Branson Woman Awaits the Return of Her Husband From Iraq

Awaiting husband’s return from Iraq is tough duty all its own – It’s like only half of you is there

The waiting takes it’s own type of courage and fortitude. Alicia Caperton can tell you that. “You hear about it all the time, but you don’t really comprehend it until you go through it,” Caperton said, Her husband, Staff Sergeant Clinton Caperton is serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army Reserves. It is his second tour of duty there. Continue Reading »

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Bleu Olive Restaurant: A Review

A foursome exits the Bleu Olive as we arrive. One of the women says, “That was thee best meal I have EVER had in Branson.” A strong endorsement. Expectations are now pretty high for a delicious dinner. Thankfully, our expectations are not only met, but exceeded. Continue Reading »

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Marine Corps Birthday Celebrated in Branson, Missouri

Several hundred people gathered together at Branson’s beautiful Chateau on the Lake Spa and Convention Center on Monday, November 10th to celebrate the 233rd Birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

In attendance were more than 100 Marines who ranged from a 19 year old, just-out-of-boot-camp private to an 87 years-young veteran of the horrific World War II battle on Iwo Jima.

Whether active duty or reservists or long retired, these Marines assembled to reflect upon the proud history and heritage of the Corps and to, once again, experience the inexorable bond that Marines share when in each other’s presence.

Lt Col Oliver North (USMC-ret) delivered an electrifying keynote address which paid tribute to the young men and women whom have made up the backbone of the Marine Corps since its founding.

North said “These brave and courageous Marines, through time, embody the very best of what it means to be an American. Their dedication to mission, duty and service to country, is the spirit by which we have kept ours a free nation. They are true heroes.”

The event, which included a social hour, dinner and a dance, was highlighted by the highly moving Marine Corps Birthday Ceremony.

A large, beautifully decorated ceremonial cake, escorted into the hall by four U.S. Marines, drew everyone’s rapt attention as it made its way to the front of the room. Leading the escorts was Corporal Eddie R. Beesley, who on August 31, 1965 near Chu Lai in Vietnam, was grievously wounded and lost his legs. Corporal Beesley, author and motivational speaker, carried a Non-Commissioned Officer’s Sword and handed it to Major Shannon Johnson, Commanding Officer, Weapons Company, 3d Battalion, 24th Marines, Fourth Marine Division. Maj. Johnson cut the first piece of cake for the guest of honor, Col. North. The second piece was cut for Bert Clayton, the oldest Marine Present, and the third piece was presented to Mr. Clayton who then handed it to the youngest Marine present, a symbolic handing down of the tradition of the Corps to its new members.

Other notable moments included the video greetings from General James T. Conway, 34th and current Commandant of the Marine Corps and the remembrance of the Table of Honor for POWs and MIAs still unaccounted for. The Warrior’s Cross, as depicted by the boots, sandbags, rifle and helmet, were displayed to remember Fallen Marines and to reflect upon the potential sacrifice facing members of the Marine Corps.

Lt. Col. North, who graciously signed hundreds of copies of his newest book, ‘American Heroes: In the Fight Against Radical Islam’, was presented a beautifully hand-crafted knife as a gift from the event sponsors Branson.com and Branson Tourism Center. Lt. Col. North was also told that an American flag has been flying in his honor on Branson’s Avenue of Freedom.

Branson.com and Branson Tourism Center also presented a custom designed, commemorative Challenge Coin (pictured above) to all of the U.S. Marines present.

From a grateful nation- Happy 233rd Birthday United States Marine Corps!

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Music Legends to Appear in Branson in 2009

Andy Williams, five-time Grammy Award nominee and one of America’s most beloved singers, announced a star-studded addition to the talent line-up at The Andy Williams Moon River Theater for the 2009 season.
Williams stated that Bill Medley, Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and founding member of the Righteous Brothers, will appear in concert at the Moon River Theatre with zany rockers, Paul Revere and the Raiders. The shows are scheduled for selected dates form April through October, 2009. Williams also announced that rock n’ roll pioneers, Bill Haley’s Original Comets, will appear in matinee performances from April through August.

At the press conference Williams said “I have always been a fan of these guys and now I get to see them every day at my theatre. This is a great thing for Branson!”

Bill Medley, who along with long-time Righteous Brothers partner Bobby Hatfield, created “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”, a song which has been touted as the most played tune in radio history. Other chart toppers included (You’re My) Soul and Inspiration”, “Rock and Roll Heaven”, “Ebb Tide” and “Unchained Melody”. Teaming with Jennifer Warnes, Medley recorded the mega-hit “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”.

Often cited as the comedy princes of rock n’ roll, Paul Revere and the Raiders, are best known for their smash hits “Kicks”, “Hungry”, “Good Thing”, and their blockbuster “Indian Reservation”. Fans around the world have dubbed them as one of the favorite live onstage performance groups.

Bill Haleys’s Original Comets have been rocking the world since the early 1950’s when they produced never-to-be-forgotten hits such as “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, “Rock Around the Clock”, and “See You Later Alligator”. Fifty years later, these guys haven’t lost a beat, and it is readily apparent why they are known as one of the early originators of Rock n’ Roll.

Medley shared “We love Branson so much that we’ve bought homes here. The fans are great. And how could it get any better than appearing at Andy Williams’ Moon River Theatre. It’s going to be a fun 2009!”

For tickets or more information call Branson Tourism Center at (800) 785-1550.

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Branson in the Fall

Missouri Gasoline Costs :

* Much less expensive than most states.

Branson Show Tickets :

** 25% of the cost of tickets in Las Vegas or New York

Branson Lodging :

** 75% of the Nation’s average hotel cost

Ozarks Beauty in the Fall:

*** PRICELESS !

* AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report

** Smith Travel Research Report

*** Everyone!

Come to Branson and enjoy scenes like this from The Ozarks National Forest

Photo courtesy of Arkansas Department of Tourism

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On Meeting Johnny Mathis

I recently chatted with Branson resident and accomplished songwriter Pat McManus about the day he met legendary vocalist Johnny Mathis. It was 1975 and producer John Florez asked Pat to come down to Studio ‘A’ in the RCA building in Hollywood to sing on a recording session.

Pat shared ‘I went into the control room at Studio ‘A’ and there was John Florez, Musical Director D’Arneill Pershing and the recording engineer, Grover Helsley. They were in the middle of recording and I don’t remember if it was my eyes or ears that first made me realize that it was none other than Johnny Mathis in the studio. I was fresh from Nashville and there right in front of me was the man behind ‘Chances Are’ and ‘Wonderful Wonderful.’’

‘After the singing stopped, John told me to go in and introduce myself and sing the back-ups on the song. It turns out that Johnny was doing a cover tune on Neil Sedaka’s hit, Laughter in the Rain, a song that I knew, thank goodness! We were going to double the chorus parts, but Johnny said that it sounded like I could do it by myself just fine. I’d never heard sweeter words in my life. The cut went on the album ‘When Will I See You Again’ released in 1975.’

‘I ended up working with John Florez on several more projects after that trial-by-fire day in Studio ‘A’. I also got to know D’Arneill, who was Johnny’s Musical Arranger and Conductor for many years . It has also been fun to get to know his brother, D’Vaughan Pershing, Andy Williams’ Musical Director in Branson.’

Since that fateful meeting, Pat McManus has gone on to write seven number one hits for artists like The Oak Ridge Boys (American Made) and Reba McEntire (Little Rock) and is still an active writer and producer.

‘Johnny is one of the nicest people in show business, and he always has been’ says Pat. ‘His voice is one-of-a-kind and his talent is a masterpiece. Johnny’s a true American musical treasure.’‘

The incomparable Johnny Mathis will be in concert with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra at the Mansion Theatre Friday and Saturday evening, September 26th and 27th at 8 PM. Call 800-785-1550 for tickets.


_ Top Photo: Courtesy of Station Wave

- Bottom Photo: A cover shot of “When Will I See You Again’ (c) 1975 Columbia Records

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Branson Creek Golf Club Named One of America’s ‘Top 100′

Golf Magazine, one of the world’s most respected periodicals for golf enthusiasts, announced in its September 2008 issue that Branson Creek Golf Club, located in picturesque Ozark mountains of southwest Missouri, has been named as one of the ‘Top 100 Courses You Can Play’ in 2008-2009. Branson Creek is making its third consecutive appearance on the prestigious Golf Magazine list.

Branson Creek Golf Club is managed by Scottsdale, Arizona based Troon Golf®, the world’s largest golf management company with international offices in Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Dubai. Founded in 1990, Troon Golf overseas operations for more than 200 courses located in 31 states and 31 countries.

Mark Ophoven, Branson Creek Golf Club’s General Manager & Director of Golf shared “The kinds of accolades that we have received through the years from entities in the industry such as Golf Magazine, have helped confirm that our mission to create spectacular golfing experiences at Branson Creek is on target. I am proud of each and every member of our dedicated team at Branson Creek and Troon Golf®.”

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We Like Spiders & Snakes!

Hey kids- it’s flashback time! Close your eyes for a second and let the clock in your mind wander backwards through the 90s, then through the 80s and as you approach the 70’s, slow down when you get to December of 1973.

Can you remember what we’re you doing 35 years ago? Maybe you were in grade school or high school or were off working in the world. And even if you were just a glint in your parent’s eyes, keep reading, a little history never hurt anyone!

It’s been asserted that music has always been a measure of the times. So let me ask you this. Who would you have heard if you’d turned on your car radio back then?

In December 1973 Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and Sly & the Family Stone all recorded soulful popular songs. There was Jim Croce, Stevie Wonder and the one-and-only John Lennon. His good Beatle chum Paul McCartney (and Wings) charted a hit that month, as did Helen Reddy and Barbara Streisand. But do you want to know who caught everybody’s ears with a song that just seemed to come out of nowhere?

Well …drum roll, please……. On December 29, 1973 Branson’s very own resident funny man, Jim Stafford, rose to #3 on the Billboard Magazine Music Charts with his runaway hit- ‘Spiders and Snakes.’

Come on, admit it! You remember these classic lyrics:

She said, “I don’t like spiders and snakes
And that ain’t what it takes to love me you fool, you fool
I don’t like spiders and snakes
And that ain’t what it takes to love me
Like I want to be loved by you”

It was a silly coming-of-age song that just happened to go Gold for Jim and put a smile on everyone’s face.

And now, Billboard Magazine once again recognizes ‘Spiders and Snakes’ as #43 on The Billboard Hot 100 Country Songs during the magazine’s First 50 Years.

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It’s Branson Quiz Time!

Test your knowledge- take the Branson Quiz!

Answers can be found at the bottom of the page. Good Luck!

1. The population of Branson is:
(a) 706 (b) 3552 (c) 7500 (d) 11,100.

2. How many guests visit Branson each year?
(a) 2.1 mil (b) 11 mil. (c) 5.2 mil. (d) 7.9 mil

3. How many miles is it from Springfield, MO to Branson?
(a) 112 mi. (b) 35 mi. (c) 76 mi. (d) 18 mi.

4. What county is Branson in?
(a) Stone (b) Branson (c) Shepherd (d) Taney.

5. Name the three area lakes near Branson.

6. How many theatres are currently operating in Branson?
(a) 52 (b) 23 (c) 76 (d) 40

7. What percentage of visitors come to Branson from more than 300 miles away?
(a) 12% (b) 30% (c) 76% (d) 65%

8. Approximately how many lodging rooms are available in Branson?
(a) 4,000 (b) 18,000 (c) 8,000 (d) 25,000

9. Approximately how many restaurants are there in Branson?
(a) 444 (b) 333 (c) 76 (d) 111

10. What is the name of the river that was dammed to create the area’s three lakes?
(a) Nile (b) Arkansas (c) Ozark (d) White


Thanks for playing- more to come! Let me know how you did!

** Thanks to the City of Branson for supplying the facts and figures!

Answers: 1.(c) 2.(d) 3.(b) 4.(d) 5. Table Rock, Taneycomo, Bull Shoals
6.(a) 7.(d) 8.(b) 9.(a) 10.(d)

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Branson’s Ozark Mountain Christmas Named Top 100 Event in North America

The American Bus Association, representing more than 1,000 Motorcoach and Tour companies in the United States and Canada, has recognized Branson, Missouri’s Ozark Mountain Christmas season as one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2009.

Running from early November through the end of December of each year, activities center around two main themes: Branson’s Annual Veterans Homecoming and the area-wide festival, Ozark Mountain Christmas.

But you don’t have to wait until 2009 to experience this internationally acclaimed event!

Branson’s 2008 Veterans Homecoming In 2008, the Veteran’s Day holiday kicks off the season with great fanfare when Branson’s Veterans Homecoming, America’s largest event supporting and honoring the nation’s veterans, takes place November 5-11, 2008. The Homecoming showcases dozens of activities including an exciting opening ceremony, special theatrical shows, numerous military reunions (such as one for the legendary Tuskegee Airmen), a Veteran’s Day Parade, an event to remember our country’s POWs/MIAs, and much more.

New in 2008’s Veterans Homecoming is the 233rd Anniversary of the Founding of the United States Marine Corps. This November 10 event includes a dinner, a dance and the traditional Marine Corps birthday celebration featuring Oliver North (Lt. Col-ret USMC) as the keynote speaker. And of course, popular entertainer Tony Orlando performs his always inspiring show, The Yellow Ribbon Salute.

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