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Randy Atcher Collection, ca.1890-ca.2000

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Processed by L. Hollingsworth; machine-readable finding aid created by Margie Plarr


Randy Atcher Collection




Kentucky History Center, Special Collections


This collection is arranged chronologically where possible. Otherwise, it is arranged for use, as there was little original order when donated.

Conditions Governing Access note

Access at KHS only. Use microfilm, transcriptions or images when available. For images contact KHS Photo Archives.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], Randy Atcher Collection, ca.1890-ca.2000, 2004M02, Special Collections, Kentucky History Center, Frankfort.


4 cubic feet, plus one (1) oversized box


Born in Tip Top, Kentucky in 1918, Randy Atcher became a Louisville radio star and a television pioneer. Mostly associated with "Hayloft Hoedown," the Crusade for Children Telethon, and the "T-Bar-V" children's show, Atcher eventually went on to narrate over 600 non-fiction books for Louisville's Printing House for the Blind. Atcher died on 9 October 2002.


Born in Tip Top, Kentucky in 1918, Randy Atcher became a Louisville radio star and a television pioneer. Mostly associated with "Hayloft Hoedown," the Crusade for Children Telethon, and the "T-Bar-V" children's show, Atcher eventually went on to narrate over 600 non-fiction books for Louisville's Printing House for the Blind. Atcher died on 9 October 2002.

Born, December 7, 1918, Tip Top, Kentucky, Magoffin County.
1931 Atcher family lived in West Point, Kentucky. Randy and his brother Bob played on radio station WLAP out of Louisville.
1933 Randy and Bob Atcher appeared on WHAS radio, on an irregular basis
1934-1936 Randy and various members of the Atcher family played on WHAS regularly
mid-1936 Randy enrolled at Western Kentucky State Teachers College (now Western Kentucky University)
1937 Ohio River flooded and washed the Atcher family home down river. Randy left college to help rebuild, did not return. Randy has first solo act on WHAS and later in the year joins Sunshine Sue's Rock Creek Rangers
1939 Randy, and Sunshine Sue, go to St. Louis to KMOX. Randy leaves St. Louis to join Bob Atcher and Bonnie Blue Eyes (Bob's wife) in Chicago
1939-1941 Randy, Bob, and Bonnie did solo acts, a trio act called the Western Trio Act, and Randy had a band called the Frontiersmen. Played on WIND and WJJD out of the Chicago area. Also recorded for CBS. In 1941, while touring with Ben Bernie, Randy enlisted in the Army Air Force after Pearl Harbor (his birthday), and left the show
1941-1946 Randy was in the military. Enlisted as a private; came out as a major. While stationed in Australia Randy marries Daphne Jefferies, a local widow. They have one son, Mark, born on 23 January 1945
1947 Randy went to Savannah, GA for six month, but later returned to Kentucky.
1947-1950 Randy did a 15 minute show on WGRC and solo work on WHAS to play on that station as Randy Atcher and the Swinging Cowboys. Later he moved to WKLO
1950-mid-1970 Randy and the Hayloft Hoedown Gang did 16 shows per week on WHAS. This included the Old Kentucky Barn Dance Show for CBS. From 1951 to 1969 Randy and the Gang did a weekly television show called Hayloft Hoedown. Also, from March 1950 to May 1970 Randy and "Cactus" Tom Brooks did a daily (Monday through Friday) children's TV show called T-Bar-V Ranch
1969 and 1970 After the cancellation of his shows in 1969 and 1970, Randy continued to work on the Crusade for Children telethon, as he had in previous years, and eventually became a narrator of non-fiction books for the Printing House for the Blind, narrating over 600 books
1977 Randy's wife Daphne died. In 1979, Randy marries Elizabeth Blankenbaker, widow of Alan Blankenbaker
9 October 2002 Randy Atcher dies in Louisville, Ky.

Scope and Content

The Randy Atcher Collections contains the personal and professional papers, photographs, audio and film tape, and ephemera that document the career and life of Randy Atcher. A noted Louisville country western musician, radio and television performer, and local personality, the Randy Atcher collection includes photographs of Atcher family members from the late 1800s through Randy Atcher's life, radio and television scripts, correspondence and fan mail, Atcher's military records, etc. The collection is housed in four (4) cubic foot boxes and one flat oversized box.

Donated by Mrs. Randy (Elizabeth T.) Atcher


  • Atcher, Randy
  • Atcher, Bob
  • Atcher Family
  • Brooks, Thomas ("Cactus"), d. 1977
  • Autry, Gene, 1907
  • Rogers, Roy, 1911-
  • Rogers, Dale Evans
  • Presley, Elvis, 1935-1977
  • Cohn, Nudie, 1902-1984
  • Hayloft Hoedown
  • T-Bar-V Ranch
  • Old Kentucky Barn Dance
  • WHAS-TV (Television station : Louisville, Ky.)
  • United States. Army Air Forces
  • American Printing House for the Blind (Louisville, Ky.)
  • Crusade for Children (Louisville, Ky.)
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • World War, 1939-1945 - Aerial operations, American
  • Country music - 20th century
  • Bluegrass music - 20th century
  • Cowboy - Songs and music
  • Radio programs - Kentucky
  • Television programs - Kentucky
  • Audiobooks - Kentucky
  • Louisville (Ky.)
  • West Point (Ky.)
  • Audiotapes (aat)
  • Film (aat)
  • Photographs (aat)
  • Destry Rides Again
  • Santa Rides a Snow White Pony

User Restrictions

Permission for commercial use must be requested from the Kentucky Historical Society. Special Collections.

Related Material

Locations of materials held at other repositories:

Hutchens Library

Department of Special Collections & Archives, Sound Archives

Berea College

Berea KY 40404

The Hutchens Library Special Collections and Archives hold the "Historic Kentucky radio broadcasts from Louisville's WHAS and the CBS network dating from 1936 to the mid 1950s (including commercials). A wide range of state and national political figures and news events are documented. Entertainment programs include soap operas, musical variety shows, and country music. Sporting events include the Kentucky Derby and University of Kentucky football. Going beyond the limitations of words on paper, these rare recordings make possible hearing in the present the same accents, emotions, and issues that entertained and influenced a past generation."

Frist Library and Archive

Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

222 5th Ave. S

Nashville TN 37203

"The Frist Library and Archive at the Country Music Hall of Fame(r) and Museum represents more than thirty years' worth of collecting country music books, periodicals, photographs, fan club newsletters, scrapbooks, sheet music, songbooks, video and film, oral histories, and sound recordings."

Also at the Kentucky Historical Society:

"A Song in Native Pastures, Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music," [edited by] Wade Hall and Greg Swem. Louisville: Harmony House, 2002. Call number: Special Collections Rare Books 92 A863a. This book was produced from memoirs recorded by Atcher and transcribed by Hall and Swem.

Atchers "Nudie" suit, made by the famous country-western tailor, Nudie Cohn. The suit is on display in the Society's permanent exhibit.

For a complete listing of artifacts held by the Society, contact the Kentucky Historical Society Museum.

Collection Inventory

Series 1 - Over-sized materials, photographs, etc
Oversized studio photographs, magazines, certificates
n.d. - Framed photo of 3 women each with a musical instrument (guitar, accordion, & fiddle)
n.d. - Unframed photo of Randy Atcher standing, playing a guitar
n.d. - Unframed portrait photo of Randy Atcher
1962 Kentucky Colonel certificate
1993 "Seniority" magazine
1953 C-J Magazine on "Hayloft Howdown"
n.d. color photo of Randy looking at mountains
1936 WKU Van Meter Auditorium, Randy on right playing guitar
1958 Rolled photo of Randy and young man (son?) playing guitar
Series 2 - Official Personal and Military Papers
Collection provenance and Randy Atcher timeline
[Box: 1, Folder: 1]
Birth certificate & High School diploma
[Box: 1, Folder: 2]
Atcher Family
[Box: 1, Folder: 3]
Randy Atcher. United States Army Air Force. Personnel records. 1943-1946
[Box: 1, Folder: 4]
Randy Atcher. United States Army Air Force. Papers, 1940-1945
[Box: 1, Folder: 5]
Series 3 - Correspondence
Personal Correspondence, 1942,1946
[Box: 1, Folder: 6]
Randy Atcher. United States Army Air Force. Papers, 1945-1946
[Box: 1, Folder: 7]
Randy Atcher. United States Army Air Force. Papers, 1946-1956
[Box: 1, Folder: 8]
Randy Atcher. United States Army Air Force. Notes, Instructions, Procedures. n.d
[Box: 1, Folder: 9]
Daphne Atcher. Papers. 1946
[Box: 1, Folder: 10]
Fan letters & correspondence, 1938
[Box: 1, Folder: 11]
Fan letters & correspondence, January-February, 1940
[Box: 1, Folder: 12]
Fan letters & correspondence, May-August, 1940
[Box: 1, Folder: 13]
Fan letters & correspondence, September-December, 1940
[Box: 1, Folder: 14]
Copies of old letters
[Box: 1, Folder: 15]
Contract, royalty statements & correspondence, 1941
[Box: 1, Folder: 16]
Correspondence. 1947
[Box: 1, Folder: 17]
Business & personal correspondence, 1946-1968
[Box: 1, Folder: 18]
Contracts, fan letters & correspondence, 1946-1949, 1965-1968
[Box: 1, Folder: 19]
"Nudie" suit receipt. 1953
[Box: 1, Folder: 20]
Letter from Elvis Presley's manager. 1955
[Box: 1, Folder: 21]
Personal and business correspondence and fan mail. 1949-1991
[Box: 1, Folder: 22]
Fan mail. 1950-1970
[Box: 1, Folder: 23]
Correspondence and Press releases. 1953-1968
[Box: 1, Folder: 24]
Fan correspondence. 1963-2003
[Box: 1, Folder: 25]
Randy Atcher stationary - Letterhead and envelopes (Blank)
[Box: 1, Folder: 26]
Series 4 - Shows
Shows, 1951-1972
[Box: 2, Folder: 1]
Old Kentucky Barn Dance. Scripts, 1956-1958
[Box: 2, Folder: 2]
Ray Harm Show
[Box: 2, Folder: 3]
WHAS Korean Children's Choir Program - 1954
[Box: 2, Folder: 4]
Hoedown, misc
[Box: 2, Folder: 5]
T-Bar-V Show. Spring 1963
[Box: 2, Folder: 6]
Last T-Bar-V show script
[Box: 2, Folder: 7]
Tape excerpts
[Box: 2, Folder: 8]
Children's Crusade & Hoedown & Show. 1965
[Box: 2, Folder: 9]
Hayloft Hoedown scripts and promotional materials
[Box: 2, Folder: 10]
Randy's Hoedown Special. Script. 1971
[Box: 2, Folder: 11]
Battleground Show, 5 July 1987
[Box: 2, Folder: 12]
Series 5 - Public Relations Materials
Advertisements, press releases, etc. - 1950s - 1960s
[Box: 2, Folder: 13]
Published materials
[Box: 2, Folder: 14]
Public relations materials
[Box: 2, Folder: 15]
Public relations promotional materials
[Box: 2, Folder: 16]
Series 6 - Awards and certificates
MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) Certificates of Merit and Appreciation
[Box: 2, Folder: 17]
Talking Books award and correspondence
[Box: 2, Folder: 18]
Certificates of appreciation and merit
[Box: 2, Folder: 19]
Series 7 - Contracts and Royalties
Contract. 1941
[Box: 2, Folder: 20]
Contracts and royalty amounts received
[Box: 2, Folder: 21]
Library of Congress. Copyright. Certificates, 1940 & 1946
[Box: 2, Folder: 22]
Series 8 - Music and audio recordings (paper records)
Original (?) music and lyrics, n.d
[Box: 3, Folder: 1]
Randy Atcher - Original music and lyrics
[Box: 3, Folder: 2]
Original music
[Box: 3, Folder: 3]
Campaign and advertizements
[Box: 3, Folder: 4]
Original lyrics and music
[Box: 3, Folder: 5]
[Box: 3, Folder: 6]
Pronunciation guides for audio tapes and reviews
[Box: 3, Folder: 7]
Square Dance Calls
[Box: 3, Folder: 8]
Lyrics and music (non-Atcher)
[Box: 3, Folder: 9]
Poems, music & lyrics (non-Atcher) - loose
[Box: 3, Folder: 10]
Poems, music & lyrics (non-Atcher) - Bound/printed
[Box: 3, Folder: 11]
Poems, music & lyrics (non-Atcher) - Bound/printed
[Box: 3, Folder: 12]
Poems, music & lyrics (non-Atcher) - Bound/printed
[Box: 3, Folder: 13]
Series 9 - Non-radio and television activities
"Destry Rides Again" script. 1971
[Box: 3, Folder: 14]
"Raintree County" World Premier
[Box: 3, Folder: 15]
Department of the Army. Correspondence. 1966
[Box: 3, Folder: 16]
Don-Rep Dispatch newspaper. 1966
[Box: 3, Folder: 17]
Trip to Dominican Republic, newspapers
[Box: 3, Folder: 18]
Driftwood on the River: the life and times of West Point Kentucky in the 20th century. By Richard A. Briggs and Leslie A Smith. KY: Friends of Fort Duffield, 2001
[Box: 3, Folder: 19]
Indiana University. Proposal regarding Adult Education. 1953
[Box: 3, Folder: 20]
Series 10 - Miscellaneous and ephemera
Miscellaneous ephemera
[Box: 3, Folder: 21]
Sayings, witticism, general info
[Box: 3, Folder: 22]
Address books, diaries, etc
[Box: 3, Folder: 23]
Celebrity scrapbook
[Box: 3, Folder: 24]
Radio Stars scrapbook
[Box: 3, Folder: 25]
Correspondence regarding Colt revolvers
[Box: 3, Folder: 26]
[Box: 3, Folder: 27]
Series 11 - Photographs
Photos used for "A Song in Native Pastures"
[Box: 4, Folder: 1]
[Box: 4, Folder: 2]
[Box: 4, Folder: 3]
[Box: 4, Folder: 4]
[Box: 4, Folder: 5]
Derby Festival awards and photos
[Box: 4, Folder: 6]
[Box: 4, Folder: 7]
[Box: 4, Folder: 8]
Photographs and photocopies
[Box: 4, Folder: 9]
Photographs - music, family, WHAS
[Box: 4, Folder: 10]
[Box: 4, Folder: 11]
Trip to Dominican Republic, photos
[Box: 4, Folder: 12]
Series 12 - Audio and film tape

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