Minnie Pearl with the news

Minnie Pearl via WikipediaIn a rare crossover between my personal research interests in Old Time fiddle music and Old Time Radio, I stumbled onto the Grand Ole Opry of September 25, 1943, with Cousin Minnie Pearl being introduced as “our girl reporter from Grinder Switch” with a comic description of the attributes of a good reporter…

This is at least something to file away under references to the ubiquitous presence of newspapers in 1940s American culture…

You know neighbors, someone said to be a newspaper reporter you must have an eye like an eagle (or does he say “needle”?), a nose like a gimlet, and an ear that can catch the faintest sound of news. Well, our girl reporter has all of those and a new Sunday go to meeting dress besides…” — announcer

This is also the first time I’ve seen the reference to gimlet and nose, as opposed to the usual cliche about being gimlet-eyed… “A piercing nose for news” would be an odd mixed metaphor, but a gimlet was a piercing tool… as opposed to the gimlet cocktail which is named for its creator… At least according to this combined source at Grammarist. Could the Grand Ole Opry announcer be making a subtle reference to cliches about reporters and cocktails? I don’t think Minnie Pearl was ever associated with drinking, but I have not listened to a lot of these early episodes yet.

GrandOleOpry 09-25-43

That MP3 file of the episode came from one of the collections of Grand Ole Opry episodes at the Internet Archive. The Country Music Hall of Fame digital archives are more thoroughly documented and searchable, including 473 references to Minnie Pearl who is nicely profiled at Wikipedia), but I haven’t inspected them all to determine whether she was frequently given this “reporter” introduction.

About Bob Stepno

mild-mannered reporter who found computers & the Web in grad school in the 1980s (Wesleyan) and '90s (UNC); taught journalism, media studies, Web production; retired to write, make music, photograph sunsets & walks in the woods.
This entry was posted in 1940s, folklore, local news, newspapers, women. Bookmark the permalink.

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