Reynard Wilson was trying to come up with a new concept in theme parks to attract those sparse tourist dollars remaining during the recession times. Let's face it: Disney, Six Flags, Graceland, Beulahland, and others of their ilk are drawing in the dollars. But south Middle Tennessee was one of those blah locales, other than the Jack Danie Distillery at Lynchburg (strangely, in a dry county).
It was in the south; but not particularly Southern. The one attraction in that region was called, embarassingly enough, the Boobie Bungalow: a 'gentlemen's' club just north of the Alabama line.
Mr. Wilson had an inspiration. Most of the travelers on I-65 were Northerners going to the South in search of beaches, good weather, and experiencing the Southernness of the situation.
Now Alabama and Mississippi don't have to try hard to be Southern. Georgia screws it up around Atlanta, but is otherwise a good Southern experience. Louisiana: too exotic, not a consistent Southern theme. And, in Wilson's mind, southern Tennessee was a good locale. Far enough away from Nashville so that people would get restive by then, but a good site for a faux Southern experience.
So he fleshed out the concept. "Let's see: Cute girls in Daisy Dukes, louts running stills that dispense root beer, mountain crafts . . . . "
"Er, Reynard, those are jest hills south of the Duck River."
"Hell, Clyde, some jasper from Michigan ain't going to know diddly-squat the difference."
And so they built it. And it had moonshiners. And car chases. And Tennessee gals almost wearin' shorts (or damned little of them at that), and banjo music . . . .
The Yankee tourists came in droves. They bought stuffed coon dogs and raccoons, t-shirts featuring hillbillies, Confederate flags, grits, Moon Pies, and ate passels of hush puppies and barbecue. And drank RCs, that's for sure. And listened to country music.
And all came away with The True Southern Experience. And talked about how they just barely got out alive before the inbreds shot them!
Did you expect truthiness? Truthiness died sometime back in the 90's.