Tulsa TV Memories Guestbook 167
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William B Certain was my Engineer/Tape Guy for the weekend morning shifts when I was a part time switcher/projectionist at ktul. Those times could be compared to the Fox in the Henhouse. On the weekends, all the grownups were gone, and the kids had full reign of all the toys.
WBC was one of the best at practical jokes. As JMB said, he could do a Mr. Haney to a letter. He could also do Gene Tincher to a point that would make me fall off the chair.
Sometimes it was like living in a 3rd dimension. Gene was a grand master of engineering hoots. And here's William B, mimicking Gene. Two Very Funny Men, and there I was in the shadow of both.
Folks that were there in a certain time period at ktul would/might enjoy this:
J Scott Blaker was a god to me. As the true controller of all things audio, He was what we all aspired to, be it in the audio realm.
So Anyway. Bill saw that Scott was a hard ass 'nuthin will ever break me' kinda guy.
So here we all are, Sunday am, and here comes a station break, and in them days, the station ID is always live.
WBC, at the precise moment that the *ON AIR* light goes on, drops all the empty 2" reels he can find on the floor immediately adjacent to audio A.
Clang Clang Clang. Big damn noise.
Scott was not pleased.
Bill sent me an email last March. It was full of details about a T-Shirt I wore one day to work. He even remembered the P-nut butter stains on it. I replied, but never heard back. It has been 18 years since my exile from Tulsa. I miss the town in many ways. 99% of that is people. For all of you that are still there and remember me, bless y'all. Gotta go. That storm that was supposed to destroy Tampa kinda didn't, but I've been up for the last 30 hours sandbaggin the house and couchin, so it's time for me to wish well on the mid Fl folks and hope they all make it through this thing that I was lucky enough to not get hurt at.
best to all, pda
He talked to folks at KTUL and they have a great sports ad slick on previous sports talent - which he has gotten permission to add as an element to his next project. Now, the bad news - after looking at the work, he discovered that it had been printed with Steve Zabriskie's and Hal O'Halloran's names misspelled. He said he felt awful telling them about it....
The World says John Henry's family will greet friends from 5-7 pm today (Friday) at Moore's Southlawn Funeral Home, and a service will be held at 2 pm tomorrow at the First Baptist Church of Sapulpa
While reflecting this morning on John I'm reminded of a couple of incidents that I'd like to share with you. In the late 80's I was hanging around the Church Studio in Tulsa w/ Steve Ripley and Leon Russell, and Steve pulled out a cassette of one of John's radio shows where he was interviewing Otis Blackwell, co-writer of the song "All Shook Up". It was a classic interview, John Henry-style, and his knowledge of that era in music history was evident. He would engage Blackwell and ask the type of questions that probably no one else ever asked him before (John was afterall, first, and foremost, just a fan like the rest of us). It was a great interview and you could tell Blackwell and John Henry were enjoying themselves. After the tape was over Leon looked over at Steve and I and said, "This guy needs to be syndicated!" Sadly, that never happened although I know Jim Smith of Clear Channel often talked about getting him syndicated. He did a taped show that was played here in Houston for a year or so, similar to the "Smokehouse Blues Show" he did live in Tulsa, and he told me he use to get a lot of mail from the state prison in Huntsville, so he would dedicate songs to the "Ellis" unit and other units at the prison to personalize it for the inmates. It was the world's loss that John never made it to nationwide syndication.
John Henry in the studio with Gailard Sartain and Bill Davis
(photo courtesy of Rita Thurman Barnes)
John will be missed by the thousands who have listened to his dulcet pipes over the years and had been introduced to the genres of authentic "rock and roll" and "rhythm and blues". He was the last person I know of who would actually play a vinyl 45 on the radio, and his collection of records is probably one of the best in existence. You name it, John had it in his collection.
John, you will be missed. God bless you and your family.
He worked at KTUL as both an audio engineer and tape op. Did independent make-overs of apartments for years and was chief engineer at Bell's Amusement Park.
I will always remember us both driving tape ops and folks at KTUL nuts (while on headsets) doing station breaks a la "Dueling Mr. Haneys". For those of a younger generation - Mr. Haney was Pat Buttram's character on "Green Acres", then still big on CBS. Bill and I both did - what we thought - were killer imitations of "Mr. Haney" and several times did station breaks "in character".
Will miss ya, Bill!
KAKC 6/23/71 here
KAKC 8/12/70 here
1965 patron of Bill's "T" Records (downtown location), home of the BTR label (The Paragons- Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow).
That's funny...the 1970 survey was scanned originally by me; you found it at a different site. I pointed the link back to the copy on this site.
What a loss John's passing is to the world of music not only in Tulsa and NE Oklahoma but for the many many 60's and 70's acts his band played back-up for at the Tulsa Fair and at other venues. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and want you to know how much John and his music will always mean to his fans.
He hosted Smokehouse Blues on KMOD for at least 15 years, and the Bandstand show for about 25 years.
Question...KQLL was an Adult Contemporary station until about 1990. What station did Rockin' John do the Bandstand show for previous to that? (John started the show on KELi 1430 AM, I believe...webmaster)
I remember listening to that show in February when he did a tribute to Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. He played a song that was recorded as a tribute to the three artists shortly after their deaths called (I believe)"Three Stars". This floored me, because as a lifelong Buddy Holly fan, I had heard OF this song, but could never find it. I have to believe that a large majority of the music he played came from his own vast collection.
What a loss. He was probably the last true "personality" in Tulsa radio.
The downside surprisingly has been from the University itself. Good friends (without my prompting) have contacted various people at TU about their lack of support for the book and none have had their calls returned. In the beginning there may have been fears on the part of the TU athletic department that this was an attacking book, but actually the book embraces the tradition of the football program. It seems possibly that I have written a book destined to be a "cult or underground" favorite unintentionally.
My thoughts are with his friends and family, there definitely isn't anyone else like him on radio.
I started listening to his Saturday morning show around 1979-80. He played a lot of rockabilly stuff that you never hear, and added background from his vast knowledge of the subject, so it was a real education. I'm very sorry to hear this. Here is a picture of John with Gailard Sartain and Bill Davis and Mr. S.Artain's comment in John's guestbook, courtesy of his former webmaster, Rita Thurman Barnes.
Later note from Karl:
"I would like to dedicate this juke box to the memory of my good friend Johnny Henry. I tried to pick songs and artists that we both enjoyed."
Thanks, Mark. Dr. Redlove's was mentioned in the third item from the top of Guestbook 92 (sadly, the writer of those comments, Roy Byram, passed away early this year. He worked at KOTV as a broadcast engineer from 1970-4).
My time in Tulsa was full of Kipers and I think they were all related. I had a Kiper that I graduated with at Mason and I had a Ms. Kiper for art class at Marshall Elem.
Speaking of Marshall, we had a gym teacher that used to play "Chicken Fat" all the time. After downloading Chicken Fat, I now remember how that song was played what seemed almost every day during gym. That and "Salty Dog Rag" were used as a 60's version of jazzercise.
Sounds like it will be somewhat similar to the old Dayline show on KTUL.
Of course, in my eyes, the best local talk show will always be Dannysday in OKC.
Jack LaLanne, Mike Nelson of "Sea Hunt", Popeye and Superman were my "ideels" (as Li'l Abner used to say of Fearless Fosdick). Here are clips from Jack's early 60s TV exercise show, which is listed in this 1961 Tulsa TV schedule. Jack is still going strong today at age 89.
In 1961, my mom ordered a LaLanne "Glamour Stretcher", a strong rubber cord with a loop on each end. Like most exercise gadgets, it worked IF you used it. Ours hung on the closet doorknob for decades.
I imagine you can guess why the dietetic candy, "Ayds", isn't around any more. It certainly didn't taste that good.
Debbie Drake was Jack's opposite number. She undoubtedly got more than a few guys involved in exercise, at least of their extraocular muscles. Her leotard had a little collar, which made her lightly-clad visits to your living room seem a bit more formal.
The song, "Chicken Fat", recorded by Robert Preston in "Music Man"-style, was commissioned by President Kennedy for his Youth Fitness Program. We pupils of Mitchell Elementary School were given an option to purchase the single, which I duly exercised.
"Chicken Fat" can now be yours for free in MP3 form (scroll down about 1/6 of the linked page).
I can't remember any local exercise shows at the moment. I feel that I'm forgetting someone.
It is not a formal history but a very personal remembrance of Jack's relationship with TU football, starting in grade school, and how the university and its football teams were interwoven with his own life. He knew many of the players and coaches personally, not just in growing up in the neighborhoods where they lived, but in his job in the TU sports information office and later as a high school coach in the Tulsa area. Jack understands, not only the game, but also what the coaches were experiencing. He can evaluate the teams, the coaches, and the personnel from an insider's perspective.
The book has cost me many a night's sleep. I have re-read it twice, and have picked out certain parts to read again, particularly descriptions of the significant seasons, individual games, coaches, and players.
Of special interest to media people are his relationships and evaluations of some of the newspaper and radio sports reporters of the times, people like B.A. Bridgewater, John Henry, and Jack Charvat, as well as the contemporary broadcasters Bruce Howard and J.V. Haney, whom Jack knows well.
Jack makes the times come alive as he takes us through the ups and downs of the teams. One can get a clear picture of the historical flow of TU football. It is amazing that this little private college has had so much success over the years. I realize that this is a statement that might seem strange to young people who have only seen losing records for most of the past decade or so. It might surprise some people to know that TU went to bowl games for five straight years in an era where there were only five bowls. I remember hearing or seeing in the Tulsa newspapers that for a time after World War II TU had more people playing pro football than any other college.
(This book is not to be confused with a book that TU has recently endorsed about the history of Hurricane football, with the emphasis being on Coach Kragthorpe.)
For a pleasant and insightful trip down memory lane, I highly recommend this book.
One day on the show, Captain Alan was busy with the kids when, behind him, he heard Oom-A-Gog say, "Captain Alan..." Alan replied, "Just a second, Oom-A-Gog."
A few moments later, Oom-A-Gog again said "Captain Alan..." (in the same monotone). Still preoccupied, Alan said, "Hang on for a minute, Oom-A-Gog."
Soon, Oom-A-Gog was again heard to say "Captain Alan..." This time, Alan turned around and saw smoke issuing from the robot. The electronic voice module had shorted and set Buck's shirt on fire inside the costume!
Captain Alan and a crewhand had to put Oom-A-Gog face down on the studio floor to open up the robot suit---it was impossible for Buck to get out of it by himself. He was successfully extracted and sustained no serious injury.
Buck had forgotten this story until Captain Alan recounted it last Saturday. He recalled that he had replaced Oom-A-Gog's original jointed arms with the flexi-tube you see in the picture above. He was the last Oom-A-Gog.
The photo above hung on Joe Riddle's wall in the 60s. For more, check out the Oom-A-Gog page.
I remember the drag races on, I think it was Pine Street. The races were called the Apache Drags.
It has been a long time.
I'm certain Bob still has many in the area that remember him, and I thought I'd pass this along. A tough week for NY baseball. Twenty-five years ago yesterday, Thurman Munson's plane went down in Canton, OH. About 10 days later, I left for my first job in TV, at KIVA-TV in Farmington, NM. It was a relief to get away from the Bronx and my passion for baseball, as his death was devastating. Nine months later, I came to KJRH and regained my passion, going to Drillers games and then driving to Arlington and KC to catch the Yanks. Best to all. Jim
Hi, Jim, and thanks for telling us about Bob Murphy. Jim Forbes was a reporter and "Troubleshooter" at KJRH. He is noted for his "Behind the Music" narrations on VH1...and a guest role on "The Simpsons". We last heard from Jim on New Year's Eve in Guestbook 154.
I added a KOKI "Movie Star" graphic among others (courtesy of Chris Sloan) to the Tulsa 23 KOKI page. There may be a TTM contributor who remembers this case and can fill us in.
The presentation will be at the Press Club (in the Atlas Life building downtown on Boston) on Monday, August 15th beginning at 5:30 pm with the tribute at 6:15.
Last year's recipients have been invited back so as to increase the profits at the "Cash Bar" (made famous by the French actor, Charles Boyer: "Come with me to the Cash Bar.")
The public is invited (but no touching.) It'll cost you $15.00 to schmooze and you may RSVP to the Tulsa Press Club at 918-583-7737 or e-mail to: tulpress at swbell dot net
They need to know how many to feed and how many extra police to control the rioting (it is downtown, you know?)
Congratulations to the new Icons. It's an honor well-deserved by all.
WLNG's an excellent "live and local" radio station with a wide oldies-based format and great old-school PAMS-style jingles.
Speaking of TV anchormen of the 70s, I just added a RealVideo clip of KTEW's Dean Lewis to the Channel 2 Photo Album.
The Twin is once again playing those "9 minutes until showtime" countdowns and 50s/60s movie food ads at intermission time. They are also available for your home theater at Something Weird Video (warning: the lead graphic is rated PG-13), or at Drive-Ins.com.
Anyway, the whole drive-in experience is a lot of fun. Along with noted drive-in critic Joe Bob Briggs, I say check it out.
In 1968, KOTV sent news staff to the two conventions. Clayton Vaughn and I were accumulating frequent flyers miles that year having already traveled to Vietnam. In August we were off to Miami Beach to cover the Republican National Convention that nominated Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.
Since we had to send our film back by plane, we decided the only way to cover the Oklahoma Delegation in a timely manner would be to shoot a lot of stock footage of general convention scenes and delegates, (former Oklahoma Coach and U.S. Senate candidate Bud Wilkinson was one), and telephone our reports to play over the film. Undated interviews could then be inserted into packaged pieces. The logistics of getting the film to the airport were difficult at best. We did cover a pretty good rock-throwing riot in Miami, but it was nothing compared to what would happen later at the Democratic Convention that selected Hubert Humphrey.
Vaughn was sent to Chicago to cover that combustible event. I don't recall if another KOTV staffer went along. But I believe Corinthian decided to share photographers from their other stations to save money, so I missed the violence between Chicago police and anti-war demonstrators. However, KOTV faced the same problems with transporting and processing film and coordinating telephone reports. In 1968, the station's aggressive approach to news was expensive and difficult, but it was having an impact in the ratings war with Channel Eight's Jack Morris.
We would gather around the black and white TV (as I recall,) and pretty much spend the evening (and sometimes late night) switching between Walter Cronkite and Huntley-Brinkley. Fist fights would break out on the floor, sometimes involving reporters. In 68, violence outside the convention in Chicago outdid the action on the floor.
The modern political convention is carefully scripted, planned to the smallest detail. It doesnt matter whether its Republican or Democratic, there is absolutely no suspense. Its more like watching a political rally.
Certainly the ratings reflect it. According to the Washington Post, Nielsen numbers for Monday Night were down 10 percent from the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles four years ago. Combined audience for CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC was only 18.4 million. It was 20.4 million four years ago.
Most Tulsa Belo observers know that the company also owns Houstons CBS affiliate, KHOU, Channel 11, where Dan Rather was once news director. The local news competition appears pretty spirited here and after only 19 months, News 24 fell victim to the ratings war. Time Warner and Belo also closed their news operation (News 9) in San Antonio. The cable company will continue to operate the news station in Charlotte (News 14) without Belo.
Back in the 70s, I worked for Belo-owned WFAA-TV, Channel 8 in Dallas. Former Tulsan Bob Brown also was there before jumping to ABC. Coincidentally, when Bob and I worked at KOTV it was owned by Corinthian Broadcasting which also then owned KHOU. Isnt it a small world?
My folks later did the central thang and have been window-unit free except for the summer my Dad retired. He was kvetching on high power bills and drug out a stored unit to put in the living room and refused for a few weeks to use central air. When the next power bill came - he was prepared to say, "ah ha!" He couldn't - it was higher than the folks using central air for the month!
I think Guy Atchley's dad used to find and restore evaporative coolers out of their Sapulpa home - many, many years ago...
Guy Atchley covering a 2002 wildfire in AZ
Lee Woodward's daughter, Valerie Naifeh, competed on ABC's "The Great Domestic Showdown". We heard how Lionel transformed the sport of biking into the sport of hurling.
Tulsa's (and Oklahoma's and possibly, the nation's) first TV weatherman, Harry Volkman, was forced out at WFLD-Chicago, which is very unfortunate, because Harry is still raring to go.
We heard a 1971 prank call made by the webmaster to Chris, who heard it for the first time ever when he signed the Guestbook. We discovered that the character Roy D. Mercer is modeled on "Leroy Mercer", created by John Bean in the late 70s.
Radio questions were posed (and are still open); KRAV, KXXO, and KELi stickers were plastered up. Chuck Adams and Johnny Martin were appreciated by readers. Bruce McFadden checked in for the first time after spotting Lowell's 2001 note about him.
"Convoy" (written and performed by the pseudonymous C.W. McCall) passed through Tulsa to start things off in Guestbook 166...take a look-see-hear.