants have become keepers of the
ame, stewards of the enterprise, and most
importantl , faithful to the values the show has always projected. e pretty blonde lady vocalist is Tim’s wife Patty. eir son Brandon is the theater’s chief nancial ocer and sings alongside cousins Denton and Garrett, (Bill’s grandsons.) at’s Lyle’s son Brent back there on bass, (he’s been on stage most all his life and is writing a book on the history of the show) and it’s Bill Mabe’s red-haired granddaughter Joy who belts out those showstoppers that bring down the house and who takes us to Heaven when she sings about Jesus. But the Baldknobbers family extends beyond the Mabe family name. To the Mabes, everybody both on stage and out in the audience is family. (e Mabe’s tradition of visiting with the folks during
intermission later became a Branson tradition).
Finally, there are others who are still very much a part of things, as we shall see.
We’re back to an old timey video at the show’s nale. e original Baldknobbers are singing the touching Gospel classic “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” e Baldknobbers 2009 sing along. It’s a song they’ve been singing together since back in the beginning, many a time with heavy hearts. A video montage shows it being sung by Bill and Jim and Bill’s son Dennis (Denton and Garrett’s Dad). We see photos of Tim and Patty’s boy Shane.
Bringing it all home— the Gospel segment.
ose are all loved ones in the family circle
who have left the stage for their heavenly home. Yet during this show they helped to create, they remain close, for in it they’ve left us a very big part of themselves.
rough the language of music and
comedy they’ve reminded us that life can be fun, life can be a joy, life has beauty, but life is fragile.
ey helped remind us of our values;
the importance of famil , of loving and appreciating one another, of honoring our veterans, of being thankful for our blessings as a nation. Most importantl , they led us to the One who is “the wa , the truth, and the life,”— our one and only assurance that “the circle will be unbroken.”
It’s what audiences take home after attending e Baldknobbers amboree. It’s what brings them back and its what remains with them—maybe even forever. G
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