Steve Hall, one of country’s most beloved and well-known puppeteers and comedians, has died at age 64.
Hall was best known as the voice behind the iconic puppet “Shotgun Red.” Together the two became a vital part of Nashville history with regular guest spots on Hee Haw, The Ralph Emery Show, and the Grand Ole Opry. But, the fame didn’t come easily for Hall.
In 1982, the Minnesota native was a struggling musician trying to find his way in the business. But, everything changed when he stumbled across a lonely puppet, clad in western wear, in the back of a Minnesota hobby shop. He purchased the puppet for $40, named him Shotgun Red, and began using him as the emcee for his musical act.
A chance meeting with a woman at the 1982 National Battle of the Bands competition led to a spot on Ralph Emery’s morning show. Shotgun Red was an instant star and gave Steve Hall a front row seat to some of country music’s biggest acts, including the Oak Ridge Boys, June Carter Cash, Buck Owens, Conway Twitty, Boxcar Willie, Loretta Lynn, Little Jimmy Dickens, and many more.
The success continued with appearances on Hee Haw and the Grand Ole Opry.
Shotgun Red eventually became so popular that he got his own video program. In fact, it was the first video program of its kind on any network. Country Clips aired on TNN and was an hour-long program hosted by Red that featured country music videos and guest appearances by some of Nashville’s biggest stars, like Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan as seen in the video below.
Hall and Shotgun Red had maintained a steady career even after the Ralph Emery Show and Hee Haw ended. Just when it looked like Shotgun Red’s career may be over, Hall was approached by RFD-TV who offered him and his iconic puppet his own variety show.
Shotgun Red remained a vital part of Steve Halls career until his death on December 28, 2018. Hall passed away of natural causes in his hometown of Brainerd, Minnesota.
Hear Steve Hall share the history of Shotgun Red in the video below.