From the SN-L:
Veteran Branson entertainer Lyle Mabe has died.
Mabe died early today after a long illness, according to a news release from the Baldknobbers, which he helped found in 1959.
Mabe, 71,performed in Branson’s first show as comedian George Aggernite, which was the name his father gave him as a small boy.
Mabe played the washtub bass from the show’s founding until 1991.
After leaving the stage, Mabe continued to provide advice, particularly when it came to comedy.
During television appearances representing Empire Gas, Mabe helped popularize the Baldknobbers.
In 1960, Mabe performed at the opening day of Silver Dollar City, and portrayed Uncle Ike during the first summer of the Shepherd of the Hills outdoor play.
At a time when the Branson show season ran from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Mabe and his brothers took their show on tour to spread the word about their show Branson.
Those tours went from Minnesota and Wisconsin to Texas.
The practice of off-season touring and inviting audiences to visit Branson was picked up by other Branson performers.
The tradition started by Lyle Mabe continues, with the show being carried on by the family’s second and third generations.
Mabe’s wife, Betty, preceded him in death. Mabe’s son, Brent, is the Baldknobbers Show music director.
I can still remember those old Empire Gas commercials with the tag line, "It's economical".