Barney, Grandma Beulah and Homer Lee. What do these three have in common? They are all creations brought to life by Branson’s busiest man, Mr. Terry Wayne Sanders.
Throw in two rotating characters at Shepherd of the Hills, five characters a day at Silver Dollar City, Joan Rivers appearances, and you have one very busy, but happy Terry Sanders. When I caught up with Terry, I wanted to find out where he could be found. I am telling you now, just taking notes on his schedule left this writer worn out!! Take a look. This is Terry’s 33rd year at Silver Dollar City. Currently, he is there five days a week, and portrays five characters per day. He leaves Silver Dollar City and on three evenings a week, he hosts an hour-long campfire wagon ride at Big Cedar. For the past 10 seasons, Terry has been with Shepherd of the Hills. He is currently portraying two different characters on a rotating schedule. He has been with the Vacation Channel for 15 years. He has a show there called, “Branson Country.” Originally, the show just featured him as Terry’s Tour Guide, but recently they have elected to start and end the show with Terry, but eight additional characters have been thrown in the mix. About his hectic schedule, Terry says, “ I just moving and moving….for 33 years now in Branson, I have been blessed to work day and night.” Also, he says he couldn’t make it without a calendar. ”It is all about organization”. He says that he has always been aware of time and how he can fill that time. ”I might have a window of opportunity here, I can help someone else out. I have always tried to organize things like that. I enjoy being on the go, keep my mind going. Also with another job, I can help my family. That is why I do as much as I can.”
So, where did the ideas for these characters come from? Growing up in Mt. Grove, Terry loved and identified with bugs bunny. He took notice of all the accents, hats and the fact that Bugs wore dresses in some situations. When his family first visited Branson, he was just amazed with the comedy genius that was on stage at both the Baldknobbers and Presleys’ theaters. He found both original characters, Droopy Drawers, Senior and Herkimer wildly entertaining, but noticed that they portrayed the same character throughout the show. Terry decieded that he wanted to come to Branson and be more than one. During shows where he portrays multiple characters, he says it is always rewarding to hear the audience reactions. “I can’t believe you did that !” How did you change your clothes so fast?”, they would ask. “To me, that was always a goal, to keep the audience wondering what I was going to do next, or to surprise them with the next “character.” While Joan Rivers is the most requested character, (which by the way takes Terry 30 minutes to transform into), Grandma Beulah is his personal favorite.
Grandma Beulah is based on Terry’s own grandmothers. He took the most loved characteristics of the ladies, and created the character now loved by many.
This August, Terry has holding a reunion show of all of his characters. Homer Lee and Friends is scheduled for Sunday, August 26th, at 3 p.m. at the Hamner Barber Theatre. Get your tickets now for this one-day only show!
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