Buck Barry Singing Cowboy of WOOD TV
Every town with a television station had their own local celebrities, and they still do. The local weatherman is still recognized when he goes to the mall, and local broadcasters still make their appearances at local food festivals and such. My local celeb as a boy was Buck Barry. Check out the primitive "cowboy style double B brand" signature!
I've found two pieces of Buck Barry detritus since moving back to Michigan and each brought a smile, as I was on Buck's afternoon show along with the other members of my cub scout troop. How my (Den) mother arranged for it is a mystery now, but it was just one of the things she did while raising me which I have learned to appreciate. No, I did not "buck up" in cowboy drag like the little buckaroos here…I wore my cub scout uniform, and remember being terrified to lead the pledge of allegiance at the start of the show.
I was prepared to slam Buck with my typical hip irony, but it turns out Mr. Barry the buckaroo had quite a career before settling in as the afternoon three stooges host. (He introduced a segment every day, and made sure we understood their gags were not to be done at home.)
Buck Joseph Barry was a singing cowboy with Gene Autry Credentials. He was born in 1917 and rode with the Col. Tim McCoy Wild West Show starting in 1938. He landed a radio gig on WOOD radio which eventually led to his afternoon television show. He often yodeled on the show and played a sunburst Gibson while doing it. He recorded one 45 rpm with The Countrymen and gave a lesson on the flip side.
There were two horses named Thunder (who also appeared with Buck at events.) One was lost in a fire, but everyone pitched in and bought Buck Thunder two. Both are shown in my "Thunder career-spanning" ephemera collection!
The Cowboy revival band "Riders in the Sky" have a special relationship with Buck's memory…Fred "Too Slim" LaBour who plays bass in for the band is a Grand Rapids native and credits Buck with their yodeling.
The Buckaroo Rodeo ran for nearly 15 years on WOOD-TV out of Grand Rapids.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum, who mounted a Buck Berry exhibit in 1997, provides the studio set photograph above. More information on Buck is HERE and his wiki is HERE
Buck is buried in Texas.
Official Buck Barry postcard swag collection LIttle Jimmy Linderman