Tulsa TV Memories: Tulsa pop culture      

Mazeppa Uncola poster (courtesy of David Bagsby)

...but first, this word from our sponsors...

Mazeppa Uncola Underground card (courtesy of Bill Groves and David Bagsby)

7Up Watch a prototype of Mazeppa's "Gizzer Blinkie" flicker to some really mod music in a 1970 7Up commercial.

David Bagsby sent this photo of the Un-Puzzle. The flip side of the puzzle lists the healthful ingredients of the Uncola on the Un-Mobile.

Print your own Uncola Underground card!

Geoffrey Holder 7 Up

Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Geoffrey Holder's classic 7Up commercial from the webmaster's audio Mazeppa tapes, circa 1971

Mazeppa was sponsored by Greer Tape Centers at "Fourteen Seventeen East Eleven-teenth (photo at right by Mike Bruchas, 1999), Admiral Place and Pittsburgh , and 2606 South Sheridan", the Uncola 7Up, Tuf Nut Challenger Casuals (jeans), and Rebel Jeans at the "...downtown, Southroads, T.U., Springdale, Eastgate..." Froug's locations.

"Re-BEL, they're swell!"

Photo of Greer Stereo Tape Center at Admiral Pl. and Pittsburg at DanleyClow.com

Greer's at 1417 E. 11th today (photo by Mike Bruchas)

Bob's Big Boy Burger in Bokachita         


(Note: our Tulsa Big Boy was owned by Kip)
Kip's Big Boy Burger in Tulsa
Courtesy of the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa.

And now, back to the movie!

Hammer Films' 'The Skull' The first "socko, boffo" movies Mazeppa presented were horror pictures such as  "Dracula", "Frankenstein", and the other Universal creatures, and Hammer films such as "The Skull" and "The Man Who Could Cheat Death". Then he shifted to campy 30s musicals such as "Gold Diggers of 1933" with Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler ("Pettin' in the park...bad boy....pettin' in the park...bad girl....") and "42nd Street". Later yet, many Tulsans got their first exposure to Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields. 42nd Street

Gary Busey

Gary Busey
(born Goose Creek, Texas, June 24, 1944) came on board as "Teddy Jack Eddy" around the time the show moved from KOTV over to KTUL. He was in on some classic improvised sketches. One featured Teddy Jack Eddy as a truck driver who stops in at a I'm sorry if I...hurt your feelings (smirk). diner for a Coke. His "nervous energy" drives him to feed a quarter to the jukebox and do a little dancing to Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'". He can't get the other patrons to participate.

One young fella (Sartain) is self-conscious about his weight. After Teddy Jack unsuccessfully coaxes him awhile ("I'm overweight, too, but you don't see me cryin'."), he turns to Sherman Oaks, who begs off due to a professed lack of rhythm. Teddy Jack finally gets completely ticked off. The sketch ends with Oaks' back to the camera, rhythm being imparted forcibly by Teddy Jack's palm ("One, two, one, two..."). When the waitress whines "Why didn't you ask me to dance", he replies disgustedly, "'Cuz I knew one of these clowns would be cuttin' in!"

The film of June 28, 1970 was "House of Frankenstein"

VFW dance, here I come! In another sketch, he is getting a special haircut and tattoo since "I got a VFW dance Saturday night!". When the result (a ludicrous Dippity-'do and a tattoo of a swim fin with the name "Lloyd") is revealed to him by the effete hairdresser, Eddy Leon ("You're gonna have it just the way you want it!"), he gets upset. "What are you doin' to me, buddy?! And my name's not Lloyd---it's Teddy Jack!". As soon as you see the artiste's back to the camera, you have a pretty good idea how the charge of "fifty smackers" is going to be remitted.

Ruby the Crusher and Teddy Jack Eddy, 1973
Ruby the Crusher with Teddy Jack Eddy, 1973 (courtesy of Gailard Sartain)

Gary Busey on Bonanza, courtesy of Mike Bruchas(From Rolling Stone, 9/21/78)

Busey started getting work in television and films in 1970, including minor roles in Bonanza, Baretta, and Gunsmoke...

The Last American Hero It was 1972, he'd just finished The Last American Hero with Jeff Bridges, in which he played "a moonshine redneck character," when a friend in Tulsa, Gailard Sartain, invited him to do a skit or two on his Saturday night old-movie show, The Mazeppa Papa Zody's (sic) Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting. For his skit, Busey drew on his American Hero, belligerent, know-it-all character. And when he told Sartain he needed a name, Sartain replied, "Take three: Teddy, Jack and Eddy."

Meanwhile, Busey said, "Leon Russell's home in Tulsa, watching TV," and was amused. Busey became a regular on the show and a local hero. Russell, meantime, was doing some TV of his own, setting up a videotape studio iat an old church in Tulsa. One night, two of Leon's aides found Busey in a bar. "Teddy Jack!" they shouted. Busey brightened. "YOU GOT HIM!" he roared. "What do you need, baby?" They invited him to meet Russell. "He's over in the studio," they said, "filming a cooking show."

Will O' The Wisp cover by Gailard Sartain "I said, 'What? It sounds like one of my kind of shows!'" Busey and Russell became close friends. Just as Busey was tiring of television, Russell invited him to tour with him as his drummer, in the guise of Teddy Jack Eddy, of course. Busey also played on Russell's 1975 Will o' the Wisp album (cover painted by Gailard Sartain), and Russell was so taken by the Teddy Jack character that he has given the name not only to his song publishing company, but to his first son as well.

(In The Buddy Holly Story, by the way, Gailard Sartain, the godfather to all this, makes an appearance, and a very effective one, in the role of the Big Bopper.)

1964 Dial Magazine with Gary Busey

1964 Coffeyville (Kansas) College Dial Magazine with Gary Busey performing in "Bye Bye Birdie"

On one show, Mazeppa heightened audience expectations by breathlessly promising visits by such luminaries as "Neil Diamonds", "Paul McCartley" and "Leo Russell". When Leon on stage with George Harrison in Tulsa 1974, from the webmaster's home moviesthe camera was trained on "Neil Diamonds", he was revealed to be a taciturn youth who did not even attempt to perform any music. "Leo Russell" similarly appeared one week. He was a guy with a ski mask, noodling at a piano.

When the mask was finally removed, it proved to be the actual Leon Russell, who then hammered out some commanding piano lines! (read more about this occasion in Randy Callaway's and Gary Chew's comments below)

The grainy stills are from the webmaster's home movie of George Harrison's 1974 concert in Tulsa. Leon Russell joined him onstage.

Here is a photo of Leon's 1971 concert at Oiler Park in Tulsa. It was not many months afterwards that Leon showed up on Mazeppa's show.

Leon at the piano. Home movie footage shown on 2News by Jack Frank.
Leon at the Civic Center!

(from Guestbook 48) Randy Callaway of Ada, Oklahoma said:

From the time I was 15, I have mostly lived in the south central part of Oklahoma. Television reception (by antenna) has always been dismal at best. We used to have a local ABC affiliate in the early '70s, but it was sold in favor of a cable franchise. Well, in the early '70s, probably no later than the fall of '71, my brother and I happened upon the Mazeppa show in progress one evening. Tulsa TV station broadcasts have never been very strong in this direction, so it was unusual to have such clear viewing. I remember one or two episodes of the show, I think they were both on channel 6, and I honestly don't remember if it was Friday or Saturday night. I just know I didn't have a steady, so I didn't have a date or I wouldn't have been home with my younger brother on a weekend night!

Anyway, the most memorable thing about one show was Mazeppa playing the part of a German enlisted man (similar to Schultz on Hogan's Heroes) questioning a guy named Teddy Jack Eddy. I didn't know who Gary Busey was, so for all I knew his name was Teddy Jack Eddy. The German guy just couldn't get the pronunciation right, he kept calling Busey Mr. Jackadee and quizzing him about the authenticity of his passport or something like that. Anyway the Mr. Jackadee stuff was irritating the hell out of Busey, he got mad, and you know how it ended. Years later I see this Busey guy on TV in a movie or something, and I said to my kids and wife, "Hey! There's Teddy Jack Eddy, you know the guy I told you about from the Mazeppa Poppamazoidy (I thought this was probably the way you spelled the last name until I found this site) show out of Tulsa when Kyle and I were kids!" Well, they thought I'd lost it, but Gary Busey, to this day, is Teddy Jack Eddy to me, and that's how I always refer to him no matter whose company I'm in.

I also remember another show, or was it the same one? Mazeppa, I think, is raving about having musical guests Bob Dilman, Paul McCartley, John Lemmon, etc., getting every name slightly wrong as he goes. This is pretty crazy, but I have always called Dylan 'Dilman', and McCartney 'McCartley' since I first heard them mentioned like that on the Mazeppa show. I think it's insanely funny to mispronounce names and words ever so slightly, other people think I'm just an idiot. Ha, the joke's on them!

Leon pounding the ivories Anyway onward, so Mr. Mystery comes out and they're going to unmask him, which they did, and it was a guy named Leon Russell, who I've never heard of before. Russell sits down at the piano and plays 'Baby Jane' right there on this bootleg TV program. Now I know who he is, because I'd heard the song on the radio. I went on to become quite a Leon Russell fan as well. "Carney" is my favorite album of his.

All these years (29) have passed by, my brother went on to the next life 23 years ago, and I have not met or heard of another soul who knew about a crazy TV program out of Tulsa in the early '70s! So, I'm all alone out here, one of those twilight zone experiences, where nobody can relate to a fine time I had in my youth. And then, I find this site, quite by accident, and even see some mention of the mispronunciation of rock stars' names! I'm not alone, I'm not dreaming, this really did happen! Wow! I'm quite elated, feeling like I was 15 or so again. Thanks for stirring up the memory pot. I leave happier than I came, and I shall continue to pronounce the name 'Dilman'.

Gary Chew (left, aka "Delmo Gillette") said via email:

Gary Chew, Lee Woodward and Gailard Sartain (courtesy of Lee Woodward)

Thanks for the e-mail about TV Memories in T-Town. I'm almost flattered as much as I'm questioning the viewing habits of the demented person who used to enjoy Go For Dough On The Early Show on KOTV.

Of all the things I've done in broadcasting, Go For Dough has to be my biggest HOOT! What else could one call the program that proffered the initial vehicle to display the talents of G. Ailard S. Artain?!

Of course, it wasn't planned that way. Mazeppa was just my camera man, and with those terrible movies that we ran, we were really bored and needed to make the afternoon go more quickly. That's how it began, as I remember. I also remember that when we were gabbing about what kind of title to give his late night show, I suggested the Uncanny Film Festival, because I knew the movies were going to be just as bad...and Cannes wouldn't've touched them with a ten foot baguette. Maestro Sartain immediately suggested that we tag it with: And Camp Meeting. And that's the way it happened.

G.S. also picked the theme music from one of his Coon Sanders LP's (see the Mazeppa music page), as I remember. It was a very good choice. Not too many weeks ago while watching some cable, I saw A&E's Biography Documentary on Tulsan, Gary Busey. They included a bit of Busey and Mazeppa and I think I heard some of Mazeppa's Coon Sanders theme. I was rolling on the floor.

My most vivid memory of a Mazeppa taping at KOTV, early on, was when, after Mazeppa became hot enough locally, Leon Russell came down to the studio to sing and play on the Uncanny Film Festival. I'll not forget Leon, when singing his hit, "Home Sweet Oklahoma," changing the lyrics, appropriately, from "I've got home sweet Oklahoma on my mind," to "I've got Mazeppa Pompazoidi on my mind." I was in heaven!

One other thing that always brought a big laugh was whenever G.S. would traipse through the set on Go For Dough acting goofy, causing all the young viewers to call up and say they loved it...and all the elderly folks who were tuned in to call and demand that we take "that communist off the TV!" What REALLY made it funny was, if they only had known G.S.'s politics, they would have called him anything but a communist. It was really a lot of fun. And now I get to see Gailard on all those Ernest reruns, and having a "love scene" with Annette Benning in "The Grifters," WOW! Take care and guide me to your web site, which has replaced the old command: "Take me to your Leader."

Gary Chew

See the Jetzeppa Landingear poster

But first, how about a Popeil Pocket Fisherman!
Catch fish in only one fast, easy stroke!

Popeil Pocket Fisherman

Isn't that amazing?

Greer Stereo Tape Center

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Copyright © M. Ransom, 1999