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Through the Ozarks today, from Joplin, Missouri to Branson, Missouri.
I passed through Carthage, Missouri, and stopped at the city park to see this statue of Marlin Perkins, of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom fame. Once again no one was around, so I improvised. My family spent every Sunday evening with Marlin and the Colonel (KFC). The statue of Marlin's assistant, Jim, if it were there, would show him fending off a wild Ozark Mongoose or something. I am on the right, btw.
Went through a Rotary in Carthage. My family will appreciate the humor there.
Then on to Branson, Missouri. Known as the "Live Music Show Capital of the World," Branson is also the TaT capital of the world, in my opinion. Miles and miles of Trash and Trinkets, and literally over a hundred shows and attractions. You see every walk of life. Well, maybe not the upper end of the spectrum.
I selected the 3 PM performance of The Jim Stafford Show. I vaguely remember Jim Stafford as a country comedian/performer in my youth; he had a TV show in the mid-70s. I was given a second row seat, almost too close!
Seemed like it was required that everyone in the audience have white, gray, blue, or no hair. Oxygen tanks, support hose, and walkers were optional but encouraged.
The show was hokie, but I had some good laughs. Jim wore a tux in the show, but with black Merrells.
Stafford read some jokes supplied by the audience, including mine! (I heard it while in South Dakota). "The National Park Service advises you wear bells and carry pepper spray to deter bears. It is also a good idea to be able to recognize bear droppings. They smell like pepper and are full of bells."
A place like Branson had to have a "World's Largest...". I was not disappointed. The World's Largest Banjo, known as the Ozark's "Eiffel Tower," is located in the Grand Country Square. The neck sticks out of the building.
My choice for an evening show was The Hamner Barber Show, a variety show featuring Dave (and Denise) Hamner (illusionist) and Jim Barber (ventriloquist). I enjoyed this one a lot; I can't explain why I like these two types of entertainment.
Barber was particularly good, and hilarious. His primary dummy is Seville (Barber and Seville, get it?). Hamner used exotic birds in his act and I felt a couple flap by when flying low just above me as they returned to the stage (as Barber said, "Better check your popcorn.") So that was my animal close encounter today.
I am going back up to Springfield tomorrow to check out Dickerson Park Zoo (it was still a little stormy this morning). Then I would like to hit the road if I can cancel my motel in Branson. I am TaTed out. The three shows I really would like to see are not offered at this time: Noah, a mega-musical, Six, a fabulous acappella group, and Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby (can she really still pull that off?).