Sandra Clark's picture

Hey, thieves

In case you didn't get it, STAY OUT OF THE STORE OVER THERE!

Jack Lail's picture

Cas

And we thought we had a cast of characters today. Not even close to Cas.

LeftWingCracker's picture

That is AWESOME

And I thought WE had characters in Memphis....wow...

CM's picture

Cas

I worked for Cas at his Rutledge Pike store many years ago. He fired me because I ask two drunk old girls to please decide on what kind of beer that they wanted a hour after the store had already closed.I was nice about it. These old girls were so drunk that they acted like they forgot where they were. They were his friends & I was out the door. He was a crazy old guy.

JaHu's picture

If you are from south

If you are from south Knoxville, you are probably already familiar with this, but back before we had sewer lines through-out many parts of South Knox county, construction growth here was stimmied because the land wouldn't perk. This was due to poor soil composition. What this meant was the land wouldn't support using a septic system so they wouldn't allow builders in south Knox county to build subdivided neighborhoods.

Before they decided to totally dis-allow all septic systems here, they would at least come out, if requested, and do perk tests to see if by chance your land would happen to perk, and if it did, you could then build on it. Anyway I talked with Cas about this problem many years ago and he told me how he used to get around it.

A day or so before the scheduled perk test was to take place, he would bore several deep holes in the area where he was wanting the septic system installed. Then late at night he would set off sticks of dynamite down in the holes. When they came to do the perk tests, he said the land would then perk just fine. He then could build on it.

Cas was one of, it not the most interesting characters of east Tennessee. May he rest in peace.

Somebody's picture

No doubt Cas Walker was a

No doubt Cas Walker was a cultural icon and the living definition of "salty character." Still, I do wonder about the hero worship of the guy. Here, we have an example of Cas blowing holes in the ground so that he could get a septic system approved. Of course, those same holes probably allowed the sewage in the new septic system to drain right into the neighbors' well water supply. Is it because this sort of dishonesty was conducted with cavalier flair that people remember it as a positive attribute? I wonder about this because if you give it some thought, it was Cas and his crusty ilk who set this town back about 50 years.

bizgrrl's picture

it was Cas and his crusty

it was Cas and his crusty ilk who set this town back about 50 years.

Hah! I have my doubts that Knoxville's problems, past or present, have much to do with Cas Walker. There have been plenty of "leaders" come through this town doing damage in a genteel manner.

Somebody's picture

Look again. Cas was about

Look again. Cas was about as anti-progressive as you can get. His kind of narrow-minded worldview significantly shifted Knoxville's trajectory.

Joe328's picture

Provide examples of how Cas

Provide examples of how Cas set Knoxville back 50 years. He was a crooked businessman like most in Knoxville at the time, but as a politician his record has proven to be good for Knoxville. He brought the Civic Coliseum to Knoxville. He was against new retail businesses opening using tax breaks and other tax funded expenses. He supported the schools by ensuring taxes increases voted in for schools went to schools. Knoxville had one of better schools systems in Tennessee and the state was in the top 25 at the time.

The expansion he against was the big box stores like we have today. Such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes, and others that drove the Mom and Pop stores out if business. He had no problem with businesses coming to town as long as they did not receive any tax breaks or other funding from the tax payers.

I disliked Cas at the time. Seeing today how Knoxville controlled by the developers. I realized how right he was.

metulj's picture

He was against new retail

He was against new retail businesses opening using tax breaks and other tax funded expenses.

...

The expansion he against was the big box stores like we have today. Such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes, and others that drove the Mom and Pop stores out if business. He had no problem with businesses coming to town as long as they did not receive any tax breaks or other funding from the tax payers.

Errr, what exactly was the business he was in?

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

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Joe328's picture

Cas Walker opened every

Cas Walker opened every store with his own money and no property tax breaks. How many poster on this site complained about the new Lowes at John Sevier and planned shopping center in Halls Crossrroads? Has Lowes, WalMart, Home Depot, Target, and most every big box store in Knoxville ever opened a store without tax funding? Such as TIF, roads, special zoning, and many other tax funded services? WalMart took a tax break to build in Maryville. A few years later they received another tax break to relocate in Alcoa. Less than a mile from the first store. I'm not sure what the new store received. During the Cas Walker years there were locally owned businesses that had several stores in Knoxville and East Tennessee. How many are left today? Why were they forced to close? Compare the quality of life in Knoxville to areas that are fighting the big box stores.

metulj's picture

I am not defending WalMart,

I am not defending WalMart, but his bread was buttered too.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

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Kiva's picture

Cas The teacher

Cas was the original teacher...all those other leaders you refer to were his students. There was a saying during Cas political/celebrity reign:"All that's wrong with Knoxville is it needs a few good funerals and a big fire." Cas was complex. He made a lot of enemies while cultivating his home grown country image. He also helped quite a few people as he calculated how to build his political base.

citizenX's picture

VERY COLORFUL OLD FELLOW

I CONDUCTED AN INTERVIEW WITH CAS MANY YEARS AGO REGARDING AN UPCOMING MAYORS RACE. I ASKED HIM IF HE WOULD CONSIDER RUNNING HIMSELF SOMEDAY AND WOULD HE ENJOY BEING MAYOR ONCE AGAIN....HIS REPLY: "I'D RATHER HAVE SYPHLISS!!" I GOT THE IMPRESSION HE MEANT IT.

HE ALSO KEPT A JAR SITTING ON HIS DESK WHICH CONTAINED SMALL BONES (OR WHAT I THOUGHT WERE BONES) TURNS OUT...(HE SAID) THEY WERE RACOON PENISES. I MEANT TO LOOK THAT UP AND SEE IF HE WAS TEASING ME...BUT NEVER DID.

ONE OF HIS FAVORITE POLITICAL TRICKS WAS GOING TO THE ROAD PAVING DEPT. AND ASKING TO SEE THE UPCOMING ROAD PAVING PROJECTS. HE WOULD THEN GO TO THOSE STEETS AND MAKE HIMSELF VERY VISABLE AS HE WALKED THE STREET INSPECTING THE POT HOLES. THEN HE WOULD TELL THE NEIGHBORS ON THAT STREET HE WOULD HAVE SOMEONE OUT THERE TO FILL THOSE POT HOLES WITHIN FORTY EIGHT HOURS! IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM AND HE WOULD GET EVERY VOTE ON THAT STREET COME ELECTION TIME. CRAZY LIKE A FOX.

Terry Troll's picture

Coon Parts...

Every coon hunter I ever knew carried at least one coon part to use as a toothpick. It was like a membership badge to the club. And after all, Cas was the Old ...

Bbeanster's picture

Yep. Once upon a time I had

Yep.
Once upon a time I had an ex-husband who worked at Channel 10. He worked the early shift and would come home with Cas stories, one of which was about Cas picking his teeth with this strange looking device. Ex asked what it was and Cas told him it was "a coon peter."
They also had some phallic looking peppers that Honey Wilds grew that were called peter peppers.

Seemed to be a theme.

anntee's picture

Cas Walker

Boy this is vintage! I remember my Mama and Daddy taking all of us
from Lonsdale to Cas Walker on Friday nights. Boy what a memory.

tip taylor's picture

Cas Walker message to shoppers

I remember all the good Music played on his program , I remember the commercials ...all the other stuff was just that "stuff" because he dint do anymore than the establishment let him (thats not sayiing much for the whole damn lot )anyway I lived in Lonsdale and i remember stories of the good things Cas would do ....he was a good Man

Bbeanster's picture

The Cas Walker problem

The Cas Walker problem haunts us still, eh?
As some of you know, I am about 10 years overdue on producing a Cas Walker book, but every time I resolve to go back to the project, I run aground on my suspicion that nobody would want to read a book about the real Cas, who was a complicated blend of kindness, generosity, avarice and low-down evil.
I'm not, obviously, a professional historian, but I don't want to produce a piece of schlock. Seems to me that some folks are nostalgic for something that never really was.

I wrote a story about him a little while before he died, and lo and behold, it's somehow made it online, if anyone wants to take a look
(Thanks, Metro Pulse guys!)

(link...)

Russ's picture

I run aground on my

I run aground on my suspicion that nobody would want to read a book about the real Cas

Personally, I think a book on the "real" Cas would be a lot more interesting than a rehash of the character he played in public. Get to writin', Bean. ;-)

By the way, you mentioned some time ago that your brother John managed somehow to con Cas Walker once:

Somebody remind me some day, if you are interested, to tell you about the time that brother John conned Cas. It was classic. Godzilla v King Kong.

OK, I'm officially reminding you. I'd pay good money to hear that story.

~Russ

Bbeanster's picture

Somebody remind me some

Somebody remind me some day, if you are interested, to tell you about the time that brother John conned Cas. It was classic. Godzilla v King Kong.
OK, I'm officially reminding you. I'd pay good money to hear that story.

John collected the "Watchdog." Kept a scrapbook for a couple of years, and also distributed particularly funny ones to his friends. One day he was in the Greenway CW store scarfing up a whole stack of them and somebody tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around and it was Cas himself, thinking that he'd caught a damn Watchdog thief. He asked John what the hell he was doing with all them Watchdogs, and John told him that he was going to take them around to shut-ins. John said it with such sincerity that Cas was touched. They struck up a conversation, and John mentioned that he was trying to get up money for jerseys for his flag football team (which, of course, raised money for the afore-mentioned shut-ins), and Cas ended up going into the register for about $20 bucks or so. I forget exactly how much he coughed up, but knowing Cas, I doubt it got into three figures).

The flag football team -- the Tush Hogs -- actually existed, and played in a city league down at Tyson Park, but didn't have a damn thing to do with shut-ins, of course. The jerseys were hideously ugly; gray with a big red warthog looking thing on the front.

Russ's picture

That story is a perfect

That story is a perfect encapsulation of both those characters. Excellent.

~Russ

Somebody's picture

I'd read that book if you

I'd read that book if you wrote it.

Rachel's picture

I run aground on my

I run aground on my suspicion that nobody would want to read a book about the real Cas, who was a complicated blend of kindness, generosity, avarice and low-down evil.

Sign me up. And the spouse too - he's not "from around here" and he's absolutely fascinated by Cas stories.

BTW, my grandmother was a Walker. Whenever that came up in conversation she always added "and I'm NOT kin to Cas." (She was, however, a first cousin to the Walker Sisters of Little Greenbrier Cove).

R. Neal's picture

Judging from the hits on

Judging from the hits on this video, there is an insatiable appetite for all things Cas.

knoxvegas99's picture

One of my claims to "fame"

One of my claims to "fame" includes an appearance on Cas' show when I was about 13 years old. My brother and I sang old time gospel tunes. I remember a bit of the lyrics and the title of one - "Telephone to Glory."

From that debut we catapulted to a brief shining moment on the "Bonnie Lou & Buster Show." Shortly thereafter adolescence kicked in, my voice changed, and our 15 minutes of fame ended with a whimper.

Larry Van Guilder

Admirer's picture

Larry Your claims to fame

Larry Your claims to fame are many for this town. You are one of only a few that is NOT afraid to see the truth & TELL IT to the people. I admire you.

Factchecker's picture

For the war on terror and all

Makes me want to go hug a shut-in.

olknoxguy's picture

Cas - He "woulda beat the Hell outa 'em", too!

Everyone over 50 who is from East Tennessee has a story about Cas. Many, of course, were told without the full understanding of the real man. He was, of course, a real BS'er... but he also did a lot of good for a lot of poor people.... one person at a time, and with knowledge of what he was doing, not just to give a handout to feel good, or for a tax deduction. For someone who came across as uneducated.... he was really pretty smart... good common sense.... and he made lots of money... and, too, he gave a lot of it to really poor folks who needed a hand, not just a hand out. If he even thought you were lazy or just looking for a hand out... he'd call you a lazy SOB and tell you to get a job. But if you looked like you really needed help, he was a compasionate man. He was a tough ol' bird.... folks from Knoxville, and particularly from the poor part of Knoxville (where I was from), knew the real Cas Walker!

ProgressivePeach.com's picture

Get that Dulling Spray

One of my favorite Cas stories -- I don't know if it was apocryphal or not -- came from the days in 60s when his TV show was in black and white. Bright reflections would cause huge black spots on the screen, so technicians used a 3M Dulling Spray which would dull items so it wouldn't reflect the lights. One day a technician left a can on the table as Cas was walking down the table, picking up produce and products and talking about them. When he got to the dulling spray he picked it up, looked at it curiously for a second, then went on "and we've got this 3M dullin' spray. Not sure exactly what it does, but you don't want to be without a can. We've got the best price in town so get out to a store today and get you some!"

citizenX's picture

BURIED ALIVE

I would love it if Betty finished writing her book about Cas Walker. He was, as she stated, a complex man. He dominated politics in this town for many years.

I recall a publicity stunt he pulled at his Chapman Hwy. store. He decided to bury a man alive in the parking lot! This actually happened. I believe it was a man named Odell Cas Lane. At any rate, the man had been under the influence when he volunteered to do this little stunt but when he sobbered up he wanted to come up out of the "grave" Cas had placed him into. Cas refused because large crowds had gathered in his parking lot to see the show. Cas provided him with electric fans, soft drinks and even placed a woman in a nurses uniform to sit on a folding chair beside the "grave" in case Odell needed medical assistance. But he would not allow Odell to leave the "grave" until the agreed time had elapsed.

Does anyone else remember that incident? I can't remember why Cas wanted to dig that grave but I remember it happening. Traffic was blocked all along Chapman Hwy. and Cas did plenty of business as a result of that stunt.

MDB's picture

Uuummm....

I believe it was a man named Odell Cas Lane. At any rate, the man had been under the influence when he volunteered to do this little stunt but when he sobbered up he wanted to come up out of the "grave" Cas had placed him into. Cas refused because large crowds had gathered in his parking lot to see the show.

That can't have been legal.

Voting is like driving. If you want to go backwards, select R. If you want to go forward, select D.

R. Neal's picture

I witnessed it. Digger

I witnessed it. Digger O'Dell, I believe he called himself. My dad took us over to see it. Don't recall about the contract dispute.

Rsharp's picture

I witnessed this when my

I witnessed this when my father and uncle (not the same person! lol) took us there to see Digger! I still have freaky memories of him down in that hole!

William D.  Price's picture

BURIED ALIVE @ Cas Walker

I was in the U.S. Air Force at the Radar Station near Lake City, TN
(in Briceville) and I remember the incident very well. I don't remember
the exact date either, but I was at Lake City from Early 1959 to Early
1960....I "think" it was during this time period sometime.

One of the more prominant "News" stories of the time!

citizenX's picture

apology to all

If I had read the Beansters link to Metropluse I would have had the answer to my question. It was Digger Odell who was buried not Odell Cas Lane. And she also explains how it all came about.

Very interesting article. Thank you, Betty, for answering my question and for the great article about Cas.

redmondkr's picture

"What a revoltin' development this is!"

The original Digby 'Digger' O'Dell was the 'friendly undertaker' on the old radio series The Life of Riley beginning in the 1940s and continuing on early television.

His dark humor made him a very popular extra on the show.

Cas wasn't above taking advantage of that popularity.


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gospeldj's picture

cas

I interviewed Cas once on the radio, right after channel ten cancelled his show (this was during the worlds fair).

I wanted to talk about the cancellation, his feelings about it, and what his plans were. He seemed a little reluctant to talk at first, but once he got going we talked for about 45 minutes.

Someone at channel 10 had put together a "greatest hits" videotape of Cas and his Farm and Home Hour. I guess that's where the above clip is from. If you ever get a chance to see a copy, do. It's priceless. (of course, if it weren't priceless, Cas would have the best price in town!)

RayCapps's picture

I've never reconciled Cas with Mr. Walker

I grew up very close to Cas Walker's house on Gaston at the southern edge of North Hills. I used to ride bikes and skateboards with friends on the street all the time as we made our way to Handy Dandy or just out doing kid things. He was one of the ones who always waved or said something if he was out and saw us. I did a few odd jobs around his house as I got older. I was probably well up in my teen years before I learned that "Mr. Walker" was the guy on the television who owned the grocery stores. I'm pretty sure I once made a "Cas Walker Street Burner" reference once in his presence to a pair of cheap shoes I used to wear to do mowing and such. I don't recall his saying anything back.

He just never, not once, seemed like either the businessman I sort of knew from television or the politician I've learned so much about in subsequent years. I don't have any "Cas" stories. He wasn't crusty or mean or especially nice or generous or anything else. He was just another older guy in a neighborhood that was, at the time, full of older guys. Now, John Cazana, the television personality and wrestling promoter who lived on North Hills Blvd... HIM I could tell some real stories about.

citizenX's picture

CAS AND THE HORSE BARNS

When the horse barns at Chilhowee Park burned many years ago Cas Walker and his horse trainer were among the first people on the scene. Many of the horses were saved by Cas, his trainer and many teenage boys who rushed into the barns in a attempt to set the horses free of their stalls. They covered the heads of the horses with the shirts off their backs and led them to safety. It was quite a sight to see....it took a lot of love and a lot of courage to go into those burning barns and I was proud of everyone who tried to save those horses. Some horses did not make it out of the fire but many were saved. It was a sad day and I had nightmares about it for a long time.

MDB's picture

Lest we forget

If anyone gets credit for Dolly Parton's career getting started other than Dolly herself, its Cas Walker.

Voting is like driving. If you want to go backwards, select R. If you want to go forward, select D.

Fred's daughter's picture

Cas Walker

My dad and Red Rector worked on the Cas Walker tv and radio shows for years and every tale you hear about Cas is the absolute truth. The man feared nothing or no one.

We lived in Blount County and I can remember Dad driving to Chapman Highway to meet one of Dolly's relatives and pick her up to take her to the show and then take her back. On Dad's 81st birthday she sent him a letter and mentioned him driving her back and forth. Seems she never forgot it.

There is no point to this story, just sharing a memory.

JaHu's picture

I had read that although

I had read that although they didn't get their start on Cas's show, the Everly Brothers used to play on his show.

Factchecker's picture

They had good equipment

...the Everly Brothers used to play on his show.

Until he fired them for being too rock and roll.

Joe328's picture

While my parents never

While my parents never shopped at Cas Walkers for good reasons. I do think that Cas did some positive good for Knoxville.
He supported building the Civic Coliseum. He also ensured that the city did business with local businesses and not out of town. A local contractor built the coliseum. When the school board attempted to update selected schools. Cas forced the school to update all schools with problems at one time.

Cas Walker held back the progress of Knoxville by fighting big box stores such as K Mart and Walmart while supporting locally owned businesses.

I must say Knoxville has really progressed after the opening of Walmart, Lowes, Best Buy, and all the other big box stores.

Wallers's picture

I will admit Cas was clever,

I will admit Cas was clever, but he used the cleverness to mask his real motivations. As a councilman (and a short time as Mayor) he fought other retailers because he wanted to discourage competition. His retailing tactics were deceptive and untruthful, and he took advantage of the poor, the disadvantaged, minorities, and the less aware. Yes, he favored building the Civic complex, but after a "local" contractor he was in cahoots with was given the high bid contract. The construction quality was low and shoddy, and the city has been paying dearly for it ever since.

The bottom line is that Cas never did anything for anyone except Cas. He might have twisted an issue to make it seem like benevolence, but his sole motivation was personal power and greed, pure and simple. He was the single biggest hindrance to proper planning and growth in Knoxville history.

Joe328's picture

The Civic Coliseum has stood

The Civic Coliseum has stood for over 45 without any major repairs. I believe the contractor was Johnson and Galyon who never did business with Cas Walker. The new convention center has had more problems in the first year than the Coliseum has had in 45 years.

Your right Cas Walker did fight to keep out competition, but only from big box stores asking for government assistance to create new jobs. He never had a problem anyone opening a local business with their OWN money.

Can you name any locally owned business he tried to keep out other than alcohol?

Laurel Bowen's picture

Local vs. Big Box stores

Cas had it right. Locally owned businesses keep the majority of the money local. Profits stay right here in town. They are also more likely to buy their supplies and stuff locally as well, keeping that money in town. A big box store sends their profits out of the area to be reinvested in stores in other areas, and tend not to buy their supplies locally at all. They buy on a national level. We are better off doing our business with local owners as much as possible. This is even more important now to get the local economy back to normal levels.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Wal*Mart

That's a strange assertion as the first local wal*mart didn't open until the early '80s long after Cas was out of power. It was in Farragut becsue of Walton's strategy of locating in small rural towns and Farragut was small back then.

As far as other big boxes, don't K-mart, Hill's & Zayres go way back?

____________________________________
"Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse."

MDB's picture

Hall-Mart

I'm pretty sure there was a Wal-Mart in Halls during the early Eighties, too. I'm not sure if its older than the Farragut one, though.

K-Mart and Zayre's are both quite old. Hill's came and went from Knoxville relatively quickly.

Voting is like driving. If you want to go backwards, select R. If you want to go forward, select D.

Joe328's picture

There were several national

There were several national chain stores in Knoxville during Cas Walkers days. None received discounts on their property taxes to locate in Knoxville. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Kmart on Broadway was the first to receive tax breaks to locate in Knoxville and Cas was against it. I can't remember any business he tried to keep out that used their own funds to open.

Cas Walker was against tax funds being used to lure a business to Knoxville. As a businessman Cas was a crook, but he did ensure our tax funds were spent wisely.

Ragsdale would be lucky to put the second lobster dinner on his P-card if Cas was still around.

DARLENE bOONE's picture

cas walker

I remember cas walker when I was just a little girl. Everone talking about the store in knoxville what about the one in Lee county Va. I can still see this man in my mind as if it was yesterday. Doesn't anyone remember to store in lee co co, va. The store was taken out but a flood in the early 70 now there got to be someone that remember I do do and I was just a little girl. I can remember my dad and caswalker getting into many times now if I remeber that then come on let talk about lee co co va.

Just Me Now's picture

Roxy

Does anyone remember the story that Cas would tell about shucking the feed corn in the fall? I was pretty young when I heard it but it was something like.....the community would get together every fall for the harvest and shuck the feed corn. There was a tradition that if you shucked an ear of corn that was red, then you got to kiss one of the girls. Well there just happened to be this one pretty girl named Roxy that Cas was interested in....so the next year he figured out how to cross pollinate the corn to get more red ears....."and that year I almost ate ole Roxy up". This does not do the story justice....but I just wonder if anyone else remembers this one.

GUy's picture

Security

We need Cas to run security for Home Depot and the parkng lots for us contracotrs here in Md, and Va!

jarhead's picture

Cas dated my aunt

Cas and my aunt dated for awhile way back when Cas only had one store. She did not date him long because she said he wore baggy pants. He did send flowers when she passed away. Also remember as punching out a fellow member of City Council and the time he had Digger ODell burried at his Chapman Hwy store and all the loot he took in with the wishing well..He was a character. Both loved and hated by many.

R. Neal's picture

She did not date him long

She did not date him long because she said he wore baggy pants.

Heh. I don't know why, but that strikes me as some quintessential East Tennessee.

Tennessee Accent's picture

Cas Walker

Speaking of books, Cas Walker was mentioned in one of Patricia Paris' books. I think 'The Spiritual Side of Sarah' and 'All's Quiet on the Tennessee River' are still available at Amazon. A native Tennessean, she hasn't written a new book in several years but continues with her everyday-life newspaper column, Patricia's Porch Talk.

Jim Young's picture

Cas was one of a kind. In

Cas was one of a kind. In the late 70's I was a Broadcasting student at UT and worked at WBIR as a co-op student in production. I was a cameraman on the Farm & Home hour. It was one of the wildest experiences I had in some 20 year of broadcasting. The cast of characters was wilder then fiction.

My favorite story was as Cas was doing his card ad live one morning he talked about bagged dog food, then he had one on cans of dog food and how the labels were off because they had a tornado at the factory and he got a great deal. The next card said "Hot Dog Buns" but Cas was on a roll and said, "We got you dog food buns, three packages for $1" and went right to the next item and never realized (I don't think) what he had done. I would have been the guffaw you heard in the background that morning!

Once in a while I'd go in front of the cameras and sing as "Honest Abe" or "The singing cameraman" as poor Cas had a time remembering my name.

Great old memories...

whitefishman's picture

Cas

Cas was certainly shrewd - and that was an understatement! I made the "watch dog" his local tabloid. A group of us had been hired as summer help by the Welfare Dept. to keep the weeds cleaned up and the trash dumped at Concord Park and the other parks in that general area. Being high school age we took a break from work and one of Cas' snoopers caught us goofing off. It was an election year, and Cas was supporting the opposition of our boss, and Cas used us as an example of the poor work being done by the present welfare commissioner. I don't remember who won the election, but summer wound down and it was back to school.

If anyone remembers, and I'm sure he did it in all of his stores, but if you bounced a check he would put your picture up on the service desk wall so everyone who came to get a check cashed would see who was a deadbeat! Don't imagine Kroger would ever do this.

Brenda Beeler's picture

Cas Walker

My Grandmother (reared me) & moved here from Kentucky, she worked for Cas for many year's. She even got robbed outside his store ( He didn't care as long as they did not come into his store & rob him!! She & the Butcher were good friends & she went back one afternoon to tell him to put her a little ground beef (HA) back & she would pay for it & get it when she got off at 9:00pm, he told her she did not want any of this meat... She asked him why and he replyed: " Last night their were no room to put this beef? in the cooler" and he showed this to Cas & he replyed, just leave it sitting out. The next morning the Butcher showed Cas the meat & it had maggots all over it & CAS told him to grind it up with some of the other beef & he did or get fired !!!!!! Needless to say, WE NEVER BOUGHT ANY MORE MEAT FROM ANY OF HIS STORES.. Just wonder how many people got sick????? YUCK !!

JimT's picture

Cas Was Shrewd

When he planned for future stores Cas would buy his land cheap. For instance, he would buy a hillside next to the road and put up signs advertising "FREE DIRT." Then he would buy a hole next to the road and put up a sign for "FILL DIRT WANTED." After time when enough dirt was removed at one place and enough fill in the other, he would do necessary grading and build a store. Yep, he was shrewd.

Who is that Man???

Cas was visiting one of his stores when he saw a young man with his white work apron rolled up and talking to one of the lady cashiers. Rolled up aprons meant you were on a break. Not knowing the situation, this disturbed Cas so he went up to the young man and asked how much he made and how many hours he had worked that week. The young man honestly replied as to the amount. Cas then went to the cash register and took out enough money to pay him off, fired him and made him leave the store because he didn't want to see him sitting around on the job. Cas then told the store manager, "See that boy going across the parking lot? I just fired him!" The manager said to Cas, "Why, he works down the street at the White Store and he comes in every day on his break to see his girl friend who is our cashier!!! I never heard how Cas replied.

Also, my brother, a WIVK personality, Claude Tomlinson AKA Old Man Shults and Lester Longmier, could mimic Cas and J Bazzel Mull so closely that he often would fool them and get them fighting on the phone. Claude would call Cas pretending to be Mull and vice versa. Before he died we used to just sit around and laugh at the many, many instances that he would do this and other things to them. Those were some fun days.

Bbeanster's picture

Wow! You're Claude the Cat's

Wow! You're Claude the Cat's brother?
He was a comic genius and the most talented guy I ever heard on local radio. Nobody has ever compared to Claude Tomlinson.

JaHu's picture

"He was a comic genius and

"He was a comic genius and the most talented guy I ever heard on local radio. Nobody has ever compared to Claude Tomlinson."

He was a Genius!!!

I agreed whole heartily with Shults that they should keep nudity out of theaters... well that was until they put in those warmer cushy seats. I can only imagine how hard it was for the old man to sit bare butt though an entire movie on those cold wooden benches.

JimT, I sure miss hearing your brother and his characters in the mornings. It was amazing how he could change between each of the personalities so smoothly without ever a mistake. No one will ever be able to take his place.

Robert McMillan's picture

The REAL Cas Walker

My Dad Clarence (C.E.) McMillan knew the real Cas Walker. To see Cas on the street, unless you knew the man, you would think he was a bum with his raggedy old coat and driving a small jeep type vehicle. I assumed this was his way of trying to avoid people begging him for money by putting on the appearance of not having it. He spent much of his time driving back and forth between Knoxville and his other stores in Pennington Gap, VA. He kept a close watch on his business and was a miserly old man, or at least that's how he always impressed me. But you have to admit he had lots of money and apparently knew how to keep it.

Factchecker's picture

...But you have to admit he

...But you have to admit he had lots of money and apparently knew how to keep it.

Wonder what happened to it. Seemed like the business withered away while Cas finished life very modestly. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

alex's picture

the reed sisters in the cas walker show

Hi,

I remember seeing the reed sisters in the cas walker show, does anyone know where they are? are they still singing?

Factchecker's picture

I get the Reed Sisters mixed

I get the Reed Sisters mixed up with one of the other family bands of the day, one of which I've been told has or had a music venue business in the Seymour area. Someone will clarify, maybe.

dilberteinstein's picture

Cas's Book

Has anyone else read the book Cas wrote? It was called something like "The White Caps and Blue Bills of Sevier County". It was about a couple of vigilante groups that used to terrorize the countryside up there. I was pretty impressed with the job he did writing it.

KnoxCatLady's picture

While I was frequently

While I was frequently embarrassed by Cas Walker's doings, I think a book about his life would be really quite interesting. I think if bbeanster can illustrate the complicated nature of Mr. Walker, it would be a wonderful thing to read. The link was certainly interesting and a wonderful story!

redmondkr's picture

I have copies of two books

I have copies of two books Cas wrote although I haven't had time to read them. I have The White Caps of Sevier County and My Life History: A True Living Legend, both of which are currently listed but unavailable at Amazon. Both books were gifts and I understand they were bought at the Ciderville Music Store on Clinton Highway.


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Donald McElroy's picture

Cas Walker-Message to shoppers KnoxViews

I am an old Tennessee boy, having lived in New York and Oregon for the past 50 or so years. A friend just sent me the Cas Walker video and blog. I really enjoyed reading and watching. I am amazed that no one referenced the old C.W. ad/song. "Get your morning paper when it hits the street! Cas Walker's prices just can't be beat. He's got that White Lilly Flour and you'll want some more - Good shoppin now at your Cas Walker store." As a kid we used to sing at the top of our lungs and boogie around frantically - yelling "Yessum !" at the end. We always thought it was a real gas. I have even taught this performance to my grand kids.(That one along with "Please Mommy Please - come home to me.")Thanks for the memories and Go Vols! D McElroy

bizgrrl's picture

"Get your morning paper when

"Get your morning paper when it hits the street! Cas Walker's prices just can't be beat. He's got that White Lilly Flour and you'll want some more - Good shoppin now at your Cas Walker store."

Thanks for the memory. The tune will be running through my head all day. Just like the watermelon ditty.

Mr. Bill's picture

Other lyrics for Cas's theme song--

This old Clinton boy remembers Cas's theme song as:

"Get your mornin' paper when it hits the street,
Cas Walker's prices they just can't be beat.
Try that Blue Band coffee and you'll want some more."
(then in a good old-timey twangy tenor:)
"Do all your grocery shopping at the Cas Walker store!
(Say it again, boys--)
Do all your grocery shopping at the Cas Walker store!"

After singing that a couple of times, my brother and I would automatically go into a parody of The Ol' Coon Hunter walking down the table of items from his store, followed by the black & white TV camera--extolling the amazing virtues of each, and curiously (and hilariously to us 8 and 10-year olds) most always laying his middle finger--as opposed to the more conventional index finger-- solidly on each item as he delivered his pitch.

Just by watching Cas on TV, I learned the fine art of BS and how to justify & rationalize darn near anything with enough talking combined with a typically serious "Cas" demeanor.

Although we sometimes shopped at the Clinton Hwy store (would always check out "The Sign of the Shears" as we passed by the store on our way to Sears), we were White Store shoppers mostly. But we were Cas Walker fans (as well as fans of the Rev. J.Bazzle and Mrs. Mull) from 50s and 60s television.

I've read all the comments here (as well as the Metropulse article), learned new things about ol' Cas, and enjoyed the whole experience.

Thanks to everyone for sharing!

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