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FLASHBACK... MAR 14, 1974

Hail To The Chiet

Excitement filled the air in Music City as the Grand Ole Opry celebrated two special occasions on this day. First, it marked the gala opening night at the Opry's new home - the Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland - after more than 30 years at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

The Opry also welcomed a most distinguished guest for the evening, a man accustomed to inaugural events: President Richard Nixon. Nixon's visit proved to be more than honorary, though.

The President, a skilled piano player, tickled the ivories on "My Wild Irish Rose" and "Happy Birthday" in honor of his wife, Pat. Then, to the further delight of the audience, Nixon stepped to the stage front with

Opry legend Roy Acuff, who gave the commander in chief a lesson on the yo-yo. After struggling unsuccessfully with the stringed toy - one of Acuff's longtime stage props - Nixon turned to Roy and made him an offer.

"I'll stay here and try to learn the yo-yo," quipped the President, "and you go and be President, Roy." The crowd roared, but Roy respectfully declined.