On the last day of August I posted about the birthday and career of Arthur Godfrey, television's first superstar. Today we commemorate the birth of a music legend discovered and nurtured by Godfrey at the height of his career. You may recognize her name: Patsy Cline (1932-1963).
She was born on September 8, 1932 in Winchester, Virginia. In her early teens, she began singing locally on the radio, in clubs and at special events. By the mid-1950s, she was singing with a young Jimmy Dean on a popular country music show broadcast from Washington. A year after her network television appearance on The Grand Ole Opry, she auditioned for the nationally popular show, Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. The public loved her. Godfrey loved her. He made Patsy Cline a star. By 1961, she was at the top and still rising in popularity on the country music charts when her career came to a tragic end in a small plane crash near Nashville, Tennessee in 1963.
I grew up with her music often hearing it over the radio all day at our family's summer haunt in Burlington, West Virginia. The village was on U.S. 50, just a dozen ridges and thirty-five miles west of her first home in Winchester, Virginia. That's a bit far to claim her as a neighbor, but still close enough to make one proud of a country kid who made it big. Now more than fifty years after her passing music fans still appreciate her marvelous voice. Crazy!