Tulsa TV Memories Guestbook 177
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In 1960, Ray Charles appeared there. 7 or 8 of us went a week early to be assured of good seats. We got a table way down in front. We were juniors in high school from Bartlesville.
When we got to the show our table was taken by what appeared to us to be some very high-rollers. We went to the front and found the owner, Leon McAuliffe. He said that he was afraid something like this would happen and asked if we would mind sitting on the "negro side" of the hall. Everything was segregated then and they had the two sides of the place roped off. We said heck no. Man, all of our musical heros were black.
While everyone else at school was listening to Elvis and The Beach Boys, we were listening to Miles, Sonny, Thelonius, Coltrane, etc., and we knew all of Ray Charles regular band members - 'Fathead' Newman, Hank Crawford, Ed Willis, Leroy 'Hog' Cooper.
Leon said that they had a cancellation and gave us a table right up against the stage. When the band came out, we were sitting so close that I could have reached out and touched Ed Willis' shoes. He was Ray's stand-up bass player.
We were fixing some 7-Up and vodkas under the table and about half-way through the first set Ed Willis starts fanning his face and finally he said, "Hey, you boys got anything cold to drink; it's hot up here." Tom Ed Claiborne fixed him a Vodka/Seven under the table, handed it to me, and I pushed it up under where Ed was playing. After he finished a piece he reach down, took a sip, and his eyes flew up and he gave us a smiling nod.
At the intermission, four of us stayed to guard our terrific table. After about 20 minutes Ed Willis walked up and said, "Would you boys like to meet Mr. Charles?" We followed him to Ray's dressing room.
'The Genius' was sitting in a chair and 3 or 4 of the band members were standing around. We shook hands with him and he said, "I understand you boys have been real nice to Mr. Willis". Tom Ed said, "Ray, we really appreciate you guys coming to Oklahoma. We know it can sometimes be a drag for black cats, no matter how great they are".
Ray thanked Tom for that and said that if everyone was as nice as we had been, there wouldn't be any racism. About that time one of his band members said, "Oh, no man, we love comin' to Oklahoma, this is a great state to f**k around in". And then the highlight of the evening: Ray Charles threw his head back and laughed, clapped his hands and said, "Yeah man, let's do somma dat f**king around!" Everyone laughed and we shook hands with all the cats again and Ray said, "Hey, would you boys send Mrs. Charles back here for me." We said we would and asked how we would find her? He said that she was one of the Raylettes, "...the little squatty-bodied one".
We walked out into the hallway and there were the Raylettes standing around in shiny, yellow outfits. I went over to the one Ray had described and relayed his message. She patted me on the shoulder and thanked me and ran off to his dressing room.
It was not until I saw the movie "Ray" a few weeks ago that I realized that she wasn't his wife at all, but rather, Marjorie Hendricks, whom he "roomed" with when they were on the road and often introduced as 'his wife'.
Anyway, does anyone remember the location of the Cimarron Ballroom? What is in that location now?
Thanks, Al Hess
The second and third entries in Guestbook 148 have links to pictures of Leon and the Akdar Temple, former home of the Cimarron (and KRMG and KVOO-TV) at 3rd and Denver. The new Art Deco bus station is now at that location.
I am confused - saw a Cain's posting on line - showing The Texas Playboys with Tommy Allsup and Leon Rausch there on March 4 & 5. Can anybody enlighten me as to what's happening? Is it a re-union concert???
Wishin' I wuz in Tulsey! I see Keb Mo' is also there at Cain's 4-10...
One was seeing Bob Burda who was on the freshman team (yeah, back then the Big 10 didn't allow them to play varsity baseball) with me at Illinois in 1957. Bob was signed to a small bonus by St. Louis. Like a lot of players, he spent an entire career in the minors, having a couple of quick shots at the bigs. I hope he finally got his degree.
The other moment was seeing a young, slick-fielding black shortstop named
Julio Gotay the Cardinals had signed. Unfortunately, there was a smattering
of boos when his name was announced. But then, I remember being taken to
a football game at then-Oklahoma A & M while on vacation from Chicago
in the '50's and seeing separate restrooms and drinking fountains at the
Last reminder: I have available a few extra free tickets for the Tulsa Press Club's Gridiron show at 8:00 pm tonight (Friday). Location: Tulsa Scottish Rite, 6355 E. Skelly Drive.
I've seen it several times and it's a very funny, no-sacred-cows musical show about local politics and news with all local talent. If you are interested in going, send me an email, and I'll set it up.
I received credit hours towards my degree at T.U. No pay, until I was hired after graduation.
Funny though... I didn't look at it as "slavery" back then... I looked at it as a "great opportunity" to gain "invaluable experience" (good and bad) from professionals.. and a chance to work in my chosen field. To this day, I still feel that way.
Even when I worked in radio later on in my career... I made a point of trying to work with students.. Here in Canada.. they're called "co-op" students and it's a pretty successful program established through local universities.
Oh, and THANKS to all who've provided me with info. about "Frostie Rootbeer"... I'll have to try and score some!
Literally.. "chillin out" in Toronto. It's about 5 degrees tonight.
I believe it was a promotion, but not the actual news theme. Erick pegged it as early 70s.
In Tulsa, Karen Garde now Karen Keith at KTUL is the only one we had and look where she is now! In OKC we had basically good interns from OU and OSU - most KOCO hired out of college. Only 1 clunker from then CSU and he went on to INSIDE EDITION as a reporter eventually.
Watching the Peter Jennings 2 hour ABC UFO Special - ABC had a problem selling
spots in this program. Either all the network breaks were PSA's or cable
type info product spots. It is an "interesting watch" - UFO radio guru Art
Bell got a slice of time. Isn't he on-air via syndication in Tulsey, too?
When I got out of the Navy in 1973 and started working on my doctorate in communications at the University of Texas at Austin, I was astonished to see two things: The salaries had hardly improved in twenty years, and some of the commercial radio and TV stations were seeking UT radio/TV grads to work as internsfor free! The students didnt think that this was something unusual.
I could hardly believe that students would have to do this after four years of study and experience. I knew one woman who was told by a local TV station that she could work as an unpaid intern for a whole year, after which time they would decide whether to hire her or not. She did this, requiring her parents support her for another year.
Unless it has changed, to me the intern system is just Class-B slavery. I
had interns who helped me with my TV program, but they received UT credit
for their semesters efforts. These were almost all journalism students
without any experience, not radio/TV majors. Many of them subsequently got
good jobs in the TV biz after receiving a lot of varied, hands-on experience
with me. They were not Class-B slaves.
We heard from Jeffiee Tayar in Guestbook 155.
Our deepest condolences to Bob's family and his extended family of
On the subject of other things that aren't like they used to be, there's CNN, which has another new boss of US programming, and so is fooling around. I have to confess, I don't watch a lot, unless on my fairly regular overseas trips, when CNN International and BBC World alternate on the hotel TVs. Neither does much to engage me, though give CNNI credit for moving anchor posts as the day moves along, from Hong Kong to London to Atlanta. CNN people make more money but have less fun than we did in the earliest days there.
Sky News in the UK, a Murdoch enterprise, is livelier and, to my eyes, more watchable than either CNN or BBCW, in spite of mass amounts of time spent on parochial British politics and sports.
Oh, and I note the passing of Dr. Gene Scott, televangelist with some Tulsa connections. Not sure if it's true the epitaph will read, "Get on the telephone."
Hear a remembrance of Gene Scott on NPR. While you listen, read a profile with pictures.
I am a Tulsa girl, born and raised. I attended the University of Tulsa in the late 70's early 80's and majored in Communications. I worked as an intern at the then, KTEW, Channel 2 (KJRH TV) television station on South Peoria.
I was the production assistant for the TROUBLESHOOTER SERIES with reporter Jim Bunn (last heard from in Guestbook 108. He was working for MSNBC in the Middle East.)...solving the problems of our viewers "behind the scenes" and later, working with another JIM - Jim Forbes.
After graduating from T.U., KTEW hired me to continue my role as production assistant and I eventually worked my way up to the position of Associate News Producer for the 6 & 10 p.m. casts.
I have fond memories of my fellow co-workers who included: Susan Mitchell, Ed Scripps (Mr. Scripps son), Reporters - Anthony Mason, Brad Holbrook, Roche Madden, Bunn, Forbes, Betsy Raverby, Liz Exxon and Karen Keith (my maid of honor!). Photographers-John Ross, J.T., Duane Jones and John Bateman. Sports Director, Jerry Webber (miss ya!), sports reporters, Al Jerkins (he does an awesome impression of Mick Jagger!) and Dick Pryor (Now, N.D. and Anchor at OETA). News Directors, Mendes Napoli and Susan Silver. News Anchors - Dean Lewis, Sam Jones and Nancy Herr.. and of course, weatherman, Gary Shore! What a crew!
I moved to OKC in '83 where I worked as the Promotions Director for Gaylord Broadcasting's country radio station WKY. In 1989, I met, fell in love with ,and married my husband, a Canadian.. who wisked me away to Canada.
Today, I live and work in Toronto, Ontario. I've stayed true to my "media roots" and work as a freelancer in radio and television. I am probably best known here as the National Female Voice for the Global Television Network across Canada.
My greatest accomplishment to date: My son, Brendan who will be 10 in June!
I still get home to TULSA twice a year to visit my family and friends... and of course, when I do...I turn on CHANNEL 2!
Thanks for maintaining such a great site! It's nice to be able to "live on Tulsa Time" whenever you get the urge.
Kristi Stewart (formerly, Kristi Conrad)
P.S. Does anyone know where you can, or, "if" you can get a hold of some
FROSTY ROOTBEER? They don't know what REAL rootbeer
tastes like up here, eh?
Personally, it seems like I always knew there was some animal out there named Hunter Thompson - I remember my mother reading HELL'S ANGELS when I was a child.
The first time I investigated his writing was through the Krupp catalog out of Boulder - it was a mail order headshop that offered paraphernalia, underground comix, poster, etc. They had a literature section (1 page) that included things like Heinlein's STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND (original version, not the expanded edition,) Clarke's CHILDHOOD'S END, Tolkien's THE HOBBIT, and Thompson's FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, which was hard to find at the time (it might have been out of print, but I'm sure they had a crate of the paperbacks at the Krupp warehouse).
That book, along with Vonnegut's BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS, Heller's CATCH-22 and Burrough's NAKED LUNCH, showed me the possibilities of literature as a psychedelic experience - without the drugs!
The few times I have actually inserted myself in story, I always have to reference Thompson; he was the master of the concept.
For anyone who wants to go beyond the books, I highly recommend the Criterion DVD of FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS - it has some great commentary by Thompson, which has virtually nothing to do with the film, a documentary, and various other odds and ends; it's well worth the extra $15 over the regular version.
Would Thompson even want to rest in peace?
FREE SPEECH!! OUR VOICE HAS BEEN TAKEN DON'T LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU!!!!!!!!!
However, it seems that Travis will make his first on air appearance sometime this spring (after his non-compete clause with KTUL closes). Jim Giles will still be chief meteorologist. Word is that Trav signed a 10 year contract, which obviously makes him Jim's heir apparent.
In the meantime, Trav still does weather updates on KRMG.
I lived in Tulsa from 1953 until I graduated from Central in 1958.
Bring back Gary Shore, Don Woods, and Lee Woodward!!!
I was reading about the Middle Path, and remembered demonstrating in front of Tulsas downtown post office with Blissful Foods co-founder Bill Sommers. There were only about 15 or 20 of us there, but thanks to the magic of television, as the news report that night depicted the event, three was a large mob present. If anyone knows how I can contact Bill, please email me. After leaving Blissful Foods, he worked for the Tulsa Zoo for awhile, and then when I moved to California in 1985, I lost contact with him.
Another Tulsa memory is in the 60s when KAKC threw a big beach party at Utica Square. A ton of sand was dumped in the parking lot, there was a band stand set up, and there was a raffle drawing giving away free goodies. Tulsa rock band, "The Rogues Five" were likely to be one of the bands in concert. Anyone remember them? Anyone have any pics or news of them to share?
And lastly, just a thank-you to Mike and the gang for creating and maintaining this website!
Best regards, Josh Mars
You're welcome, Josh.
The poor people who were stationed on that almost flat surface didn't even have enough water pressure to provide water for the upstairs bathrooms of their Capehart housing. They had to carry water up the stairs to fill the bathtubs and to flush the toilets.
The Navy people there occasionally would get R and R in Guam. Meanwhile, the service people and their families on Guam were dying to get off that island to go somewhere civilized for R and R.
Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the WWII invasion of Iwo Jima.
Its pink paint job has been replaced by a more contemporary combination of
gray, blue, and red.
The Skelly Building where WEH was located in 1922 is currently being quietly torn down (by the Tulsa World). This involves everything west of Arby's Restaurant (former "home" of Palace Clothiers) to the northeast corner of Fourth and Boulder) except a loading dock for the World.
As Tommy Duncan used to sing with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys: "Time
Our 3rd grade daughter said, "Daddy, there is a really funny picture of you on the internet!" Well, that got our curiosity up and OH MY GOD!!! Jim Reid, where did you get that GOD AWFUL (but probably pretty accurate) picture of me!!?? Don't you have a better picture of me? Send us your address and I will send you a Christmas picture!! I'll send 5 bucks to anyone who knows what is hanging around my neck!!
Anyway, Dannae and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this July...remember our party at Chris Lincoln's home? Time does fly by...send us an email or call when you are in Denver. "8 will ALWAYS be the Place!"
Glenn and Dannae McReynolds
Anyone wanna spend 2 (contracted) years on a tropical atoll in the Pacific doing small scale TV work as shooter/editor/producer? Ever heard of Kwajalein? Our WWII era readers know where it is. In the near middle of nowhere and a left turn at Hawaii.
Most of it - in the Marshall Islands - is now the U.S. Army Reagan missile test center, so you also help Lockheed, the Army and in-house cable tv work. Talk about an Army base slash company town! No cars on the island and less shopping then in Avant, OK except they have a Macy's West, Surfway (groceries flown 8 hours in) grocery and a convenience store. Oh, Gilligan???? Fly via USAF shuttles. You get paid out of Alabama via the Bank of Guam but no one is talking salary yet. EVERYONE over age 10 has to carry a government ID.
Anyone crazy enough to want to go to a far place to work - contact me thru
our webmaster...here's a link
to brochure on where the heck it is!
1 - I ate at the new Steak and Shake. Good.
2 - I have been watching RODNEY. They often mention Tulsa area locations, landmarks, towns, etc., and it is a pretty funny program, as far as sitcoms go.
3 - Susan (my valentine) filled in on the piano at The Drunkard one night
a few years ago. She said it was fun but a very demanding gig. As for me,
I was invited to perform in The Olio but I never have seen the show. Shame
NEWS ALIVE AT :55!
When I was about 13 or 14, a kid in our neighborhood climbed a tree outside his house and grabbed a live power line that ran though the limbs. I happened onto this scene, climbed up with a broom and pried the kid off the wire, to the relief of his freaking-out mother down on the ground. Couple minute later, a firetruck came, sirens a-screamin'. And next thing I knew, a KAKC News cruiser pulled up; out popped ... KELLY! Recognized him from his picture on the Pepsi Top 40 sheets that came out every week. He interviewed me for a couple minutes.
The 'rescue' didn't faze me a bit, but being interviewed by Kelly had me shaking uncontrollably. Don't remember if any of this was broadcast or not, but I sure was agog at being in the presence of a guy that famous. He was nice.
Robert was a KAKC DJ himself, and a host of "Dance Party" in 1968.
George Tomek, former news anchor in Tulsa and OKC, remembered when he worked with Lee Woodward on KOTV's "Dance Party", and on live Saturday night movie skits. Earlier in this Guestbook, he recalled a couple of North Tulsa jazz joints, and updated us on his soon-to-be-released movie.
A promo for "Dance Party" circa 1970 using the drum solo near the end of the Beatles' "Abbey Road" was recalled. A mention of Dutch's Party Barn led to talk of the long-running play, "The Drunkard" (started in 1952 and still going!)
Gailard Sartain remembered his kindergarten teacher, Marna McKinney, who also played piano at "The Drunkard".
Norman Angel's, a carhop burger spot on the NE corner of Admiral and Memorial in the late 50s, opened the door for other fast-food chat.
Chris asked if anyone remembers hearing his underground radio station in 1967-69, near KAKC on the dial, coverage area Memorial to Garnett, Latimer to 15th Street.
Sean Kelly of KUSH radio in Cushing checked in. His dad, Don (still operating KUSH), was a DJ at KAKC in the late 50s/early 60s, and did a memorable voice character named Chauncey.
Your vote for the Admiral Twin Drive-In could net it $20,000 for renovation from Hampton Inns. You can vote every day. Also noted on the Bulletin Board.
The Buddy Bruce-Tommy Crook birthday bash is coming up this Sunday, the 20th.
All that and more in Guestbook 176.