And then there were two. In this podcast, Terry Wanye Sanders takes you on a journey from the beginnings of Silver Dollar City and continues with his performance on Hee Haw. It is impossible not to fall in love with this wonderful Branson comedian.
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Matthew Boyce 0:00
Thank you for joining us on the best shows of Branson podcast. We take you behind the scenes as Branson's best shows. Now, welcome your host everybody I'm Matthew Boyce.
C.J. Newsom 0:13
I'm CJ Newsom,
Matthew Boyce 0:15
and welcome to this week's episode of Branson's best shows direct from the Americana theater here in Branson, Missouri. We are so thrilled to be joining you direct from Branson once again bringing you Branson's best shows We are joined today by our friend, Terry Wayne Sanders.
Terry Wayne Sanders 0:31
I know him
Matthew Boyce 0:33
really great because you guys both do a show here together. CJ Newsom is classic, country and county and y'all have known each other for quite a while.
Terry Wayne Sanders 0:39
Oh my Yeah, we have a wonderful history. Matter of fact, unbeknownst to us, I grew up in Mountain Grove, Missouri. She was over there in Rogersville. Yes, that's right. And then of course, I've been in Branson for a long time, all of a sudden, she comes to town to learn that cute little blonde girl. And things kind of evolved from there. Well, I
C.J. Newsom 0:55
never thought we would end up in it. And this is part of my dream because I'm the country and he's the comedy that's worked out. Well.
Matthew Boyce 1:02
This is, so I'm new to Branson. If we if you listen to our first episode, I'm new to town. I've been here for quite a three seasons now. So I am just getting to know, Terry. So I really want to know what really got you into editing what brought you by the bug because I started pretty young as a kid. Were you the same way.
Terry Wayne Sanders 1:18
Same way honest to goodness, I came here with my family in 1965. All right. And we could afford to come out here to go to Silver Dollar City because at that time, Silver Dollar City was free. You paid $1.25 to go into marble cave, honest to goodness. And so we got to silver dollar my grandpa Lee grandma jewel, my mom, Barbra Jean, and my brother Leland Ray. And I said to them right, then this is where I want to be. And of course they all laugh. Oh, he's just being a silly kid. But I knew in my heart, I fell in love with silver dollar. And I said, This is it. Then that night, we went to a show called The Shepherd of the Hills, boom, same thing, these people on stage and there's this funny character called Ali. I said, I want to be a part of this again, the family laugh, that's okay, laugh, laugh, that's gonna be my job later on. And then we went to a show the next night called the bald opera show. Same thing. I want to be in a music show like those guys and do what those guys did and make people laugh. And so as I grew up, I started talking to people in the business. How do you do it? Why do you do it all this? And the number one thing and this is so important. They mostly almost 98% of them said, get your education first. So went to college got a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting and theater. And even before I got the degree, I was working in brands, and I started here in 1980 1980. At Silver Dollar City.
C.J. Newsom 2:37
Yeah. And I think a lot of our viewers want to hear more about that. I mean, oh, yeah, how was Silver Dollar City, back back then,
Unknown Speaker 2:44
oh, my gosh, you know, back then everything was much smaller, but you had highway 76, two lanes, two lanes, there were no back roads, you had to go on 76. And we used to call it the world's largest parking lot, because people would be in line to go out to serve our city for hours on in six, seven hours in traffic waiting to go back to zero. So it was crazy back then. And, and so everything was new infant, if you will. We only had about five shows in Branson now compared to what over 100 plus years. And you know, the variety and all that. And so it was very exciting to be a part of this. And of course, I'm living my dream. I'm working at Silver Dollar City. Now there was a man at Silver Dollar by the name of Lloyd Heller, also known as shad. He was our blacksmith. He was also my goodness, a performer. And he watched me at Silver Dollar and said, I like what you do. I like your style of comedy. I'd like to have you be in my nighttime show called Well, it's at the corn crib theater called the Toby show. So that was my very first show. And from that moment on 1980 on, I've always had multiple jobs. And so again, it was just so much fun to see all the the newness of everything and tried to be a part of all that right there. And of course now here I am. 43 years later, still a Silver Dollar City and oh my gosh, and see how it's evolved because back then when I first started $1.75 I was paid $1.75 an hour. Holy socks. So now after 43 years, to 75 I'm just kidding. Big time. Funny, but yeah, doubt anything. How did I survive back then? But back then, gasoline was like 35 cents. Holy moly. So yeah. So for me to see the evolution that changes. It has been phenomenal. Yeah.
C.J. Newsom 4:30
Well, you've experienced so much. What do you think your favorite thing is, you know, looking back, right?
Unknown Speaker 4:35
Oh my goodness, a favorite thing. Just being a part of the Branson scene and to see it grow because you know, we were Branson to begin with known as, of course, the hillbillies, the country music and that was it. But as time went on, it started changing the Bald. Bald numbers had all these different brothers. One of the brothers broke off. His name was Bob nave. And he created his own theater called the bobble link. See, and he was the first person to really invite mega stars here. Loretta Lynn. Let's see Ronnie Milsap people like that. That is how we started getting the stars here because we were singing our music, but also they came here. They felt this was a great place. And then of course, Roy Clark came in with the Celebrity Theater. And of course, he invited all his friends here, mail. Tillis, down here, and honest to goodness 1990 What was it 60 minutes interviewed Mel Tillis and he says, They said Mel, do you like Branson? Yep. You do pretty good. milb. I make a million dollars a month. And he was. Now a lot of people think well, I'll do that too. I'm as big as male and they weren't. But you know, it was this amazing thing. But as soon as he said that, Branson boomed, people came here 1000s, more than we ever anticipated. Also, the stars came where they wanted to make a million dollars a month to and to see this boom, and all that change. And then all of a sudden, it wasn't just country music. We had Andy Williams move here. Oh my gosh. Now now this is getting exciting, because he was, you know, of course, an Iowa boy. But you know, Los Angeles, New York. He came down here, his brother. He's his brother, Don. He's the one that got Ray Stevens down here. And then of course, Ray. And of course, Don said, Hey, Andy, you gotta come down and check it out. And so he came and check it out. And he said, This is the place for me look at the demographics. And so he hired an architect. They built a real theater now before and this is not a sign about anybody here in town. It's just what do you do? This was all new. So we would build these metal buildings, got some folding chairs, and we built a stage and we did a show. Well, Andy been in the business all these years. He said, Let's do it the right way. Beautiful facility. Oh my goodness, the acoustics are just amazing. And his dressing room. 1500 square feet for a dressing room. Hello. Hello. So yeah, so all of a sudden, we started changing really up in that bar. And that has been probably my favorite part about Brenton to see where we were, where we are and where we're going. And I'm still excited about you know what the future holds for Branson? Because we are always changing just like life are always evolving. And that's what I love about what we do here. And you're still at Silver Dollar City. Still, it's every dollar no plans to ever leave. Oh, yes. Matter of fact, now okay. This is exciting, too. I play five characters a day right now. Okay. Let's say I start off as the time traveler that Dr. Alexandra Ultraman. Then we have of course, Colonel Paisley allegations Paul nail the Bank of $0 Eddie down in downtown book tour. So then of course, we have news, durian Ballmer, The Undertaker from Jackson's funeral parlor. I have a wonderful layaway plan. And then we have the warden that's made WP the warden right here keeping everything safe on the streets of San Fran Dollar City. And then I end with Doc Harris, the crazy German inventor of divide iron roller coaster. That excited no matter you got to ride with me. Oh, you're held these tickets straight up like this. Yeah. So there you go. Now come on next next month, next month, I think is oh my gosh, next month, I will add two characters to that. Wow, here's gonna do it. Goodbye. That's it keep the Scarecrow it scares the thunder out. It was very exciting. And sometimes they say things they shouldn't think about their grandkids. And so we'll do that. And then also we will have pumpkins in the city, which is very exciting to where we have I mean, it is a Pumpkin Festival. I'm excited. I'm speechless. Anyway, so yeah. And so I will be king the king of pumpkins. That's King Casper and my lovely wife, Lou Mina. Yeah,
C.J. Newsom 8:29
I was gonna ask you, what's your inspiration for these characters? I mean, like, Oh, yeah. Do you get the ideas based off of some of the festivals or all the things
Unknown Speaker 8:36
a good question because, uh, you know, like, some have already been established, The Undertaker has always been a Silver Dollar City. Whenever they would do a street show, they'd usually end up with someone getting shot. And so the undertaker would come out with a wheelbarrow that says ambulance or hers, as case may be. And so I just know that yeah, so you always have the undertaker. And then of course, many of our characters want to base them on the rides like Alexandra Ultraman. Of course, he is the time traveler. Really. I'm a clockmaker by trade, but a time traveler for fun. And oh, it's a great thing. If you do time travel words to the wise, do not go to 2020 and if you like dinosaurs, because many children do like dinosaurs do not go to the Jurassic period. Oh, they're so loud. They hurt your ears. And they smell like my mother in law. And so so some of the characters are based on the ride so it gives them a chance to promote that ride. And also each character goes through those rides to help you know, push that into the lines along this part of my job. I'm what they call an image character at Silver Dollar City. There are three of us. There's me there's Miss Whoopsie daisy, and James roach. And so that is our job to walk the park eight and a half hours a day entertaining folks and taking care of business if we have you know, sometimes we have domestic disputes, someone's hot, mad tired, they spent too much money on this, the kids dropped the funnel cake. And so we tried to defuse that. We're also first responders. So we have a situation where right there to be hands on to help out. Lost kids lost adults. everything I read again, but also it is all about entertainment the whole time you're always on. And that's how I've been able to hone some of my comedic skills is to have that one on one. No two situations are always the same. And so my my background, I studied some of the greatest people in the business, one of which was Mr. Paul Lynn. Oh my goodness, Paul, in every time you saw him, especially on Hollywood Squares, before he said anything, you're already laughing because he was that good. You knew whatever came out of his mouth was going to be hysterical. And so I thought, oh, that's how I've got to be and so I've tried to come up with not just but Howdy folks, how are you? Oh, Howdy, folks. How are you? Hey, no, no, you got to change it every time something different and I've learned also about you compliment someone right off that hey, I'm glad you're well that's a great purple shirt. I like that. Where do you get that? Did you get that with a free bowl of soup you know that type of so you break the ice like that make them laugh and then you've got them hooked you know? And so that was the whole deal right there. So that's how you learn about timing just like you guys with the singing or you know whenever you do the impersonation of Elvis or you know, trying to do the Patsy Cline things, you learn those things? How does that character grab you and hook them because we're not I'm not Barney five you're not Elvis. But if you can grab that essence and convey that to the audience. We're doing our job
Matthew Boyce 11:19
when you when you transitioned into live shows. So out of seven knowledge city and other things. How did you develop your personal character so I know you have some like grandma Beulah, and a great Barney Fife. And so what gave you the idea to do these things and what really brought you into the show?
Unknown Speaker 11:34
Right? Okay, the first nighttime show was of course a corn crib theater, and it was the Toby show. So I created a well I got to play a character coziness mee, Mee Mee Mee Mee and I wonderful. I was trained by the best Mr. Wayne maleness way. nullus was hands down the best comedian ever in this entire area, if not even further than that. Our acting professor, we had the same acting teacher up at SMS now MSU in Springfield, Missouri. He said that he truly is the Charlie Chaplin of the Ozarks, because Wayne's timing was impeccable. And you couldn't touch him. No one was near his caliber, that level of comedy, but he was always on. I mean, we never broke even at the employees lounge at Silver Dollar City. He'd been on break character and we're howling, we couldn't even eat. Time's up because we got to go. But we've been watching Wayne the whole time. And so you learn from people like that. But then at corn crib, Shad, Mollie Heller, or they would have a couple nights off. So I was asked to create my own character to fill in for him. So I created Ogden Sagamore. It was just a sad, sad character. Everything was horrible. I got up this morning, I picked up my shirt, the buttons fell off. I grabbed the door, the door not fell off. I grabbed my briefcase, the handle fell off. I've been afraid to go to the bathroom all that type of character so that's how that started by terrible damage. And then three years into that I received a phone call from a friend of mine, Dan Embry, and he's dead he's going on vacation to of course I think it was Brazil. He said would you fill in for me over here at dawn Wilkinson brothers at that time, they were the newest hottest show in Branson, Missouri, Wilkinson brothers. And so I said sure. And he was doing a character that he had also used at Silver Dollar City called Milton McCoy that chicken thief. Well, I played that character also at Silver Dollar, you know? And so I went over and I filled in for those two weeks were during those two weeks, he got a job offer at a new dinner theater first dinner theater in Brighton called banjos dinner theater. So he left to become brothers. I became the resident comedian. And they said Terry, the Melbourne earthquake character No, come up with something else. So I thought oh, how can I have something a funny name because that was always the angle the hook. And so Homer Lee, not homely, but Homer Lee, also my grandfather's name is Lee Sanders. So there was a little personal touch there. And that's how Homer Lee evolved. And of course, he's a maintenance man. He's doing everything but also he wants so badly to be on that stage. And so every time he had a chance to come out there do something he was there, Homer Lee's doing this humbly. And that's how we get variations of Homer like we had his sister you know, homilies lovely sister. Oh, my room. And then we had Homer Dini the magician, because as a kid like you like, Well, Chris Newsom I think you know of Chris Newsom. Yeah, same thing. As a kid. I studied magic. I wanted to be a magician. Of course, I did all the things in Mountain Grove, you know, the Kiwanis Club, the Lions Club, you know, little things like that. And so that's how that evolved. But also, when I first came to Branson, I saw comedians just doing one character, and I said, Well, that's okay. But I want to do lots of characters. I want to keep these people on their toes. How could it be the same person but I also knew that you had to believe in it you had to do the acting skills, you know, change completely. And so therefore, we got grandma Beulah evolving out of that. I always loved Joan Rivers. Oh my gosh, I remember I think 72 was whenever the light turned on in my mind. This is the woman to watch this is the comedian because she is relevant. She's right there on top of it and she's so funny and her Her caustic wit was matching a lot of mine because I made a lot of things in common. And so I thought okay, so I did her voice for a long time even a current grip, I did this sudo impersonation, you know. And finally when I after the walkthrough brothers shut down I got a job with the branch for music show. And of course they love my boys as Johnny had wanted to do job. And so sure enough, we went bought a costume or the dress, manufactured, go to a dress, or we find this lovely dress that was the right size. I'm a size 10 petite 10 to wear my shoes, size 10 and 10. Anyway, what the dress maker was called Melissa, Melissa, and I thought, oh my gosh, this is an omen because John's daughter is Melissa. Exactly right. So so I've always gone with my gut and also those those moments like that, where you kind of go no, no, this is a good thing this is meant to be. And of course, and we've done Joan ever since now, I can't get rid of junk. I have people who come to the show. Please tell me you're doing Joan, please tell me you're doing Joan because I brought these people to see you do that you do that the best or whatever. Yeah. And so yeah, so that's that's great praise right there that you're doing something right? Well, no,
C.J. Newsom 16:02
because like for years, I being a Branson local. I was always told, you know, John River, Joan Rivers came to town, right? For for years, many people thought that Joan Joan Rivers regularly traveled to Branson down
Unknown Speaker 16:14
to Branson. Oh, yeah, we got that a lot. Honest to goodness, we got to have people call the theater and say, Okay, we had an argument last night, me and my wife was that the real Joan Rivers are not because I say it was. And so therefore that tells you out there I did my job. Yeah, nice job. Now Joan has a personal side to her. I'm a big autograph collector. I've got probably 6000 autographs. And of course, John was one of the top people I would always write to. And she was always good about responding. And so my brother worked for ABC. And so he would go to the conventions. And so they both taught us. Oh, yes. Jason, your brother? He writes to me, you know? And so how's he doing all this? So we had this wonderful relationship that grew and so Joan, caustic, harsh onstage and oh, just cuss like a sailor button, offstage, the biggest heart in the world. I mean, she was amazing. And so with our relationship, whenever my mother became ill with cancer, and it was terminal, Joan, we set things up. She called and talked to my mother, and she had done her homework. She said, Barbara, what now? What kinds of cancers? Have they done this treatment? Have they tried this yet? That type of thing. And so it was just wonderful. And Barb is anything I can do. She said, take care of my boys. And so whenever my mom passed, she sent this beautiful note, you know, condolences and all that, you know, and she always made sure that Leland my brother and I, are you guys doing okay, that type of thing. And so then when my brother passed away, same thing, beautiful note, Life is so unfair, your brother was too young. It was just incredible to see that side of her as well. And so we, to me, that's part of my job. I owe her so much. Because through her, I did her here to make it real, and make people believe I'm her. And so this is my way to say thank you, Joan. And I make sure everything is just right, the makeup, everything because Joan is meticulous, that's who I have to be. So that's for I think that carries through to the audience. They see they believe, wow, although she's dead, she's alive right now. And
Matthew Boyce 18:18
to have that kind of blessing. And like that, you know, it's just it's, I couldn't even fathom anything like that with characters that I've portrayed and just to have that kind of connection with that person.
Unknown Speaker 18:28
Right. Huge news. And you'll have your hero or heroine. No, I don't know. Okay, we went there. Oh, yeah. To have them acknowledge you to say, Yeah, you're doing right. This is good. I'm very proud. You know, thank you. And I had spent the whole day with Joan and Minneapolis. So QVC notice that all I bought was Joan Rivers jewelry, because again, if I'm going to be Joan Rivers, she wears her own stuff. And I mean, that's how you do that on QVC. Also, Joan was amazing. When she was in public, some of them become Oh, Joan, I love that necklace you chose here because she she had access to as many as you wanted to give away your jewelry. And so they sent me an email. Dear Terry Wayne Sanders, we noticed that you love Joan Rivers jewelry, would you like to spend the day with her? Holy socks? Yes. And so they said, Okay, here's what I do fill out the form. And so I flew up to Minneapolis, and I got to spend 12 hours here from 7am to 7pm, Joan Rivers, and so this this was exciting, because not only did she write to me and said nice things. Now we're doing this right here, the one on one, and of course there was a group of about I guess, 17 of us in total that got to be with Joan for the day. And so we got to see her early in the morning. She had arrived there and then she went to the mall. They have this QVC kiosks and so she was going through all the new jewelry and talking to all the select people right there. And then we had later in the day about 10 o'clock fashion show. And very interesting, very fun to watch her work the audience, and then of course, lunch, that little lovely lunch and then we took a little break so she could go get refreshed, you know? So no, no, no, no, that was later. But yeah, because again, and you're thinking this woman at this point, she was already this was what 2009. And so yeah, so she's already, you know, mid, mid, late 70s. And still just I mean, going constant, I mean, this energy ball. And so then that afternoon, we got together, did some more things together. Then we had of course, dinner together. And then she was able to really relax, have the wine questions, one on one. And of course, she also had some books, two new books out, so we're having to sign our books while I'm in line, you know, because we're all lined up. Okay, you had the nice dinner, okay. And so this film Chrebet noticed an all day long, and they're like, alright, we noticed that you're a man and that you're here. What is the interest with Joan Rivers? Why are you here? I said, Well, I've been a big fan told them like I've told you my life story with her. And I said, also, this is me and I hold up a picture of me dresses, Joan. And they're like, what? I said, Yes. I said, I'm from Branson, Missouri, and I impersonate Joan Rivers are like, Oh my gosh. And so this was when I got you know, those autographs the one in which it says, Dear Terry, I wish I had your legs loved Joan. Ah, yes. And so come to find out this was that, that documentary that they were making about Joan Rivers. And so if you watch that movie, the documentary, you know, the last 15 minute mark, you will see me and they do that put it to me. This is me with a picture right here about John. Wow. Oh, so yeah, so again, the full circle, but she and I were able to talk and I was able to say thank you for the phone calls to mom, the letters, loving my brother, all that stuff, you know. And so it was wonderful to to realize that, you know, you're doing the right things. We even had fashion tips. I said, What do you suggest, you know, what do you think she goes, black, accessorize black, anything goes with black, you know, but we just it was just wonderful. So to have someone like Joan the caliber of her to spend time, you know, extra time with me that just brought it all home.
Matthew Boyce 21:57
And you don't really see that side of her because her onstage persona is pretty raucous, right? So how do you find the line in Branson where you can use some of her material rather than some of your own and make it family friendly? But still hint at the fact of the know
Unknown Speaker 22:11
who she is? Oh, absolutely. That's what's been my great training and Brenton we know the line. We know the line. Here's as far as we can go. Now over the years has the line moved? Oh my goodness. Yes. Now, what's also interesting about that, every comedian is different era, all of us were funny, guys. But we're different, in a funny way, a different way. And so I've seen some comedians here in town, who go way over there, but their character allows them to do that. Okay. Now for Joan, we know, like you say she was on stage, I mean, the whole boy. So I skate around that, but yet still keeping the essence of her now some of my lines that are actually hers, you know, I go to a certain point with that line. So the audience doesn't get, you know, offended or whatever. And that's what you do. You also have to gauge that, how far can I go? You know, how far what's the audience like now because this is a much different audience than it was 43 years ago. And so what we're able to allow that is also interesting to see the difference between comedians, I've been here before, and I've seen major stars come in Tim Conway, and, of course, Harvey Korman at the palace, the Grand Palace up there doing their stuff, cussing like sailors, and the audience ate it up. But you know what? Their stars they're allowed to do that. Yeah, isn't that funny? Okay, we're just brands and knights but you know, we're doing our job. So yeah, but you know, you know, your position know where you're supposed to be. Now, how do you know that you've gone too far. Instantaneous. If that audience is dead, or you if you hear gasp, you know, or you see people stand up walking out. I blown it. I have blown it. Or booing booing, Oh, boo. Now sometimes you get good news. And sometimes you get bad news. Okay, Hey, boo, boo. Oh, you have to watch the audience and see read because I also like a groaner every now and then now wasn't groaner? Good question. That's when you do a joke that you know is gonna get a groan it's not. It is. Oh,
C.J. Newsom 24:07
yeah, I think you're my favorite groaner that you tell? Is that my expense? Oh, yes. Oh, yeah. When when I leave the stage, and and I say, and you say, Oh, yes.
Unknown Speaker 24:18
Seeking the best female singer in her price. Boobs. Because they love you. But then they also say, oh, that's John being funny is what the 275 gets us there you go. That's exactly right. So yeah, so that's how you learn that right there. And you hopefully you learned some people never learn. You know, John was talking about that too about comedians, how they never changed their material. They're still doing lines about Richard Nixon. He's been gone for how long? Yeah, who's the newest person in office? Or who's the person who that's how you do that you stay current you out a good joke, how to how can I make it contemporary? Well, here's how you do that. And so that's what I tried to do also, what's going on, you know, that type of thing and then boom,
Matthew Boyce 24:58
between this and you do this Silver Dollar City you have your Airbnb you have so many different side things you're so so so busy Hey jobs
Unknown Speaker 25:06
a jobs right now. And it's a juggling thing as you guys will know too because now you get to perform to begin with, but also you are what they call a swing person. So you got to be ready and prepared. And that's what you do. How come your voice is so tired because I was practicing last night because I'm going to be in the show today. You know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And same thing with with me. I never ever want to be bored. And I never have been in college. I this professor I mentioned him earlier, Howard arms. And he says, All right, Terry, you want to be a star? I said, No, Howard, I want to be a working actor. That's what it's going to take right there. You get those jobs, you keep getting those jobs, don't turn down anything you keep working, because it's a fickle business. One day, you're hot snot the next day, you're cold boogers. Okay. I'm like, okay, Howard. And so I've taken that literally to heart because I want to be a working actor. I've got bills like everybody else. But also, we know how lucky we are. There are 1000 people behind each one of us who would give anything to be where we are right now. And so I know I've got to stay on top of my game. And I'm not trying to keep them back. I'm just trying to say I've got to take care of myself, you know, now do we help others along the way? Oh, absolutely. When kids come up, how do I get started? What do you do here? How do you do that? Help them because that's what this business is about. It's not about me. It's about us doing what we do inspiring that next generation and the next generation. That's what you do. And so I took what Howard said to heart and so yeah, so now we've got several dollars at 43 years. We've got Shepherd of the Hills play on and off for 21 years. We got CJ Newsome, six wonderful years, and I have I just I am so thrilled. I've been with some great people in this town. But over the 43 years, this has been the best working relationship she and Chris, take care of me. They take care of my family on so many different levels. And we talk and that's the best thing because we don't have the egos we all just say okay, here's what we got to do. And we do it and that's why I love where I'm at right now. Let's see what else we got going big cedar Lodge. I love big cedar lodge been there for what 17 years, started out doing like the wagon rides over there, you know, have a big barbecue down there by the lake and all that we do shows with them. And matter of fact, I would host the show The not so Newlywed Game as Joan Rivers of course. And then right now I'd write and produce all the big shows. So you've got Memorial Day you got Fourth of July you got Labor Day coming up. We've got Christmas coming up. So I get to play characters for that. I get to hire the band's we have flyovers. But the parachute is coming out of the plane and they're they're here. They've got the American flag, they land right there in front of us. It's just exciting. Like you guys don't because we're on our producers as well. We're not just performers, producers. So it's a great way to stay in the business but also to expand our knowledge to also grow and have a good reputation. You know, and that's what I love. Christmas at a big theater. I got a grant from our garden at i o Mark went to our shelf. And so what fun to do characters that people know kids. Oh my gosh, and it's 5050 with the kids on the grant. Some love him. It's petrified and you know, you got to know the line. If I see small children then you see him doing this. I got a couple ideas because they were asking, anyway, but yeah, no, that's it. That's exciting to do that. So yeah, so what else we got to LSU Oh, little hacienda. How much they asked me how much Terry How much do you like to work?
C.J. Newsom 28:24
How much do you like to work?
Unknown Speaker 28:25
I'm so glad you asked. Here's how much on my lunch break at Silver Dollar City. I worked for a little Hacienda every Tuesday. It's called Taco Tuesday. I go on my lunch break. I get in my car pearl. We drive to four locations that the little Halsey and two people own. And so I do this live Facebook live right there with me. Hey, it's me, Terry Queenslanders on today. Dollar tacos at the drive up window only for little Halsey. And so that's how much and I go back to summer. So you finish out my job there and go do another job.
C.J. Newsom 28:52
That's incredible. I mean, that's right. You are the hardest working comedian and brands, but I mean, you were one of the hardest workers in town. And but I think our viewers want to hear a little bit about your personal life. You know, okay, how do you separate the work from the personal you know, I mean, we want to know, sure,
Unknown Speaker 29:10
you know, and it's a balancing some people don't want anyone to know your personal life. I've always been an open book, you know, I work and I work and I work and I meet people and well, this is my, I grew up and now this is my wife right now and all that. So whenever I came to Brighton in 1980, alright, 1980 single single man. Oh my gosh. And so 1984 I was with a group called the Wilkinson brothers. Okay. Okay. And so, next door to the brother theater, there was this building being built. It was an unusual design. I'm realizing oh my gosh, it's a Pizza Hut. Whoa, that is the Cadillac of pizzas. No, like New York because you know, he's right there. But you know, I love a good pizza. There you go. There you go. A good one. That's right. And so they open up the doors. I walk in there, there's this cute little blonde girl Oh my My gosh, and just personality plus, and we're kind of talking but she was kind of distant at first come to find out later on after we talked more and more. She had just had a relationship with a younger man, she thought I was younger than her, you know, because God said, Hey, let's give him some good genes for a while, and we're gonna just turn it around. Anyway. So yeah. And so we started talking to me has so many things in common. And so you talk more and more. And so for six nights a week for several months in a row, I ate pizza hut. Hello. And finally, Didi, this beautiful girl, Didi Edwards. She said, I bet you'd like a home cooked meal. I said, I would love that. Now. Also, in that thought, knowing this young lady, I thought, well, you know what? Let's find out because my mom Barbra Jean was the greatest cook in the world. So let's find out how good this girl is on cooking. And so sure enough after the show with a Wilkinson brothers, I went over to her apartment she had Oh my gosh. Okay, pot rose. But the carrots, the salary, the onions, all that stuff. Big salad, corn on the cob, bottle riuniti Lambrusco. And then cherry cheesecake. I said, Holy Sox. I knew right then this is the one now afraid, oh, afraid of commandments. Because you know, I'd seen some brands who had divorces, you know, there was some divorces in the family, you know? And so we dated for four years. But finally after four years, but he said, This is it. You know what, we've, we're now both almost 28 years of age, this is going to be the one and we were going to be smart. We were going to go down to Eureka Springs for three days. You know, because we work a lot. We've worked. So we're going to save money. We get the justice of the peace. We're getting married down there. Have a great time. Come back. We're going back to work. And then I said no, Didi, we have waited for this moment to find the right person. Let's do this. Right. So we end up going to Hawaii had the best time ever. Oh my gosh. And so yeah. And of course, part of the deal was no kids, we were going to spend all this money that we're making on each other. We're gonna go on these exotic trips, we're gonna go to Europe. We're gonna go oh, it's gonna be exciting. The pyramids, we're going to England, Scotland. And then Didi turned 3030. And oh my gosh, worst day of her life. She called everyone nobody had a landline. Some people don't know what the landline is. I do. Now if you call anywhere else, I had to branch and it's long distance cost. And she is just drinking wine and calling everyone she ever knew the biggest phone bill we've ever had in our lives. And I said now DD Ghani. Calm down, you know, you've got me.
Unknown Speaker 32:21
Thanks. I feel great. What would make you happy? Because as a husband, that's your goal. How do I make my wife happy? Because if mommy's happy, everybody's happy. She says, I want a baby. I want a baby. Oh my gosh, okay. Okay. So we go to the doctor. And the doctor says, Well, okay, you're healthier. You're young still. So you know what? It's going to be probably a while. It could be maybe a year, maybe two years? I don't know. But it will take a while. Well, they come home at about 30 minutes later. She's a child. Okay. Do you understand what I just said here? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And so that's how God works. And you know what, to me, everything that we do is a God thing. We are all of these positions, you're in New York, you're doing all these things. All of a sudden, you're in Branson, same thing. You're over here. You know, in Rogersville Olson, you're in Branson. This is all for reason. That's why we're here right now, this very moment, sharing all this stuff. Because God said this is what we have to do. And so we took all the classes all that you know, then come December 7, Pearl Harbor Day. Oh my gosh, talk about dropping a bomb where you did it. Here comes Austin Cole Sanders, oh, my first baby on either side of the family for years and years and years. This is very exciting. Now. I'm in the business. I'm excited. I have a beautiful wife. And at that time, Didi was very well known. She was a brand new. I mean, she was a local so everyone knew her. And so I said, this is part of my life. Homer Lee really is me. Terry Wayne Sanders just amplified. Okay, bring it up there. But I talk about my real life, my real wife, my real kids, all those things. And so it's all been incorporated. So one month later, after Austin is born January, we are on the Brashear music show bus going down to Texas. And we have Austin with us duties right here. We do road shows and I bring up my son to introduce him to the world. And of course, you have no idea what it means to other people. The audience has known me for many years as Homer Lee all of a sudden here he is now with this baby. He let me hold his baby. Look at this. We received what you call a receiving blanket. People made homemade quilts for Austin verse 43 of them 43 quilt. And so we would take pictures of Austin on those quilts send them the picture, say thank you so much, you know, and then we would we gift those blankets because you know what, there are people who deserve something. There was a couple that we kept that were really special. So yeah, and so that's how our lives have been. Now fast forward. Okay, fast forward. Five years later. Yeah, no, here comes baby number two. And it took us a while to get there during the two births. Austin and 1997. James in 1995. We had a couple miscarriages that's part of life too. This is not Not just because we're on stage doesn't mean we have a perfect life that everything's gonna be wonderful. We are like everybody else. And of course, we said this is a God thing that it was not meant to be. And so we are so thankful for what we have right there. Now Austin, he was impressed with a young man at the brush music show. His name is Justin Bertolli. So Justin was a filler but at the age of four Austin says I want to fiddle daddy so we got him hooked up with the Hey guys who knows about Vailima Hey goods do that's right there. And so we started taking lessons from them well then they got too busy but they said hey, we want you guys to go to our our teacher Mr. Jr. Rollins over here in Hollister. So awesome, further himself, learning how to do the fiddle all that stuff right there. Fast forward now awesome. But always enter all of the old time fillers contest downtown Branson. Well, the committee down there said you got a cute little boy there and he's really cute when he plays that fiddle. Can we put him on this circuit? Whether you're gonna get some interviews, some phone calls, you know, things like that. Is that okay? We said why? Sure. So every day we were getting phone calls, we had to go do some personal appearances go up to St. Louis, get on TV over there. Go here like say Tulsa, things like that. A man called Monday's a freelance writer wrote this wonderful article because Austin absolutely loves Star Wars. And he could play the Star Wars theme song on a fiddle on a fiddle. Wow. Not a violin a fiddle and you want the difference is $2,000. That's all. So yeah. So anyway, so. So he wrote this article that was published through USA Today newspaper, and when that hit the presses, boom, our phone rang. Rosie O'Donnell had a TV show. They called up they want us in on there. Jay Leno, the list goes on. Donnie Murray had a talk show of these people. But the best offer came from Martin Short, he had just had been offered a new job. He's gonna have his own talk show. This is gonna be exciting. So we took that offer flew to Los Angeles, la Austin and I had the best time Martin was wonderful. Austin was just on top of his game. Now, the bad thing about that was whenever you play a song that is well known or written, like, you know, by someone who have fame, they want what's called residuals. And of course, you know, he had a brand new show got Martin Short, so they said, our budgets. So can you play something that would be you know, public domain. So we did. Let's see boiled and cabbage down. But the kids stole the show. Austin stole the show because he didn't really so like you're supposed to go hey, man, come on. He'll be faster. Sure. Pom Pom Pom Pom? Because he was also known to miss speeding lightning. So yes. So yeah. And so he evolved from that now we learned a lot from the fiddling thing. Whenever Austin got into high school, we found out that fiddles are not cool, but electric guitars are so Austin ended up creating about three different bands. You know, of course in here had a big influence of heavy metal, big heavy metal thing right there. So and then of course, Evan Evan followed suit and he wanted to so he did some drumming on all that but also was the one who really shined with with the music. And you never know what's going to happen y'all. He toured to Austin and his bands toured throughout the Midwest had a grand time with all that right there. So yeah, you just you pray you hope you do all the right things, you know, well, instrumental in your kids lives.
C.J. Newsom 38:05
They seem to handle everything really well. Me. How did they handle their dad being a famous comedian in town? And how was that?
Unknown Speaker 38:12
Yeah, no. Funny. They grew up watching me and all of our friends were also in the business. They're best friends were the maleness boys, which would be way male, as the guy talked about earlier, who was the premier comedian of all comedians. And so they just took this for granted that everybody so they had talked to the friends What's your dad do? Oh, he's a doctor. Oh, that's too bad, you know, is exactly my dad's comedian. Now, also, I can use that to my advantage. I always warn the boys, I said, you will be good. Your name means something. It's called a reputation who you hang with. It's called a reputation. Good, bad, whatever. I said, Now, look, if I ever get a phone call from the school says you've been acting up. I will come down there and I will take care of business. But let me tell you what, boys. Are they coming down here dressed with Joan Rivers? So your phone never rang? Oh, I bet.
C.J. Newsom 39:03
That's one way to take care of it, I suppose.
Unknown Speaker 39:06
But you know, it's been great because it been in the business. I want them to be with me. And we work so much as you guys know, too. You want to be with your kids as much as you can. And I always told the boys it's going to be quality time, not quantity. Tick tock, tick tock. It's going to be quality. So I have no bad memories of our boys growing up with us. It's always been the best. I was blessed and still am on the vacation channel. Another one of my many jobs right. And so early on, the boys got to film several episodes of their vacation channel with me. Now this is a dream come true. A dream come true. Because I'm having fun with my boys. They're dressed up. I carry the terror guide just like me because they're there to guide wannabes. Okay. And so we're doing all this and of course, there's nothing more wonderful than laughter to begin with. But laughter of a child whenever you hear a good laugh, oh my gosh. And so purposely. We will do doing to take and I would do things to make them laugh. And I remember and we've got this on an outtake real often howling in tears running down his face. Dad, stop it. You're making me laugh. I can't do my life. A