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Bob Lind, Published June 10 2012

Lind: Near and far, people were wild about Lulu Belle and Scotty

Their given names were Myrtle Cooper and Scott Wiseman, but they became famous as Lulu Belle and Scotty, who sang together on the “National Barn Dance” radio show.

After Neighbors ran a piece about them earlier, a reader wanted to know if they had a Fargo-Moorhead connection.

“None that I could think of,” writes a guy who knows something about radio: Earl Williams, Fargo, who was with WDAY for many years.

But wherever people lived, they loved Lulu Belle and Scotty.

Phil Winslow, Mapleton, Maine, writes that, “We may not be neighbors, but I received a clipping about Lulu Belle and Scotty. They were great favorites of mine. We used to listen to the ‘National Barn Dance’ every Saturday night. Yes, it got up here in Maine.

“I wonder if anyone knows that Lulu Belle once was a senator from Tennessee in the 1950s?

“Scotty wrote the song, ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.’

“Just thought your readers might enjoy these notes from the past. I’m 83, but I still love life and all it has.”

And here’s a note about a longtime North Dakota resident and Lulu Belle and Scotty fan.

Maxine Fagerland, Fargo, writes that her father, Harris Fagerland, lived in the Noonan, N.D., area near Crosby most of his life and listened to Lulu Belle and Scotty there. “He often talked about them,” she says, adding that “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” was one of his favorite songs.

Harris died in February at age 92.

More on Lulu, Scotty

Now back to Earl Williams and more radio history.

Lulu Belle and Scotty, Earl says, were both born in North Carolina and became nationally known on the WLS Radio “National Barn Dance” show from Chicago in the early 1940s.

The Barn Dance show itself started in the 1920s and in 1925, became the first radio program to be broadcast nationally, on the old NBC Blue network, which consisted of 38 stations. It went national in 1944 on NBC; this included WDAY in Fargo.

A movie about the Barn Dance show was made in 1994. It featured Lulu Belle and Scotty and the emcee of the show, Pat Buttram, who later became famous as Gene Autry’s sidekick in western movies and then as Mr. Haney on the TV show “Green Acres.” When Buttram left the Barn Dance show, George Gobel replaced him.

Scotty died in 1981, Lulu Belle in 1999.

And there, thanks to Earl, is a rundown on two big-time radio stars of the past.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com