FLASHBACK: THE 'OPRY' GETS A GRANDPA
Singer and banjo picker Louis Marshall Jones became a "grandpa" while still in his twenties. But not due to marrying young - "Grandpa" was actually the nickname pinned on him by his performing partner, Bradley Kincaid.
"In 1935, we were working on a morning radio show in Boston," Jones once recalled. "Well, I wasn't real energetic in the mornings, and I moved around kind of slow. I was kind of grouchy, too." He also sounded much older than his youthful years would indicate.
"One morning on the show, Bradley says to me, 'Get on up here to the microphone - you move just like an old grandpa.' And that kind of stuck," he added. "We worked up an outfit for me, with suspenders and a fake moustache, and I became Grandpa Jones. I was just 22 years old."
By 1937, he'd struck out on his own, and he made his first recordings in 1943. Grandpa's musical skills, combined with his flair for comedy, landed him on the Grand Ole Opry, where he became a member on March 16, 1946. He quickly became an Opry favorite with lighthearted tunes like "Mountain Dew" and "T for Texas."
The rest of the country grew to know and love Grandpa when he joined TV's Hee Haw cast in 1969. Working with his Opry buddies Minnie Pearl and Stringbean, Grandpa delighted audiences with his homespun comedy, featuring his classic "What's for Supper?" routine.
Even into his '70s and '80s, Grandpa continued to perform regularly on the Opry stage. The beloved entertainer suffered a stroke after an Opry show in January of 1998. He passed away Feb. 19, 1998, at age 84.