If David Akeman (better known as Stringbean) and his wife Estelle hadn't been brutally murdered in November 1973, Hee-Haw's laconic banjo-playing funnyman would be celebrating his 96th birthday on Friday, June 17. Upon returning home from one of Stringbean's regular appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, the couple was confronted by a pair of money hungry losers at their modest home in Ridgetop, Tennessee, about 20 miles north of Nashville. The criminals in question, two ne'er-do-well cousins named Doug and John Brown, had heard rumors about Stringbean's having a large stash of greenbacks hidden in his house. Kliph Nesteroff beat me to this story by several years, so I highly recommend his extremely detailed piece on Stringbean elsewhere on Beware Of The Blog.
The cash eventually surfaced in 1996 over two decades after the tragic murders, when $20,000, almost completely shredded by time and rodents, was found behind a brick in the home's chimney.
Sam Bush - The Ballad Of Stringbean And Estelle (4:45) The story of the Akemans' demise continues to resonate. This Sam Bush song was released in 2009.
Big Ball In Nashville, String's banjo-flavored version of the western swing standard Big Ball In Cowtown, was released on the Starday label in the mid 1960s. I'd scan the 45's label for you, but I can't seem to remember exactly where I put the record.