L & L YouTubes on the TTM Channel.
4/20/2004: A day at home with Lee & Lionel
Renowned painter Thomas Loepp did the Royal Portrait
Article by Wilhelm Murg: King
4/11/2001: Lee just recorded a Hoagy Carmichael tune, "One Morning in May", using the Bert Kaempfert Orchestra as backing. I think you'll agree with me that Lee is one terrific singer when you hear this TTM exclusive!
12/4/02: Special treat this Christmas season: see and hear Lee Woodward sing "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "The Christmas Song". The clip is from Mike Flynn's program "Easy Country" in the late 70s.
I saw Lee Woodward while shopping in south Tulsa yesterday. He is a very distinguished-looking gentleman these days.
King Lionel had no trouble holding his own with the news anchor, Clayton Vaughn or Bill Pitcock, and the sportscaster, Mack Creager or Ken Broo (Lee was the weatherman). The King got frequent chuckles from the cameramen. There probably weren't too many news teams in the country featuring a puppet, but Tulsa was fortunate enough to have Lee and Lionel around for many years.
I miss the easy-going humor on local television in the days before "consultants". The camera would settle on Lionel, and you could count on Lee's sharp wit to make it entertaining.
Lee's brother, Morgan, is a veteran character actor and guest-starred in a couple of classic Star Treks: "Dagger of the Mind" and "Omega Glory", as well as "Bonanza", "Then Came Bronson", and many other series and movies. Oh, yes, and he was the boss man wearing mirror shades in "Cool Hand Luke".
1/1/08: Added to GB 232, a new photo of Morgan Woodward at age 6, courtesy of Lee Woodward.
Wayne Johnson (not Wayne "Tuffy" Johnson), who was a clarinetist in the Bob Wills bands of the 40's, was at KOTV as an engineer/audioman.
A joy at the KOTV Xmas party was Wayne playing clarinet or sax and Lee Woodward singing.
(and from Guestbook 3)
Former KOTV/KTUL photog Carlos Hernandez is the new Chief Photog at WTTG/Fox in Washington. He said he was in Tulsa for the KOTV 50th anniversary party a few years back and had a great time. Seeing Lee Woodward was special, he said.
Remember Lee Woodward as announcer as well as weatherman? He did station identification in a sounding matter. KOTV Channel 6, First in Tulsaaa.(23K .wav file). (Mark, you've got to be impressed that I found exactly the clip you mentioned! 6/26/2000: I got a note from Mark saying that he was indeed impressed...Webmaster)
About Woody and the King: A bad producer's dream--they were slotted each night for 1:45, but could trim it to 30 seconds or, as they did sooo many times when that hour got real long, run it out to 3 and a half minutes, with just two minutes notice in the break before the King's segment.
One of my favorite Lionel raps came during the debate over the City of Faith hospital permit. It went something like:
"I'm not sure about all of this religion stuff. One time I was up in the Cessna at 5,000 feet, and the motor quit. I tried to get it going again, but the plane kept falling, 4,000 feet, 3,000 feet, 2,000 feet. Finally, it got to 1,000 feet, and I said, 'God, you take it!' And He crashed the darn thing!"
I've repeated that line for 20 years now to church groups and Sunday School classes. From anybody's else's mouth, the phone lines would have burned up, but out of Lionel, it was a gentle, if pointed, observation.
And if somebody didn't remind you that Lee's brother Morgan Woodward was one of the stars of "Dallas," well, you hadn't been around Channel 6 for more than 5 minutes.
Working with Pitcock, Vaughn and Lee was an absolute trip. The newscasts, particularly the 6pm show, were never strictly formatted. We could break format, it seemed, anytime. The highlight was the end of show schtick with Lionel. I tell co-workers today about a newscast that ended with the anchors talking to a puppet and they look at me like I'm crazy.
Lee Woodward is easily the most talented person I've ever worked with. He could have done anything and gone anywhere in television.
My wife was with an ad agency then. She got ahold of the 'Q' ratings, or likeability studies, for local television talent. Lionel was number one. Lee was third. I teased him about that.
I ran into his brother, Morgan, in LA about a year ago and was happy to hear Lee is doing well.
...The 'Moose' return tour, that lasted about a week, was another bizarre KOTV episodes. I think they had him doing commentaries, at the end of the shows. "Kamikaze Television" is how Vaughn referred to it, on Clayton's return from NJ.
Lionel was told not to refer to Pitcock as "Moose" upon Pitcock's return. It was a 'bit' for about two days. After that, "The King" called Bill: "Moooooooster Pitcock". I thought our illustrious management team was going to gag.
Re: the Great Lee Woodward. Sometimes during the taping of Mazeppa, Lee would be preparing his weathercast and I would invite him to participate. His talent and unique sense of humor were always a welcome addition.
I loved Lee and Lionel (with the 3 Stooges) and went down to watch them tape. I was a little disappointed that I could not watch the Stooges shorts in the studio because they were on tape, but I did learn a lot how TV works. I was fascinated with Big Bill and Oom-A-Gog, as well. Not as witty, but very fun. The Mazeppa show may be my favorite because it was so far ahead of its time. I was about 19 when it came out and I was addicted immediately. The earliest few episodes had Lee Woodward and a cute girl that was Sartain's sidekick.
Did anyone ever own one of those cool all-terrain cars that travelled along the moat during the Lee and Lionel main title?
Hmmm...like the toy Aqua car that DX gas stations sold? I had one of those once.
Evershed Power Optics story I got from Lee Woodward.
When 6 did an early morning show in the late 60's they had 1 or 2 cameras on the remote control heads - this was an "economy move" to use less crew.
These were remote tilt/pan/zoom only cameras - unlike those of today that move along a magnetic floorstrip or can truck unattended.
Lee was sitting at the old newsdesk when one of the cameras parked next to the desk to do cross angle shots, lost its "mind" and started banging up and down on the edge of the news desk uncontrollably. I think he lost it and joked he felt like it was going to attack him!
It's hilarious now but back when 6 had only 2 then very expensive Norelco color cameras for all shows, it could have been disasterous.
(from Guestbook 20) Mike Bruchas said:
The cowbells story reminded me that Lee Woodward said at one time he worked at WBAP radio in Ft.Worth. He said the GM or Program Director were always after him to "ring those bells" I guess on ID's.
I remember when WBAP-AM had to give up its 570 channel because the FCC ruled that a newspaper could not have two frequencies in one market. They were actually splitting the day between 820 and 540. They would ring the "cowbell" when making the switch. "This is WBAP 820 (clang, clang, clang). You're now listening to WBAP 570 in Fort Worth."
They gave up 570 to WFAA in Dallas. No more cowbell in Dallas. Believe it or not, they originally were ringing it on FM until the listeners with high-dollar sound systems complained.
I remember Lionel getting kidnapped. It was big news. I heard he ended up in Kansas somewhere.
Cindy reminded me that the original castle for Lee and Lionel's afternoon movie show was retired to her family's garage until it was donated to a day care center in Tulsa. Lionel and Granny Lion (there was a third lion but his name escapes me) ("Basil Lionbone"...per King Lionel, himself!) were also housed at the Vandever home. Some really bad puppet shows were staged for the neighborhood kids in that garage. I read that KOTV let Lee Woodward go in the 80's. That was a big mistake!! ...Some Dun and Bradstreet Bigwig's son that had been fired from a station in Hawaii made a bloody mess of the whole place. He was the cause of my father-in-law retiring early from KOTV's Sales Department. (Note: KOTV is now owned by Griffin Communications, and prior to that, by Belo, Corinthian and Cameron, in reverse order.)
A little anecdote here on Lee Woodward. While in college, Lee came to sing with our band in a concert. He is an excellent singer. While standing backstage waiting for our turn to go on, I asked him why he got out of TV and started selling cars. "I got tired of starving to death," he quipped.
...But reading the stories about the King brings back this story. KOTV was the first station I worked at and as a young cameraman I tryed to do everything by the book, but the book didn't talk about working with Lee and the King. After awhile the King was so real that you gave him the time cues or talk to him just like all the other talent.