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Duke of Paducah

July 18, 1984 OHC110 112 min.


Country music performer and comedian. Born May 12, 1901. Died June 20, 1986. Real name: Benjamin Francis Ford. Later given the nickname “Whitey” for his blond hair. Acquired stage name, the Duke of Paducah, in the 1930s. Career active 1920s-1950s. Star of the Grand Ole Opry during the 1940s. Member, Country Music Hall of Fame®.

Interview Summary

1984 July 18
(1 hour, 52 minutes)
Country comedian Benjamin “Whitey” Ford, popularly known as the Duke of Paducah, recalls highlights from his country entertainment career. Discussion includes WLS Chicago staff and performers from 1933 and 1934, including Uncle Ezra, Lulu Belle & Scotty, and Max Terhune; the origin of his stage name; his early show business experiences; descriptions of old medicine show routines; the country music scene in Louisville, Kentucky during the 1930s, including performer Clayton McMichen; his career in St. Louis during the 1930s; and the Renfro Valley Barn Dance.

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