Tulsa TV Memories Guestbook 165
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Whatever happened to Orbach's near Utica Square? When I could afford it bought my clothing there because Johnny Martin pitched it as the men's shop. Mr. Martin had a way of talking on a personal level with such style and class. As I remember there were photos of famous Tulsans on the wall, including the king of Tulsa radio.
And from what I hear, the Mayo was reopened? What a fine hotel that was in its day. Given the choice between lunch at the Mayo and the downtown (and if memory serves - the original) Coney Islander we always chose to walk in and sit at one of those wooden school desks - now that was a hot dog!
Thanks again for doing a grand job - loved the visit and will return. Happy fourth!
You are welcome, sir, and happy fourth to you, too. I believe that a few of the Mayo's floors have been restored, but much more is to be done.
But one memory that really seems like yesterday was when my dad, then a geologist with Cities Service (Citgo now} had a meeting downtown near the Mayo Hotel. After the meeting, he treated us to an ice cream soda in or near the hotel, I don't remember. That soda fountain had to have the best sodas I've ever had and remember it to this day. I think they used actual Pepsi Cola, rather than carbonated soda water. I do know that Dad, from that point on, made his homemade sodas with Pepsi. They even tasted better when he began using Bluebell ice cream when we moved down here to Texas!! Does anyone remember a soda fountain like that? I don't know the name of it.
Anyway, keep the memories coming, y'all!
Kathy, if you do a search for those eateries in the TTM Search Engine, you will find multiple mentions and some pictures.
Some people in Tulsa may not know what Del Rancho is, but it is well known in the OKC area. Great food (I would always suggest the Steak Sandwich Supreme), but they had even better TV ads. I remember 2 ads, both of which appeared to have been filmed in the late 70's or very early 80's. The first (and best) was a young kid dressed up as a cowboy who walked into the restaurant at the astonishment of the diners (reminiscent of "The Good The Bad and The Ugly"). He strolls up to the counter, slams some money on the counter and says with his best mean face "Steak Sandwich Supreme, please." Classic. The other ad was more straight forward, with former KWTV/ABC News sportscaster John Snyder extolling the virtues of the restaurant.
The point of this rant? When Del Rancho opens, please stop by and give it
The Flying Chicken was an enterprise begun in the mid-fifties and consisted of at least one--and who would know?--perhaps, more, three-wheeled motorcycles, probably castoffs from the Tulsa police department. You placed a call and sometime later the motorcycle hauled up in front of your door,the driver would unlatch the rear compartment, and bring some pretty good fried chicken to you. As far as I know, this pre-dated any of the fast-food delivery systems that are around today.
I remember the Golden Drumstick. The first Pizza Planet in Oklahoma was on 11th Street west of Skelly Stadium. They set the standard for non-pizza tasting pizza. The Louisiane Restaurant is no more, is it? Bishop's downtown had the best fried onion rings and long before I ever remembered them growing up in Chicago. Nobody anywhere beat the Coney Island in the heart of downtown Tulsa.
Is the Mecca Coffee Shop still there? There used to be a great place to get
a huge ham sandwich down the block from KOTV in the early '60's, especially
working Saturday night when not much was cooking downtown and I did the Saturday
night news solo. A lot of the crew ate down there. As I recall, the cafe
got state or federal money to help feed the folks on welfare (or less). People
working in the fascinating world of local TV didn't exactly push a wheel
barrow full of money to the bank each week either back then.
Elmo's Grill sat about an eighth of a block east of Yale on the southside of 15th Street. It was owned and run by Jack and Sylvia and their daughters. Jack prepared the best damned home-made biscuits and white gravy I ever laid a tongue to, if you don't count my grandma's, who lived up in Kansas.
Jack was also good at fixin' up a big 'o mess of chicken-fried steaks that always sold like hotcakes. In fact, there wasn't anything on the Elmo's Grill menu that wasn't good, fresh and well-prepared.
Jack told me once that the guy he'd bought the place from was named Elmo. Jack figured that keeping the name couldn't hurt. I guess Jack had a pretty good head for marketing.
I was so taken with the cuisine at Elmo's, I did an audio piece that National Public Radio actually played on its afternoon news magazine, All Things Considered. It was so long ago, that Bob Edwards did the intro to it. That, of course, was several years before Bob started getting up early to do NPR's Morning Edition for the next twenty-five years. NPR just kicked Bob upstairs this spring.
Jack, who was always dishing up great stories along with his fine food, told me that a couple had come into his establishment not long after the NPR piece had played on the network and KWGS. The people were on vacation from somewhere back East and had heard my paean to Jack's culinary skills on their car radio somewhere out in Colorado. On their way home, they opted to divert all the way south to Tulsa for a repast at Elmo's. Jack boasted that they weren't disappointed and indicated their pleasure with a generous gratuity. Jack was unresponsive when I asked him for a commission.
But, alas, Elmo's is no more due to the widening of 15th Street some years back. It obliterated the lot that Jack had to have for his customers to park. I heard that he went to work in food service at TU. I hope students there enjoyed his expertise at putting out good grub.
There have to be Tulsans who surf this memorable TV website who remember
putting on the feedbag at Elmo's Grill.
We used to run the Little Rascals every afternoon coming out of Uncle Zeb. The Rascals had an open that had to be read live by the booth announcer at the beginning of each show. We had a director named Bob Grissom who used to like to try and break up Cy Tuma as he read the open. He would yell incredible things that I can't repeat here through the headset into Cy's ear, yet Tuma never missed a beat and read each open perfectly. As soon as he was finished reading, he would close the mic and roar with laughter. He thought that it was enormously funny....which it was.
Jim contributed a picture of Cy's memorial folder today.
I know, I know.
Someone at Wilson Jr. High School came around and asked who would like to be a golf caddie. Of course, I held up my hand as I thought that.....jeeeze, it's been so long ago that I can't remember what I thought, however, I did know that golf balls bounced real good.
In my case, the word 'caddie' translated into walking around with a sharp stick and a bag picking up paper.
I thought everyone would like to see my shirt from the event. Please excuse the mustard droppings.
A friend did go, and confided in me that it was the first time he seriously considered public nudity. In those pre-Janet Jackson Super Bowl days, I'm sure NBC would have taken issue with his lack of clothing.
His uncle, who attended some of the '77 US Open, recalled that temps the entire weekend were in the upper 90's, and the sympathetic groundskeepers even doused the heat-stricken gallery with watering hoses. Many believed it would be Tulsa's last chance on golf's big stage. Indeed, it took 24 years for the USGA to make another visit.
If I'm not mistaken, the '07 PGA Championship with be at Southern Hills,
but fortunately for Tiger, Phil, et al, that's more of a fall event.
Jack and Louise Stites at the Casa Del. More in Guestbook 98.
Clothes that is; like in Beverly Hills, etc.
Before I got into broadcasting, I sold the finest men's clothing at three different stores in Fort Worth and Arlington. First, for Eddie Williams Men's Store in Arlington, Texas (Eddie was a teen sensation in the forties as a singer with the Frankie Masters Orchestra who chose a lady and clothes over Hollywood,) then for Clyde Campbell in Fort Worth.
We sold suits and coats by Stein-Block, 3-G, Hickey Freeman, Hart-Schaffner & Marx, LeBaron, Hollywood and so forth; so, that when I eventually arrived in Tulsa in 1957, I had the finest wardrobe you could imagine.
A year passed before time for the 1958 U.S. Open Golf Championship at Southern Hills Country Club and I was ready (I thought) to put on the proper attire for this event and enjoy the show.
I put on a beautiful black silk sport shirt then put on my Gucci pink walking shorts; my knee length black hose with black penny loafers. A black lizard skin belt completed the ensemble.
As I strolled the sidewalks and then the fairways of Southern Hills, I became aware that I...was the show! Men in sports coats with dress shirts and ties...men in suits..ladies dressed for high tea; were looking at me as though I had just landed from Mars. I knew before too long that the consensus was (even in that straight time) that I was light in the loafers. I found this very amusing as all these people, sweating in the wrong uniform of the day wondered at my regalia which happened to be in high fashion at the time (but not in T-Town.)
As a treat for myself, I repeated this sartorial offense in the streets of downtown Tulsa the following weekend and almost brought traffic to a halt.
But then, it could have been the unseen Flying Chicken!
The 60s and 70s brought a halt to my good taste as I succumbed to the fashions of the "New Day" and even owned a pair of "Li'l Abner" shoes which were popular among some of my Ethiopian friends. I have many photos that capture me in full "Soupy Sales" attire.
The Horror...The Horror!
I sent them on to Mitch Latting, who wrote about his dad, Bob Latting, in the previous Guestbook. Here is Mitch's reply (by permission):
I do believe the Billy Latting and Mrs. Latting mentioned in the articles are both my Aunt Alma and Bill Latting Jr. If my memory serves me well, Uncle Bill, Aunt Alma, Bill Jr. and Rosemary lived on Darlington (sounds like what's being called the "White City" addition.)
Four long years ago when I was working at Infinity Press in the Brady District,
I used to walk to my apartment on 13th and Denver in the middle of the night,
and never had a problem. Now with all of the shootings and fights and violence
our little arts district has been turned into a war zone. Some call it progress,
but to me it's obvious we are losing more than we have gained.
I suppose you would have seen us on TV (being arrested) if the guards were
doing their job a little bit better.
No - not Nelson's!
I guess we should say, "Goodbye, Chicken Fry!".
I truly hope that they re-open! What next- Knotty Pine turning into a Coin
For a change, I can actually talk about something recently besides my commercial work that gave me some real satisfaction. Through a casting agency in NYC, I was chosen for a key role in a short film called "Tube Poker" being produced by Therapy Films, Ltd., London, U.K. I play the role of Dan Corliss, a mature (that's me these days) American TV news anchor weaving a plot about a dangerous and sometimes deadly variation of video poker started on the subway system in Tokyo which has spread to London, Paris, Moscow and, reportedly, some cities in the U.S. The movie is written and directed by a young U.K. director and will have a real surreal nature about it. With my news background, the director gave me the opportunity to provide input for my portion of the script.
Therapy Films is high on the production and I'm obviously hopeful it will do well in the festivals in which it will be entered. London was great and so were the folks with whom I worked.
By the way, I have crept into the Internet era finally with my own website -- GeorgeTomek.com -- real original, huh?
Here's to hoping they re-emerge VERY soon. I'll be the first in line for
a plate of chicken fry.
Nelson Rogers, Jr. promises that the restaurant will return, but it probably won't be downtown.
Business suffered as the downtown work force shrank over the last several years (the low-carb craze didn't help, either, I'm sure).
Also, the Tippin's chain has gone out of business due to a revenue downturn in K.C., St. Louis, and Texas. But the Tulsa Tippin's at 71st and Memorial was bought by a local individual and will continue as Tippin's (just as the sole remaining TG&Y store operates in Sapulpa).
The full stories are in today's Tulsa World.
Scott Evans has contributed pictures of his dad,
Dick Evans, who was a KAKC heyday DJ.
I worked on "UHF". In fact, the set for Philo's Workshop (master control) was my office when I was a producer on the Jimmy Houston Outdoors Show. Finally cleaned the fish scales out of my career, I now oversee all programming for the TLC Network in Washington DC.
Tony Geary, Victoria Jackson and Weird Al in Chris' office
Thanks very much, Chris.
("Commander") Ken Rank, a well known TV/radio personality, passed away Sunday June 20, 2004 in a Tulsa hospital after suffering complications from a lung transplant. Memorial service will be held at Floral Haven Family Center in Broken Arrow, OK on Thursday, June 24, 2004 at 9 a.m. Pallbearers will be Bob Kale, Steve Wallace, Carl Lund, Steve Berry, Jack Parnell, Ronnie Kaye. Honorary pallbearer will be Joe Henderson. Funeral service will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church in Fort Smith, AR on Thursday, June 24, 2004 at 3 p.m., with burial in Woodlawn Memorial Park under the direction of Edwards Funeral Home of Fort Smith. Memorials may be made to the Patients Assistance Fund, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Lung Transplant Program, 913 Oxford House, Nashville, TN 37232. Edwards Funeral Home, Fort Smith, AR, (479) 782-8203.
He also has a new rad haircut and looks YOUNGER. He has been a yoga enthusiast for about 20 years and even now is a certified yoga instructor besides working at KGUN-TV, writing books and doing motivational or humorous after dinner speaking.
I see where former OKC KFOR reporter Rick DeReyes is now at KOB in Albuquerque doing WEATHER! Check out the KOB-TV website.
He left reporting for a while to do baseball play by play and now is "the
Also, Leon Russell's house in Tulsa was used for an episode or two when he
hosted the show. Does anyone have additional information?
There was some mention of the Cain's renovation and the song "Take Me Back To Tulsa". I had the great fortune of seeing the band Nickel Creek at the renovated Cain's late last year. At the end of the show, they unplugged their equipment, hopped off the stage into the crowd with their instruments, and performed an acoustic version of the song. I'm sad to report that most of the audience only knew the chorus.
There was some mention about Gary Shore angering NWS officials. He did that
on a few occasions. I'm sure him issuing the tornado warning for Mannford
early on a Sunday morning in '84 made the NWS look bad, but it saved a lot
of folks. He upset the Army Corps of Engineers during the '86 Arkansas River
flood by saying on the air that the Corps was making a mistake by not opening
the gates more at Keystone. Hard to say if he was right. The Corps eventually
did open the gates, but the ensuing rise in water downstream caused more
flooding. It's possible it may have been avoided to an extent had the gates
been opened sooner.
He is off to Sapulpa most of next week.....Sapulpa - America's vacation spot of choice!
Cicada note - in VA there ended up being far FEWER than seen in years while
MD was walloped by them. The local counter-culture paper has been running
a series of "collector post cards" of cicadas in situ with funny captions.
How is the crop of cicadas in Tulsey?
First, Harry Tootle brought you "Tootlevision" in Tulsa, then Tootle's TacoTV (see Guestbook 116 ). Next, as WebPastor Harry, he generated the heartstopping headline, "Harry Tootle Dwarfs Harry Potter at PastorsPublishing.com".
Now, he sets his sights on the top prize:
Harry Tootle for
When I was twelve or thirteen--that would have been in 1944 or '45--a fellow who lived across the street from us on South Detroit, a high school senior, I believe, induced my two older brothers and another guy to join him in a lame-brained exercise to have some fun.
The idea was to blow up something on the banks of the Arkansas River.
There was, in those days, a hardware store on Second, between Boston and Cincinnati, as I recall, that sold dynamite. Being the youngest, most innocent looking, and surely the dumbest, I was selected to purchase dynamite, fuse, and blasting caps, using the phony cover that "My dad wants to blow up some stumps out on the farm."
Today, this would have had me nailed in a moment, but at that time the request wasn't at all outlandish. I bought a half-dozen sticks of dynamite, about fifty feet of fuse, and three caps--which came in a small box, insulated from each other by cotton.
We walked through downtown Tulsa with this lethal combination, down to the 21st Street bridge, then over to the West side of the river and about two blocks below the bridge. There, we placed the first charge under a driftwood tree trunk--three sticks--and, after timing how long it took for a foot of fuse to burn (about forty-five seconds, I believe)--we stuck in a cap, fitted a three-foot length of fuse, lit it, and ran like hell.
After a couple of minutes, it went off with a satisfying boom, and the trunk was lifted and cracked.
At that moment, we heard police sirens coming from West. We fled toward the bridge, figuring that it was our only way out, and got there just in time to see a motorcade passing across. The sirens were from the escort for Abbott and Costello who were in town for a personal appearance--maybe a war bond drive.
We used up the remainder of the dynamite in another couple of blasts and soon moved to other, less dangerous endeavors. I told a friend of mine about the project and he went to the same hardware store, bought the same items, and rode all the way back to his house on 21st Street with the dynamite and caps bouncing around in the seat carrier of his motor scooter. He made it, but his father nearly keeled over when he opened a brown paper bag on the dining room table and found the gear. Later, after recovery, he and the kid went someplace and blew up some tree trunks.
I don't know why kids today can't find fun the way we did in the simple things.
I would like to obtain a copy of a Creative Crafts program, produced & broadcast by OETA in Fall 1970 (at least in OKC, but Tulsa probably is too). I called OETA recently while in OKC, & they said they do not keep programs beyond 4 years, & suggested that I search the internet.
It's not a weird request, but unfortunately, it is a tough one to fill.
I often hear from folks who were on some of the local shows (I was, too, in 1960 and 1971) looking for the video tape of the date they appeared. The local stations kept virtually none of this stuff. There is some film of a few selected things, and Gailard Sartain managed to get away with some of his show on tape, but there really is very little in existence. Stations reused the tapes over and over.
The best I can suggest is that you write a note in the guestbook, and others might conceivably remember seeing the show.
But Teresa proved to be both resourceful and lucky:
Guess what! I found out that all the Creative Crafts programs are now held at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in OKC (now the OK Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum)!
We heard from Wirt Cain for the first time, and we hope, not the last. Flint Reeves is still going strong.
Lee Woodward reported on his bike tour of downtown Tulsa. The International Route 66 festival was held in Tulsa last weekend.
Mitch Latting spotted his dad, Bob Latting, in a photo from the Kids Karnival, a KOTV kiddie program from the early 50s.
A new local show premiered, "Tulsa Music Exposed" (more about it on the
Bulletin Board, main page). KAKC-FM's early 70s format was discussed.