Click on Photos to
Before the Split!
Chisai and Johnnie on stage. In background in BoxCar Willie
who made his first singing debut on the stage of the Grapevine
Country Music Revue booked Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth for
a December 9 show that High says was intended to be "a
good-bye kiss to the business." High's good-bye kiss
drew an unexpected respectable 2,685. One of them, was Susie
And Susie bought a sound system for the Revue and began financing
the annual Country Music Awards banquet at Will Rogers. A
tapestry now hanging in High's Grapevine office proclaims
"The Johnnie High and Susie Slaughter Country Music
Revue." Within months, the Revue was boasted to be the
"second largest C&W stage show in the world."
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram crowned High "Fort
Worth's King of Country Music, " and reported in one Revue
review: " The audience is clapping and cheering as Johnnie
High walks across the stage with Aunt Susie, welcoming everyone to
the show. The stones on their matched, peach-colored western
suits glitter in the spotlight as they pass." When Aunt
Susie wasn't on stage with the Revue, she watched the show at Will
Rogers from her permanently-reserved private box at stage side.
Meanwhile, in Grapevine, another permanently-reserved private box
remained noticeably unoccupied.
unpopularity with Aunt Susie didn't solely explain the Opry's
growing problems. She had growing popularity problems with the
home crowd as well.
Unlike Chisai High plunged himself into local activities in
Grapevine and the surrounding area. He rotated in Grapevine
circles. Alone or with the revue, High commonly entertained
at local gatherings and benefits and never passed up the
opportunity to express his sentiments for Grapevine. Even
after his Fort Worth success, High refused to relocate his
headquarters. He combined his local visibility and uncanny
memory for names with good manners and natural
Chisai, however, maintained greater distances from the hometown
crowd, though she took an active part in Grapevine affairs, often
donating the Opry's stage for local pageants or letting the Opry
serve as a collection point for charity drives. Somehow,
however, Chisai never seemed to draw as much good fro her
involvement with Grapevine. Somehow, too, Chisai never
seemed to fit in as well with local circles, occasionally locking
horns with the press and area businessmen. A local retailer
located near the Opry closed off his parking lot to Opry
patrons. Police also ticketed double-and-otherwise-illegally
parked Opry visitors. Infuriated, Chisai retaliated by
closing off the Opry-owned, 80-car, graveled parking lot in the
middle of Grapevine's quarter-mile downtown business
district. The neighboring business with its own parking lot
was not impressed. The police were not impressed.
Other Main Street businessmen and their customers, who now battled
for rare Main-Street parking spaces, were impressed. But
they were not amused.
It was reported over
$500,000 was spent on sound equipment alone and the stage was
lighted for "color" television.
Johnnie & Chisai during a TV Pilot Taping. Click on
Photo to Enlarge
In this photo, note
the vintage TV camera during the Pilot taping. The Grapevine
Opry was later utilized extensively in the movie "Tender
Mercies" starring Robert Duval. Click on Photo to
Childs leaves the Grapevine Opry for Branson.Click
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