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Country music star Johnny Bush performs on Cowtown Jamboree at Panther Hall in Fort Worth (ca. 1960s). Photograph by Wayne Beckham, Panther Hall Collection, Wittliff Collections, Texas State University.
PANTHER HALL. Panther Hall was a live music performance hall at the intersection of East Lancaster and Collard in Fort Worth. The establishment was opened in 1963 by Bill and Corky Kuykendall as a bowling stadium. Within a couple of years the 32,000-square-foot hall was converted from bowling to rock-and-roll, and then from rock-and-roll to country. Country Music Reporter photographer Wayne Beckham recalled, "It started off as rock 'n' roll...but then they decided to go country because they couldn't draw a big enough crowd."
Panther Hall gained statewide fame and exposure with a Saturday television broadcast, Cowtown Jamboree, which came before the live concert. The move to country music not only brought additional music fans to the hall at night, but also a large television audience on Saturday evenings. Channel 11, KTVT, an independent station at that time, aired Cowtown Jamboree as part of its Saturday evening lineup, which included other popular syndicated country shows such as the Wilburn Brothers, Charlie Louvin, and Porter Wagoner.
The Jerry Lee Lewis and Charley Pride show drew a crowd of 3,000 people. Other famous performers who played to the enormous dance floor at Panther Hall included Bob Wills, Loretta Lynn, Buck Owens, George Jones, Ray Price, Tanya Tucker, Johnny Rodriguez, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Lefty Frizzell, and even the Grateful Dead. Tanya Tucker made her first appearance there at the age of fourteen.
In Willie Nelson's autobiography (with Bud Shrake), Willie: An Autobiography (1988), many colorful experiences of Willie's life and music take place at Panther Hall. In 1966 Willie recorded a live album entitled Live Country Music Concert at Panther Hall on RCA. The legendary and now rare album includes live versions of such classic hits as "My Own Peculiar Way," "Night Life," "Mr. Record Man," and "I Never Cared for You." Jerry Lee Lewis also recorded a live album at the hall in 1966. It was released in 1967 as Jerry Lee Lewis: By Request—More of the Greatest Live Show on Earth. In 1969 Charley Pride released his live album recorded at Panther Hall—In Person on RCA. Despite hosting many country legends, Panther Hall closed in 1978.
Fort Worth Star–Telegram, December 20, 1999; February 11, 2001. Panther Hall, Fort Worth, Texas (http://pantherhall.com/), accessed November 10, 2011. Panther Hall Collection, Southwestern Writers Collection, Wittliff Collections, Texas State University.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Jahue E. Anderson, "Panther Hall," accessed April 25, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/xdp01.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on August 16, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.