Hollywood. The name itself conjures up visions of glitz, glamour and celebrities. To most, it once seemed to be the ultimate in sophistication and wealth. Ordinary Americans knew only what was on the silver screens, in the newspapers and magazines and on television (only three channels). This was before all the sordid stories surfaced showing that Hollywood folks were like humans everywhere.
However, it was a BIG deal when a Hollywood celebrity appeared at the 6th Annual Ramp Festival in Cocke County in 1959. That celebrity was Tennessee Ernie Ford, a “Bristol boy who has made good.” His real name was Ernest Jennings Ford, and he was still in high school when W.A. Wilson had hired him as a radio announcer on radio WOPI. Wilson’s wife was the former Etta Holder of Newport. She was a sister of John, Hugh and Oscar Holder, still remembered by some of our older citizens.