Share This Episode
Our American Stories Lee Habeeb Logo

Gerald Ford, Willis Ward, & the Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game of 1934 and Tennessee's Most Famous Grocer

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
June 29, 2022 3:05 am

Gerald Ford, Willis Ward, & the Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game of 1934 and Tennessee's Most Famous Grocer

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 625 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.


June 29, 2022 3:05 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Buddy Morehouse tells us about the childhood of President Gerald Ford and how a football game changed him and his friend Willis Ward's lives forever. Dennis Peterson tells the story of the legendary Cass Walker and his remarkable life... from the grocery empire that he built from scratch, to an unforgettable political run, a TV show, and much more.

Support the show (https://www.ouramericanstories.com/donate)

 

Time Codes:

00:00 - Gerald Ford, Willis Ward, & the Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game of 1934

35:00 - Tennessee's Most Famous Grocer

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

I'm always upgrading my car because I need to because I want to today custom rims for my ride tomorrow might be a new driver side seat cushion and eBay motors.com always has what I need. They got over 122 million car parts all at the right price that's perfect for me because I'm a car guy around two in the morning almost on okay I'm a car fanatic eBay motors. Let's ride Vanguard is owned by your investors so we all sit on the same side of the table as an advisor you look over your clients.

We look out for both of you. That's the value of ownership.

Visit Vanguard.com and discover ownership from shareholders on the phones don't Vanguard middle-market Corporation Streeter this is Lee Habib and this is our American stories show where America is the store and the American people search for the All-American stories podcast go to the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcast Gerald Ford is often overlooked as a president is a 38. However, Gerald Ford made an incredible impact on civil rights during his time in Congress and is present in all because of his friendship with a man named Willis putting Moorhouse tells the story of Gerald Ford, Louis Ward in a football game, which forever change both men's Gerald Fortin Willis Ward in the early 1930s, worked with the best high school football players in the state of Michigan. Gerald Ford was going to Grand Rapids South high school and Willis Ward with attending Detroit Northwestern high school so they were on opposite sides of state they were two of the, the, the best high school football players in the state so in the fall of 1931. They both came to the University Michigan. They met actually on their very first day of freshman orientation. It was held in Waterman gymnasium on the Michigan campus and they met that first day and they had known of each other by reputation as they read the newspaper clippings in the new hug with the other guy was so immediately they introduce themselves to each other and really became great friends from that very first day of the University Michigan in the fall of 1931 they realized they had a lot in common beyond just football.

They both had an interest in the law they can have similar career goals so that they just they became fast friends in college and decided that they were going to room together when they went on road trips. They informed this friendship that was outside of football and then it just kind of strengthen on the football field and then every time the wind Michigan football team go on a road trip. The two of them will room together and then they'd basically remain great friends. Obviously throughout college and through the rest of their lives as well.

The athletic director at the time was a guy named Fielding Yost who had been Michigan football coach for 25 years, starting in the early 1900s and he became really one of the greatest college football coaches of all time certain will most influential coaches of all time. But in 1925 he step down from being a coach and and he became the athletic director and they burn through a couple coaches.

After that, and he eventually hired a gaming hearing 50 to be his head coach and Harry kept inventing All-American football player foreign one of the greatest athletes. Michigan ever had and when Harry kept he became the coach he wanted to kinda beef up the roster beef up recruiting and everybody at that time knew about Willis Ward.

He was this phenomenal athlete, not just in football but especially crack. Detroit is one of the fastest people in the country. He knew he was an incredible athlete and he really wanted him to Michigan. Not just run track, but also play football.

The problem with that is that Fielding Yost was dead set against having any African-American football player on the football team. He didn't mind if there were African-Americans.

Another team saw the word play in baseball team, but the football team was his baby and Fielding Yost was a fairly unrelenting, racist, grown-up in West Virginia.

He was the son of a Confederate soldier and he was really dead set on keeping his football team always so when Harry kicked he came to him and said that he wanted to Willis Morgan plan is team it caused a huge rift between the two of Yost was against it. If he really wanted it. There were even some rumors that the two of them actually came to blows when they were discussing whether or not will be allowed to join the team. But eventually he won out and and Yost was Yost back down. He and Willis Ward was able to join the team and then will escort when he joined the team. He became the first African-American football player in about 40 years to play at the University of Michigan that the way things work back in college football.

Back then the schedules were not set many years in advance. They really only felt like a year or so in advance. Only today.

Right now Michigan knows five years from now with your point, but back in those days they set the schedule like a year before and Michigan had always only ever played teams from the North teams from either the Midwest or maybe the East.

They never played teams from the South, for whatever reason, Fielding Yost wanted to get a southern team on the schedule. His brother-in-law was guiding Dan McGoohan would work in it be been an athlete of Michigan and and then he was working at Vanderbilt in Tennessee. It's time and Dan McGoohan was really good friends with the people at Georgia Tech so Yost worked through Dan to contact the people at Georgia Tech in 1933 he started contacting them see if they would be interested in coming to Ann Arbor to play games in 1934, so Yost and the people at Fort Peck started trading telegrams back then saying would you be interested in coming up to play football again.

That season now. Yost knew very well that the policy that the Jim Crow policy and among the southern states at that time was that they would refuse to play against any team had an African-American player. So when he scheduled that the Georgia Tech game.

He knew for a fact that Georgia Tech was going refuse to play the game the fullest work plate so he knew it was going to be a problem but he still went ahead and scheduled the game so 1933. He scheduled this game and once everybody started to get the news that this was coming out. They'd start to realize that a boy wouldn't have a problem here because they're not can play the game if we have Willis Ward on our team, and it didn't really become an issue until 1934, when the schedule is officially announced and then everybody started asking Yost what even a newer unit bench Willis work for the scammer get up later.

What you do and even listening to Buddy Moorhouse who happens to teach at Hillsdale College is also a documentarian made a documentary on this very story. By the way this goes to show that racism is not a southern phenomenon for the national and international play and athletic director at a top Big Ten school probably wasn't the big tendon was vehemently against having an African-American athlete and a terrific one plan is team for no other reason than he was black when we come back more of this remarkable story love story of sorts on our American story.

Folks if you love the stories we tell about this great country and especially the stories of America's rich past. Know that all of our stories about American history. Reward innovation culture and faith are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College placement. Students study all the things that are beautiful in life and all the things that are good in life.

If you can get the Hillsdale bills that will come to you with their free and terrific online courses go to Hillsdale.edu to learn more. This is Tori Johnny with the 90210 MG podcasts we have such a special episode brought to you by near attack ODT we recorded at iHeartRadio type and Windows came down near attack ODT were magic pants 75 mg and help migraine sufferers still set an exciting event window tango extra I had when I took minor attack ODT. I was present amazing time. A little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends & was brought to you by near attack ODT were magic pants 75 mg life with migraine attacks can be missing out on big moments with friends and family, but thankfully near attack ODT were magic pants 75 mg is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines else sound lively events like window tango town have to be next to millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and United healthcare can help you feel confident about your choices for those eligible Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7. If you're working past age 65. You might be able to delay Medicare enrollment. Depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be this@uhcmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more United healthcare helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop for small business insurance. I need my State Farm agent make sure my business days: incompetent business owners to help you pass. State Farm is in your corner and on neighbor. There call your local State Farm agent for quote today and we returned to our American story.

Just listening to the story of Gerald Ford was Ward becoming fast friends, University of Michigan, by the way, would you guys decide to load. This is more than a friendship. We joined events as word spreads of the approaching Michigan Georgia Tech in the crisis or impending crisis will Buddy Moorhouse way work back in house. Football then is that freshmen were allowed to play varsity so Willis 104 well when they were freshmen they were just on the practice what when they were sophomores they were able play because Willis Ward was pretty much that he was deftly the fastest player on one of the best players on the team he moved into the starting lineup right away. He was the best player starting when he was a sophomore in Michigan won the national championship both his sophomore and junior year. So Willis Ward is one of the best players on the best country. Gerald Ford was backing. He was people at center and linebacker, and he was backing up again. Chuck Bernard was an All-American center Gerald Ford didn't play much at all. When he was a sophomore and junior only was a senior. Chuck Bernard was graduating. So for the first time both in the these guys these best friends Gerald Ford will work. Both can be moving to the starting line and they were so excited heading into that seat 30 4C starters for the first time you're coming off two national championships and the excitement was just skyhigh, but all that kind came crashing down in starting the late summer and in the early fall 1934 when when the StorageTek situation came up and everybody started asking them started asking children Yost and Eric you know what you knew about the steam. Georgia Tech does not play the game, Willis workplace in the game do about it because this incredibly contentious situation. Once word got out on the team in Michigan community and then really nationally. It became the firestorm in Michigan campus college football back then didn't start late August or September games didn't start early October. The first season. Georgia Tech games can be 13 season and it wasn't until October 20 play so this really started to explode in late September and early October 1934 and when word got out when Georgia Tech said no when I can play the game if Willis workplace feeling Yost say anything publicly, not deftly speaking the meetings that they had seen anything when making press announcements wouldn't answer any other questions about leading up to the game. As I said it was creating this firestorm on the campus and there were really two sides that were forming on the one side, you had most all of the faculty in almost all the students at Michigan who were saying there's no way that we should play this game if Willis works not allowed to play either. He plays the game or we cancel it should not play the game bench will work. This is not an option. On the other side were some of the, the more bluebloods, some of the fraternity boys and Michigan's campus were taking the approach that you know what we these are our guests from the South.

We need to be considerate of what their feelings are and we need to give in and bench Willis work because that's what they want us to do. There are so created a huge rift on the campus the night before the game. There was this huge rally that had about 1500 thousand people attending. It where it was.

Everybody came to the microphone giving angry speeches on both sides of it. There also hundreds, telegrams were received by the Michigan athletic office. Most all of them saying that disgraced school like Michigan would even be thinking about you in a situation like this and demanding that they cancel again.

They're insisting really that people in the middle of this were not only Willis Borg but also Gerald Ford. He was for the first time in his life as a set of starter on the Michigan football team. He was watching what was happening, his best friend Gerald Ford felt so strongly about it that actually wrote to his father and then got the word Harry Kathy that he wanted to quit the team if they were going to do this to his friend Willis Morrissey didn't want to have any part of that. So he told his father that if you think about it, that's an extraordinary thing for 20-year-old college kid to be doing this.

Is this he was living his dream of being Michigan football player and even the only season he was described senior year, he was willing to quit team is a show support for his best friend work.

That's how strongly she thought about it and that's it a test of character that a lot of don't know about Gerald Ford really stayed with them for the rest of his life after he said that and he told Willis Ward what he wanted to do. Willis Ward went to Gerald Ford and he told me said no I don't want you to quit the team. I want you to play you what the plate and I want you to come. So that's what Ford media player play compound.

The weather was miserable. It was October 20. Weather was cold and rainy Michigan. It started to season terribly and it was all because of the Willis word incident. This was just ripping the team up inside. They just came off two back-to-back national championships and then they started in 1934. Season with two losses coming in the Georgia Tech game that Artie lost two games in the in the morale of the team was destroyed but they were they had a special mission. I think in their hearts for the Georgia Tech game that they needed to go out there and needed to stand up for their friend Willis Ward so games Platonist terrible conditions, but Michigan actually won the game 92 Georgia Tech's only points came and safety.

Michigan scored office for safety and they scored a touchdown in the game and Gerald Ford have probably the best game of his of his life. That year he was absolutely devastating the players from the Georgia Tech team and the one play that really illustrates that is, there was an player on Georgia Tech team soft morning Charlie Preston was from Atlanta and that there was there was trash talk throughout the entire game but Charlie Preston just really really going over the top. He was Talking about Willis Ward in the game, and using the worst racial slurs, it can imagine to describe him, and he was directing that the Michigan players when Gerald Ford heard that he snapped and there was this one play where Gerald Ford and another player named Bill Boardman they went after Charlie Preston during that play and they put the most devastating block on him.

That ended up breaking some of Charlie Preston's ribs. They had to haul him out of the game after that.

That's how hard it Charlie Preston and that got in the newspaper that you know he been knocked out of the game and on Monday morning after the game Gerald Ford and Bill Boardman became the Willis worldly said that was for you. That ended up being the only game. Michigan won that season record wise was the worst season in Michigan history. It was all because their morale had been totally destroyed because of the Willis Ward situation, but that this was not a team that was in historically troubling. They just came off two had come off two national championship seasons and in the end of having a 17 season, which is the worst season, Michigan football history and what a story or hearing about how racism drove the great University of Michigan championship team tragic and terrible season and all over one single claim that from athletic director who deliberately did. This is almost no question we did just listening to the story.

Why schedule a 17 but for this kind of conflict and showed why else would a man do it. That's have deep roots of racism going and what a thin, young Gerald Ford did the dozen play of my pelvis and play with and his pal says no go pound and one when they have in this tragic season well they pounded and broke some ribs while they're at it on general principle. When we come back more of this remarkable story, a love story. In the end between Gerald Ford and Willis Ward on our American story, this is Tori Jenny with 210 MG podcasts we have such a special episode brought to you by near attack ODT we recorded at iHeartRadio and Windows came down near attack ODT were magic pants 75 mg can help migraine sufferers still such an exciting event like window tango. I had when I took minor attack ODT. I was present amazing time of our conversation with some of our closest friends & was brought to you by near attack ODT were magic pants 75 mg life with migraine attacks can be missing out on big moments with friends and family, but thankfully near attack ODT were magic pants 75 mg is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines else sound lively events like window tango town have to be next to millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and United healthcare can help you feel confident about your choices for those eligible Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7. If you're working past age 65. You might be able to delay Medicare enrollment.

Depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be this UHC Medicare health plans.com to learn more United healthcare helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop for small business insurance. I need my State Farm agent make sure my business and confident business owners to help you pass.

State Farm is in your corner and on my neighbor call your local State Farm agent for quote today and we returned to our American stories.

We were just listening to Buddy Moorhouse describe what happened on that fateful day in 1934 when Michigan Georgia Tech there only when the season. What happened to the relationship between Gerald Ford, Willis Ward pickup will be less left that game had a profound impact on both of them in in every respect. What it did to Willis Ward at first was he was, as I said, it is great as he was in football.

He was even better in track. He was one of the best football players in the country. He was one of the best track people in the entire world. Back then the fastest man in the world was Jesse Owens was from Ohio State and he's the one who went on 14 gold medals in the 1936. Well Willis Ward in Jesse Owens were in college at the same time, and Willis Ward raced against Jesse Owens five times and he actually beat Jesse Owens twice.

There are people that don't think Jesse Owens ever lost a race in college were ever lost a race during that time only people ever beat him was Willis Ward.

So you Willis Ward, who is is just as fast as Jesse owns the fastest man in the world and going in 1936 Olympics. Everybody was thinking the United States is restricting full-time got Jesse owns on her team got Willis Ward and her team were just do nothing but win gold medals, but that the Olympics at your course were held in Berlin, Adolf Hitler's Berlin in there was a lot of speculation as to what he might do in terms of discriminating against the athletes were not were not white from other countries so Willis Ward admin so devastated by what happened to the Georgia Tech situation came to the Olympics. He just said what I don't want to put myself through possibly having the same thing happened to me is happened to me with the Georgia Tech team so he essentially retired from athletics after the 1935 track season at Michigan never ran another racer played another football game. He decided instead that he was going to the corporate world. He was hired by Henry Ford to work at the Ford Motor Company as kind of a liaison between the black and white workers at Henry Ford loved Willis where he absolutely loved and he was trying to integrate thought affect the time he needed someone to kind of be the go-between. So when Willis Ward is in his early 20s. He was probably one of the highest ranking African-American business executives working for the Ford Motor Company, Gerald Ford, went on to law school at Yale and then became an attorney in Grand Rapids years after that Congress but throughout the entire time date they will support Gerald Ford kept in touch with each other, visited each other all the time sites other all the time for became a congressman will score eventually left Ford Motor Company went to law school because he wanted to become an attorney, specifically working in civil rights cases and then in 1956 Willis Ward decided he was then run for Congress to will and like Gerald Ford.

Willis Ward was also a Republican. So Willis Ward is been one for Congress in in a seat in Detroit is a Republican, Gerald Ford came to Detroit in campaign for his friend. After that, so that was 20 years after their football days of Michigan and the two of them are walking through Detroit knocking on doors together. Try to get elected to he ended up not winning that race not getting elected but show their friendship and kept going on. After that when Gerald Ford became one of the leading people in the House of Representatives he and nine in the 1960s when the civil rights legislation was going through the Congress. Ford was one of the main public and supporters of the civil rights legislation and he always told people that the thing was strongest in his mind when he voted in favor of that was what happened. Willis Ward and how unfair that was. So he voted in favor of the voting rights act and Civil Rights Act. It was Willis Ward story and his friendship.

Willis Ward was strongly in his mind, and it continued when he moved into the White House when Richard Nixon resigned as for the course become vice president when Spiro Agnew resigned and then he became president when Nixon resigned and that whole initial friendship and everything was Willis Ward was still was still one of the driving factors in his mind the time came to any any legislation or anything else was going on related to race, is his relationship with Willis were still there.

Gerald Ford was the president signed Black history month in the law and Willis Ward would come to the White House and visit with Jerry at that time some great photos from 1976 of the two of them in the Oval Office, just having a private conversation. It had been 40 years since their time in Ann Arbor and they were together at the White House wanted by that by that time Willis Ward was a judge in Detroit.

The other judge in Detroit and the President of the United States's tool, Michigan football teammates just having a great conversation on the Oval Office so that there their friendship continued through the rest of their lives and then even after Willis Ward passed away in 1983.

It even continued after that Willis Ward passed away in 1983 Gerald Ford then became kind of a an elder statesman in the Republican Party, and in one of the most remarkable things happen as 1999 Michigan University of Michigan's. They have an affirmative action policy that was in place and if it come under fire and was being legally channels that went all the way to the Supreme Court, the president of the of Michigan at that time was manning the bowl and in he was desperately trying to keep some semblance of this program in place because he wanted to have a diverse student body, and he knew this was a politically charged issue, but he was desperately looking for someone who's looking for a Republican would be willing to say that it's important we have this policy at the University Michigan and other universities so Gerald Ford was actually the one who came forward. In 1999 and he stepped forward and said I will I will help Gerald Ford wrote an op-ed in the New York Times. Basically talking about the pertinence of fairness, the importance of being able to have diversity in University any base. This is entire argument around the story of Willis Ward and that's interesting on several levels. Number one, it's interesting because Ford never talked about the Willis Ward story throughout. Very rarely. He was on TV one time in the 90s on the Larry King show where he is on there with her son Steven and Stephen kind of prompted him to tell the story. It's the only time we can ever find Joe for telling the story and camera.

It was like he was exploiting it for political purposes or anything. He never told Wolf works toward anyone, but he decided when when his alma mater's admissions policy was under fire.

He decided that was the right time to tell so heat wrote an op-ed in the New York Times where he basically told the story of of Willis Warden for a lot of the country was the first time that story and is very very powerful op-ed and the Supreme Court voted soon after that to uphold our admissions policy in the swing vote and that was Sandra Day O'Connor, and there are a lot of observers said that it was most likely Gerald Ford's op-ed that helped sway Sandra Day O'Connor's mind on how to vote on and a terrific job on the production by Carter McNish and a special thanks to Buddy Moorhouse who teaches at Hillsdale College, where Carter happens to be a student and who is also produced a documentary black and blue. The story of Gerald Ford Willis Ward in the 1934 Georgia Tech ballgame did, along with Brian Kruger and that's available@walmart.com, Amazon.com, with the usual suspects. Terrific story about friendship, about how love can transcend race and about so much more, including courage and courage under fire here on our American story, this is Tori Johnny with OMG podcasts we have such a special episode brought to you by near attack ODT we recorded at radiused windows came out near attack ODT were magic pants 75 mg can help migraine sufferers still such an exciting event like window tango. I had when I took minor TECO DT. I was present amazing time.

A little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends & was brought to you by near attack ODT were magic pants 75 mg life with migraine attacks can be missing out on big moments with friends and family, but thankfully near attack ODT were magic pants 75 mg is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines and adults sell lively events like window tango town have to be next to millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year and United healthcare can help you feel confident about your choices for those eligible Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7. If you're working past age 65.

You might be able to delay Medicare enrollment.

Depending on your employer coverage.

It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be this UHC Medicare health plans.com to learn more United healthcare helping people live healthier lives. I know everything there is to know about running a coffee shop for small business insurance. I need my State Farm agent make sure my business and confident business owners to help you pass. State Farm is in your corner and on neighbor.

There call your local State Farm agent for quote today and we continue with our American stories are next story comes to us from our regular contributor is Peterson notable figure resembles the American spirit would be none other than Orton as well. Walker worked as a short and unforgettable Tennessean businessman, politician and personality on TV and radio years Dennis with the store cast will older people in the southern Appalachians reacted in a variety of ways to that may some people shake their heads in amazement remembering some of his off-the-wall advertising, promotions, others grin, thinking of the man's tales of horsetrading can hunting and still others frowned, recalling a formidable political flow. Whatever the response.

However, one thing is sure Cass Walker could never be ignored. Cass himself make sure that Cass Walker was a celebrated grocer, a millionaire and a self-proclaimed living legend. Some people consider him the most colorful and controversial political figure in the region.

That assessment is no small matter considering Walker's background poverty, lack of education, Cass was born in 1902 in an area of severe County, Tennessee called the sinks. His parents, Tom and Anna Mitchell Walker reared 12 children, five boys and seven girls. Cass said he was the youngest, the meanest and the prettiest he had less than two years of formal schooling at what was called Mercy College in Sevierville, Tennessee. His favorite subject was bookkeeping, but he dropped out of Murphy after beating up a boy who had tripped him as he went onto the platform for recitation. He said that dropping out of Murphy was the biggest mistake you ever made from his earliest youth.

Cass was always trying to make money to improve himself. For example, a pig drover who had spent the night at the Walker home couldn't find his head. The next morning the man offered 1/4 to the child he found casted his siblings accused Cass of hiding the hat on purpose and cares said he might've done just that.

But Cass use the quarter, he turned to Bob cripple South from the main later he bred the South traded the brute for four. She read the she and got eight lines ended up selling the whole lot to his father for $500 when he was 14. Cass overheard his parents say that they would lose their home if they were unable to pay the note.

He ran away from home and got a job with a logging company in smoke mount North Carolina so he could help them pay off the mortgage.

He worked hard and saved his money.

Soon he was cashing paychecks for the other workers for a fee of 15% of each paycheck.

Walker returned home paid off his parents that ended in 1919 went to work for coal mining company in Harlan, Kentucky, for $13.50 a day. Again he worked hard, saved his money and look for other ways to add to his income. Meanwhile, Cass was developing ideas for his magnificent Obsession to own his own grocery store even drew a detailed floor plan for that store on the ceiling of the mine with smoke from his carbide lamp and signed his name beside it.

I dreamed about that store every day, said, but he did more than dream. He started putting $100 a month into the local bike in 1924 Cass returned to Knoxville with $900 and a lot of determination he bought his first store at auction for $750. He was 22 years old within four years he had opened a second store from that modest beginning.

He grew to 29 stores in three states, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia in less than 10 years.

He was a millionaire. I didn't know a thing about merchandising. He admitted, but I note kindly how to excite a crowd. He quickly became infamous as the master promotions and advertising gimmicks didn't always do things by the book, but what he did seem to work. His first promotional gimmick at his first store was a chicken throw. He held one every Saturday for five years. He advertised that at 10 o'clock he would throw 20 live chickens from the roof and whoever caught one could keep it on the appointed day, he intentionally delayed the throw until 11 o'clock. Ensuring a big crowd and building excitement. While the people waited, they got hungry and thirsty and Cass was prepared to sell them popcorn, peanuts and cheap soft drinks. He said another promotion almost worked them to death. The offered customers at his Pennington gap, Virginia store, a free, fully dip for their dogs for every $10 grocery order in two days he dip $737. Walker knew that the key to successful advertising is image and name recognition. He wanted to convey an image of a common, hard-working, down to earth. Kuhn Hunter and grocer who was concerned about his customers needs. Therefore, he always acted with the innocence of a country boy in the big city. I tried to be just as countrified as I am. He once told a reporter it's good business. And it's good politics is newspaper ads each began with Cass Walker says in big bold letters, and featured a photograph of himself bald, grinning and bespectacled in the early 1950s, Cass became a pioneer in radio and television advertising. He produced his own live radio and TV shows, the Cass Walker farm and home. Eventually his show was on all three of Knoxville's TV station. A number of future stars performed on his show. Perhaps the most famous was Dolly Parton who signed for him when she was only eight years old. Other soon to be famous names on the show included Homer Harris, Bonnie Lou and Buster Barbara man drill the Everly Brothers, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Loretta Lynn, of course.

Between songs Cass advertise groceries. Sometimes he held the actual products in his hand and read write off the labels soon. People of all ages were singing his little jingles quoting his slogans and most importantly forecast shopping at his stores stop shop and save it the side of the shares in the name Cass will some people said Cass was crazy as his reputation grew, so did pressure for him to run for Knoxville city Council.

He said he wasn't interested. His reluctance produced just as he had expected and wanted even more demand that he run in 1945. He did and he received 600 more votes than any other candidate by the rules of the day. The councilman with the most votes became mayor so Cass suddenly was the buyer but he stirred up so much controversy that he was removed from office in the special recall election. He was the only millionaire in city history to be recall, never a quitter. Cass was reelected to the Council. 11 months later and for the next three decades.

He was never again defeated in an election, but that didn't stop him from stirring controversy he gained. Perhaps his widest national attention in 1956 when life magazine of the Associated Press published a photo of him in fisticuffs with another councilman during a debate over tax and property assessments. Walker retired from active office in December 1971. Politics is a treacherous business worn my record is calling. I decided I'd better get out before something happens to spoil, but even his enemies praised Cass for his legendary philanthropy he paid for the burial of poor people. He gave groceries to hungry people initiated drives to rebuild homes for poor families displaced bathhouse fires.

He was instrumental in the founding of Children's Hospital in Knoxville and he spearheaded the milk fund which provided milk the children in spite of his great wealth.

Cass continued to live in a modest, unpretentious house in East Knoxville for the rest of his life. Although Cass died in 1998 is legend lives on. Among those who remember him before he passed.

He wrote his autobiography titled my life history.

A true living legend and the legend. He continues to be a terrific job on the production and editing on the storytelling by Aaron Phillips and a special thanks to Peterson regular contributor and a terrific storyteller himself, and what a story he told Cass Walker grows up in the poorest parts of Tennessee. The sinks is the nickname 112 kids. He said he was the youngest.

The meanest and the best looking ass was always hustling from money, very little actual schooling at the school of hard knocks at 14. Cass overheard his parents might lose their home and what is a boy do goes out and does logging for living comes back and helps pay off the mortgage and then while he's working in a coal mine saving up money to do the thing he dreamed of, which is open to grocery store and then of course nobody was a better promoter almost a PT Barnum grocery stores, understanding media advertising and promotion and in the end, image and branding. A classic American story.

Best Walker story here on our American store


Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime