Tulsa TV Memories Guestbook 198
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Blair's entertained an elderly Japanese fellow who was only about four feet tall and who, because of his size, was the only person permitted to use a masse stick for about half of his shots.
The Chocolate Cowboy's name was Levester Cunningham, and my family has some belongings of his because he was my aunt's life partner. I have his touring piano. It is red laminate paint with black legs, red mother-of-pearl keys and a short board. We have other things of his, including clippings from his obituary, apparently he was friends with Duke Ellington and some other jazz greats.
I spoke with Levester on the phone many times but I never met him, even when I came to visit my aunt Pam in Tulsa. That was a mystery for many years until I was well into my 20s and my mom told me that he was black. We're not black, so I guess that was an issue for some members of my family.
When I read your comments about Levester I felt sad that I never got to see him perform. It was interesting what was said about his white hat. Every time my aunt Pam came to Chicago (which is where I live) she would have my dad drive her down to the south side around the old Stockyards area to pick up a hat for Lavester. Many of the Chocolate Cowboy's hats must have come from Chicago.
Yours was the first mention I saw of the Chocolate Cowboy and you all didn't know his name. So I am here to say Levester Cunningham was the Chocolate Cowboy. :-)
I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have for tracking down additional information.
Here's what we have so far:
When did pool halls become legit for all ages and genders?
It must be the same place. As I recall, we sat at a counter to eat.
The soft drink El Wino had many commercials on KAKC. They had a bit of a tongue twister each time you read it, "Get your favorite flavor of your flavor favorite." In half of the commercials they'd reverse it, "From your flavor favorite, get your favorite flavor." I hated reading those commercials.
During the early Monday evening shows before the wrestling matches upstairs in the Coliseum, Sam Avey (owner of KAKC) would come down and interview the wrestlers who were on the card that night. Jack Moore was the announcer in the studio. He'd introduce the program and read the commercials for El Wino. It bugged him that Avey would look over his shoulder and follow the script while Jack read the commercial. Jack loved to say the "flavor favorite" words the opposite of what was on the script, just to bug the big boss.
"The place on Main Street was upstairs and between 6th and 7th streets on the west side. It had about 6 or 8 lanes (called alleys then), and when it closed, they moved the alleys to Utica Bowl. I don't remember it being a Hucketts but Southwest Recreation. They also had pool tables."
Everyone referred to it simply as "Southwest." I remember walking down Main
Street and hearing the sounds of people bowling. It seemed strange that those
sounds were coming from the 2nd floor.
From HowStuffWorks: Is the sound on vinyl records better than on CDs or DVDs?
No big story behind it, just that TTM will be coming to you direct from the offices of Irving Productions, rather than a box in a closet in Dallas.
The physical location of TTM is changing from Dallas to Tulsa. It should be "transparent to the user", as they say.
Take note that the listener may notice a difference between the vinyl record and the CD because of the difference in technology. The information on the CD is chopped up into tiny bits and ultra-high frequencies are deleted. The vinyl record uses a smooth, continuous replication of the complete and original sound, like you hear on tape.
I heard on NPR the other day that records may prove to be the most archival of all formats. We sent along a cartridge and golden record (which contained both "Johnny B. Goode" and encoded TV pictures) on the Voyager spacecraft in 1980. It embarrassed me that aliens might find this old technology and go "Pfui" (or the equivalent), but maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all.
You might try Sundazed Records. They have quite a few vinyl albums, EPs and 45s available as well as CDs. Their prices aren't bad either...lot cheaper than just about any of the auction sites. Another place you might try is Rhino Records.
I see Sundazed offers a couple of Speedy West (steel guitar) albums, and Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs' "Sugar Shack". A coffee house era tune, possibly inspiration for the B-52s' "Love Shack"?
My husband wants to get a turntable and play some LPs for our teenage sons so they can hear what real "record albums" sound like. He's been on eBay bidding on some of the albums of his youth, and some of the prices are pretty high for scratched-up records. He's thinking about buying new presses of some of the albums he likes. Do you know if there are differences in how vinyl albums are now produced that would alter the sound? Are they remixes or the original stuff? Any information or advice someone might offer would be very appreciated.
I love this site, and I'm still working my way through all the old guestbooks. Thanks for giving an old Tulsa history buff more fodder!
I wonder if he remembers the time we were going to go out to visit with Tommy Crook (or Tizommy Crizhook) at the airport, and on the way we stopped by Leon Russell's house just off of Peoria... the Aaronson Mansion or something like that.
It had great big wooden gates with a key card machine outside for opening the gates. We pulled up in the driveway and was going to turn around, and just as we got in the driveway and was fixing to back out, the gates started to open... man did we think we were in trouble, so we backed out the driveway and I lit up the tires on that '71 Chevelle Malibu and got out of there.
We went on out to visit with Tommy and left a couple of hours later. The next day Tommy told us we had left about 15 min too early as his old friend Leon Russell had came out to visit with him. Tommy, knowing that at that time I was really into Leon's music, along with Grand Funk and Chicago, knew that would hit me kinda hard. My guess was that it was Leon leaving when the gates were opening and he had gone out to eat and then over to visit with Tommy. Talk about being upset at missing him. Leon has always been one of my favorite artist.
I worked at Cox Radio for a while, and one of my friends and morning DJs up at Star103, Mel Myers, had told me Leon was talking about going back into the studio and doing some new stuff with his old style (which to me was the best ever). I never heard anymore about it though. If any of you ever see Leon, tell him one of his biggest fans says hello. lol
I saw him one night at the old Circle-W (near where the WestBound is now) about 1986 - it was the first time Shaggie got to sit-in with a Tulsa band in about 10-years, since he'd just moved back home. Anyway, I asked the band (Lou Hammond) if any of them grew up around Tulsa and they all did. Then I told them Tuffy was in the audience and they introduced them... I think he got more applause than the band did!
I ran a search for myself to see something I posted nearly 5 years ago, about Mr. Zing and my sister Collie Crook - and what did I find? I found that alright, but I also found where my buddy Doug "Shaggie" Huffman had been on here talking trash (lol) not trash at all... in GB197. But he did stir up some good memories, isn't that what this is all about?
I could write a novel about growing up around Tommy Crook and my sister. Tommy showed up about 1969 when I was 12 - right before his second USO tour in Vietnam. I spent summers with them in high school, a weekend or two a month in college, another summer or two and then lived there from 1978 - 1982, when they finally found other houses and I wound up with the house I grew up in.
Anyway, I wanted to mention the club Doug talked about... the "little" hotel at the airport (there are two now) was a Sheraton back then. There was a club and restaurant separated by a small bandstand and dance floor. It was the Quill and the Ink Well, but I don't recall which was which. Tommy played there 12 years beginning in the early 70's.
Before we were 21, my friends (Doug & Lester) would go see Tommy... if we went alone, we had to sit in the restaurant and drink cokes. He made us feel like celebrities!!! If we went with Colleen, we could sit in the club and once in awhile sneak a drink. MAN - did we think we were hot stuff! It was back in the "liquor by the wink" days and Tommy kept a bottle of 10-year-Old Charter there. He ran out one night when Colleen and I were going to see him and he had us bring him another. The waitress asked me what I wanted and I said a coke, and she brought me a coke and Charter... I was about 15 or 16 at the time. That started a trend.
One night Tommy was off work we went to see Richard De La Font and the Smokehouse Band at the Captain's Cabin - I had about 2 more of those coke and Charters that night. I about laughed my behind off... I still remember some of Richard's gags with his "patients." For those who don't remember, Richard was a stage hypnotist and made those people do crazy things.
I can't even count how many people I met through Tommy & Colleen... I used to call a federal prosecutor for help with school papers in Civics in Jr. High. Leon Russell was the first celebrity... I met him at Claude's Hamburgers on Peoria one cold winter day about 1973. I knew the GAP Band when they were only known in Tulsa and used to come over to the house and rave about Colleen's homemade apple butter. They got tickets for my friends and I to go to a Valentine's day/night concert, I think at the fairgrounds, maybe 1975... I expected them to be playing jazz like they did when they sat in with Tommy at the Sheraton... it was just a little different than that... and I was also surprised to see that the 4 or 5 of us were among a very few white faces there! (lol) We were worried to begin with - but we had a ball! Everybody was just there for the great music.
I met Jeannie Tripplehorn once - of course, she was about 8 years old and came over to the house with her dad, also a Tommy and also a musician, who still plays around Tulsa.
Asleep at the Wheel... the Tractors... Michael Martin Murphy... every good local musician around... Tommy Lokey, Frank Adams, Tom Sterling, Shelby Eicher, Earl Clark... this list could go into the hundreds - literally.
I met some through Tommy who weren't musicians, but you talk about on here - like Mazeppa - and Jeff McKay (actor from Baa-Baa Blacksheep, Magnum PI and JAG. etc., etc.
You can read more crazy stories, and see a few pictures at www.geocities.com/colliepat - go to the Stories page - and click on Go-Go Boots and Music - or paste this in your browser: http://www.geocities.com/colliepat3/gogomusic.htm
Doug could do a little name-dropping as well, or just give us his current band's website - as he's a wild man drummer. A cross between Shaggie on Scooby-Do and Animal on the Muppets - but he looks like Shaggie, hence the nickname. If you see him some night at the Vegas Club or the WestBound behind a big set of red drums, yell "WIPEOUT"...
I just want to finish with a big thanks to Doug for all the friendship and good times - and if Tommy ever sees this (or hears about it) a huge thanks to you too Bro' - for 15-years we were closer than most brothers - and a lot of who I am came from Tommy. I mentioned just a few good times here out of a couple million... I love these guys and I love this TOWN!
Thank you people too, who keep this going - and the other contributors who we're talking about, like Tuffy and Shaggy (dog, not drummer) and Mitch and Mr. Jetzeppa Landingear (I don't think I've seen that on here), but his alter-ego Mazeppa has made frequent contributions...
Those were great ads. The guy was really funny. I think he was from Broken Arrow.
During the first years of TV, having a television set was such a status symbol that some people, who couldn't afford a TV, would buy fake antennas to put on their roofs to impress their neighbors.
Before TV came to Tulsa, the more affluent families had TV sets that could pick up a very snowy picture from Okla. City.
"Dixieland Detour" on KOME on Saturday afternoons in the 1949 or 1950 featured thirty minutes of great Dixieland music.
Dundee Ross was announcer at KOME and KTUL simultaneously. He worked the day shift at the former and the evening shift at the latter---16 hours in all. He said that it was the only way he could make a living wage. He didnt last too long.
I still get chills when I remember watching the AP teletype pounding out the story that Soviet ruler Josef Stalin had died.
Jewel Groceries started the first Chicago Git N Go style shops called White Hen Pantries - we thought - what a mistake....35-40 years later - they are still there. Neighborhood stores in Chicago - the Mom and Pop's - just closed down. Bars were open 365 days a year unless an owner shut down early on a holiday - in most places they could not sell a six-pack "to go" to customers.
Self-service gas stations just weren't happening then - unless you went to a Clark or Marathon station (in the Chicago area) to save 3-5 cents a gallon to self-pump and they still had attendants - you know that handlin' gasoline was a stinky bizness and working "pumping gas" was an often entry-level or first job. They WERE a SERVICE station - servicing your car. You never wanted to venture out without a full gas tank back then on a holiday night - in case gas stations were shut down. Lord help you if you had a flat or a wreck - there were never any tow trucks working the holidays unless you belonged to the Chicago Motor Club (AAA in Chicago and more for trip planning).
Mass transit went on a holiday schedule with less bus/el services. If we cabbed anywhere - we always tipped more on a holiday - as the norm. Feelin' sorry for a hard workin' cabbie "having to work on a holiday".
I can remember major grocery chains closing at noon or 4pm on Turkey Day or Easter and being closed altogether on Xmas Day and New Year's Day.
Ditto - my first job at Dunkin Donuts - we closed only Turkey Day and Xmas day and that was the same for all the other fast food joints. K-Mart seemed to start the first major holiday store openings on holidays - as a jump on Black Friday sales.
In Chicago neighborhoods and burbs - Walgreen's dominated for so many years and most then had grills/restaurants inside and holiday menus for those folks without families. They had turkey 10 mos. of the year on the menu. But Walgreen's was the purveyor of OTC drugs, batteries, more film, more ice cream, "soda" , and in many places liquor! Us kids - often bored - would volunteer to do an "ice cream run" just to get out of the house. That was back when we needed a note from Dad to buy cigarettes for him at Walgreen's or "the little store" - a neighborhood Mom and Pop store. Chesterfield's at 28 cents a pack - for so many years.
"The wealthy" went out to eat on holidays and hotels advertised buffets. I can remember 2 Turkey Days when all the "old folks" in the family were sick and not coming out to my folks' home - so we went to Stouffer's in downtown Chicago. Yeah - Stouffer's was a restaurant AND hotel chain before it made TV dinners!
I am sure that down by the Merchandise Mart - where Jim Ruddle worked at WMAQ - there were probably more businesses open - but 18 miles Southwest in my hometown - it was pretty quiet!
For Mike Bruchas: How did you know that stores were closed on holidays? I think I worked every damned one of them. In one case, I was arrested while on the air and held by Mexican cops all of one Thanksgiving Day. Somebody had failed to pay off the local immigration authorities.
It was a seven night cruise that started in Memphis with stops at four Arkansas sites-Pine Bluff, Little Rock, Petit Jean Mountain, and Fort Smith-plus Muskogee and finally, Tulsa, where the ship turned around in the Port of Catoosa. It then repeated the trip in the reverse order.
Both legs were sold out, but the Delta has yet to return to Tulsa.
An Archive search of the Tulsa World shows an article on July 17, 1995. A brief quote from the article...
"Gov. Frank Keating ... 'We hope this is the first of many happy occasions and many happy dockings.' Muskogee mayor Kathy Hewitt joked, 'This only goes to prove that there's more than one way to get to Muskogee.' She said she is looking forward to many more joint ventures between the Port of Catoosa and the Port of Muskogee. A representative from the DELTA QUEEN Steamboat Company presented Keating and Hewitt with Norman Rockwell prints and American flags flown on the DELTA QUEEN during its voyage from Memphis. Festivities included the presentation of a plaque to the captain and crew of the ship, fireworks and two songs performed by Broken Arrow native Kathryn Zaremba, star of the off-Broadway show 'Annie Warbucks.'"
Good to hear from you, George!
BTW - spoke with Matt Bunyan on Turkey Day - he was fighting a bug. Said the contractors were all working furiously to get the NEW Starship location done.
Waitress! Club Soda! Table 6!
When I was a kid, my dad and I attended a taping of "Truth or Consequences" in Los Angeles. Bob Barker was the host. We had a blast!
You may remember the unique opening segment of the show, in which the camera panned back-and-forth on the faces of the audience members, each of whom was laughing hysterically.
Announcer Johnny Olson then intoned, "Come on in, it's time to play Truth (chime) or Consequences (buzzer)."
But nobody ever explained why the audience was laughing so hard.
Here's why they were laughing. Olson, in addition to his announcing duties, hosted the show's "warm-up," a pre-show festivity which encouraged the audience to shed their inhibitions, to laugh heartily and often.
He brought the warm-up to the end with a sample game of "Truth or Consequences". (Important note: the audience was not told the warm-up was ending and the start of the actual show was at hand.) For the sample game, some big, strong men were selected from the audience, and after they failed to tell the "Truth," their "Consequence" was this: they were required to put on women's clothing, right there on stage.
That, apparently, was a sure-fire way of setting off the crowd for the start of the show. Those people with laughing faces were watching grown men putting on dresses.
The last I heard, similar hilarity is available on weekend nights at the 28th-and-Harvard Village Inn...though, regrettably, without Bob Barker and "Truth or Consequences."
Does anyone remember where Danny Drake is, after he left TV show back in the 1980s? I remember him from Edison. A real talented, and towering lad he was.
My brother pointed out that I could have saved a lot of dough by driving straight out 71st to the lock and dam, where there is a nearby picnic table to boot.
I'm back after a cruise to the Panama Canal. Cox Cable pulled the plug on me during this time due to a problem with "emission of Cable signal" from my residence(?!), so I'll be slow responding until it gets turned back on Monday.
Lost Tulsa recently said of the downtown tunnels:
"At one point, there was a radio station that broadcast from underneath the city, and the tunnels were said to be used during prohibition to discreetly supply the oil barons plenty of booze."