Mitchell’s Corn Palace Festival has changed a lot over the years. The headliner acts these days blow into town, do one show, collect a check for around $70,000, and leave immediately.
Back in 1967, the relationship between the entertainers and the festival was a lot more intimate. According to an August story from that year, headliner Jack Benny, along with tag-along acts Bobby Vinton and Skitch Henderson, presented 15 performances during the Sept. 17-23 festival. Between shows, the stars could be seen at the festival’s carnival (as seen in the photo above) and around town. Throughout the festival week, The Daily Republic ran stories, photos and interviews with the stars, who basically set up camp and held court for days on end.
When The Daily Republic photographed the 1967 festival, the newspaper was apparently using a pair of cameras, because the envelope containing the negatives includes both 4×5 and 35mm negatives. Sadly, all the Jack Benny photos are on the 4x5s, and we don’t currently have a way to scan those. But there are dozens of 35mm images of Vinton and Henderson that I was able to scan, including a couple that are attached to this post.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the names, Vinton was one of the most famous pop singers of the 1960s and is probably best known for his hit song “Blue Velvet.” Henderson was the original bandleader for “The Tonight Show.”