Buried in a Dracula/Batman Costume??!?!?!

Trivia by Dick Bowden

This Contest is Closed
The winners are:
Andy Bing
Bobbi Bowden
Lynn Lipton

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A famed and beloved member of the bluegrass performer community died of a lingering illness in the 21st Century. He was credited with helping to give birth to an entire bluegrass sub-genre.

The funeral home called and asked this man’s widow to send down a suit for his open casket funeral, pronto. She asked a family friend who was with her to run to the closet and grab the black suit hanging in the dry cleaner’s plastic bag and run it down to the undertaker. Which was quickly done.

Shortly thereafter the funeral home called again and asked “do you really want him buried in this?!?!” The widow asked “Yes, why?” The answer came back “It’s a Dracula costume…” (according to general word of mouth repetition of this tale. The only written version of this story I’ve found said “It’s a Batman costume”.) Turns out it was a Halloween costume that was hanging in the closet with the “good” suits, and got swept up with the suit in the heat of the moment. After quick consultation the family and friends decided the Dracula/Batman costume would actually please the deceased immensely. Also, time was short. So that’s how he appeared in the open casket and how he was buried. In a long black cape with a HIGH collar!

The funeral home did attempt to stuff the cape into the sides of the casket, but everybody who attended the funeral, including the immediately bereaved, knew what was going on and had a HUGE laugh at the deceased reaching down from wherever to put his stamp on the proceedings.

Although it was generally agreed by his musical friends that he would rather have been buried in his stage clothes than in any suit with or without the cape…

JUNE 21, 2024 TRIVIA QUESTION

Who went to eternity in a Dracula/Batman cape?

A. Ralph Stanley
B. John Hartford
C. Doc Watson
D. Mac Wiseman
E. Earl Scruggs

ANSWER is “B”

Additional Bowden Comments

All correct, it was John Hartford.

All the others probably had Batman costumes in their closets, but their next of kin probably took more care in selecting the burial clothing.

This story has made the rounds verbally for years, all corroborated by various Nashille denizens who attended the wake and funeral. It recently showed up in authoritative print in a new Hartford bio written by his Hartford String Band banjoist, Bob Carlin, who was there. He said it was a Batman costume (not the oft-reported Dracula cape).

If you go to Nashville on a pilgrimage sometime, drive out to the Spring Hill Cemetery on the Gallatin Road in Madison and visit John and Marie’s grave. John left instructions to build a stone bench for visitors to sit on and pick and sing for him. It’s really lovely with nice bushes around it for shade. While there you can check out the graves of Roy Acuff, Jimmy Martin (very tasteful), Earl and Louise Scruggs and many more. Spring Hill is a regular tourist attraction for music fans.

Dick Bowden

Dick Bowden recently retired after a 45 year career in the paper industry, and moved from Connecticut to Big Indian NY (Ulster County) where he ekes out a precarious existence as a groundskeeper. Dick has been performing bluegrass music on banjo and guitar since 1966 in his home state of Maine, throughout New England, and internationally with The Case Brothers - Martin & Gibson. He has performed for HVBA with the Old Time Bluegrass Singers, and also sent in a squadron of Dick Bowden's Flying Circus. Most recently Dick has played Dobro (tm) with the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Dick has written many articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass magazine) and HVBA.

4 Responses

  • I am guessing B, John Hartford, because that sounds like something that he would have liked and because I can’t imagine any of the other four going to meet their maker dressed like Dracula. (Jimmy Martin might have done it but he’s not an option.)

  • Total guess here, but I’m thinking John Hartford. Something about him and his songs makes me think he had a great sense of humor. It would fit!

  • All correct, it was John Hartford.

    All the others probably had Batman costumes in their closets, but their next of kin probably took more care in selecting the burial clothing.

    This story has made the rounds verbally for years, all corroborated by various Nashille denizens who attended the wake and funeral. It recently showed up in authoritative print in a new Hartford bio written by his Hartford String Band banjoist, Bob Carlin, who was there. He said it was a Batman costume (not the oft-reported Dracula cape).

    If you go to Nashville on a pilgrimage sometime, drive out to the Spring Hill Cemetery on the Gallatin Road in Madison and visit John and Marie’s grave. John left instructions to build a stone bench for visitors to sit on and pick and sing for him. It’s really lovely with nice bushes around it for shade. While there you can check out the graves of Roy Acuff, Jimmy Martin (very tasteful), Earl and Louise Scruggs and many more. Spring Hill is a regular tourist attraction for music fans.

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