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This section will have Feature Articles, from the archives of Carolina Cotton's personal memorabilia. These in-depth stories will explore Carolina's career in detail. Some of these stories will be written by guest journalists. We are honored to feature their contributions.

(Unless otherwise noted, all photos are from Carolina Cotton's personal collection).

Check back often, as we'll be adding more articles to the Archives.



RAMBLIN' TOMMY SCOTT

AND THE HOLLYWOOD HILLBILLY JAMBOREE

by Randall Franks  




The Hollywood Hillbilly Jamboree, ca. early 1950. L-R: Sandra Scott (and her furry friend), Ramblin' Tommy Scott, Frankie Scott (in car), guitarist Eddie Williams, and fiddle/guitar/bassist Gaines Blevins. Gaines was a newcomer to the group when this photo was taken, and stayed with the show until his death in 1996. Note the clever customized band logo, on the side of their touring car. Lash LaRue was said to have once given little Sandra a dog, for a family pet. Sadly, she wasn't able to keep it. Could this be Lash's pooch?
Frankie Scott and Carolina Cotton, in front of a Cafe, somewhere in the Southwest, early 1950. The two enjoyed a few shopping trips together, in-between shows. The tour went on the road through the month of February. They perfomed at many a theatre in Texas. Some of the dates on the itenerary were as follows: Feb. 3rd at the Alamo Theatre in Robert Lee and Texas Theatre in Bronte; Feb. 4 at the Plaza Theatre in San Angelo; Feb. 5 at the Texas Theatre in Brady; Feb. 6 at the Palace in Fredricksburg; Feb. 8 at the Rivoli in San Benito; Feb. 9-10 at the Citrus and Aztec in Edenburg, Feb. 11 at the Trocderio Club and Auditorium in Corpus Christi; Feb. 13-14 at the Baker Theatre in Lockhart; Feb. 15-16 at the Lynn Theatre in Lockhart; Feb. 17 at the Crystal Theatre in Hubbard; Feb. 18 at the Sportarium in Dallas; and Feb. 19-20 at the Encore Theatre in Dallas.

Ramblin' "Doc" Tommy Scott, singer, actor, ventriloquist and comic stepped into the entertainment field as he crawled up on the back of a "Doc" Chamberlain's Medicine Show wagon in Toccoa, Ga. in 1936. While he began playing at church socials, dances and on local radio, and even cut unreleased songs for RCA records Bluebird label, but it was Chamberlain that gave him his first opportunity to leave his parent's farm in Eastanollee and become a traveling showman.

Chamberlain toured the South for roughly two more years retiring his show he began in 1890 and turning it over to Scott lock, stock and medicine formulas.

Scott moved to North Carolina gaining a position on WPTF radio in Raleigh, N.C. performing as part of the Pete and Minervy dramatic troupe.

He then moved to WWVA, Wheeling, WV where he agreed to front Charlie Monroe's new band the Kentucky Partners appearing as Rambling Scotty. Monroe had just split with his brother Bill, later known as the Father of Bluegrass Music.


After a short stint at WMC in Memphis on the Garrett and Dental Snuff program, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry and toured from Nashville for about a year in the elite cast that included Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, and Uncle Dave Macon and Bill Monroe.

Scott wrote numerous songs among them, "Rosebuds and You" that he wrote for his longtime co-star and wife Frankie Scott became a regional hit in the South and West for Ramblin' Tommy Scott in 1950; it was later covered by dozens of artists including Country Music Hall of Famer George Morgan, The Willis Brothers, and Red Sovine. The late fiddler Benny Martin took his version of "Rosebuds" to Billboard's top 20 in 1963.

Scott also wrote bluegrass standard "You Are the Rainbow of My Dreams," and contributed to the multi-million selling pop song "Mule Train," to which he sold his rights among his 500 songs recorded and 300 authored.  He recorded for Bullet, Katona, Macy’s Recordings, King, Federal, 4-Star, Family, Request, Concorde, Starday-Gusto, Suffolk, Old Homestead, Folkways, Awards, Crimson among others.

Scott became a fixture on early radio, theaters, circuses, and western and hillbilly films. He rode into theaters across the country as Ramblin' Tommy Scott and his Hollywood Hillbilly Jamboree also including tours with American United Shows, Wallace Brothers Circus and Campa Brothers Circus. Also featured on the show was Tommy and Frankie’s daughter Sandra.


Carolina Cotton joined the Hollywood Hillbilly Jamboree on the road in 1950 as the group appeared in theaters and concert halls in support of the Columbia Pictures release “Feudin’ Rhythm” co-starring Eddy Arnold and Carolina Cotton. The show also included during this tour musicians Gaines Blevins and Eddie Williams.



“Carolina was a top-notch yodeler, which was a great addition to any show especially in the western states,” “Doc” Tommy Scott, 89, recalls in his upcoming autobiography “Snake Oil, Superstars and Me.” “We did some great shows together. Carolina had an ease about her especially with the kids that lined up to see us.”

Scott also starred in the 1950 release of the Edward Dymytrk film "Trail of the Hawk," as well as other 1940s films "Mountain Capers," "Hillbilly Harmony," "Southern Hayride," among others.

When the “Ramblin' Tommy Scott Show,” credited as being the first country music television series, hit the airwaves on television in 1948, Scott made a lasting mark as a television pioneer. He returned to television in the 1950's with Tommy Scott's “Smokey Mountain Jamboree” in syndication around the country. Early television appearances also include Johnny Carson.  From 1949-1980 his touring stage show provided a vehicle for former western film stars to reach their public. Among those western stars were Carolina Cotton, Ray Whitley, Johnny Mack Brown, Sunset Carson, Monte Hale, Fuzzy St. John and Tim McCoy. Many others tried to sign on and some came for a day or two. Other stars included Uncle Dave Macon, Curley Williams, Billy Grammar, Junior Samples, Clyde Moody, “In the Heat of the Night” star Randall Franks among others.


Newspaper promo ad for the Hollywood Hillbilly Jamboree, dated February 28, 1950. Location unknown, but it was part of the Southwest tour.
Carolina with one of the theatre owners, early 1950, during the Hollywood Hillbilly Jamboree tour. The show was in conjunction with the movie Feudin' Rhythm, in which Carolina costarred with Eddie Arnold. A poster for the Jamboree Show is barely visible behind Carolina, in the background.

During the last three decades Scott made regular appearances on shows “The Today Show” with “Late Night with David Letterman”, Oprah Winfrey, “Entertainment Tonight” and others. Recent television appearances include syndicated PBS documentary "Still Ramblin'" which highlights the Scott's family early years in film and country music and HGTV's "Extreme Homes" and “Offbeat America” highlighting the couple's unique Asian-styled home nestled in the North Georgia mountains.
Until the mid-1990s when his wife was stricken with Alzheimer's, "'Doc' Scott's Last Real Old Time Medicine Show" visited nearly 300 towns each year across the United States and Canada. To date, the show, founded by “Doc” V. O. Chamberlain in 1890, has performed over 29,000 times in towns across America and Canada.

To stay at her side at home, the former Grand Ole Opry star cancelled his national tours, limiting him to nearby appearances and his network television and radio broadcasts that she could attend.

He completed his memoirs "Snake Oil, Superstars, and Me" with co-authors Shirley Noe Swiesz (author of "Coal Dust," "Mountain Stranger," "Old Buttermilk and Green Onions," and co-author of "The Old Days in Berkeley County") and Randall Franks ("Officer Randy Goode" from TV's "In the Heat of the Night," author of "Stirring Up Success with a Southern Flavor") in 2006 and is now awaiting its publication.

Scott still resides near Toccoa, Georgia and can be reached at Katona Productions, Inc. Box 100, Toccoa, Ga. 30577.

© 2006 Randall Franks 


Randall Franks is an accomplished musician (dubbed The Appalacian Ambassador of the Fiddle), actor, producer, singer and journalist.  He played Officer Randy Goode on the hit TV show "In The Heat of the Night", and continues to entertain as a recording artist.


 

 


Sadly, Ramblin' "Doc" Tommy Scott passed away on September 30, 2013 at the age of 96.  In his memory, Randall Franks created this video:

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