Charlie Wood loved country music. My dad grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, and always clung to those musical roots, despite moving to the District in 1946.
Jimmy Dean, who passed away this week at the age of 81, got his start in broadcasting in Washington in the 1950's. He had a show on the old WARL-AM (now WAVA-AM) when we lived in Falls Church, and later he did a TV show on channel 9 called "Town & Country Time." Jimmy's band included a guy named Roy Clark - not the Nats' executive - who today is still one of the really great pickers in this country. (Roy, by the way, was a huge Senators' fan back in the 1950's. In the 90's he introduced Nat's slugger Roy Sievers from the audience at Roy's theatre in Branson, MO, a moment Sievers called one of his biggest thrills.)
Jimmy Dean went on to do a network show on ABC-TV in the 1960's that featured another big DC-area talent, Jim Henson with the Muppets. He had several hit records - most notably "Big Bad John" - and was in the "Daniel Boone" TV show with Fess Parker, who also recently passed away.
The actor, James Dean, had been killed in a car crash on September 30, 1955, but as a child I knew only Jimmy Dean the singer, not the tragic young actor.
Jimmy Dean lived for a spell in Northern Virginia, in Falls Church. He had a place not far off of Roosevelt Boulevard, before it turned into Arlington. I vividly recall my dad pointing it out every time we passed by. Roy Clark had a place in Pimmit Hills.
That more people knew Dean as a sausage maker at the time of his death is not unlike the number of people who knew Joe DiMaggio as Mr. Coffee when he passed away. It's a generational thing.
Anyway, here's to the memory of a self-made star, who wasn't afraid to jump feet first into something completely different when the hits dried up. Wherever you are, JD, look for Charlie. He'll sing back-up.