Jim Back - 12/03/99 22:14:07
My Email:jimback@mmcable.com
Location: Edmond, OK

Yes, I, too, have had to pay homage to the unforgiving time-God that sits on the wall and glares at we painfully-human announcers. I really hated those old clocks that reset themselves by a signal from Western Union at the top of the hour on the dot. It always struck me that the top of the hour was the WORST time to reset. If I'm trying to backtime something, and someone (or someTHING) MOVES the second hand just as the network is supposed to begin, how helpful is that?!! I always thought th clock should reset about ten minutes BEFORE the hour to help me through the top of the hour. Oh, well. I was just a 22 year old punk in those days. That was when I knew all the answers. Nowadays I don't even know all the questions!

Even though I've been out of radio for fifteen years, I still have that same recurring time-running-out dream others have described on this site. I know I'm really stressed in my work when I dream that I am filling in on the radio and my record runs out before I can get the next one cued up, or the spot ends before I can race back to the news booth with updated wire copy. Gee, I thought I was the only one with that dream/nightmare. It feels good to be able to come out of the closet.

Terry Young - 12/03/99 02:09:01
My Email:xmare@swbell.net
Location: Tulsa

Ah, the studio clock! Frank Morrow brings back another great set of memories.

At KSPI (AM & FM!!) in Stillwater, I ran the board during the 5PM to 6PM news slot. This was a truly multi-task situation. I had to prepare and deliver the ten minutes of news and weather (with no small portion of "local" news -- IN STILLWATER!! -- mostly rewrites from the morning News Press) from 5:05 to 5:15.

While doing that, I had to record at least two (if not three) feeds from the Mutual Broadcasting System, which were to be played back between 5:35 PM and 6:00 PM. And remember, you had to follow the program log and have the correct carts for the scheduled commercials. Then I had to be fully attentive for the fifteen minute sports program of Bill Platt (the Voice of the Cowboys -- and truly one of the great men of broadcasting)...I mean, you don't mess up the boss's daily fifteen minutes of fame.

And then, be sure to have Platt finish in time to get two minutes of commercials in time to meet the CLOCK ON THE WALL at PRECISELY 5:30 PM to meet the live Mutual news feed.

Well, there was this particular day. I mean... EVERYTHING WORKED! Platt finished on time, the two 60 second spots ran flawlessly and just as the CLOCK ON THE WALL hit 5:29:55, I chimed in with the station ID: "This is KSPI AM & FM, Stillwater, Oklahoma." BINGO. 5:30. (silence) [dead air] {THE NETWORK WAS ACTUALLY LATE!} And in the midst of the silence I uttered into an open mike "SHIT!" I beat the CLOCK ON THE WALL (the one that automatically re-set EVERY hour...that you knew was ALWAYS accurate) Yes, I beat the CLOCK ON THE WALL, but still lost!!!!!!

Frank Morrow - 12/02/99 02:35:13
My Email:fmorrow21@netzero.net
Location: Austin, TX

I wonder if other announcers or directors have experienced this. Clocks were king, particularly if you worked for a station which had a network. Things were timed to the second. After the first couple of months at my first full-time job, I would have dreams of clocks. That was all. No sound---only a big clock which hung on the wall over the control board.

Even now, 42 years after my last announcer job, I still have dreams in which I suddenly find myself with only about 60 seconds to go before a newscast commences, and I haven’t prepared any news. A variation is that I’m about to start a disk jockey show, but I haven’t pulled any records. These are variations on a theme, because I also occasionally have dreams in which I am about to go on stage of a Central High play, but I don't know my lines. Miss Ronan is lurking in the darkened wings.

Of course, these things never happened in real life. Well…………kinda.’ One morning, when I arrived to sign-on at KFMJ, I realized to my horror that the damned sign-off man had not put enough paper in the Associated Press teletype machine. There was no news. I hurriedly found a Tulsa World, and read from that for the first newscast until the new news finally was printed. I would have really liked to kick the sign-off man’s butt, but unfortunately the miscreant was I, since I both signed on and off.

oldpro7 - 11/30/99 23:50:06
My Email:oldpro7@hotmail.com
Location: tulsa
Favorite Tulsa TV show: Mr. Zing & Tuffy
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Mack Creager
Stupidest local commercial: Linda Soundtrack
How did you find TTM?: surfing

Thanks Bob O. for the best time of my life. If it wasn't for Oertle's Dept. Store, I would of gone to school without clothes. My mom took me there almost every week for something we needed. I'm proud to say that I've known Bob for over 30 years now and he is a great friend to me and all the people he knows. We all love you Bob and thanks for the great memories.

Bill Hyden - 11/30/99 22:52:42
My Email:billhyden@prodigy.net

My heartfelt thanks to all those who attended the KOTV 50TH ANNIVERSARY reunion events at the KOTV STUDIOS and at the ADAMS MARK HOTEL.

A particular thanks to TTM webmaster MIKE RANSOM, who projected TULSA TV MEMORIES on the 10 foot screen. This was the first time for some to see what we've been talking about re: TTM.

There were over 100 in attendance at evening part and use of a wireless microphone and good sound via several ceiling speakers permitted 'reports' by many of those from the comfort of their tables.

We had asked for KOTV 'ALUMNI' to send a biographical sketch and received over 70 which have been printed into a book of over 100 pages and is available to KOTV-associated people. The book itself is $6.00. If by mail delivery, cost is $10.00 and will be sent by PRIORITY MAIL. Checks or money orders only made to:

Bill Hyden
P. O. Box 35004
Tulsa, OK 74153-0004

Our fondest hope is to break even on this project. There is interest in planning another, perhaps in the summer on a non-Holiday weekend. Perhaps this could be an all-media event...hosted by Tulsa TV Memories.

We'd like your input...at my e-mail address or TTM posted, with Mike Ransom's approval.

We found some of our 'lost alumni' by perusing the TTM guestbooks and getting leads as to their locations. I think we can find anyone...given sufficient time.

Again, Mike, thanks for your help.

My pleasure, Bill. When I started this site, I sure didn't envision that I would have the fun of personally meeting so many of the people who are the focus of this site (or at least I didn't take my "vision" too seriously).

We would all appreciate input from "alumni" who didn't make it to the event on Saturday. Radio has become an interesting adjunct to this site, and input on that subject is welcome, too.

Thanks for all your hard work getting this thing together.

Bob Oertle - 11/29/99 04:12:39
My Email:msr_director@hotmail.com
Location: Tulsa T-Town Magic Empire Oil, Former Capitol of the World

Oertle's store was the idea of Bob Oertle, my father. Bob's idea came to him following a trip to New York where he was buying wholesale from manufacturers. He got an idea, that if he could buy a business wholesale, why could not the employees of business also share in the savings and be allowed to purchase as an agent of that business. Oklahoma had blue laws or fair trade laws at that time. By issuing ID cards, the legal terms were addressed, and the rest is history. People would actually tell white lies to acquire a card to be a member of the buying group. One man claimed he was a school chum of my fathers, but could not pronounce our last name, and lived in another state....he still got a card, my mom ran that gate.

Oertle's was founded in 1951 by Jewel and Homer Oertle President and Bob and Frances Oertle Vice President and Treasurer, Max and Ruby Oertle Secretary. There was another investor who was bought out after the first few years. Homer passed away and Bob became President, then Bob passed away and Max became president.

Homer was Bob and Max father. The three were in the wholesale distribution business prior to opening their retail business in 1951. Bob and Max served in World War II and used their VA loans to start the company. The Oertle's store building on 11th Street (old Route 66) was owned by Wat Henry of Gary Henry Chevrolet. Half the building was occupied by Ernest Wiemann Iron Works. The Oertle's sign kept the fluorescent light top ICON of the Iron Man hammering the anvil. We always said he was beating down high prices.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower's motorcade drove past the store in the 1950's. Oertle's had an antique Popcorn maker and a Antique Steam Powered Keyboard Calliope at that time.

In 1964 Oertle's broke ground for their new 50,000 square foot building at 27th and Memorial. That construction cost over one million dollars then. A stumbling block came over the South Memorial entrance, and the store had to spend $2,500.00 to install traffic lights on Memorial.

Oertle's sign at Memorial
Oertle's sign going in at Memorial, courtesy of the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa

The original Oertle's distribution company was located on 1st Street in downtown Tulsa. Over 15 trucks delivered Pharmacutical Drugs and Sundry items to hundreds of retail stores in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Around 1960 the Oertle's store on Memorial was armed robbed at machine gun point. Several men hid behind the incenerator behind the 11th street location, which was right next to Looboyles. At 5am the cleaning crew and day manager arrived to open the door. They were all taken at gun point and force to open the walk in vault. After the gunmen took diamonds, and cash valued at over $40,000.00 the employees were locked in the vault.

All the robbers were captured holed up at the Saratoga motel, which was less than a mile from Homer and Jewel's home.

The store on Memorial also experienced theft, this time it was a burglary. Burglars apparently hid inside the building, rigging the alarm system. They stole over $60,000 worth of merchandise. The majority was in guns and ammunition which alarmed the local authorities. That burglary has never been solved.

Oertle's built another building in Broken Arrow, where Sutherlands is now. However, it was operated under the business name David's Discount after the death of Max Oertle.

The original plans were to build 25 stores across the southwest. We have an invoice from Arkansas for a COD account for a Ben Franklin store, with Sam Walton's signature on it.....

Great stuff, Bob...thanks.

Mike Harris - 11/28/99 14:21:59
My Email:sscopperhead@aol.com
Location: Nashville
Favorite Tulsa TV show: John Chick Show
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Bob Hower
Stupidest local commercial: Linda Soundtrak
How did you find TTM?: Got Homesick

One night when I was a little boy, I was watching Mannix while my mother was doing a crossword puzzle. All of a sudden the screen switched from Mannix to Mack Creager sitting in the studio flipping the "bird" to everyone watching. I yelled at my mother to look, but by the time she looked up Mannix was back on. She didn't believe me at first but the next morning in the paper there was an apology stating that there was a tour in the studio that night and a switch had accidentally got bumped. I always thought it was on purpose. The timing was just too coincidental.

Lowell Burch - 11/27/99 15:34:56
Favorite Tulsa TV show: Oklahoma Traveler
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Scott Thompson
Stupidest local commercial: Mays Drug Store (I love it!)

I loved Oertles, too! I have fond memories of the old store where I bought my first magic kit to the one on Memorial where I worked in one of the big tent sales one summer. That store had everything and when I run into people from other places who have visited Tulsa in years past, they ask about Oertles. I still picture it sitting there with the old mansion across the street. Great times. I loved to shop there.

Shopping downtown was always neat, too. The old Skaggs, bookstores and dimestores were crowded, like the old Oertles, but that really added charm. I always think of these places around this time of the year.

I saw Lee Bayley, and Lee Woodward, Gailard, and Co., on a short news special last night and saw the old KAKC Solid Gold album sitting there next to Bayley. I still have mine. Those were great days in music. In the early 70's, Steve Ripley was doing sound for one of Leon Russell's concert tours. Steve invited my brother and I to a rehearsal. Teddy Jack was playing the drums for the group. He did not tour because he got called to do the Holly story.

My brother, Jerry, and I worked odd jobs for Halsey during those times. One thing Jerry did was drive a limo and pick up stars from the airport. We did things like work the the big celeberty night at the Maybee Center. We saw a lot of big name stars at that function. Roy Clark had dozens of top names in every year. It was really fun for us young guys to see the likes of Bob Hope and President Ford up close.

Mike Miller - 11/26/99 22:53:27
My Email:typo1@erols.com
Location: Vienna, Virginia

The Oertles comments reminded me of the time in my early radio career in Turley, probably in the early 60’s. Anyway it happened at KTUL or KELi...don’t remember which...when the newscast was sponsored by the department store. Unfortunately, (for Oertles,) it had been robbed that day. (Quite a daring armed robbery, as I recall.)

I didn’t really notice who the sponsor was until it was too late: “The is Mike Miller with the news, brought to you by Oertles. The hour’s top story, Oertles robbed. Details in 60 seconds.”

I waited for the anticipated phone call of complaint, but I guess Oertles was either too busy or figured we at least had the correct lead story.

In either case, thanks Oertles!

Bob Oertle - 11/26/99 01:05:31
My URL:http://www.freeyellow.com/members8/arenacross
My Email:msr_director@hotmail.com
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma

One of our past Mayors Mr. Terry Young had some memorable times at the Oertle's store. Our family spent many hours of time energy and sweat bringing good times to Tulsa. Just wish we still had that store operating today. We have several investors interested in recreating the original store....but I think it would be quite a task to bring back all those fine folks that made that store happen.

During the holidays, all in my family are reminded of the days when we all had thousands of pieces of merchandise in our living rooms, garages and out buildings. As kids we were responsible for re-packaging merchandise and putting price tags on all the Christmas items. We did this in between TV shows, and Thanksgiving dinner.

My father once told me, "you can own the building, the fixtures and have the best inventory of merchandise at the lowest prices, but it is the PEOPLE working in the business that makes the difference". Oertle's had over 350 employees at one time, and they were the BEST in the business in most Tulsan's opinion, thanks to all that helped make Oertle's Department Store a Tulsa Tradition.

Terry Young - 11/25/99 16:23:24
My Email:xmare@swbell.net
Location: Tulsa

Wow, hearing from Bob Oertle was great. I have a special Oertle's memory myself. A short time after Roger Maris hit 61 home runs, he and Clete Boyer (Yankee 3rd baseman and Broken Arrow resident) made an appearance in the sports department at Oertle's. In those days, appearances of major athletes didn't create the hoopla they do today. I'll never forget walking into the sports department and there Roger and Clete were, just standing there with NO crowds around. I walked up, handed them a small piece of paper and got both autographs. I have it still today and it is a cherished momento.

Bob Oertle - 11/25/99 09:44:42
My URL:http://www.freeyellow.com/members8/arenacross
My Email:msr_director@hotmail.com
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma
Favorite Tulsa TV show: Horn Brothers & Mazeppa
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Mazeppa Pompazoidi
Stupidest local commercial: Linda Soundtrack
How did you find TTM?: savvysearch.com

Interesting to see all the memories of Oertle's Department Store that my family operated in Tulsa for many years. I too have many memories of that store. It stood as the largest department store 60,000 square feet, in Tulsa for years, complete with Sporting Goods, Clothing, Grocery, School Supplies, Household Goods, Hasty Bakes, Stereos, RECORDS & TAPES, tobacco, Cameras, Major Appliances, Drugs, Cosmetics, Pets, Photos, wonderful jewelry, and of course the first Automated Snack Bar in the USA. We also had one of the first automatic CAR WASH machines in the USA.

Customers had to obtain a card to purchase at extreme discount prices. It was a law we could not sell direct to the public then, only to other businesses, therefore the card was required. Only employees of specific member companies were allowed to purchase items.

Ridge Bond was the Advertising agent that came up with those memorable ads and jingles... "Just hop in your car, and come as you are..to Oertle's the house of name brands, come to Oertle's the House OF Name Brands"

We were discount prices with quality name brand goods such as Levis, General Electric, Sylvania, Ludwig Drums, and had one of the only Record Departments in this part of the United States at one time.

We had Ms. USA and the cast from Green Acres at the Grand Opening of the 26th and Memorial store.

I have footage from a newscast when milk was selling for 18 cents a gallon in 1965! Could ya freeze it was the major question...:)

The building sits empty, but the memories live on in Tulsa of all the bingo games, Crazy Days sales and of the 25 cent a quart everyday discount price of motor oil.

You've freshened up my memories of Oertle's, a real "Tulsa" place.

Here is a query from Bob Bailey in Guestbook 7: "Does anyone remember back in 1965 an Oertles commercial with this guy named "Leroy Leafy"? And his schpeal was "Howdy folks I'm your old friend Leroy Leafy". I later in 1966 0r 1967 saw him as a character on an episode of Bewitched. Am I hallucinating this?"

Bob, can you answer this for Mr. Bailey?

(from email to the webmaster, Bob Oertle replied:)
Well, to the best of my knowledge, I think that character was one of the original Green Acres actors. We had them in Tulsa for the Grand Opening of the store at 27th and Memorial in 1965. Ridge Bond was the Ad agent for the store, I would contact him, but he passed away last year. I would think Mr. Bailey did see the same actor in the Bewitched episode. There is also another Oklahoma connection with the Bewitched show, Darryl Starbird who has a marvelous custom car museum at Afton, Oklahoma up by Monkey Island designed the bubble top car used by Samantha in those shows. That car is now on display at his Hall of Fame museum in Afton, Oklahoma.

Sounds like it could have been Eb (Tom Lester), Mr. Haney (Pat Buttram) or Mr. Kimball (Alvy Moore). However, none of the Green Acres actors turned up on the Bewitched search engine (see Guestbook 7). Aren't you all glad someone is doing this kind of research?

Robert Stemmons The Whistler - 11/25/99 03:48:49
My URL:http://www.thewhistler.com
My Email:whistling@thewhistler.com
Location: Jenks
Favorite Tulsa TV show: The Oklahoma Traveler
Favorite Tulsa TV personality: Scott Thompson
Stupidest local commercial: Tulsa State Fair Ads 1999
How did you find TTM?: Repeat Visitor

Thanks for blowing the whistle about my whistling, Mike! On behalf of the International Society for the Advancement of Puckulatory Arts, "Thank you for your sincere interest in and furtherment of the art of melodic whistling."

You're welcome, Robert.

Frank Morrow - 11/24/99 23:22:23
My Email:fmorrow21@netzero.net
Location: Austin, TX

KFMJ was the weirdest place I worked, mainly because of the general manager, Lawson Taylor. Except for the “Willy the Hillbilly” show, he insisted than no loud music be played. Even quiet music with a comparatively short, louder passage was proscribed. He monitored the station continuously. I was told by three employees that he had carried a portable radio on a fishing trip, heard a loud record, reeled in his line, rowed ashore, and called the announcer at the station long distance. He always said that each record have a good “tee-yune,” drawing out the vowels.

Taylor was a Christian Scientist, and staffed his station mostly with other adherents. During coffee breaks or company picnics, the conversation was always the same: How I was healed by Jesus. Only the nice, knowledgeable program director, whose last name was Franks, did not participate.

I got married the week I was to start at KFMJ. Taylor insisted that I commence work the next day after the ceremony, i.e., sign on at 6am the morning after my wedding night. I tried to explain to him the situation, but he was adamant. We finally compromised on starting work the following morning, giving me a one-day honeymoon.

Taylor called me in one day, and told me that he wanted me to change my name to “T. Frank Morrow.” At first, I thought he was joking, but then I remembered that he had no sense of humor. I asked him why the “T?” He said that it would sound great as part of an introduction of a newscast which would be, “Listen T. Frank Morrow.” Now I was biting my tongue to keep from laughing. I told him that I had used “Listen to Morrow’s news tonight” at KTUL, but there wasn’t the same double meaning or cleverness with “T. Frank.” I really wanted to say that the idea was stupid. I merely said that I wouldn’t do it. I later told Mr. Franks, the program director, who roared with laughter.

Taylor told me one day that he wanted me to start doing two or three news commentaries each morning. I asked him if he were hiring another announcer. He replied that he expected me to do it on top of my other duties. I argued that news commentaries required thought and research, followed by careful writing. I further explained that, with the time spent on spinning records and doing newscasts while running the control board, I didn’t have the time. He said, “That job isn’t a man-killer.” After I refused, he hired a rabid right-wing man from who-knows-where to give news commentaries. It only lasted a few weeks. I had heard that there were some complaints. Apparently, with the exposure of Senator Joe McCarthy a couple of years before, this brand of right wing talk was going out of style with people who had the power to influence Taylor.

But the wildest thing occurred about two weeks before I got there. Taylor had been reading a book on leadership and control of your workforce, emphasizing that the employees worked best with fear as the motivator. “Run scared,” was the watchword. Taylor lapped it up. He got a blank pistol, and ran up and down the hallways and in and out of rooms shooting the pistol and yelling, “Run scared! Run scared!” There were three employees including Franks who verified that this happened.

When I went to work for him, he permitted me to sign on and sign off of the daytime-only station, thus allowing me to carry some classes at TU. He made a pledge that, when the semester was over I could have a continuous shift. He reneged on his promise, however, stating that the ratings were lower in the early and late hours, and that I might be able to bring them up. This provided me with a good excuse to leave the station. (Besides, KRMG beckoned.) I was at KFMJ only three or four months, but they were beneficial to my career---if I had been in the field of abnormal psychology.

Frank Morrow - 11/24/99 19:46:14
My Email:fmorrow21@netzero.net
Location: Austin, TX

Some short items:

KTUL tried to have a Saturday night dance party. An announcer by the name of Hamilton used the large studio downstairs to play records while kids danced in the studio. It wasn’t much of a success, and was cancelled after a few weeks.

It was chilling to see the “Flash” bulletin being typed out on the AP and UPI news wires reporting that Joseph Stalin had died.

KVOO had editors to prepare the news for the newscasters. (Carl Voy was one.)

Only KVOO and KTUL had engineers to push the buttons and twist the knobs. In all other stations, the announcers also performed the engineering functions. This was called operating “combo.” Of course, each station had a chief engineer. Harry Rasmussen at KVOO; Buzz Donnelly at KAKC. Donnelly was a real nut who, during someone’s 15-minute newscast or disk jockey program, would come into the studio, unhinge the control board, lift it up, and perform maintenance. The announcer would have to endure this for an extended period of time, even though he was on the air. The day I was hired, I was warned by the Program Director, John Wheeler, that this would happen sometime.

While at KAKC and KTUL I had to sign-on each Sunday. This would be mighty tough when I would not get in from a frat party until 3 or 4am. At least at KTUL there was a kindly, understanding engineer who would wake me up on the couch to do station breaks.

Dick Campbell persisted in putting the accent on the first syllable of “HOM-o-gen-ized.”

In trying to find a successor to Patti Page, KTUL promoted a “Marjean,” who sang and talked sexy. (“I’m your girl, and yours alone.”) She was rumored to have had more success with the general manager than with her singing program.

There was a guy who started taping broadcasts for KTUL of weekly stock car races at the Fairgrounds which were being promoted by KTUL’s newsman Jack Morris. When it was noted that the sponsor for one car—the Cooper-Green car---was being mentioned a lot regardless of where it was on the track, it was ascertained that the announcer was getting extra money to mention the name of the sponsor. The announcer’s participation was terminated.

Jack Morris was PA announcer for the midget car races at the Fairgrounds on Saturday nights in the late ‘40s.

KRMG’s Glenn Condon was a knowledgeable, veteran newsman and a wise, kind and sweet person. He also had the most irritating voice and delivery imaginable. He was from the old school, speaking very loudly while cupping his hand on his ear so that he could hear his voice better. Jack Charvat did this, too.

KVOO’s announcers told me---and occasionally said on the air---that they had to include, “Philtower,” on their top-of-the-hour station breaks in order “to pay the rent.”

Jack Morris apparently had a job as stringer for the Associated Press. He would peruse the Tulsa World each morning, and would send in the local news by teletype. I often wondered what the arrangement was because he was simply re-typing the stories from the newspaper.

KTUL had four teletype news services plus the Western Union ticker. They had both the radio and newspaper wire services of both Associated Press and United Press. The newspaper services were more extensive, longer and more detailed in their reporting. I preferred UP over AP because their stories were written in a more personal and exciting manner compared with the dry style of the AP.

Mike Ransom (webmaster) - 11/24/99 19:34:56

The Guestbook is back in service as of 1:30 p.m. Not sure what the problem is, but perhaps enlightenment will soon come my way.

Guestbook 27 is now archived. Frank Morrow just left some interesting comments, and a new picture this morning.

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