Singing-Cowboy Promoter Packy Smith Passes

Packy Smith

Nashville’s Packy Smith, renowned as an expert on western music and movies, has died at age 77.

Smith co-produced the Happy Trails Theatre TNN TV series about Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. He authored books about Gene Autry and Hopalong Cassidy. He was the co-founder of the Western Film Festival.

He was an expert on Autry, Rogers, Tex Ritter, The Sons of the Pioneers, Rex Allen, Foy Willing and other singing-cowboy stars. He founded Riverwood Press to publish the works of other western-film enthusiasts.

Born Morton Packard Smith in 1941, he was raised in Nashville’s Inglewood neighborhood. He developed a love for cowboy movies at an early age. This evolved into a lifelong career collecting, selling and analyzing western movies and music. In addition to his books, he authored numerous articles about the topic.

For the past three decades, he has been screening rare cowboy films at the Western Film Festival in Arizona and the Lone Pine Film Festival in California. He also booked vintage Hollywood cowboy stars for these gatherings.

He served on the board of the Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine, north of Bakersfield, CA. He had a nationally recognized, encyclopedic knowledge of this genre.

Packy Smith is survived by wife Cathleen, sons Tony and Jeff, daughters Cathy and Izora, stepchildren Kim and John, siblings Blanton and Judy and 10 grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life was held Jan. 12  in The Pavilion at Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens (9090 Highway 100). In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations to Alive Hospice, the Museum of Western Film History, the Democratic Party or a favorite charity.


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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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