Two legacy-altering events happened in one fell swoop for Johnny Cash on July 7, 1956: he made his Grand Ole Opry debut at age 24 and he met future wife June Carter for the first time while backstage at the Opry's home at the time, historic Nashville venue the Ryman Auditorium.
To celebrate the 65th anniversary of a night that shaped the course of country music history, the Ryman has teamed with the Johnny Cash Museum to put together a special exhibit that honors the well-chronicled love story between Johnny and June Carter Cash.
"We are so thrilled to team up with our local partners at the Johnny Cash Museum to celebrate one of country music's most iconic love stories," said Ryman Auditorium GM Gary Levy (as quoted by All Access). "Johnny and June have such a strong connection to the Ryman, and we are excited to share these beautiful artifacts alongside the Johnny Cash Museum, which has the most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world."
The Johnny Cash Museum provided a stage-worn outfit from both Johnny and June for the pop-up exhibit, with the Ryman adding one of Mother Maybelle Carter's autoharps and Cash's original lyrics for the song "Flesh and Blood," written on the back of a Hendersonville (Tennessee) High School newsletter.
Carter's husband at the time, fellow country star Carl Smith, introduced Cash that night to the Ryman audience, which got treated to a three-song salvo of "Get Rhythm," "I Walk the Line" and "So Doggone Lonesome."
As the story goes, Cash, who'd remain with first wife Vivian Liberto until 1966, blurted out "I'm going to marry you one day" upon meeting June in July.
On March 1, 1968, the Man in Black made good on his promise to someday marry into the Carter Family when he wed an integral part of his touring Johnny Cash Show.
Tickets for a special Carter Cash family tour, which include entry to the Ryman and the Johnny Cash Museum, are available on the Ryman website from July 7 through the end of September.