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George "Shug" Fisher

(1907 - 1984)

 

You are listening to a segment from the Lucky U Ranch radio show from 1950-51 with all the characters, including Shug.

 

(Karl E. Farr Collection)

 

 

This brief biography was based on Ken Griffis' "Hear My Song".

 

Quick Links:

Photos from John Bisney

Shug Fisher and his Ranchmen Trio CD

Shug Fisher and his Ranchmen Trio sing "We'll Rest at the End of the Trail"

Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers Work Chronology

        George Clinton Fisher was born to a farming family near Chickasha, Oklahoma on September 26, 1907. His mother, he said, thought he was so sweet that she called him "Sugar", and "Shug" became his name from then on. Shug was drawn to the mandolin as a child and then to the fiddle. His father refreshed his own fiddling skills and Shug learned guitar to back him up. By the time he was 16, Shug was providing music for local square dances on his fiddle. After watching the comedian on a traveling medicine show, Shug decided that he wanted to make people laugh himself because there was so little to laugh about in life. He adopted a stuttering accent that kept the audience in stitches.

        In 1925, Shug traveled to California with his father and a friend to find work, picking fruit, working in the oil fields, doing whatever was to be done but always keeping his fiddle handy because music was of first importance to him. His musical skill increased and he was offered a job in 1931 with Tom Murray's Hollywood Hillbillies where he met Ken Carson. Shug learned to play the bass fiddle at this time.

        In 1933, he joined the Beverly Hill Billies, or rather one segment of it, because that famous band had split. He joined the San Francisco group with Ken Carson and, as was wont with the Hill Billies, both men acquired "hillbilly names". Shug became "Aaron Judd" and Ken was "Kaleb Winbush". Shug didn't stay long with the group but returned to Los Angeles to join Stuart Hamblen's group briefly.

        In 1935, Shug began an extended road tour with Roy Faulkner, "The Lonesome Cowboy", from Radio XER in Del Rio, Texas. Shortly thereafter, he joined Hugh Cross and spent about four years in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and then moved on to Cincinnati where he appeared on WLW Radio.

 


The group was known as Hugh & Shug's Radio Pals. (Hugh being Hugh Cross from WLS who also had a group called the Smokey Mountain Ramblers).
The others in picture: Shug, Linnie (Ted Grantham, fiddle), and Lonnie (possibly Buddy Ross, accordion.)

Photo courtesy of Gary Lynch



Left to right, Tom, Roy, Ted (also fiddle), Shug and Hugh Cross
Photo courtesy of Gary Lynch


All five members are: Top row: Hugh, Ted, Roy and Shug. Bottom: Tom. (Photo courtesy of Gary Lynch)




        Shug also worked with group called the Ranchmen Trio. They included Wesley Tuttle, Cliffie Stone and Merle Travis.

 

Peggy

(Calin Coburn Collections)

 

        He met and married Peggy Summers and remained on WLW until the start of World War II when he returned to Los Angeles to work for Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank.

 

 

        In 1943, Shug was contacted by the Sons of the Pioneers when Pat Brady was called into service. Ken Carson had already joined the group to replace Lloyd Perryman.

 

1944

(Calin Coburn Collections)

 

Courtesy of Lois Spencer

 

Shug remained with the Pioneers until Pat returned in 1946 then returned in 1949 when Pat joined Roy Rogers in the movies and on television.

 

eBay image

 

 

        He remained this time until 1953 when he joined Ken Curtis for work in radio, television and movies but he returned to the Pioneers in 1955 to replace Deuce Spriggens. This time he remained until 1959.

 

 

(anonymous collector)

 

    From then until 1961, he had a spot on Red Foley's Ozark Jubilee television program. He returned to Hollywood to rejoin Ken Curtis in a television series called "Ripcord" and for several years he worked in motion pictures as a character actor. He also had a successful role as "Shorty Kellums" in nineteen episodes of "The Beverly Hillbillies" as well as several appearances on "Gunsmoke".

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Shug Fisher as the bartender in "The Sacketts", 1979.

 

        Shug passed away after a lengthy illness on March 16, 1984.

 


 

Photos from John Bisney

 

I knew Shug when I was a young boy and I don't have too many firm memories other than the fact that he was always great fun to be around, especially for a child.  He was a funny guy (smaller, too!) and always warm and friendly. He and my father loved to go fishing together outside of Springfield, Missouri, catching large mouth bass or trout in Table Rock Lake or Lake Taneycomo.  I went on one "float trip" with them.  This photo is signed "To Bryan, my fishing partner."  Mom and Dad were Canadians who became US citizens and I was born in Springfield. (John Bisney)

 

Photo courtesy of John Bisney

 

 

Photo courtesy of John Bisney

 

 

 

SHUG FISHER & HIS RANCHMEN "Cowboy Jubilee" CD D 035

Out On The Open Range/ Cowboy’s Dream/ Little Joe The Wrangler/ Texas Plains/ When The Bloom Is On The Sage/ Bury Me Out On The Prairie/ Ridin’ Down To Santa Fe/ Cowboy Jubilee/ Whoopee Ti Yi Yo Git Along Little Dogies/ Cool Water/ Belle Of Cheyenne/ Fiddler Joe/ We’ll Rest At The End Of The Trail/ The Convict And The Rose/ Sweet Evalina/ Forgive And Forget/ Spanish Cavalier/ Only A Message From Home Sweet Home/ Beautiful Texas/ Lonesome Train Blues/ Moonlight On The Prairie/ Wonder Valley/ Little Cabin In The Cascade Mountains/ Gooseberry Pie

 

This CD can be purchased from British Archive of Country Music http://bacm.users.btopenworld.com/CD-details1.html