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Historic Stage Revisited

The historic stage in the Hazard High School auditorium has been closed to the public for over 30 years, the school building is now occupied by apartments.  The very first broadcast by WKIC and WSGS took place from this spot over 60 years ago.  The first words spoken on the radio echoed from the structure in 1947.  Announcers Dick Goodlette and Hugh Dunbar were among those who participated.  Over the years - everything from political debates to musical concerts have originated from the stage.  "It would be a shame if this auditorium is not restored someday.  It's Hazard's Grand Ole Opry Stage," said Nicole Miller with WSGS.  It was a perfect place for a concert.  Musicians have always enjoyed the acoustics of the building over Memorial Gym and other structures.  Everyone from the Goose Creek Symphony to the Lexington Philharmonic orchestra have performed here.  In 1934 - famous CBS newscaster Lowell Thomas spoke from the stage.  Jessica Dragonette, the famous opera singer was here in 1939, and Jean Ritchie, the well known folk singer played in the auditorium.  There have been style shows, beauty pageants, plays, talent contests, not to mention countless pep rallies for Hazard High School who occupied the building from 1924 until 1976.  "Today - Hazard has some great facilities for local events including the Forum, the Amphitheater and Memorial Gym, but if Hazard had a Radio City Music Hall, it would be in the old auditorium," said Miller.  Photo by Robert Hall.  Click on image to enlarge.

How well I remember the assemblies, the pep rallies, the puppet shows, right from the stage of this hallowed place, not to mention concerts by Ms. Mattingly and the HHS Glee Club, the Band showing their stuff, the plays that caused laughter to ring out all over that place, and one that stands out in my memory was a puppet show where the puppet quipped "Applesouch" and we all went around saying that little word and many years later I was watching The Brady Bunch and out of Peter's mouth came the word from my yesterday, "Applesoch". (I tried to print it like it sounded when it was voiced).  IdaLee Hansel, Spartanburg, SC

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