The Toby Show was born when Shad and Irene Ryan (Granny from Beverly Hillbillies) were reminiscing
about there memories of traveling vaudeville shows. Shad had been a clown for Ringling Brothers and Irene had her start in vaudeville. In the midwest in the 20's through the early 50's there were once over 200 traveling Toby Shows. There was a set cast of Toby, the simple country boy who always came out on top, the city slicker who was trying to scam him, Toby's girl friend, and others. Shad's version origanaly stared Terry Bloodworth, onetime SDC Entertainent Director, turned glassblower who now owns Springfield Art Glass in Springfield MO, who was later replaced by Dan Embry, Wayne Milnus as Zenus his dumb brother, Ray Jones (now a SDC Glassblower) as the evil Mr. Bates, and Janna Henlayben as his assistent Miss Lillian, (Ma Hatfield, Hatfield Haint Show. ETC). There was a Sweet Sue girlfriend charictor which was occational, Shad as Mr Posie, a clown character who only spoke to recite the Lord is my Shepheard.,and Molly as the woman chasing him (sometimes with a butterfly net.) Also In the Cast was the Smith Brothers Band, D.A. Calaway on Piano (now SDC Entertainment Manager) and Greg Becker on drums (Front porch pickers bass and dulcimer player at the homested).
Richard Vauldick of the Rver Rats, and Jim Moeskaue (SDC and Branson Bell Entertainment Manager) were also piano players there. In the last few years ther was a new scipt and a new cast featuring Terry Sanders and Richard (Tiny)Young (SDC writer, entertainer, onetime Earthquake MaGoon, and Dogpatch Entertaiment Manager, husband to Judy the storyteller) Everyone in the Show also worked at SDC so there is a very close connection.
The show was two hours long with an intermission and peanut pitch by the cast. It was performed on the front porch of the cabin called the Corn Crib Theatre at the settelment under an open sky. In the last fue years a roof was added but that took away the charm. The settelment was origanaly isolated in the woods, but as Branson expanded and engulfed the complex, the charm was overshadowed.
The basic plot (and a thin one at that) was the cityslicker Bates tried to bilk Toby out of a worthless swamp he thoght had oil under it. Toby finaly sells, only then does Bates discover that's where Toby drains the old oil out of his truck. Lots of Song and Dance, and lots of old jokes (Toby! Toby! Toby or not Toby!)
For SDC employees and invited selects only there was the once a year Blue Show, a send up of their own, SDC's and other area shows with an extended cast and no rateings!
When Shad died Molly's son (Shads step son) sold the propety, most of the buildings were torn down and the countrys last Toby show became history.
There was a one night reunion show in the early 90's featuring all of the old cast members in one show at 76 music hall. They even had the old olio
SDC did a tribute version, but it was only a small part of the original show.
A side note: In the Late 70's SMSU's theater department put on a production of Dracula that I got to see starring SDC and Toby cast members Wayne Milnus, Ray Jones, and John Goodman!