Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Morning Vault: Jimmy Dean--Big Bad John (1961)

     If you are under the age of 50, the name of Jimmy Dean probably is linked (no pun intended) to sausage. Pretty good sausage too as Jimmy and his brother Don founded the company in 1969 and his business acumen secured him a great deal of success. However, an older generation knew Dean as an all-round entertainer....

     He spent much of the 1950's recording a bunch of singles, but outside of the top 5 country hit, "Bumming Around" in 1952 he had no success to speak of. He was however making a name for himself on television hosting and singing on several local shows. The big break came in 1957 as Dean's show, "Country Style" on WTOP in Washington DC was picked up by CBS. and renamed "The Morning Show", which lasted for 8 months. The network then hosted "The Jimmy Dean Show" which lasted from September 1958 to June of 1959.

      Jimmy made the charts in a big way with, "Big Bad John" hitting number 1 on the country and pop charts in late 1961.  This led to a series of top 40 hits in 61' and 62'. From 1963-66 he starred on "The Jimmy Dean Show" on the ABC network, which kept him in the spotlight and helped keep the hits coming on the country charts through the mid-60's.

     All of this gave him a lot of recognition and when the chance came about to start the sausage company, it was decided that he would be in the ads. The homespun humor that made him a hit with TV viewers was also helpful in the early success of the business.  He also did quite a bit of acting during that time being on several variety shows, Daniel Boone and The Love Boat. Interesting to note that Dean played billionaire Willard Whyte in the James Bond movie, "Diamonds Are Forever"

     Dean sold his part of the company in 1984, but continued to have a hand in it's running until old age, and poor health forced him to step aside for good. Jimmy died June 13 of 2010...


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