One of the unfortunate aspects of the Hank Williams story following his death is the discovery realization that there is almost no video of Hank Williams in performance.
Ironically, because he made a movie short in the early thirties we have some excellent very clear video and audio of Jimmie Rodgers, even though he died 20 years before Hank Williams. And there is a lot of video of Hank Williams’ contemporaries such as Hank Snow, and Left Frizzel recorded on TV shows which were up and running by the early to mid fifties.
Hank Williams video with real live sound is sadly limited to his two appearances on the Kate Smith Show from New York in March and April 1952. Film of an earlier appearance on the Perry Como show may exist but has not surfaced for public consumption. And he also appeared on WSM TV in Nashville but apparently video has been destroyed or just not shared. You have to remember that TV at that time would have been like radio and simply sent out on the airwaves with no back up.
The Kate Smith kinescopes, in which a film camera records off a TV screen, contain only 2 songs with Hank performing alone, ‘Hey Good Lookin’ and ‘Cold, Cold Heart, plus one stunning never to be forgotten duet with Anita Carter on ‘I Can’t Help it if I’m Still in Love with You’. Finally, the Grand Old Opry cast including Hank sing ‘I Saw The Light’, and ‘Glory Bound Days’.
On this post, I am putting up a long clip of 6 minutes or so featuring June Carter because I’m sure many of you would love to see her as a young woman in 1952 many years before her long marriage to Johnny Cash. Hank comes in at about the 4 minute mark.
Finally I want to note that I fully realize that Hank Williams fans of long-standing are fully aware of these videos and have watched them many times.
But by far the majority of visitors to this site come from search engines and may be looking for Hank for the first time. We so desperately need a new generation of Hank Williams fans. I try not to assume that young people know any of a the background. Seeing these videos for the first time here on this site could be a moving and life altering experience.
I will post more videos in Part 2.