"How-DEE! I’m just so proud to be here"

Posted by | March 16, 2007

Minnie Pearl didn’t start out as Minnie Pearl: she was born Sarah Ophelia Colley. The character we know today emerged when twenty-seven year old Colley was in the midst of producing an amateur musical comedy in Baileyton, AL in 1939. There she met a young mountain woman on whom she then based her onstage persona, “Cousin Minnie Pearl.” Colley first performed as Minnie Pearl that same year in Aiken, SC.

In 1940 Colley appeared at a banking convention in Centerville, TN which some executives of the Grand Ole Opry’s host station, WSM, happened to be attending. One suggested that she audition for the Opry, and despite the misgivings of Opry managers that she might be seen as ridiculing country people, she was accepted for a late-evening slot. Several hundred cards and letters addressed to Minnie Pearl arrived at the station over the following weeks, and her place in the cast was assured.

Pearl, who remained with the Opry until her death in 1996, was one of the most widely recognized comic performers American culture has ever produced. With her straw hat and its dangling $1.98 price tag, and her great-hearted holler as she took to the Opry stage, Pearl became an icon of rural America even as she lovingly satirized its ways. Her character was always presented as a man-hungry spinster in the small town of Grinder’s Switch, TN, willing to settle for almost anything in the way of male companionship. In real life, she was happily married for many years to Henry Cannon.

http://www2.una.edu/library/lindsey/opry.jpg
Pearl’s monologues almost always involved her comical relatives, notably “Uncle Nabob” and “Brother”, who was simultaneously both slow-witted and wise. Her frequent exit line to applause was “I love you so much it hurts!” She also sang comic novelty songs, some of which were released as singles, such as “How To Catch A Man.”

Now, when a handsome feller smiles at you,
what harm can a little flirtin’ do?

And if he steals a kiss, now don’t get sore.
Remember, you’ve got plenty more!

How to catch a man,
How to catch a man,
Girls are always askin’ me, “How do you catch a man?”
Catch him while you can
With the Minnie Pearl plan.
Here’s a little tip on how to catch a man.

Hog-tie him!

Tell him this and keep a straight face, hon,
Tell him two can live as cheap as one!

Promise him anything, and you will find
that after you are married, you can change your mind!

How to catch a man,
How to catch a man,
Girls are always askin’ me, “How do you catch a man?”
Catch him while you can
With the Minnie Pearl plan.
Here’s a little tip on how to catch a man.

Get a Bear trap!

copyright 1998 King Records,
Lyrics Cy Coben/Delmore Music

Source: James Manheim, All Music Guide
www.cmt.com/artists/az/pearl_minnie/bio.jhtml

appalachian+history appalachian+culture history+of+appalachia appalachia

2 Responses

  • Kathleen says:

    But, I remember more lyrics on our eight track…

    “If you’re thin, then add some padding, too.
    Football players do it; why can’t you?!”

    Maybe this was someone else doing a cover?

  • John says:

    Saw Minnie Pearl perform at the Hillsdale (MI) county fair back in the 70′s

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