Tulsa TV Memories Guestbook 26

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Frank Morrow - 11/12/99 15:13:54
My Email:fmorrow21@netzero.net
Location: Austin, TX

An evening driving the KRMG Newsmobile was almost always eventful. On one occasion, when I was at the police station, a detective came up to me and said, “Hey, Frank. Would you like to go with me on a raid of a bootlegger? I eagerly accepted and seated myself beside him in the black, unmarked car, anticipating a big operation with several police cars, red lights, sirens, guns drawn, etc. But, when I asked him who else was going, he replied, “It will only be us.”

We parked outside an old, frame house about four or five blocks north of the railroad tracks on Denver or Boulder streets. After the knock at the door, a man looked out of us without the fear and panic I had anticipated. The detective said, “George, this is a raid.”

The bootlegger started to whine and complain, “Bill, this is the second raid in the past three months. You’re going to put me out of business.” I looked around, but found no sign of booze. The detective went straight to the bathroom, opened the medicine cabinet, then tugged again. The back of the cabinet opened up, revealing about six bottles of liquor. The detective gathered them up.

After we returned to the detective’s car, I asked him if that was really all the whisky that was there and if, in fact, the bootlegger’s business was really hurt. “Naw,” he answered, “He not only has a whole basement full of the stuff, but also his living room and dining room floors open up to contain a few thousand bottles. We’re not hurting his business. He’s used to us stopping by, but he always sings his sad song anyway.”

My next question was, “Why did you take only an armful of bottles?”

“We’re having a party this weekend,” he explained.

Frank Morrow - 11/12/99 13:30:57
My Email:fmorrow21@netzero.net
Location: Austin, TX

Roy McKee was a wonderful person with a beautiful voice. (These were the days when announcers were required to have nice voices.) During the time he worked at KVOO, one of his duties was to read poetry on the station’s program “Songs from an Ivory Tower ” It featured beautiful music and the poetry of staff member Kay Russell. She was rumored to be an alcoholic.

When Roy came to KTUL, I was working the late afternoon-early evening shift. Because Roy had the evening shift, our times overlapped. He did have a problem, however. Being a former bomber pilot of B-25s during World War II, his nerves were shot. For survivors of members of aircrews during the war, this was not unusual.

When Roy and I had to do station breaks together, I had to hold the script, because Roy’s hands would be shaking so much that it was difficult to read the words. However, Roy’s voice and delivery were all right. Roy always brought a pint of whiskey with him to work. After he took several swigs, his hands would be completely steady for the rest of the evening.

I left KTUL, and, after a few months of devoting myself to graduate work at TU, I took a job at KFMJ. Roy and Kay would come down after the day staff was gone, and I would perform the engineering for Roy to make some voice recordings of commercials. This was to avoid their having to pay someone to do it elsewhere.

While I was at KTUL, Roy and Kay got married. Some people scoffed. “Why would anyone want to marry either of those two alcoholics?” That really angered me. They were both great people who obviously were devoted to each other. What difference did it make if they had a drinking problem? Why speak ill of their happiness?

I still treasure my signed copy of Kay’s book of poetry, “Songs from an Ivory Tower.” As for Roy, he had been one of the long-term casualties of the war. People should have been grateful to both of them.

Erick - 11/12/99 04:29:59
My Email:ericktul@webtv.net
Location: Tulsa

Could this Chris Kelly possibly be the very same Chris Kelly who does evenings on KRTQ? Great station, I must say.

I was wondering if anyone else saw the unveiling of the new Doppler 8000 radar system on Wednesday's 5 o'clock news? I feel it was a bit overdone. Travis Meyer climbed to the top of the big water tower, and now I guess they're showing promo ads from that event. Interesting. We'll see how freakin' good that radar is come April and May! ;)

Chris Kelly - 11/12/99 03:09:32
My Email:chris.kelly@cox.com
Location: Tulsa
Favorite Tulsa TV show: Very Scary Movie/Friday Nights KTUL
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Uncle Zeb

Wanted to clarify who runs KRMG & KWEN now days. KRMG, KWEN, KJSR 103.3, KRTQ 102.3, KGTO 1050, and KRAV are all operated by Cox Radio. Cox owns legendary stations such as WSB and WHIO.

This is great stuff. For those of you who may not know, Don Bishop is at KRMG doing overnites.

Frank Morrow - 11/11/99 22:05:47
My Email:fmorrow21@netzero.net
Location: Austin, TX

McCarthyism was not the only source of repression during the late ‘40s and ‘50s. Sexual repression and ignorance were rampant. This was reflected in the media, where not only were there no discussions on the subject, even the words were proscribed. We could never say the word “sex,” much less discuss anything having to do with it, even parts of the body. There were official prohibitions against discussing venereal disease on the radio. “Syphilis” and “gonorrhea” could not be uttered, and “rape” was forbidden--only the term “criminally assaulted.” I recall how shocked I was the first time I heard Jack Morris say “rape” in a newscast on KTUL.

Even the word “pregnant” was not allowed. When Ed Neibling was a salesman, one of his accounts was a maternity shop. The owner wanted to start her commercials with the sentence, “Have a pretty pregnancy!” KTUL would not let her use the word.

It should be noted that this blacklisting of the term extended to Hollywood. The first movie which had that nasty word in it created a big stir, and I was shocked to hear it when I saw the film. (“Did you year that? He said “pregnant!”) Another movie shocked the audiences by using “virgin” and “seduce.” To the moralists and religious right this was all part of the slippery slope which was started by, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

“Damn” was only one of all swear words which couldn’t be used. On one occasion when I was interviewing the owner of Clarke’s Clothes on KRMG’s Newsmobile, he said “hell.” He apologized to me when we were off the air. We were all a-twitter about it back at the KRMG studios.

These restrictions were not just in the media. There was no sex education in the schools, even in higher education. As a high school junior, when I ran across an empty Tampax box, I discovered in the instructions a new, strange word. I pronounced in “VAGG-uh-na.” I still didn’t know what it was, except------maybe it was-----the-----IT!

The only class on the Tulsa University campus where sexual information was dispensed was an obscure, upper-division course called "Preparation for Marriage." The sex manuals for the class were kept under lock and key in the library, with only those students enrolled in the class being allowed to check them out. It was a shock to us students the first time we heard the word “sex” said out loud by a professor. After class we rushed outside, saying, “Did you hear what he said?”

The media utterly failed in providing information about sex. They also lived in an unreal world completely devoid of profanity or strong language. But now, as the advertisements say, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

Ray L. Rivera - 11/10/99 18:57:04
My Email:rlrivera@worldnet.att.net
Location: Louisville, KY
Favorite Tulsa TV show: Dance Party
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Mazeppa
Stupidest local commercial: So many of them...
How did you find TTM?: Surfin'

Since we're talking TV/radio preachers...remember how Katherine Kuhlman's taped radio show on KFMJ used to start every Sunday morning? With a loud thunderclap!

Dr. Warren C. Hultgren John Hillis - 11/10/99 14:15:11

I hadn't thought of Pastor Pack in a couple of dog's ages. One good story I think I heard from Rev. Hultgren (at right) himself. When wireless microphones were new, the good Reverend started using one so he could move around without the constraints of the wire. Everything went fine until the pastor of Boston Avenue Methodist heard about it, said "what a great idea," and got one too... on the same frequency. There were dueling sermons on the churches' loudspeakers for a couple of weeks before an ecclesiastical frequency coordination session resolved the problems.

BTW, the commercial quiz (from the Brewster's Java Toys page...webmaster) is very enjoyable. It probably would have been more fun back then if Shawnee had added the kerosene.

Jim Ruddle - 11/10/99 13:56:06
My Email:gardel@erols.com
Location: Rye, NY

KAKC was, as Frank says, home to some of the more interesting radio revivalists. In truth, the first of this breed I ever saw in the flesh was at KOME, where my brother, Jerry, and I used to hang out on weekends and after school. Sunday mornings were wall to-wall wailers, lots of fires of hell and washed in the blood of the lamb, and you could tell the time not by the clock, but by watching the VU meter climb in successive steps. One Sunday morning, sitting in the control room with engineer Bob Elmore, I was treated to the following by-play:

The Reverend Doctor Whatever: "And so my friends, I want you to place your hands on your radio, and I'll put my hand on this microphone...."

At this point, Elmore stands and yells "You put your hands on that microphone, you sonofabitch, and I'll cut you off the air!"

I don't know whether the sound carried through the glass, but the message certainly did, because the Rev. Doc. jerked his paws away from the old dynamic.

If "Elmer Gantry" and "The Damnation of Theron Ware" hadn't already been written, Brother Conley would have been worth a novel. He, sometimes accompanied by his friend, Larry, dropped by the station weekly to pick up his mail and occasionally opened it in the control room, ripping open the ends of envelopes, puffing on them to see if there were checks or currency inside, then dropping the rejects into the wastebasket. A friend of mine wanted me to get a dozen of Conley's healing cloths so that he could have a pair of shorts made to protect him against sexually transmitted diseases.

My favorite KAKC preacher is the learned ecclesiastic who came on immediately following sign-on. The normal sign-on announcer was on vacation and the fill-in was a guy named Bill Something-or-other who later became a successful Tulsa attorney. Bill opens the station, warms up the gear, gets the ET of the "Star Spangled Banner" cued and notices the the preacher has turned on the lights in the studio and is apparently prepared to save souls. Bill does the sign-on, then reads something like "And now this gospel message of love from the Reverend Bubba Jones." He flips on the studio mike and hears nothing but some thumping and banging. Standing over the board, he stares into the studio and sees the Reverend Bubba rolling around on the floor, kicking the table, the chairs, and the wastebasket in his travels. Bill is horrified. He quickly calls the station manager and says "What'll I do? This preacher guy is having a fit!"

"Aw, no," comes the sleepy reply. "He just goes into deep prayer before the program and sometimes gets carried away." Bill walked around to the studio door, opened it, and yelled, "Hey, preacher. You're on the air."

And another day of KAKC's quality programming had begun.

Mike Bruchas - 11/09/99 23:54:38
Favorite Tulsa TV show: Moments of Meditation w/Rev. Warren Hultgren

KTUL TV had a lot of wacky preachers on air for a time. I used to direct several of these including Pastor Pack. When I first heard his name I thought it was a 6 pack o' preachers! He used involved shots of bible verses that we had to blow up and superimpose under him in tune to his sermon - no mean trick before digital video effects. He was a split off of the Baptist Church I think.

8 also did the West Fork Methodist Church on location and in studio with Rev. Rupert Furr, his daughter Lana Furr and others - wardrobe du jour - DOUBLE KNIT! And a lotta guitars...Big difference from J. Chess Lovern of Boston Avenue Metodist Church - who was definitely HIGH church sans guitars and dobros!

Frank Morrow - 11/09/99 21:39:06
My Email:fmorrow21@netzero.net
Location: Austin, TX

When I was at KAKC, it was the screaming preachers who paid my salary—indirectly. They seemed to provide the most sponsored air time. I had to endure these guys every day and on Sunday mornings. Some were disgusting; some were merely funny.

Gene Winfrey was billed as the “Youth Evangelist,” but must have been in his thirties. I received a call one night from a young woman who asked me what time “that little boy” came on to preach the Gospel. Unlike some of the other preachers, Winfrey seemed above-board and sincere.

Brother Conley was the most devious, but the most interesting. His daily 15 minute program introduced me to healing cloths and salvation cloths. The latter were more expensive, I assume because salvation was more important than good health. In each program he asked people put their hands on the radio so they could be healed. He then would say the same prayer every day, ending with, “We believe it’s DONE! And we praise you for it.” When he said, “DONE,” he would yell so loud that the V/U meter would double up. I soon surmised that this outburst would be so loud that it might make the radios jump or at least quiver, making the people whose hands were on the radio to think that “the power of the Lord” was being received. Deviously, I started cutting down the volume just for the word “DONE,” not only to spite Conley, but also to protect the equipment.

One day, with trembling voice, Conley cried that he would have to go off the air the next week because he was not receiving enough contributions. The next day, when I was setting up the connection with him, I asked him if he actually were going off the air. He said, “Oh, no. I’m paid up a year in advance. I just have to say that ever now and then to get the money coming in better.”

The only time I saw him was when he came to the studios and stopped by the control room. He asked me, “How much money do you make, son?”

I told him, “$1.00 an hour.”

He replied, “That’s not much. You should get into the preachin’ business. Look at me. I have a big home in Osage Hills and two Cadillacs. You’re in the wrong business.”

The Catholics started a weekday program in the early evening. Not being familiar with the intricacies of the religion, I was fascinated by what the people repeated over and over for the fifteen minutes, kneeling the whole time. This also was the first time I had heard the mind blowing idea that that Mary was the “mother of God.” The program was “live” the first week, but after that I had to play a huge transcription each day. I received a call one evening from a woman who told me that I had the wrong program on. I answered that the Catholic program was in progress. But she said that the wrong side was playing, saying that such-and-such a “Mystery” was to play on one day, and the other “Mystery” was required on alternate days. In all innocence, I asked her how she could tell the difference, because both sides of the record sounded the same to me. She took offense at my lack of knowledge of her religion.

The wildest situation occurred on Sundays when a bunch of people would come down to make a thirty-minute broadcast from the big studio. About one-third of the way through the program the preacher would get so carried away that he would become unintelligible, although he was not speaking in unknown tongues. Worse, he would foam at the mouth and spew saliva all over the microphone. One Sunday, after the program was over, a woman called, weeping. She said, “Didn’t Brother (“Whatever”) deliver a wonderful message this morning?” I replied that I couldn’t tell, because he was speaking in such a manner that I couldn’t understand him. The lady was incensed.

The most fun times occurred when a feud developed between preachers on Sunday morning. They would belittle and insult each other during their respective programs.

But the most pathetic aspect of this radio evangelist phenomenon was to see the letters come into the radio station addressed to one of the preachers. You could hold up the envelopes to the light and see contributions inside: dimes, nickels, quarters, with the envelopes containing barely legible, semi-illiterate writing. I could just imagine people sending their last few pennies to these guys, money that could have been better spent on feeding their families.

Moving on from KAKC to KTUL was a delight from several aspects, none the least of which was not to have to wipe “holy spit” off of the microphones on Sunday mornings.

This is an interesting area that we haven't touched upon yet. That reminds me, I have a really over-the-top bit of radio preaching, recorded a few years ago...

Radio preacher10/28/2004: Only 5 years later, I finally got to it. This just-under 2 minute clip was randomly recorded off one of the local AM stations, best guess in the late 70s. A TTM correspondent described it thusly: "Sounds like Pat 'Mr. Haney' Buttram talking through a frequency modulator with a mouth full of jello."

Jerry D. Roberson - 11/09/99 19:09:01
My Email:OklaStateCowboy@webtv.net
Location: Tulsa
Favorite Tulsa TV show: John Chick Show
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Betty Boyd
How did you find TTM?: Link from Tulsa Historical Society page -- http://www.tulsahistory.org

As a younger Tulsan (b. 1969) it's a real kick to put some faces with those names I've heard all my life.

Certainly John Chick and his various artists did their best to wake me up every morning, but nobody lived up to "greatest local media personality" the way Betty Boyd did. I would love to see a photo of the KELi studios on the fairgrounds. Nothing highlighted a trip to Tulsa State Fair for a 70's kid the way walking up and around that spaceship did. Great website!


Ray L. Rivera - 11/09/99 18:02:01
My Email:rlrivera@worldnet.att.net
Location: Louisville, KY
Favorite Tulsa TV show: Dance Party
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Mazeppa
Stupidest local commercial: "Don't Forget Poor Ol' Pappy"
How did you find TTM?: Surfed On By

Any chance someone can upload a copy of the KMOD TV commercial where the lady surprises her husband in their den "dancing" to the beginning riffs of the Stones' "Brown Sugar" (or is it..."Taking Care Of Business" by BTO? I forgot!)

I always thought that was a funny TV commercial.

John Hillis - 11/09/99 14:54:49
Location: Down on the Potomac

Confession time: It wasn't my tape of Bill Pitcock's "King Kong Flu" that graced the KOTV special. Mine is still down in the basement, oxide growing old gracefully (I hope). Someday I'll pull it out and copy to VHS, but not yet, alas.

It's good to know that I no longer have to bear the burden of being the sole possessor of this great moment in Tulsa Television History.*grin*

While I was being unjustly credited here for delivering the goods, I was having the pleasure of sneaking into Oklahoma for the opening festivities at KTUL's new building addition. Ralph Blackman, an OU grad who's a VP for Frank Rees' architectural firm in Dallas, did the building design, and Dan Devlin designed the studio/newsroom setting. Pretty durn nice digs for the news and sales people at 8, who seem to really appreciate it. News Director Lee Williams has probably the neatest view out his office window of anybody in the state.

As Variety would put it, former KTUL topper Jimmy Leake and ex-GM Tom Goodgame were among those who turned out for the big night at Lookout Mountain.

One nifty feature of the new addition: a new water tower topped by a weather radome, a combo you're not likely to find at many other broadcast facilities anywhere.

The construction phase and the finished product can be seen by clicking the "8's The Place" icon on the main page.

OK, John, we'll revise your credit to "as remembered by" John Hillis.

Erick - 11/08/99 19:33:07
My Email:ericktul@webtv.net
Location: Tulsa

About the Total 8 Tulsa promo in the briefcase...what year was that? Looks early 80s-ish to me. Leads to another question, what year did Bob Hower retire from KTUL?

Mike Bruchas - 11/08/99 18:46:00
My Email:jmbruchas@juno.com
Favorite Tulsa TV show: Oil in Oklahoma specials
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Uncle Zeb
Stupidest local commercial: Ernest Moody - YOUR Jeweler

In the briefcase section - the KTUL - "Still Together, Still On Top" campaign ad sounds post-Carl Bartholomew at 8 - kinda lame, not his style.

The It's Free note on the bottom of the picture references a National Assoc. of Broadcasters campaign of about 10 years ago promoting free over the air versus cable tv you have to pay for...

Ray L. Rivera - 11/08/99 18:28:36
My Email:rlrivera@worldnet.att.net
Location: Louisville, KY
Favorite Tulsa TV show: Dance Party
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Mazeppa
Stupidest local commercial: (Funniest):Don Woods "Falling" Off His Horse-KTUL Promo
How did you find TTM?: Surfin' By

Do you remember your first time on the air? Like many of Tulsa's TV and radio mavens I started at "Qwigs" or KWGS.

Back in the mid-to-late 1970s KWGS had two nightly newscasts: one around 7 PM and a recap at 11. I managed to stumble through the 7 PM 5-minute cast without sounding too nervous. A colleague (Ed Ladner--who's mom was the book reviewer for the now-extinct Tulsa Tribune) did his first-ever newscast at 11 that same night but he had several more problems to deal with during his newscast.

He was rehearsing his Tulsa area forecast during a :30 second Audubon PSA--but he forgot to pot down his mike. I was in the front lobby waiting for Ed to finish his newscast when I heard over the on-air speaker a serious-toned PSA announcer, screeching birds, and Ed's voice: "The Tulsa area forecast calls for...," followed by coughing, throat-clearing and his chair squeaking, all mixed in with the PSA announcer and the birds. I ran back to the news studio and I slowly mouthed to Ed "Your mike is open!" He saw me through the window but he thought I was trying to trip him up or make him laugh.

It took him most of the 30 seconds the PSA ran to realize what had happened and he became flustered. Ed Volkman and Les Rogers (other friends of ours) were taping our newscasts from their off-campus apt. to critique us and they caught Ed's flubbing and chair-squeaking on tape, which of course has become a 20-year running joke for poor ol' Ed Ladner.

Lee Bayley - 11/08/99 16:15:26
Location: Dallas

I just saw the picture of John Chick and it reminded me of what a sweet guy he was. I grew up in Springdale, Arkansas and KRMG was marginally listenable to us. I remember hearing John (and Joe Knight, Lynn Higby and others) thinking what a big deal they were (I was 12 and 13). A couple years later..after I had already started doing part-time teen radio I was in Tulsa and went to the KRMG studios in the old ballroom building... and stood in the lobby peering in through the glass. After a few minutes the announcer came out to say hello and invite me in to the studio....I was literally blown away....and I spent over an hour in the control room while the announcer did his show...even explaining to me why he used Kleenex instead on hankies. I will never forget that time because it really had an effect on me and my attitude about how to deal with young people interested in radio....I will always take time for young people. Of course, the KRMG announcer was John Chick. Years later when I went to work for KAKC one of the first things I did was call John..then at Channel 8...and we became good friends. Mr. Zing, I know you are entertaining angels today.

Mike Bruchas - 11/07/99 23:26:44
My Email:jmbruchas@juno.com
Location: Alexandria, VA
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Terry Young

Can anyone remember anything on Gov. Dewey Bartlett and his use/abuse of the OSBI in the early 70's? I remember he forwarded id's of arrested anti-Shah Iranian college students from a relatively peaceful on campus march at OU or OCU to the Shah's secret police back home - that kinda shortens your lifespan then "back home".... He did something else about Viet Nam era draft protesters arrested - may have forwarded their arrest records to draft boards. Seems like a 70's version on a smaller scale of the McCarthy stuff.

I also remember 1 Saturday night back when he was OK's senator. He lived at Center Plaza in Tulsa - then THE place in downtown. Someone reported a man with a gun there near his apt. as I recall and Tulsa's finest swarmed the building. I think folks were concerned that Bartlett was out that night and might come home to an unpleasant surprise. Don't think the gunman was ever found or it may have been a crank call.

He was not one of my favorite OK Gov.'s or Senators...

Also in this time I remember Mayor Robert LaFortune standing up for freedom of speech at the Tulsa City/County Library. I think some books were to be banned or their purchase was a sticking point to some extreme conservative folks in Tulsey. Mayor LaFortune came out for their purchase. If any one can remember more on this - let us know. I will always respect the man for his actions and common sense - like Henry Bellmon - you couldn't get a short or exciting soundbite out of either of them, but they were honest brokers and pretty darned openminded GOP folks.

I liked Bellmon and LaFortune, too.

As it happens, I was on the OU campus when some of those anti-Shah protests were going on. The protesters hid their faces to keep the Shah's secret police, presumed to be on campus, from identifying them. We weren't sure how much good it was going to do in Iran, protesting at OU. Some of the more flippant students hung banners saying "Bra the Shah!" out their dorm windows.

Center Plaza has become Central Park condos. The developers (from Florida) made the initial mistake of painting the building Pepto Dismal pink. Didn't look that great in downtown Tulsa.

Webmaster - 11/07/99 06:31:43

In Guestbook 25, we just heard about radio in the McCarthy era. We also heard from John Chick's daughters!

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