“Although I didn’t know it at the time, I visited an area near Branson when I was 10 and 11 years old… It was the depths of the Depression, in 1939 and 1940. The poverty-stricken people of the Ozarks (this was a region closer to the Lake of the Ozarks, north of Branson) were very different from what many of them are today. Their homes were more like shacks. On the walls of their one-room abodes were, invariably, pictures of Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt torn from a newspaper.
“They were populists. They believed that a prime function of government was to assist the underprivileged. They disliked large corporations intensely and had a similar disregard for the wealthy. They had no interest in show business celebrities, and wouldn’t dream of standing in a line for autographs. They had a personal dignity to them.
“They wore they religion lightly, making no public show of it. Their patriotism was in their hearts and not on garish display. They worshiped in their own way and respected the right of others to do the same. Their preachers were poor, same as them… They were, in sum, about as far as you can get from the movement known today as the “religious right.” They would never have been political allies of the rich. They would have hated the idea of performers amassing giant personal fortunes from publicly displayed patriotism, or immense trust funds, mansions, and investments from religious production numbers. Indeed, they would have been astonished to see performers charging admission at all to gospel-singing, let alone the gospel performed with scenery, costumes, and laser lights.”
—Arthur Frommer, Arthur Frommer’s Branson, Macmillan Travel, 1995