Here's Arthur on location in an old country store, taping a spot for beerf stew. It was one of hundreds of products he personally endorsed over his long career. Perhaps he's still pitching them.




Photos | Arthur Smith & The Crackerjacks

There was a life before WBT. In someone's old scrapbook from the 1940s we found this early fanpic for the Crackerjacks, then broadcasting from WSPA in Spartanburg, S.C. Note that Ralph Smith was identified only as "Rastus."

From the Riley Callahan collection.

From the days when the show emanated from the fictional station, WEE-TV. Don Reno, in front, left after a time and in later years gained national prominence in the bluegrass world.

The members of the group, especially Arthur and Ralph Smith and Tommy Faile, were exceptional musicians, each able to play several instruments (although not at once).

(Photo courtesy Jim Scancarelli)

That's "Little" Wayne (Skeeter) Haas at lower right. He joined the Crackerjacks in his early teens, and stayed 'til the very end. Clyde McLean, WBTV's weatherman, went on the road with the group as emcee. Tommy Faile (left front), here with an electric bass, has come a long way from that Sears-Roebuck guitar. (Photo courtesy Jim Scancarelli)

The group changes, adding Carl Hunt (second from left) and Ray & Lois Atkins (second and third from right). (Photo courtesy Jim Scancarelli)

Arthur, Sonny and Tommy jamming on the acoustics. It may have been somewhere about this time that Arthur wrote Feudin' Banjos.

(Photo courtesy Jim Scancarelli)

The cast on the set with George Beverly Shea, who appeared many times over the years on Crackerjack telecasts.

From left, Ralph Smith, Wayne Haas, Jim Buchanan, Tommy Faile, Carlene "Sam" Howell, Kaye Murray, Arthur Smith, Carl Hunt, George Beverly Shea. (Photo courtesy Jimmy Roy Rogers)

The cast about 1970, from left: Ralph, Dick & Jackie Shuyler, Arthur, Wayne, Maggie Griffin and Tommy. (Photo by Jim Scancarelli)

Cuttin' up on Carolina Calling. Ralph and Tommy—as Counselors of the Airwaves, left, and Brother Ralph and Cousin Fudd, right—found nothing too outrageous or corny to foist on their viewers. (Photos by Jim Scancarelli)

One holiday season, for the Arthur Smith Show, Ralph and Tommy created a special version of "Twelve Days of Christmas." It was "special" because it involved a goat, a possum, a live chicken, a rubber chicken, two gorillas, one piper piping (Jim Scancarelli), and Ralph in a fetching party dress. (Photo courtesy Jimmy Roy Rogers)