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“Larry’s Country Diner” is a popular television show on the cable network RFD, located in Nashville, Tenn. Fred and Connie Bingaman of Brownstown met the people of the show while on vacation in Branson, Mo., where the show was in production.
The set of Larry’s Country Diner is, as the title indicates, a country diner with checkered tablecloths, matching curtains, and tables and chairs where the audience sits and is actually served food during the show.
The room is decorated with assorted pictures, a unit with shelves holding non-related, homey items such as a small American flag, a colorful tin plate, a basket of artificial fruit and a small painting of a horse, along with filled and empty salt and pepper shakers. A small screen TV set and a large trophy sit on top of the shelves. An aluminum step ladder stands nearby, holding a speaker.
The overall appearance holds a certain charm, reminiscent of the small cafes and diners found along the roads years ago. It gives one a feeling of the safety and comfort of less-hectic times.
Larry’s Diner seemed to have everything the old diners would have had – except one thing, something that one might expect Fred and Connie to notice – a jukebox.
After the show, the Bingamans talked to Larry Black and the announcer, Keith Bilby. Fred said, "You guys need a jukebox," and Larry’s response was “Great idea.”
Fred said, “I said, ‘Let’s work something out, because we have a jukebox that plays DVDs and is like a computer, a Mac computer. So what they do now when they do the flashbacks, they say, ‘Let’s go to the Crosley jukebox,’ and they flash to it, and that’s where you see Minnie Pearl.
So the end result was the Bingaman’s providing a jukebox and receiving some advertising benefits in the process.
“They also have a segment called ‘Precious Memories,’ about people who have passed on, and Larry also produces a show called, ‘Country Family Reunion,’” Bingaman said.
Betty Miller of Brownstown, ho watches the show regularly, saw the jukebox and called Fayette Faces with the news. The Bingamans then consented to share the “Larry’s Country Diner jukebox story.” Fred and Connie will appear briefly on some of the tapings.
Larry’s Country Diner
Fred and Connie gave some information about the popular show, which was conceived by, and includes, well-known professionals in the business, as well as unknown office staff employees who serve as the friendly waitresses during the show.
“Larry is a very good friend of Bill Gaither, and they came up with this concept,” Fred said.
The show features a star every week, along with music, interviews, flashback clips and memories of favorite stars who have died. Many of the stars are Grand Old Opry stars, such as Little Jimmy Dickens, Jim Ed Brown, Jan Howard or Jeannie Shepherd. Each show also includes a scripture from the Bible
“The ‘Country Family Reunion’ was produced in 1990 with 70 stars on it. Within two years, 29 of the 70 stars died,” Bingman said.
The flashback clips from the Grand Old Opry were shown on a TV monitor until this year. A Crosley jukebox from Brownstown Deerpark Distributors has replaced the TV.
The Diner sets on a huge sound stage, and a catering service provides the meals served.
The cast is friendly and close-knit. The waitresses in the show are members of Larry Black’s Gabriel Production Co., as are most of the other Diner characters.
The sheriff is Jimmy Capps, the show guitarist who is also the house guitarist for Grand Old Opry. His wife, Michelle is a backup singer. Other regular performers are T. Grahm Brown, a long-time favorite singer; Terry Choate; and “The Time Jumpers.”
One of the favorite characters is “Nadine, the Church Lady,” who plays for church and Christian groups. She is not a member of the Gabriel office staff.
“She is so funny,” Connie said. “She comes in grumpy every day, and she is so funny and clever.” “She makes up very clever sayings for their church signs,” Fred added.
Keith Bilbry, the announcer for the Grand Old Opry for 30 years, is the announcer for Larry’s Country Diner.
It’s a fun show with talented professionals for family viewing, and for a brief glimpse of one of our Brownstown families, Fred and Connie Bingaman.
The hour-long show will be shown on cable TV on Saturday and on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. on the RFD. For more information, go to: www.larryscountrydiner.com.