Smithville in Monroe County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
— Mississippi Country Music Trail —
Rod Brasfield Rodney Leon Brasfield was born in Smithfield on August 22, 1910, into a theatrical family. His older brother, Lawrence, known professionally as “Boob,” worked as a comedian on the Chautauqua circuit and with touring companies of Broadway shows when Rod was just a toddler. When Rod was sixteen, he joined Boob and sister-in-law Neva in the touring Bisbee’s Dramatic Shows tent rep company, first as an errand boy, then as a dramatic actor and straight man for his brother. After a decade of apprenticeship, Brasfield was featured in the “Bisbee’s Comedians” wing of the company in his own right. After pausing for a year in the Army Air Corps during World War II,
On the air and in its traveling tent shows, Brasfield quickly became the Opry’s ultimate “hapless rube” figure, with his funny hat, baggy pants, and popular monologues about goings on in an imaginary town (that borrowed the name of the real Hohenwald, Tennessee), presenting himself as “The Hohenwald Flash.” Inevitably, he was paired with the Opry’s established star comedienne, Minnie Pearl, and the two of them, neither playing the straight role for the other but convulsing audiences together with what they called their “double” comedy routines, shared top Opry billing for the rest of his career. They were among the Opry stars chosen to tour U.S. military bases in England and Germany in 1949.
Brasfield’s on-air exchanges with such musical Opry stars as Red Foley, June Carter, and Hank Williams, Sr., (who nicknamed his son Hank, Jr., “Bocephus” after Brasfield’s ventriloquist’s dummy) became Opry mainstays. The routines with Foley were highlighted on the national NBC radio portion of the Opry broadcasts. It was natural that Al Gannaway, who produced the TV “Country Show” on Opry stars, would feature Brasfield prominently. In 1957 he was cast in a serious role as a sidekick to an ambitious country politician, played by Andy
Rod Brasfield was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1987. A replica of his Hall plaque was presented to the people of Smithville and placed in the town hall.
Erected 2012 by the Mississippi Country Music Trail. (Marker Number 19.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Country Music Trail series list. A significant historical date for this entry is August 22, 1910.
Location. 34° 3.83′ N, 88° 23.783′ W. Marker is in Smithville, Mississippi, in Monroe County. Marker can be reached from Jefferson Street when traveling south. Located in Rod Brasfield Park. Access can be made at the end of Jefferson Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Smithville MS 38870, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Town of Smithville (approx. 0.4 miles away); Gaines Trace (approx. 0.6 miles away); Chickasaw Cession (approx. 6.9 miles away); Amory, Mississippi: Blues from a Railroad Town (approx. Amory's Tribute to the Heroes of 1861—1865 (approx. 7.6 miles away); Gilmore Sanitarium (approx. 7.7 miles away); Becker Post Office (approx. 7.7 miles away); Van Buren (approx. 8.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Smithville.
Also see . . . Photo and bio by the Country Music Hall of Fame. (Submitted on May 25, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 31, 2023. It was originally submitted on May 25, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 525 times since then and 199 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 25, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.