Tulsa TV Memories: Tulsa TV/radio/movies/pop culture of the past      

Cousin Zack and Uncle Zeb

Uncle Zeb's Cartoon Camp
(*Mr. Zing's uncle)

Starring Carl Bartholomew as Uncle Zeb
Al Clauser as Uncle Zeke
Kent Doll as Cousin Zack
(note Carl's "8's The Place" promotion
in the background)

Read more about Dick Van Dera's show,
Uncle Zip's Do Da Day
near the bottom
of this page.

Interview with Carl Bartholomew:
'Being Uncle Zeb' by Wilhelm Murg

See Uncle and Mrs. Zeb today...about halfway down
this page at the Tulsa Children's Theatre site.

Carl Bartholomew's has written a new book:
Plane Phenomenon: The Pawnshop Mysteries
Read more in this Tulsa World story.

(This photo is not of Lisa, but of another Zeb orator)

(from Guestbook 66) Lisa Radcliffe Harrell said:

My sister and I were on Uncle Zeb in 1978 (or maybe 1979 - I was in the 3rd grade, at any rate). I remember being so excited when my mom came to pick me up from school early one day (Southside Elementary in Broken Arrow) and said that we were going to Channel 8 to be on Uncle Zeb. I remember sitting on those bleachers and watching Uncle Zeb's assistant (I think his name was Zeke) do magic, and one of those close-ups where they used to zoom in on a kid while playing a quote from an old movie or show before cutting to a commercial or cartoon was done on me. I sure wish I could get a videotape of that particular show, because my husband would die laughing to see a younger me walk across the bridge and say "I wanna say hello to my momma, my daddy, my teacher at school, and everybody else I know!" in an Okie accent.

Zeb and the bridge (photo courtesy of Mike Bruchas)

"I wanna say hi to my mommy, my daddy,
my sister, my brother and everyone I know!"

(via email, 12/14/2004) Marc Hall said:

I found three different Uncle Zeb 4"x6" autographed pics from a couple of different appearances he did here in Muskogee probably between 1975-1977. The appearance that I remember was at a big discount store called Gibson's that was located at Curt's Mall here in Muskogee. It was a store like Wal-Mart.

I remember walking around the corner of an aisle in the back of the store and there, sitting at a table, in full costume, was Uncle Zeb. To a six-year-old living in Muskogee in the 70s, Uncle Zeb ranked right up there with Santa Claus. Needless to say I was star-struck. I had just watched him on Channel 8 that afternoon and now he's here, LIVE and IN PERSON!!

With that nervous feeling getting bigger with each step, I walked up to the table. He said something (I don't remember what because I was in shock at this point), shook my hand and signed a picture for me. When he handed me the picture, the ink wasn't dry and the autograph smeared. He saw it and signed another one. Well, it wasn't dry either, but it didn't smear as bad the first one. I didn't care, I had 2 autographed pictures of Uncle Zeb and everybody else only had one. Ha Ha Ha!

These pics were the best things ever. They caused a stir with the neighborhood kids that was even bigger than Santa's boot print that I found in the fireplace ash the year before .

One of Marc Hall's autographed Zeb pix.
One of Marc Hall's autographed Zeb pix.

(from Guestbook 5) Mike Bruchas said:

Uncle Zeb - Carl Bartholomew was working at one time with Tulsa Cable - don't know if he is still there. Started doing the Zeb show again there for a while. Last time I talked with him, was doing free-lance voice/acting work, has been in a locally produced "direct to video" movie or 2. A fascinating and nice guy - he was in some totally different line of work and either lost his job or got bored with it and hired on at KTUL in the 70's. I worked with him as an audioman/announcer when he wasn't being on-air as Zeb. He later became Promotions Director at 8 and produced a lot of those neat local promos of the 70's/80's. He created a lot of 8's "image" that we knew then and loved. Hurst Swiggart might be able to tell us more on Carl....

Speak of the devil...

(from Guestbook 7) Uncle Zeb himself said:

Howdy! I've been lookin' for ya! Here's a few old and new facts about ZEB. Did the show from '69 to '79. Shelved the character to concentrate on 8's The Place promotions. Great fun and times in both positions. Leake sold the station in the early '80's to Albritton. They canned me fast and I moved to Tulsa Cable. Did promotion work for them until they sold out to TCI. They let me go too, but I was able to convince them that they needed a kid's show and I knew someone who could do one. Zeb was back on the air (cable) in 1990 for seven more years. Show became a second generation show which worked well for me. Retired myself and the character in '97. Finished a family, fiction chapter book: GRANMAX: The Saving of A Steam Train, and got it published last year. Played a small part in a short film Mike Denney (former KTUL cameraman, fill-in Shaggy Dog and Tuffy the Tiger, current director of "The Young and the Restless"!) produced and directed. Incidently, I visited Mike recently, who lives just north of the Santa Barbara area, in his incredible 8,000 sq. ft. home. Also watched him direct The Young and The Restless.

Most vivid Zeb memory was on Zoo Day when a spider monkey climbed atop my hat and peed from there down into my boot and sh*t carrot chunks all at the same time, live, on the air. Mike Denney was directing that show and captured all the action.

Zoo Days with Uncle Zeb

Zoo Days with Uncle Zeb
Article from ZooNews, Jan/Feb 2002
More on the infamous monkey incident

Thanks for the memories boys and girls. I'll be lookin' for ya!!!!

P.S. Produced, directed, wrote, and played the lead in a straight to video feature, Cole Justice, in 1988. Was in all Blockbuster stores, 20 foreign countries and two schedules on Showtime Cole Justiceand The Movie Channel.

 Watch a scene from "Cole Justice" set at The Williams Cinema.

(from Guestbook 60) Uncle Zeb said:

Howdy... boys and girls,

At long last, Uncle Zeb has saddled up with the 21st century. Now I finally have an e-mail address. I'm not sure I can use it proper, but I'll give it a try. If you have any questions or comments to "Zeb" or C.B.... I'd be obliged to try and answer them. All the times I had in Tulsa TV were good, some were just better than others. Until I hear from you, "I'll be lookin' for ya!"

(To the webmaster's email query, 11/2/2000) Uncle Zeb kindly responded:

Thanks for your interest in how Uncle Zeb got started:

Uncle Zeb autograph Started as a cameraman sometime around 1967. In 6 months I became the studio crew-chief (because I was older than the rest of the crew, like... 30 something). In 18 months I became an announcer, thanks to John Chick, the most talented man I have ever known. John was Mr. Zing at the time and he approached me and asked if I would like to make up a character to sub for him on occasion. I said I could be Mr. Zing's Uncle... Zeb.

I did it for him once or twice before John and or management decided to make some changes. John went on to do his morning country music show leaving the kid's show open. Having done it as Uncle Zeb a couple of times, program manager, Bob Hower, offered it to me steady. The idea scared the crap out of me, but Bob told me, "Don't worry, it probably won't last over 6 months." With his encouragement in mind, we went on to do Zeb from 1969 thru 1979. No disrespect meant for Bob, we are very closer fiends to this day and I see and talk to him frequently. However, he denies ever having said that.

I put Zeb out to pasture for 10 years only to saddle back up on TCI Cable for another 7 years starting in 1991. I don't think it would have worked on Cable had it not become a second generation show. All the kids in the 70's had grown up and a lot of them had there own kids. I'm sure they told their kids that they were on the Zeb Show and by golly, "you're gonna be on it too!" Anyway, we had a wonderful time and I'll never forget it.

Thanks again for asking about Uncle Zeb, he was very good to me.

The first of many creative promotions by Carl; hear several versions of the tune at actionmusic.

Here is an MP3 of the popular voice version (right-click and select Save Target As to download).

Move Closer to Your World, my friend (courtesy of Mike Bruchas)

Courtesy of Mike Bruchas

(from Guestbook 9) John Hillis said:

My first producing job was at WSB in Atlanta, which used the "Move Closer to Your World" package (composed by Al Ham), which is still being used on WPVI, Philadelphia, where I think it originated probably 30 years ago. To this day, hearing the tympani roll that kicks it off makes me anxious, the result of first worrying if the film I edited was going to break on-air and later too many days of going into a half-hour newscast with about 18 minutes of material and knowing the owners were watching. Pavlov was right.

(from Guestbook 9) Erick said:

Didn't KTUL use "Move Closer to Your World" as a slogan in the early 70s? I have a TV guide with a KTUL ad that said something to that effect.

(from Guestbook 67) Carl "Uncle Zeb" Bartholomew said:

In Guestbook 9, someone was wondering about KTUL and the use of the package, "Move Closer To Your World." Tom Goodgame, GM, bought that package. I had just become the promotion manager and Tom handed it to me and said, "Here, do something with this."

One of the first spots we produced using it started off with the line, "Let's take a ride to the top of Channel 8's tower." Using time lapse photography, Bob Welch went up and down several times, both inside the elevator, and on TOP of the elevator to he very top of the tower to get what we needed. Bob is an incredible person who is alive and well at CBS today.

(from Guestbook 5) Hurst Swiggart  said:

I began at Channel 8 in 1959 on the studio crew as a cable puller...Studio supervisor was Al Clauser...in his earlier career he had a band.."The Oklahoma Outlaws" and had appeared in several Hollywood movies hence we produced some great stuff under Al's guidance.

My first assignment was to assist the "crew" in preparing a grand promotion called the "89er Days". Al and crew built a huge Western style town out of 5'x10' cardboard painted to look like Dodge City (Al was a true artist) and assembled it on the hill as you approached channel 8.

(from Guestbook 99) Mike Bruchas said:

Anyone have any idea on the titles of the B movies that Al Clauser and The Oklahoma Outlaws may have appeared in the '40's?

(from Guestbook 99) Brian said:

Rootin' Tootin' Rhythm Regarding Al Clauser and The Oklahoma Outlaws, I did a search on the semi-reliable IMDB. Here' what it says:

Clauser is credited with writing songs and appearing as a singer in ROOTIN' TOOTIN' RHYTHM Amazon claims to have it on VHS.

He's also credited with writing songs for HOLLYWOOD BARN DANCE (1947).

Uncle Zeke (Al Clauser)
Al Clauser as
Uncle Zeke

Here are some shots of Al Clauser as a young feller from
the 1937 Gene Autry picture, "Rootin' Tootin' Rhythm"

Dick Van Dera as Uncle Zip (from Guestbook 22) Dick Van Dera said:

What a site this is! I must be a dumb for sure because I just now found it. I don't have time to write a lot but did want to stop and say hi to all who know me. Wow. What memories.

(from Guestbook 86) Dick Van Dera (Uncle Zip) said:

I, Uncle Zip, was not part of the Uncle Zeb show......I had my own show......Uncle Zip's Do Da Day!....Sonny (Hollingshead) did all the voice overs for the bumps......arms up stretched....."Wahoo!"

By the way, Uncle Zeb taught me everything I needed to know to host a kids show.......he was great and I always appreciate what he taught me.....I had a blast doing that show. And, I miss doing it.......even to this day!

The In Sound From Way Out
Hear music featured on
Uncle Zeb's show!
For more info,
visit the Gift Shop

(from Guestbook 75) Kevin Johnson rhapsodized:

There's a special friend from my childhood, I found him again on the web.
He had a show on Channel 8 and his name is Uncle Zeb.

I remember after school I'd turn on my TV,
Just in time to hear his familiar "Howdy!"

He showed cartoons, made frogs and squirrels, and with the kids played games.
When it was time for them to leave, he'd ask all of them their names.

As a kid turned a year older, "Happy Birthday" was always said.
Then Uncle Zeb would take off his hat and place it on their head.

He had frequent guest stars, usually Uncle Zeke or Uncle Zip.
He sure made that harmonica talk when he put it to his lips.

I wish he were on again, but those kind of shows are rare.
Uncle Zeb was one of the best ones found anywhere.

I wanted to write this little poem cause all us "kids" still adore ya.
We'll always remember those famous words, "I'LL BE LOOKIN FOR YA!!!!!" :)

Where do you suppose
Zeb, Zing, Zeke, Zack, and Zip would
head when they're hungry after a hard
day of kiddie-wrangling?

That's right, the Zuider Zee!

Zeb, Zing, Zeke, Zack and Zip's favorite restaurant: the Zuider Zee

'Being Uncle Zeb'    Back to main