Pine Ridge, Arkansas Images

Pine Ridge, Arkansas
Behind the old store at Pine Ridge. 1998.

The general stores at Waters and characters in the Waters community were the basis of the Lum and Abner comedy radio show which was popular from the 1930s to1950s. In 1936 the town on HWY 88 on the western edge of Montgomery County, Arkansas near the Polk County line became known officially as Pine Ridge. Pine Ridge, where changes have not been extreme, is a small community in the hills of Montgomery County with two old stores that are souvenir / gift shops, an outhouse and a couple of houses visible as you drive through but the community stretches far beyond what you can see.  The gravel roads link many farm houses where log buildings can still be found, where 911 will reach the community this year, 2000, where party telephone lines were part of the community until recently. Two church buildings and cemetery are out of sight a quarter mile down the "old highway" road, the road to the right of the outhouse.  Decoration Day, second Sunday in May, is a link to a past shared by many throughout the country. How old is that oak tree behind the outhouse? Another view of it can be found on the postcard page directly behind the store.

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Chester "Chet"  Lauck (1902-1980) and Norris "Tuffy" Goff (1906-1978) created the radio show "Lum and Abner" in 1931 modeling the dialect, phraseology and customs after the citizens of the then remote Waters wayback community who "lived lives as their forefathers lived theirs, unaffected and unspoiled by modern progress" "who are content to eke out an existence and live their lives undaunted by the depression's hardships". The series was a 15 minute program during most of its run, but there was a time when the shows were 30 minutes. The 15 minute episodes were popular, because the various events lasted over the course of several episodes.

Inside the Lum & Abner Jot 'em Down Store (the Huddleston store) today is the entrance to the Lum & Abner Museum and a gift and souvenir shop that sells postcards that can be mailed from the post office in the store.  The J.R. "Dick" Huddleston Store was built in 1909 and in 1984 was placed on the Register of Historic places along with the McKinzie store. journal

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Located behind the Jot em Down Store and Museum in view of the main road, HWY 88, is the fully functionally outhouse.  Not the original outhouse but rebuilt after it was demolished after a local boy (M.M.) took the bend too fast on the 'Lum and Abner Highway'. Remember to keep your speed down as you travel through Pine Ridge.  The 'Lum and Abner' Highway better known as Highway 88 is the tar-sealed Mena to Pencil Bluff road running west-east, the only sealed west-east through road in the western section of Montgomery County, a county that does not have any traffic lights yet.

In 1942 Chester and Norris made their first movie Dreaming Out Loud with Frances Langford, Bobs Watson, and Phil Harris.  The Bashful Bachelor was a 1942 movie with the storyline written by Chester "Chet" Lauck (Lum) and Norris "Tuffy" Goff (Abner).  They made seven movies.

An Interview with Dick Huddleston by Ernie Deane.
"The Arkansas Traveler" 1950s newspaper clipping

"......The motorist has to watch out, else he'll go rolling through without seeing Dick's sign which warns, Drive Keerful Don't Hit Our Younguns.  Worse yet, he'll miss meeting Dick and Dick's girl Ethel if he hurries through. Ethel is Mrs. Homer Graham.  Her name used to come up often in the broadcasts, but few listeners knew that many of the backwoods expressions and humorous incidents used on the program were her contributions.  She'd take notes around her father's store while customers shopped for shoes, cheese, harness, and other necessities, then send these to Lauck and Goff.

".....Ethel and her husband are full time residents of Pine Ridge now, and have taken over Dick's fishing camp on the banks of the Ouachita River nearby.  They decided, after living for awhile in South America, there was no place quite like the Ouachitas of Arkansas, she said.

"....Several of the individuals who were so well known under their fictitious radio names have died.  He sadly called the roll of those including Cling Wilhite, who was Grandpappy Spears; Marion Bates, who was Walt, and Doc Hammonds, who was Squire Skimp.  The Widder Abernathy, however, Mrs. Chat Standridge, still lives nearby, he said.  And he took me over to the postoffice to meet Ora Garrett, who was Mose Moots the barber in the show.  Garrett actually is a barber 'the best in Pine Ridge,'   Dick called him, adding with wry humor the he is the only one."

In side the store at Pine Ridge. 1998

Suggested reading:

REMEMBERING ARKANSAS Hot Springs' KTHS was pioneering radio station by Tom W. Dillard
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette 9 March 2008

This week our subject is the impact radio had on Arkansas news reporting and entertainment. Radio came to Arkansas in 1922, a time of change in the state and nation. The Great War in Europe was over, and America turned inward. It was a time for recuperation, relaxation and fun. The radio brought the thrill of major league baseball, the romance and excitement of weekly serials, and a host of comedy shows. Radio simply seemed to fit into this era of technology, when automobiles were becoming commonplace and telephone linemen were making their way down remote country lanes. Perhaps the most important pioneering radio station in Arkansas was Hot Springs' KTHS-AM, 1040. The call letters stood for "Kum To Hot Springs." The station was licensed on Dec. 19, 1924, to the New Arlington Hotel, which had just been rebuilt after a devastating fire a year earlier. KTHS was a real radio station, with ample quarters including a studio with a grand piano and a separate transmitter and control room. The hotel's ballroom and orchestra pit were also wired for broadcasting. Following the first broadcast, 186 telegrams and 25 longdistance telephone calls arrived from 22 states, testifying to the far reach of this early radio station. During its first two months of operation, the station received 25,000 letters requesting information on vacationing in Hot Springs. Like most early radio stations, KTHS originated its own programming using local talent. Glee clubs often performed, as did the several orchestras then operating in Hot Springs. The 153rd Infantry Band gave a performance, as did a male quartet sponsored by the Gus Blass Co. of Little Rock. It helped that the station broadcast only a few hours daily. KTHS did not restrict itself to Hot Springs. In 1925 the station began remote broadcasting from the Rainbow Garden atop the 555 Service Station in Little Rock. Broadcasts also originated at the Conway Theater in Conway. KTHS was the first station in Arkansas to broadcast state election results, thanks to the assistance of Associated Press wire reports. On Aug. 30, 1928, KTHS gained national prominence when it broadcast Arkansas Sen. Joseph T. Robinson's speech accepting the vice presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. If all this pioneering were not enough, KTHS earned a place in entertainment history by discovering Lum and Abner. On Saturday morning, April 26, 1931, two young college-educated comedians from Mena, Chester "Chet" Lauck and Findley Norris "Tuffy" Goff, appeared on KTHS on behalf of flood relief. Lauck and Goff had made a name for themselves around Mena as skilled entertainers. On their way to Hot Springs, they decided to try out a new act featuring Lauck as Lum Eddards and Goff as Abner Peabody, country storekeepers. The program was popular from the start, and it was soon picked up by national networks. For the next 25 years, Americans laughed at the gentle humor found at the Jot 'Em Down Store at Pine Ridge, Ark.

REMEMBERING ARKANSAS From humble start, Lum and Abner hit the big time
By Tom Wayne Dillard
Having grown up in the television age, I never heard the nationally popular Lum and Abner show on the radio, but I vividly remember my older friends and relatives speaking nostalgically about the program.
This article was published July 13, 2008
Travel, Pages 87 on 07/13/2008
in the western part of Montgomery County, where I grew up

Pine Ridge citizens stood in as characters from the "Lum and Abner" show when circumstances dictated a public appearance. This long-running comedy inspired many postcards depicting the characters.

Character portrayed for photo sessions                    Citizens                                           
Lum Eddards main character
Abner Peabody
main character
Dick Huddleston
Grandpappy Spears
Sister Simpson
Mousey Gray
Mousey Gray
Kalup Weehunt
Elizabeth Peabody
Elizabeth Peabody
(later pictures)
Little Pearl (Miss O'Neal was killed in an accident with a horse)
Little Pearl Peabody
Aunt Charity Spears
Elizabeth Peabody
Evalena Schultz
Oscar Fields
Squire Skimp
Bular Skimp
Cedric Weehunt
Uncle Henry Lunsford
Chester Lauck
Norris "Tuffy" Goff
Dick Huddleston
(the only real life character)
Cling Wilhite
Margaret Wilhite
Will Chambers
Claude Lee
Mart Singleton
Lena Voerster
Ola Hooper
Eva Mae O'Neal    
Evelyn Wilhite
(Cling's and Margaret's youngest daughter)
Ann Rishenhoover
Lena Voerster
Nancy Chambers   
Marion Bates      
Doc Hammond      
Lois Hooper         
Ed Lasker Goble      
Henry Lawrence        

Post Office 1960

1950s 

 

JUST A HILLBILLY

"I don't want no high-soundin' notions,
he old ways o'livin' suit me.
Haint honin' to sail on no oceans,
I'm jist a hillbilly," sez he.

'Haint pinin' to live in no mansion,
My little log cabin suits me.
Caint see no sense in expansion,
I'm jist a hillbilly," sez he.

"So give me my pipe and my cabin,
And dog  to go huntin' with me.
For glory and fame I'am not grabbin'
I'm jist a hill billy,' sez he.

'My days in these hills let me squander,
You caint tell me off- no-sir-ee.
From the Ozarks I shant never wander
Fer I'am jist a hillbilly, sez he.

- Eleanor A. Totman, Rolla, Mo.
Arcadian Life Maginzine, July-August, 1939, #41 page 37

Hole in the Ground swim hole, up Hole in the Ground Rd, Pine Ridge.  Try and find Hole in the Ground Falls. photo photo photo photo

Montgomery County ARGenWeb