No charity needed for ‘Carnegie Hallbillies’

“[In 1961 Patsy Cline] was invited to appear on the Grand Ole Opry at Carnegie Hall, the first full-fledged country production at that cultural bastion….

“Dorothy Kilgallen, who wrote the syndicated ‘Voice of Broadway’ column for the Journal-American and was featured on CBS’s ‘What’s My Line?’,  took cheap shots almost daily at the coming of the ‘Carnegie Hallbillies.’

“On stage in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Patsy had a few words for Kilgallen:  ‘We’re gonna be in high cotton next week — Carnegie Hall. That ole Dorothy Kilgallen wrote, “Everybody should get out of town because the hillbillies are coming!” At least we ain’t standing on New York street corners with itty-bitty cans in our hands collecting coins to keep up the opera and symphonies.’ ”

— From “Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline” (1993) by Ellis Nassour

Winston-Salem left impression on Lombardi

“The [Packers’] final preseason game [of 1960] was held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, against the lily-white Washington Redskins. According to Lombardi lore, an event took place there that solidified the coach’s decision to no longer submit his team to the segregation policies of the South. Lombardi, his naturally tawny skin further darkened by a month of practice under the summer sun, entered a local restaurant the night before the game and was refused seating by a hostess who mistook him for a black man.

“There are many apocrypha in the legend of St. Vincent of Green Bay, but this story rings true. Lombardi told it to his family later, and … the black players often joked among themselves that by the end of summer camp their coach was a secret ‘brother.’ ”

— From “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi” (1999) by David Marannis

Wouldn’t ESPN do well to consider this scene for its recently announced “Lombardi” biopic? Robert De Niro has the title role.

From Apple Street to Hollywood and Vine

Death noted: Kathryn Grayson, who brought operatic talent to the golden age of  Hollywood musicals, at age 88 in Los Angeles.

From the Winston-Salem Journal (Feb. 19):

“Grayson was born Zelma Kathryn Hedrick on Feb. 9, 1922, in Winston-Salem. Her family lived on Apple Street. They moved to St. Louis when she was a child, but she… returned several times after she became a Hollywood star.

“In 1949, Grayson sang at Forsythorama, a pageant at Bowman Gray Stadium attended by more than 10,000 people in honor of Forsyth County’s centennial.

“She made reference to her Winston-Salem childhood after she married [crooner Johnnie] Johnston, telling a reporter, ‘You know what I’d like to do? Go back to 1000 Apple Street and have 12 children.’ “