James “Goober” Buchanon’s show-business career involves country music, comedy and storytelling. He was born in 1907, the same year as fellow entertainers Gene Autry, Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne. Buchanon is celebrating his 100th birthday. Laura Rogers sat in on some of Buchanon’s storytelling, to gain insight into his timeless wit and fascinating life.
From his first taste of making people laugh, Buchanon knew he was destined for a career in entertainment.
“I jumped too high and hit my head on that bell - it brought the house down. I was the star of the show,” Buchanon reminisced.
That first fateful audition would be far from the last time Buchanon would stand on a stage.
“That’s the whole group on the WLS show I was on - that’s me in the middle,” Buchanon pointed out in a picture.
Buchanon embarked on a career as a country music musician, poet and comedian. It spanned 80 years, dozens of shows, countless performances and four wives.
Highlights include working on the Porter Waggoner Show and The Grand Ole Opry.
“The Grand Ole Opry - I never did like that. Really, maybe I’m crazy. Many people would give their life to be on there, but the Opry didn’t pay much. My first check was $5 - they finally got up to $15,” Buchanon recalled.
Working with the Opry meant close encounters with country music legends.
“I worked with Dolly. She was a sweet girl,” Buchanon said. “I never met Hank, but once I shook his hand. I was down at his and Audrey’s western store on Broadway and he was there.”
Fans christened Buchanon with their own term of endearment.
“They called me Goober - the favorite nut of the south,” Buchanon said.
He said the show at Renfro Valley was his favorite.
“I liked that show. It was a good show,” Buchanon shared and at 100-years-old he’s still sharing his talents as a vivid storyteller and entertainer.
Buchanon now lives at the Bowling Green Retirement Village, where residents threw him a birthday party on June 18.