Editor’s note: This is another column in Bill Boyd’s new series, “The Way It Was,” about growing up in Marysville. Bill continues to work with the Union County Historical Society to obtain information for his stories. With Marysville and Union County celebrating Bicentennial anniversaries in 2019 and 2020, respectively, these articles help depict what life was like in those early years.
In 1947, my dad was granted a dealership to sell Raytheon TV sets. He didn’t have a retail store, but he sold them out of our house. Television was brand new, and I think the set in our living room was probably the first one in town.
Boy, it didn’t take long for neighborhood kids to find out about that TV set. After school, when I came home from basketball practice, I would often find several young boys and girls sitting on our living room floor watching television.
The kid I remember most was a boy named Bill Hoopes. He must have been about six years old, and he lived directly across the street from us. I think the favorite show for all those kids was the “Howdy Doody Show.” I wish you could have heard that Hoopes kid sing along with the studio audience as they sang the theme song, “It’s Howdy Doody Time.” He really belted it out.
Now, move the calendar forward to some time in the early 1960s. Bill and two of his Marysville friends, John and David Bumgarner, formed a music trio. They sang at local events and throughout the county, singing country songs that had been made popular by the Everly Brothers.
But it was folk music that was in their future, for the “folk music craze” was sweeping the country. No matter what radio station or TV channel you selected, you heard musicians like Bob Dylan, the Kingston Trio, or Peter Paul and Mary. Folk music was everywhere.
Bill’s folk music group called themselves “The Cannon Brothers.” After a few radio appearances, they had quite a following and found themselves performing at the Maramor Supper Club in Columbus.
Then things started moving fast for those Marysville boys. Within a few weeks, the trio signed a contract with a New York booking agent, and they found themselves in New York City auditioning. The agent said that they needed to include some original songs of their own, so Bill became a singer-songwriter.
Then the Cannon Brothers hit the road. They spent the next year or so crisscrossing the country, singing folk music in venues from New York’s Blue Angel to Ye Little Club in Los Angeles. They also sang at a host of bars, coffee houses and supper clubs throughout the country. In between performances, they returned to New York for more auditions, while Bill continued writing new songs.
After a year or more of living like this, Bill decided to walk away from performing, and he returned to college where he graduated a couple years later. The Bumgarner brothers got a replacement for Bill and continued singing for a while.
I talked with Bill not long ago, and he said the whole thing was a good learning experience, but it was a long tough road to travel, and there was no end in sight.
I’m sure all that is true, but I think there was one other thing that put an end to The Cannon Brothers for Bill, John and David. I think the biggest challenge may have been four other young guys named John, Paul, George and Ringo. You see, when the Beatles arrived, folk music’s days were numbered. Those four Brits completely changed America’s music tastes.
I only saw Bill Hoopes perform with the Cannon Brothers once. I enjoyed the music, but my favorite memory of Bill was when he was six years old sitting on our living room floor, as he belted out “it’s Howdy Doody time.”
When I talked with Bill, I was surprised to learn that when he stopped performing, he didn’t stop writing songs. In fact, he is still writing them today, 60 years or so later. His music is available on iTunes, Spotify and YouTube. He also has a CD entitled “Here Comes Winter.”
Those wishing to contact Bill Boyd can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org