Tulsa TV Memories Guestbook 156

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Time: January 28 2004 at 10:00:17
Name: John Hillis
Location: Frigidaire, Virginia
Comments: Legends departing seemingly daily, now.

Interesting the play that Bob Keeshan got versus Jack Paar. Until you consider that the current generation of newspaper writers were able to recall the Captain in his later incarnations ('70-'84), while Paar effectively left TV in the early 60's, thus suffered the fate of the sports legend who outlives his fans so nobody remembers how great he was.

At AARP age, I don't think I ever saw Paar in his late-night role, being one who got up at the other end of the day to be with the Captain. But I do recall Paar's Friday night Prime Time shows, at 9 (central) on NBC. And his ability to talk, intelligently, on seemingly any subject.

Keeshan came by our studios occasionally in the 90s as he passed through DC in his advocacy of children's issues. His appearances at Capitol Hill hearings were always SRO, crowded with former viewers. He was exactly the same personality off camera as on.

One telling note on the changes in television since "Kangaroo" debuted in 1955--The NY Times obit mentioned that Keeshan caught the 4:12 am Long Island Rail Road Train from Babylon to get to Manhattan in time to do his live show. The notion of a national TV star on public transportation is not one you'd consider today, even at civilized hours.

Finally, I doubt I would have ever guessed that Paar was nearly 10 years older than Keeshan. Would have figured they were contemporaries or that Keeshan was the elder.

Time: January 28 2004 at 00:26:42
Name: Gary Chew
Location: Sacramento, CA
Comments: "Jack Paar Remembered"

Jack Paar was a true pioneer in television. I watched his show much more often than I now see Letterman or Leno.

Paar was an accomplished conversationalist, not just a stand up comedian; although he was genuinely witty and quick. What made him especially distinctive was his ability to get to whatever it was that was interesting about his guests.

Paar also had a great way of handling his guests. That's not as apparent in such shows that have been broadcast over the past few decades.

Talks shows are much different today, even though they have some of the same elements that were developed in the Paar Era. Then, the agenda was less affected by publicity and promotion. Now, there seems to be some kind of sell going on with EVERY guest that walks on the set.

Not too long ago, I sent a complimentary email to the website of a current television talk show. The reason I did was because I felt the current host had been demonstrating how effective he was with his guests while showing subtle sensitivity to the person being interviewed.

I made a remark in this email of some months back that the host was the best I'd seen on TV, in terms of how he got on with his guests, since Jack Paar. The talk show is The Daily Show. And the host is Jon Stewart.

Although Stewart is wacky, silly and blue on his cable show, he's is VERY savvy and quite considerate of his guests, whoever they might be. He even did a good job with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, whom I would consider to be a real challenge, but that was not my forte while I was doing TV. But I've digressed.

In my book of television hosts of this genre, the three who stand out are Jack Paar, Dave Garroway and Steve Allen. Although there have been several fine talk show hosts since (Mr. Carson being one of them) the aforementioned trio of television emcees set a standard that has yet to be exceeded.

And Jack Paar may well have been the best of the bunch.

So long, Jack.

Time: January 27 2004 at 19:04:52
Name: Mike Bruchas
Location: In ice-bedecked DC - everyone's fled from downtown already and I have to "ice skate" home on black ice...
Comments: I cannnot remember JACK PAAR on the Tonight Show - Steve Allen was my first Tonight Show memory. I liked Allen better when he was on in prime time later.

I DO remember Jack Paar on Thursday or Friday nights at 8 or 9pm with a show. Was Hildegaard the Swedish gal that he made famous? Help me ole timers...

Though quirky and prickly - Jack Paar was a pioneer in TV. He will be missed - if folks can still remember him...I remember his home movies a la the late Ken Murray.

You say who? Do you remember Ken Murray doing fillers of home movies of famous folks in the early days of NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies - which I think was the first NETWORK weekly movie broadcast...

Time: January 27 2004 at 17:13:27
Name: Lowell Burch
Location: The Treasure House
Comments: My mother once saw Lee Woodward doing a live show at a shopping center. After the show was over and everyone walked away, she noticed that he took Lionel off and tossed him into a box behind the chair. She thought the way that Lee mistreated the King was horrible - it was like he was just a puppet! I think it probably scarred her for life.

This was probably before the good Captain instructed Lee in the proper handling of Lionel.


Time: January 27 2004 at 13:07:54
Name: Frank Morrow
Location: Austin. TX
Comments: Smokey Stover's two-wheeled car was called the "Foo-mobile" There was an issue of Popular Mechanics that had an article about a guy who actually made one---quite a difficult job.

Also, I understand that the WWII pilots referred to the UFOs that they saw as "Foo Fighters."

The writer of "Smokey Stover," Bill Holman, always had little signs with puns and plays on words. They were very corny, but that is what made them endearing. Also, the tags on the car changed frequently to things like "RUMT2" and "1506, Nix Nix," as well as the well-known "Notary Sojak." Sometime even that would be spelled backwards.

Time: January 27 2004 at 12:41:59
Name: Patrick Bryant
Location: *Hollywood*
Comments: Yeah, the Jim Varney ads for Channel 4 ran sometime in the early 80s when I was working there. Ernest extolled the virtues of anchors Jerry Adams and Jane Jayroe.

Time: January 27 2004 at 11:01:53
Name: David Bagsby
Location: Lawrence KS
Comments: Now that Capt. Kangaroo is gone, I'm sure it's raining ping pong balls in Heaven...or would that be Mr. Moose's Valhalla?

Time: January 27 2004 at 07:57:47
Name: Erick
Location: Tulsa
Comments: I think I remember a Ernest P. Worrell ad for KFOR in OKC. I don't remember the specifics, but the gist was that he was walking by, noticed an open window, and began talking to "Vern", also known as the viewing audience.

Very strange commercials, but very popular.

Time: January 27 2004 at 07:12:05
Name: Jim Reid
Location: Dallas
Comments: The Jim Varney Braum's spots came out of Cardon & Cherry agency in Nashville. It was sold to all different kinds of businesses. In Tulsa, Braum's had the contract. When I moved to Dallas, the station I worked at had just contracted with C&C and they sent us a bunch of scripts and we had to pick the ones we wanted to use to promote our newscasts. None of us were too happy about this as we were trying to be taken seriously. We picked two scripts and the spots were produced and aired. Then, new management came in and cancelled the deal and paid off the contract, much to our relief.

LeeTime: January 26 2004 at 12:51:28
Name: Lee Woodward (via email)
Location: Tulsa
Comments: Haven't visited TTM for a bit, but the Web Meister's prodding my mem-banks has me here.

Sorry to hear about Captain Kangaroo. He was a very nice fellow who advised me to never let kids see me getting Lionel or Granny ready to perform. That's why he had no studio audience. I visited his set when I was in New York for the World's Fair and could readily understand why.

Mr. Greenjeans and the multi-faceted Cosmo Alleghretti were creating illusions everywhere, as was the Captain. I did let Gary Chew see me preparing Lionel once and he fainted!

I'm happy to find out the origins of "FOO" and "Notary Sojac" (from Smokey Stover), due to Mike's digging. I loved Smokey's old two-wheel car too!

If I may be allowed? I would like to bring up a new CD by an old favorite of mine and perhaps yours. The former rock star Gino Vannelli has a new CD out called "Canto" which will blow you away. As usual, he has written all the music, all the lyrics, done all the beautiful lush arrangements on which he plays piano and of course...sings! All the hair is gone and the voice soars into the Andrea Bocelli range. Just thought I would mention it. There was a 30-minute special on PBS a couple of weeks ago about this new project. It was great too.

Time: January 26 2004 at 11:29:32
Name: Steve Bagsby
Location: By the Popcorn Machine at Shoppers Fair
Comments: Sure was sad to hear about Bob Keeshan passing away. I enjoyed his show so much as a young kid. Funny thing is, his theme music is still very much in my mind, and I haven't even heard it since I was a little kid. He is greatly missed.

Time: January 26 2004 at 09:37:01
Name: John Thursday (via email)
Location: Tulsa
Comments: I used to love it when Jim Varney would show up in those local Braum's commercials. I think it'd be cool if you could find a few of those somewhere.

I always wondered what the connection was between Gailard and Jim. How did they get started working together, were they friends off screen, that sort of thing.

(Btw, I was born and raised in Tulsa and I love your website)

Time: January 25 2004 at 14:26:43
Name: Mike Bruchas
Location: Embarrassing moment #2391 on the NASA TV feed
Comments: We were watching the NASA pool coverage of the lander on Mars. Al Gore was in to see all at Mission Control and then "the Governator" Arnold Schwarzenegger showed up. The impression from most was that Arnold did NOT initially recognize former VP Al Gore in a sport shirt and sport coat from 5 feet away in the crowd! True, Al looked like a NASA flack on Sunday duty with his name badge. Now I know what Harold Stassen had to put up with!

Time: January 25 2004 at 11:57:10
Name: Mike Bruchas
Location: Notary Sojac to Lee Woodward
Comments: Don't know about Schmos but remember the Schmoos from Al Capp and Li'l Abner as non-offensive but overpopulating balloon-like critters. Did we get the expression JOE SCHMO from Smokey's strip?

I do miss Smokey Stover! I used to think Notary Sojac DREW the strip as a kid! I think he ran in the Chicago Tribune when I was a kid...

Have sent br'er Ransom a link on Sam Levine - The Bananaman on Captain Kangaroo. I had forgotten all about him but my brother hadn't and sent me a link. I truly loved his shows as a kid - just I as I loved Señor Wences on Ed Sullivan and other shows. I guess both had worked in vaudeville...

Given that the word "schmo" has been around for quite awhile, I imagine "Joe Schmo" came about as a rhyming way to say something like "Joe Sixpack".

LeeTime: January 25 2004 at 11:34:44
Name: Lee Woodward (via email)
Location: Tulsa
Comments: To answer the "FOO" question; it seems to me that there was a cartoon early in my life that used that expression. I seem to recall that it was usually on a little sign that was stuck in the ground or maybe on the wall or a fence; that type of thing. Could it have been "Alley Oop?" I'm just not sure. It's kinda like the Schmo drawings. Where and when did they start? It might also have come from the "Smokey Stover" cartoon as well. There were always little signs and messages in that strip; one's burning in my mind right now and I can't remember it......WHOA! I got it!.....


A take-off on Notary Public of course. I hope all this rambling will help the cause. I'll be thinking FOO the rest of the day!

"The Straight Dope" explains "Smokey Stover", "Notary Sojac" and "Foo". See an example of the strip with more explanation here. I would guess that this strip had a big influence on underground cartoonists of the 60 and 70s.

Time: January 25 2004 at 10:16:19
Name: Mike Bruchas
Location: On the Sunday morning shift awaiting a supposedly killer snowstorm
Comments: I watched the first CBS network broadcast of Captain Kangaroo as a li'l one. My Mom had read about it and made sure we were up to see it. I remember ir ran only 15min. at 8am - M-F.

Later on school days - school started at 9am and living close to school by 5min., often meant we could watch the then expanded show - to 8:30am initially and still make it to class on time.

When the show went to an hour and if in the summer or on a school holiday or home sick - we got to see the whole thing! The networks realized there was $$ in adults on morning news shows and I think the Captain may have been bumped to 9am at the end - but am unsure of what happened near the end of his tenure on CBS. Though an adult then - many of us hoped that he would be on PBS for the next generation but an amazing show named SESAME STREET ruled kid viewers at 9am in most markets by then.

On that first show, I recall he had a wind-up car and just talked to us kids. Very low key. Wait - we were NEVER refered to as kids by him, always as children. Grandfather Clock, Mr. Moose and Mr. Greenjeans came later. I always chuckled that Mr. Greenjeans real name was LUMPY Brannum and was surprised that Bob Keeshan had been Clarabell the Clown on Howdy Doody - which was a show my Mom wasn't crazy about us watching! I don't remember why now though...

On an Edwin Fincher note - Saturday I viewd VOOM, the new part HD TV satellite service. They have an HD channel called MOOV - which is VOOM backwards. On it was gentle music with soothing artwork being created on the screen - either elctronically or one sees an opaque screen with real painting being done on it! Maybe it is time for MAINTAIN HD! Go get 'em, Edwin!

Time: January 24 2004 at 22:09:20
Name: John Hasler
Location: Muskogee, OK
Comments: Still in Muskogee...wish Jimmy was still around...wish Muskogee Bureau was still around....miss TV work...nice to visit with Guy Atchley recently and Jett is still trucking along.

John and the "Muskogee Bureau" were mentioned in Guestbook 5. Welcome, John!

Time: January 24 2004 at 12:42:39
Name: David Bagsby
Location: Lawrence KS
Comments: Pardon my ingorance, but does the button on Lee's shirt on the photo below say 'Foo'? What does this mean? We ate foo recently and it's an Asian soup...are they promoting a Red conspiracy?

The Sasha Foo fan club? Nah, too early. Maybe Lee can help out on that one.

Time: January 24 2004 at 09:05:10
Name: Jim Ruddle
Location: Rye, NY
Comments: In the Fall of 1955, CBS was promoting the new TV season and KOTV execs were given previews of what was on the way. One of the big stories at the affiliates meeting was a children's show called "Captain Kangaroo." I recall hearing a conversation among the brass that went something like this:

"So, what's the show?"

"Well, this guy comes out dressed like a trolley conductor..."

"A trolley conductor?"

"That's what he looked like to me. Anyway, he talks a little bit and then they run something like a cartoon."

"But what does HE do?"

"He doesn't do anything. He just walks around and sort of mumbles."

"And this is supposed to get kids to watch?"

In hindsight, it's easy to say that CBS was brilliant and that anyone who questioned their judgement was wrong, but if you have a chance to see a kine of the first Kangaroo shows, you'll understand why doubts ran strong.

Captain Kangaroo with Lee and Lionel
Lee & Lionel with Captain Kangaroo from pg.3 of the history of L & L.

Bob Keeshan passed away yesterday at age 76. He was 27 when he began playing this grandfatherly character, not long after his hitch with the Marines. I was a loyal viewer of the Captain on KOTV in the late fifties. He will be missed by several generations of Americans.

Time: January 23 2004 at 13:25:38
Name: Dave
Location: Tulsa
Comments: I'd like to see Uncle Zeb make a comeback on afternoon or early evening TV. I can't be the only one.

Time: January 22 2004 at 04:20:14
Name: Jeff Ballard
Location: workin' the late shift blues!!!
Comments: I love this website, it brings back so many wonderful memories. I was wondering does anyone know if Andy Andrews is still alive?

Time: January 21 2004 at 19:26:11
Name: Rhonda Durham
Location: Paris, Arkansas
Comments: Found the site by accident and have enjoyed looking over the old guestbooks. "Thanks for the memories." These are memories I grew up with during the 50's and 60's in Tulsa.

I just read the article on Bill's T Records. My mother-in-law (Mildred Ball) was a close friend of Bill T (Crandle Hammer) after his business closed and he had moved to Wichita. He was a close friend of my husband's family also. I met him after he had had a stroke and was living in Tulsa. He had lost some vision and only had tunnel vision.

He would tell the story of the all the women in the apartments would sun bath with their tops undone in the back. He would go walking and overheard them saying, "look, here comes someone, quick, cover up," then the other one would say, "Oh, its just Crandle and he can't see," then they would continue to sun bath. The story was cute, and even cuter when you realized that it was only senior citizens that lived in the complex.

The family sure thought a lot of him.

Time: January 21 2004 at 17:33:40
Name: Miguelito Bruchas
Location: In the basement tech area at 19th & M in DC
Comments: Anyone know if there is a TV Azteca/Azteca Americas station in Tulsa yet? I think the old KOKH in OKC may be the OKC affiliate. I am back working on some of their feeds and shows from DC but habla no espanol....should have taken it at TU so long, long ago...

I enjoyed the Tulsa Counterculture updates!

Tulsa has a growing Hispanic population, but no Azteca.

Time: January 21 2004 at 01:07:06
Name: Jaimie Muehlhausen
Location: San Diego
Comments: I was just looking at the photos of Oiler Park. I went to games with my dad in the 60's and 70's and the thing I remember to this day is how good the kraut dogs were.

Time: January 18 2004 at 17:35:25
Name: Kenneth
Location: Tulsa
Comments: Saw Bob Hower at the Home and Garden show today. Grabbed his hand and shook it (hope I didn't startle him too much) and said to him, "Man, you knew everybody before they were anybody...the Beatles, Regis Philbin, Raquel Welch...What a career you've had! You've done everything!" I guess he thought I was crazy but he collected himself and started laughing. He said, "Yeah, I've been around."

Time: January 18 2004 at 12:51:56
Name: Webmaster
Location: Third from Sol
Comments: With NASA's Rover "Spirit" currently exploring the surface of Mars, here's a timely quote from Guestbook 48; Bob (Coxsey) Shannon said of Cy Tuma:

Speaking of audio tags on spots: one day I was in the booth with Cy Tuma, and he had just cut a cart with the tag "available at all TG&Y stores" for about the 4 millionth time.

He said, "You know, one day, Bob...about 5 billion years from now...when the Earth is nothing but a scorched cinder...some Martians are going to land here. As they are walking around, one of them will kick some dust and, lo and behold, there will be a cart. They will play that cart, and on it will be me saying "available at all TG&Y stores," and they are going to wonder what in the hell was that all about..."

Time: January 18 2004 at 09:46:15
Name: Mike Bruchas
Location: Icy yucky East Coast
Comments: Does anyone know JEFF PETERS - aka Jefferson Peter Leughenbuhl? Jeff Peters came from a line of NE OK funeral home owners but he wanted to do radio. He worked at KCNW and elsewhere in the 70's - maybe a stint at KELI on weekends.

Time: January 15 2004 at 13:02:53
Name: Jason Pitcock (son of Bob Gregory and nephew of Bill)
Location: Tulsa

It's so nice to hear all these kind words regarding my dad and my uncle. For those of you who have inquired about my dad, he is doing very well. Although, I am concerned he's not reading enough; only about eight books. Bruce Catton's Civil War oeuvre fills his plate currently. And then there are the four newspapers a day. Some things never change.

Time: January 15 2004 at 09:13:45
Name: Billy Parker
Location: Tulsa
Comments: Enjoyed the ride on the net. Very interesting. Thanks for the e-mail. I just received a number of e-mails from 2003, due to computer glitch or my non-tech life.

Billy P

Thanks for stopping by, Billy. It's an honor.

Read an article about Billy, hear the opening of his show in 1973, and more on the new Billy Parker page!

Time: January 15 2004 at 08:21:45
Name: Erick
Location: Tulsa
Comments: KFOR was sued by an Iraqi gentleman following the bombing of the Murrah Building after claiming they falsely identified him as a suspect. To KFOR's credit, his name and image was never used on-air.

In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, the first suspect descriptions were of 2 or 3 gentlemen of Middle Eastern descent in jogging clothes, running from the building.

As we know now, it was a white male who was the mastermind (I won't argue the various conspiracy theories regarding government involvement or John Doe #2).

In any case, KFOR and the reporter also named in the suit were victorious in court. However, that reporter is still out there (although she no longer works for KFOR or lives in Oklahoma), hot on the trail of John Doe #2, which she claims is that same individual, and that the bombing was funded and masterminded by none other than Osama bin Laden (and has claimed such since well before 9/11).

But I digress...

Time: January 14 2004 at 15:56:20
Name: JBStone
Location: Atlanta, Ga
Comments: That's an interesting story on the Molly Murphy's saga from Jeffiee Tayar. Sounds like a big ordeal for you all. Didn't KFOR go through a serious tabloid phase in the mid-90's? Seems like I recall them getting in trouble for falsely identifying a person they thought might be the alleged 2nd suspect in the immediate aftermath of the OKC bombing, among other things. Can anyone fill in the blanks on this? True, false?

Time: January 14 2004 at 05:51:38
Name: Chuck Fullhart
Location: Airview Drive-In, trying to get the heater to work

Mike Bruchas is right about Hissom being the "child" of Lloyd Rader. (The former Hissom site in Sand Springs is the location of a new movie studio as noted in the last Guestbook...webmaster)

Rader ran the DHS like his own kingdom, and had the protection of many of the long-time occupants of seats in the Oklahoma Senate. Mike's parallel to J. Edgar and Mr. Rader as far being untouchable is just about right.

This is one of those areas of Oklahoma politics that will probably be argued about for years. There was a lot of good that was done by Rader, because he had the clout to get it done, and the financing with earmarked funds from the godfathers in the Senate and the House, and there was a lot of patronage that went on as well.

For his legacy, it was one of those jobs that nobody else wanted, and at least was done, but unfortunately, as is often the case, there was some corruption in the ranks as well.

What actually led to the closing of Hissom, and the same sort of center in, I believe Pauls Valley, was the suit brought by parents of several residents of Hissom over issues of training and other problems, which resulted in many of the higher level residents being "mainstreamed" into society.

I won't get into the issues, but for its day, it was a model facility.

Time: January 13 2004 at 22:26:17
Name: Lowell Burch
Location: In Hot Water
Comments: I apologize for repeating the RUMOR that Molly Murphy's was owned by the mob. It would have added another colorful aspect to an already colorful establishment, but I like the fact that it was owned by a couple from the Sooner State much better.

Time: January 13 2004 at 16:11:12
Name: Steve Bagsby
Location: The Rest Home for Former Molly Murphy's Employees
Comments: I worked at Molly's around 1979, but my job wasn't high profile. I was washing dishes, doing kitchen prep, etc. It was a busy, busy, busy, busy...did I mention BUSY place. It was insane, hectic, and very close to combat. And it was staffed by some of the finest folks I ever ran into.

Everybody in there busted their tails to produce a good product and keep the party going. I didn't see how the waiters could keep up the pace, and keep their game face on, but they sure did! Hats off to y'all!

A previous post mentioned the Excaliber salad car. He was not kidding about it being a nightmare to keep stocked and cleaned. I had to help with that and it's no fun when hungry/drunk people are lunging at you with forks (YIKES!) I remember an item on the menu called the "Bacchus Feast". This was 300 pounds of food on a 3 ft. platter. When the dishes would come back from one of these, I always expected to find chomp marks on the plates and bullet holes in the platter!!

Went I left Molly's, I went to work at Boston Ave. Market. This was during one of its wild spells. Hell!, it was like a walk in the park after Molly Murphy's!!

Time: January 13 2004 at 16:14:26
Name: Webmaster
Location: Tulsa
Comments: Archived Guestbook 155, where a discussion of Molly Murphy's House of Fine Repute culminated in a visit from one of the former co-owners!

In addition, we heard about a new movie studio in Sand Springs, KTUL's sister station, KATV, in Little Rock, and the fact that western star "Hopalong Cassidy" (William Boyd) was from Tulsa.

The topic of Tulsa snowflakes and everything you might want to know about them was introduced by the webmaster (thinly linked to this site's theme by a contribution from KOTV weatherman James Aydelott). Tulsa's first TV weatherman, Harry Volkman was mentioned, too.

We read the 1994 obituary of Larry Bettis, who was a product of Miss Ronan's Central High speech class, as were so many future radio/TV talents. One from that special group, Noel Confer, checked in with us. Another, Frank Morrow, supplied answers to a quiz he posed in Guestbook 154.

Finally, we rang in the new year at the beginning of Guestbook 155.

Much more to come.

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