Fifty years ago, a Bigfoot-like creature that reportedly stalked Pike County caused a national stir.
Now, the Louisiana Area Historical Museum is bringing back the musician behind the song “Mo Mo the Missouri Monster” and many other tunes.
The museum is hosting a concert by Montgomery County native and Nashville artist Bill Whyte at 7 p.m. on July 1, at the Elks Lodge on 120 North Fifth Street in downtown Louisiana.
In part, the show will commemorate the Mo Mo craze of July 1972. Special activities and contests are planned.
“I am thrilled that the Louisiana Area Historical Museum would invite me back to perform the song once more, along with many others, on July 1 at the Elks Lodge,” Whyte said. “I hope you’ll come and join us for the fun. I’ll play the song, and tell some of the back story on how the song was created and then perform other songs that I’ve written for musical artists that you’ll know.
“Can’t wait to come back to Louisiana.”
“We are delighted that Bill can bring us his entertaining style of music when we are celebrating not only his song, but the excitement the Mo Mo sightings brought to our area,” said Museum Co-President Judy Schmidt.
Advanced tickets for those 13 and older are available at a 1972 price of $5 each. They can be purchased at the museum on 304 Georgia Street in Louisiana, from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays starting May 28.
Ages 12 and younger will get in free.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. on July 1, and a meal of pulled pork sandwiches and chips will be sold by the museum board. Seating is first-come, first-served.
There will be limited ticket sales the day of the event, so early purchases are encouraged. Additional ticketing options may be announced, but purchases that require mailing will be charged a $6 service fee.
The museum is also selling Mo Mo t-shirts. Children’s sizes small, medium and large are $15 each. Adult sizes small, medium, large and extra-large are $20. An adult 2X shirt is $25 and a 3X is $30. All of the shirts are printed locally by Doris Henderson, with proceeds going to help offset the cost of the concert.
Additional information is available on the museum’s Facebook site.
Whyte once worked at KPCR Radio in Bowling Green. The site is now KJFM. He graduated from Elsberry High School and from Central Missouri State University with a degree in mass media. He was a member of the United Talent roster in Nashville owned by legends Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn.
A radio career included high-profile stops in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Nashville.
In addition to being an award-winning musician and radio personality, Whyte has worked with just about everybody who’s anybody in country music. When he isn’t entertaining broadcast audiences, he’s touring with a show that offers a range of musical styles and emotions.
The Louisiana concert will occur between gigs in Tennessee and Colorado. The only other scheduled time he will be close to Pike County is a July 22 concert in Sullivan.
Whyte’s songs have been recorded by dozens of artists, including Ray Stevens, Joe Nichols, Cledus T. Judd and the Del McCoury Band. He has received numerous honors, including the CMA Large Market Personality of the Year Award and the Gateway Country Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
The musician began writing songs as a teenager, and “Mo Mo” was the first he recorded. It is still played in Pike County and elsewhere.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s been 50 years since Mo Mo arrived on the scene in Louisiana,” he said. “It’s equally hard to believe that the first record I ever made, “Mo Mo” is that old! And it’s amazing to think that my first radio job at KPCR, where Mo Mo was created, was that many years ago, too.”
Other original tunes include “Goin’ Ugly Early,” “Dipstick (High Price of Gas Song), “King of Karaoke,” “Trailer Park Sexy,” “Been There, Drunk That,” “Things That Don’t Suck About Being a Guy” and “Honey Don’t Do List.” His songs range from comedy to gospel.
The 1972 encounter with Mo Mo near Star Hill in Louisiana brought national media attention to Pike County. Three young members of the Harrison family told authorities they saw a large, hairy creature that smelled terrible.
More sightings were reported, but searches turned up no hard evidence. Regardless, the hoopla led to a host of Mo Mo-themed events and observances in the years to come. There were sidewalk sales and contests, and the Louisiana Dairy Queen even offered a “Mo Mo Burger.” Into the 21st century, television programs, movies and books continue to explore the saga.
While many believed Mo Mo was a prankster-created myth that got out of hand, others are adamant that the creature was real. In a newspaper interview before her passing, Doris Harrison Bliss remained defiant of skeptics.
“I used to hate talking about it, because people made fun of me and stuff, but now – and you can pardon my French – they can kiss my ---. I saw what I saw and I heard what I heard.”
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