Tulsa TV Memories Guestbook 119

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Noel ConferTime: December 11 2002 at 22:30:33
Name: Noel Confer
Location: Home again in Tulsey
Comments: Here's posting best wishes for a safe and sane holiday season. If you're old enough to remember my days on the air in Tulsa and San Diego and southern California, you are too old to be rootin' and tootin 'this year.

Have a merry etc.

Time: December 11 2002 at 07:20:49
Name: Frank Morrow
Location: Austin. TX
Comments: Come to think of it, on second thought I'm not sure that the name of the KVOO poetry program was "Moon River." I believe that this was the name of an NBC network program that was similar in nature. The KVOO program might have been called "Songs from an Ivory Tower."

I bet Jim Ruddle or Billy Hyden remember it correctly.

Time: December 11 2002 at 02:31:23
Name: Larry L. Kraus
Location: Tyler, Texas
Comments: I still remember my second job in radio (at KTOW) back in the very late 60's. I was told, starting in about September, that the Christmas bonus was $100. I was young and took it to heart and went out and spent the extra $100 over the next couple of months. (In those days, $100 was significant if you were newly married and in college). When the time came, our bonus that year was a turkey, which probably cost about $5. I was truely angry. In February, my wife cooked the turkey and we invited the rest of the staff over for dinner. Lots on nasty jokes about the owner, as you might imagine.

I really like this site because it brings back so many memories of what were, in truth, good times. Thanks, everyone, and Season's Greetings to all.

Frank MorrowTime: December 10 2002 at 23:58:39
Name: Frank Morrow
Location: Austin. TX
Comments:As I stated a long time ago, when I worked at KTUL (radio) in the early '50s, we all got a check for a month's salary as a Xmas bonus. If people were going to quit, they did so after Xmas. Salaries weren't very high, though. My bonus was $275.

I just finished making an audiotape of my reading love poems with music background and interludes, laced with love songs. It was just something I did for Xmas presents. It was rather nostalgic, because it's the kind of thing I always wanted to do when I was in radio in the '50s. It also brought back memories of the KVOO program "Moon River" that featured Roy McKee reading poems, many of which were original by his future wife Kay Russell, and backed by some beautiful organ music. My tape certainly is an anachronism, but reminded me of some of the beautiful things that could be presented on radio during the "Golden Days."

Time: December 10 2002 at 07:18:21
Name: Jim Ruddle
Location: Rye, NY
Comments: Just a parting note on Christmas stuff: When I went to work for NBC, I was told by old timers that it stood for "No Bonus Christmas."

They were right.

Time: December 10 2002 at 00:47:59
Name: Kevin Gilbert
Location: Tulsa
Comments: I remember Mr. Zing having a contest where we were to draw a safety poster. I sent in something dopey, but I can still recall searching the background during the show to see my work of art.

Time: December 09 2002 at 18:50:40
Name: Jim Reid
Location: Dallas
Comments: The Christmas bonus situation was pretty good when I worked at KTUL. We got $100, a great party at Southern Hills, and Tom & Rita Goodgame gave every employee a bottle of champagne.

I then went to OETA where the legislature did not believe in Christmas, so bonus' were non-existant. It was also the days of the wage freezes, so I got no raises in 3 years there.

Then I came to Texas, and as long as my current station was owned by Times-Mirror, we got a week's pay and a great party at a swanky Dallas hotel.

Now, after three buyouts and becoming a Fox O&O, the bonus is only a memory.

Lee WoodwardTime: December 09 2002 at 18:12:42
Name: Lee Woodward
Location: T-Town
Comments: Jim Ruddle wrote earlier about having dinner with the late Tex Ritter and seeing the then very young John Ritter.

My father was one of five boys who became doctors. His oldest brother was Dr. S.A. Woodward, who lived in the San Angelo, Texas area. One day he was called to help in the birth of a male child. The family not knowing what gender was expected had not chosen a name, so in honor of the good doctor's service, they named him Woodward Ritter. Later he would be known more widely as "Tex" Ritter.

Years later, he was a guest on Dance Party when I was the host. There, because of his success singing the theme song from "High Noon" had begot an album for him. He asked me if I had any relatives from west Texas and that is how I confirmed the story told to me earlier by my first cousin Wendell Woodward.

He asked me also if because of his appearance on Dance Party; "Would he be eligible for the Christmas bonus?" That year it was a weekend with Lina Lee Ryan!

Note to Ken Broo: I don't do phone sex!

Mrs. P.C. Williams, Joan Rivers and Lina Lee Ryan of White Advertising from the 9/17/1968 8 Photo News, courtesy of Chris Sloan
Mrs. P.C. Williams, Joan Rivers and Lina Lee Ryan of White Advertising
from the 9/17/1968 "6 Photo News", courtesy of Chris Sloan

Webmaster, 12/15/2004: Joan Rivers appeared in her very first movie in 1968: "The Swimmer", starring Burt Lancaster. It is a strange, interesting, disturbing and sometimes embarrassing movie. The Marvin Hamlisch score (also his first) is haunting and memorable. Wilhelm, I've got it on vinyl!

Mike MillerTime: December 09 2002 at 18:03:49
Name: Mike Miller
Location: Very near Washington, DC
Comments: Only a few Christmas bonuses remain etched in my memory. KTUL Radio handed out a sack-full of silver dollars in the late ‘50s. (The sacks might have contained a hundred bucks.) A turkey was also a popular gift.

At one Tulsa TV station the owner’s handshake on Christmas Eve may have won the prize for the most cost-effective recompense. I recall one engineer saying: “I’m not going to wash my bonus for a week!”

I seriously doubt that Christmas parties of today are anything like those of the ‘70s, when many passed out or made (bigger than usual) idiots of themselves before passing out. (It should be noted that several of the idiots included management types.)

Female employees were frequently offended at some of the behavior. And sometimes when the offender sobered up, hangovers were the least of his problems. Over in downtown Little Rock, one holiday-partying salesman couldn’t recall relieving himself out a second story window in full view of several secretaries. If you think they were offended, think of the poor pedestrians below who probably thought the Nielsen had just come out.

Wow, radio and TV people really downed the booze in those days. Perhaps there was a link between drinking and Christmas bonuses.

Time: December 09 2002 at 12:16:35
Name: Mike Bruchas
Comments: At 8 - we either got $50 and a turkey/ham or nothing. But we had trade-out door prizes like TV's and golf stuff. But you could also win stupid table centerpieces - which you were EXPECTED to take home! In my 4 years at 8 - I went to 3 parties.

At 6 - someone said at one time folks got silver dollars or $100 bill - I think I got a $100 check at a good party and trade-out door prizes like weed whackers! Very family-oriented - as ALL were invited....

My worst party was at KVII in Amarillo - with Ritz Crackers, cheese Whiz and cheap champagne at Noon on a Friday before Xmas. As mentioned here - we lost a staffer and another was badly hurt in a post-party traffic wreck - from drinking. That day KVII staff led all the local news as they crashed on a cloverleaf in rush hour in AMA.

JimTime: December 09 2002 at 08:05:38
Name: Jim Ruddle
Location: Rye, NY
Comments: Re KOTV Xmas party:

I really don't recall getting any bonus money at Christmas from KOTV. What I do recall is one party in the studio, and another, a year earlier, at some downtown hotel. That one probably caused the move to the studio.

The main thing that sticks in memory was the quantity of booze that was ingested in dear old bone-dry Tulsa, which resulted in a secretary's telling Wrede Petersmeyer everything that she thought was wrong with him and the station, capped by her falling down the carpeted stairs. No injury, thankfully.

(Name withheld to protect the dear soul.) Getting back to the phantom bonus: We got a food basket, in lieu of money. It was a trade-out, no doubt.

Time: December 08 2002 at 02:19:03
Name: Bob Weiszmann
Location: Shakey City
Comments: I would have been Central HS '53 if I hadn't been kicked out for the last time. Best memories are the drive-in on 11th street and the Big Ten Ballroom. I would appreciate more history on the Big Ten if anybody out there remembers.

Time: December 07 2002 at 10:40:26
Name: Mike Bruchas
Location: Still powerless in sun-shiney NC
Comments: Mary: Have the film but no video copies of it mated with the soundtrack any more.

It WAS very amateur but we sure had fun "taking over" Bixby that day! Funny - no one ever asked us what we were doing - from the town!

We did try to project the film with some kind of wild soundtrack on the school across the street from an apt. house on 7th at Delaware - I think we gave up and used a sheet to show it and other "borrowed" KTUL "B" movies back in '73 or '74.

Time: December 07 2002 at 04:27:28
Name: Mary Haskew McCauley
Location: Tulsa, Ok
Comments: Mike Bruchas---you produced this silly movie with Randy Kindy and J. Lee Ready that Rick Christiansen and I were in in 1973. It was a take off on a bad Italian movie and we filmed it in a park in Bixby. I think it was a class project for TU and appeared on Galaxy on Channel 8.

I saw Rick and Lee a few years ago and the said they had it on a VHS tape. I think you guys stuck an old Coke commercial on the front of it. It premiered on the porch outside Rick and Rany K's apartment. I would love to have a copy of it. I can't find Rick or Lee.

Any ideas?

Time: December 06 2002 at 19:14:48
Name: Mike Bruchas
Location: Warmer but but still 50% darker Charlotte - living in an electricity-less world....
Comments: "Breathless Ken Ragsdale"!

He was so rapped by Oklahoma Monthly many years ago and they were WRONG! I worked with Ken twice and he was a great field reporter. Later in OKC at KOCO - he appeared on one of our talking head shows to talk about brokers. Ken also started as a print guy in Ponca City or somewhere North of OKC. He may be a broker now - but was always a great newsie!

Some of us still attribute him to be the "inventor" of the ear-prompter.

He would audio-tape on a cassette-recorder, long stand-ups and play them back into his ear to parrot back when on camera - in the good ole film days.

Time: December 06 2002 at 15:38:18
Name: Ken Ragsdale
Location: Oklahoma City
Comments: Hello, everyone! What a thrill to find this website! It's been more than a couple of decades since I worked in Tulsa TV; yet, the memories come flooding back when I scroll through the guestbook archive. I'm married and have a daughter in college and a son in high school. Since 1982 I've owned a small business brokerage house here in the City.

I have some memories of my own I'd like to add, when time permits. In the meantime, drop a note to update me on each of your situations. Regards, Ken.

Welcome to TTM, Ken.

John HillisTime: December 06 2002 at 14:48:06
Name: John Hillis
Location: Slushy Fairfax Virginia
Comments: Back after a couple days out sick and snowed, I got to see the clip of Mr. Woodward on the line coming in here at World HeadQuarters, it looked pretty good. Kids, it's not an optical illusion, we really wore collars like that back in those days...

I think that particular "Easy Country" was taped during my first week working at KOTV. The set was in "Studio A", while the news desk and set was in the smaller "Studio B" across the hall to the tape room.

While they may not have been the level of a Perry Como or Bing Crosby special, I always thought it was pretty good for what the budget was (probably in the hundreds...of dollars), and pretty gutsy to run a locally produced music show, in prime time, even three or four times a year. And the connection it made with viewers probably helped keep the KOTV Noon news at 50 shares, though being the lead in to "As The World Turns" helped, too.

The "big studio" was also the home of KOTV Christmas Parties and the infamous 10 O'clock newscasts that occurred in the midst of them in the "little studio." I vaguely recall Irv Johnson trying to direct with a booth full of partygoers carrying on behind him. The folks at home knew something was wrong, I'm sure, but probably never exactly figured out why there were so many flubs on that Friday night in December, or why there seemed to be a low buzz when the microphones were open.

I guess all the brain cells got killed, because the only other memory I have of a KOTV party was winning a fishin' pole from Joe ("Mister Live Bait" to Broo) Krieger in the drawing one year. No reel, but Joe explained, "gotta get you to Looboyle somehow, son."

Buddy Allison and Leon Meier also noted around that time that the Christmas bonus at KOTV had been the same since 1953...a hundred bucks. These days, for a lot of folks, that looks generous indeed.

Time: December 06 2002 at 13:18:15
Name: Mike Bruchas
Location: Power dead NC
Comments: Came in last night from Chicago - almost 300,000 without power here but today it is in the 50's. You could drive for miles in the dark then - here and there powered areas shown.

Anarchy reigns among drivers - half the populace runs the dead stoplights in their SUV's and the other half is Southern-good-mannered and yields at all dead lights. No cops directing traffic at intersections.

No runs on bread/milk/tp though as many stores are shuttered still this afternoon.

Charlotte is not as bad off as the outlying regions for downed trees but some folks may not see power till Monday and a potentially more severe storm is due Tuesday.

Radio news/community involvement sucks here - my pet gripe about a "big" city - WBT All News Radio AM pre-empted local sports talk last night to have that host take kvetching calls from folks. News inserts with any facts were few and far between but trumpeting promos on their in-depth coverage made me barf.

Tulsa radio was NEVER this non-involved in a major storm story like this! TV has done a good job of coverage here, but in a market so cabled and electric powered - many folks can't see the coverage when there is no power FOR cable or their homes.

Coming in from the airport - passed NBC News Channel HQ - they were on their "genny" and their building only half lit up. Ironically neighboring office complexes glowed in light while poorer adjacent residential areas - sat in the dark...Churches and schools with power are open for all - thank goodness.

Time: December 06 2002 at 01:29:19
Name: Webmaster
Location: Tulsa
Comments: Read about World's Worst Movies' Rachelle Renee in OUTline Magazine online.

Time: December 05 2002 at 20:47:01
Name: Emily Webb
Location: Tulsa
Comments: I'm trying to get some old promos and spots to you from the 1980's, provided I can get them from my friend at work. He's got a reel of some fun stuff. Do you have much stuff from the 1980's from KTUL?

Not so much, but I could use it. Mike Bruchas gave me a tape of Channel 8 stuff from the late 70s...I plan to exploit it more soon.

Ken Broo at KOTVTime: December 04 2002 at 19:46:33
Name: Ken Broo
Location: Snowy Cincinnati

Loved the video clips of Lee Woodward singing Christmas songs, particularly the one he was singing to the Southwestern Bell operator.

It gets a little lonely here in Cincy at times. Do you think, if I left my number, Lee could call me up and sing me a tune over the phone?

Time: December 04 2002 at 17:51:25
Name: Sandy Beller
Location: Denver, CO
Comments: Love this web site. Thank you. The pic of the dairy reminded me of the days we would swing by those nice little Pure Milk stores encouraged, of course, by the very cool King of Tulsa radio Johnny Martin.

Pure Milk store

Was it completely automated as I think I remember, or was someone inside?

Superman easily resolved a similar question during a time travel adventure in the March 1963 issue of "World's Finest", which I read hot off the newsstand while on a Cub Scout train trip to Claremore.

"Silver Age" Superman uses his X-ray vision in the Renaissance

Being without X-ray vision and the speed to break the time barrier, I must rely on the internet: from True Confessions of a (female) Techno-junkie: "When I was about five, my mother began sending me to the corner to buy milk from a square machine painted to resemble a giant milk carton."

And the 1950s Land O'Lakes Milk Automat (seen halfway down the linked page) looks much like the base of our Pure Milk kiosk/carton. So I think it was indeed a machine.

Jim RuddleTime: December 04 2002 at 16:11:28
Name: Jim Ruddle
Location: Rye, NY
Comments: Regarding honeymoon cruise and note about Kahanamoku statue:

In 1953, while in transit from a North Atlantic cutter assignment to the cutter Iroquois, based in Honolulu, I stopped for a few days on the west coast. Former KOTV director Herb Lightman, who was working in LA at his own company, invited me to join him for dinner out in the San Fernando Valley at Tex Ritter's house.

Ritter and his wife Dorothy, a former starlet in western movies, had two children who were playing on the floor as we sat talking. One of the boys had CP and the other helped him as they played. That kid's name was John, and he's had a hell of a career for himself.

During dinner, Dorothy Ritter said that since I was going to Hawaii, I should look up an old friend of theirs, Duke Kahanamoku, whom they had met through his work in motion pictures. I silently doubted that I'd do it, but I said I would certainly check up on Duke when I got there.

After I'd settled in on the Iroquois, we docked near the Aloha Tower, in Honolulu, and I saw a charter fishing boat nearby. On deck was a guy who could only be Duke Kahanamoku. I called out, introducing myself, adding that the Ritters had said I should say 'Hello' should I run across him.

The result was that he invited me to dinner with him and his wife at their home and treated me, a swabbie from Oklahoma, as though I were an old friend.

I'm glad he got the statue.

Our cruise ship also docked near the Aloha Tower. Thanks for the great story, Jim.

By the way, the best Mai Tai I've ever had was at Duke's on Kalapaki Beach in Kawai, a darn good Tiki bar.

Time: December 03 2002 at 15:15:02
Name: Emily Webb
Location: Tulsa
Comments: I sent the link to the "Night Shift" real video to my friend Gary Elliott. He is the voice you hear during the opening sequence talking about "not giving a flying bleep about big brother."

I need to get him to come over here and interact with you guys. He has some great stories, and a great sense of humor. I hear that they had a group over at KTUL known as "The Lunch Club" several years back that was a real hoot that he was a part of.

Time: December 03 2002 at 13:33:29
Name: Si Hawk
Location: Tulsa
Comments: I've seen several mentions of the Hawk Dairy Store at 11th and Lewis. Some of the references discuss folks stopping in during WWII. I thought there might be a bit of interest in seeing what the place looked like during the first year or so of the war all decked out for Christmas.
Hawk Dairy Store

Would you like some Java snow on that, sir?

Time: December 02 2002 at 19:20:42
Name: Emily Webb
Location: Tulsa
Comments: Well, a while back I was able to see some 20 something year old commercials from KTUL. A lot of Drillers's spots that my friend Gary Elliott was in. In one, he wore a dress, then a little boy's clothes, etc, and played the part of the whole family. He has a huge BEARD, and it's quite funny. He still has that beard, and he's still at KTUL. I also saw some old tapes from a show called, "Night Shift." I heard that show was a real blast to get to work on. Anyone here remember that show?

I also saw some pretty funny promos. We don't do the really funny ones anymore though. Sigh. I miss out on all the fun.

Gary Elliott and Dick Van Dera credit Drummer Pat Powell

RealVideo It just so happens that friend, reader and drummer Pat Powell has loaned me a tape of a New Year's Eve 1983 "Night Shift" he and his band, "Nuthin' Fancy", guested on. Jeanne (Tripplehorn) Summers of KMOD was the host (here's a Java slide show I put together from the start of the program). More of that tape to come this week. Check out Pennington's in the intro clip with tantalizing glimpses of neon lights no longer seen in Tulsa. (Voiceover by Gary Elliott, as Emily notes in her next message.)

Time: December 01 2002 at 23:56:05
Name: Frank Morrow
Location: Austin. TX
Comments: Tulsa has been very fortunate in having superb radio sports announcers, particularly the play-by-play announcers, going back to Dave Manners doing the Oilers baseball games before the war. In the '50s there was Mack Creager calling baseball and football contests; Tony George broadcasting Oiler games as well as TU basketball; Hal O'Halloran, who was excellent in any sport, but particularly basketball. (I thought he'd have a stroke or heart attack when he called the Okla. A&M win against Wilt Chamberlain's Kansas team.)

There were occasionally some lesser lights. In the '40s John Henry did good sportscasts for KVOO, but his broadcasts of the TU football games were boring. I knew one guy who looked forward to the games, because he knew he would doze off and have a good nap. Hugh Finnerty did many broadcasts of various types, but his high, thin, whiny voice was irritating.

Now, I really enjoy the TU basketball radio broadcasts by play-by-play man Bruce Howard and color man J.V. Haney. I tried doing a basketball game only once---a high school game. I was terrible. Couldn't remember the names of the players. Fortunately I was only practicing on a tape recorder. My cohort Harry Wilson did only marginally better.

PS. I can't believe that no one has mentioned the passing of that TU football icon, Glenn Dobbs. Jim Ruddle, Bob Griffin and I exchanged some memories of this amazing man.

Time: December 01 2002 at 15:49:07
Name: Mike Bruchas
Location: Charlotte NC then back to Chicago for leftovers
Comments: Sadly - near all Chick Show recordings were on 2" tape. Most of the Zeb shows in the can were some of Carl's best bits that he saved for promo work and they lived on 2" back then.

Re - small format recordings of broadcasts, 8 had initially a 3/4" TAPE FORMAT (aka U-Matic) Wollensak (NOT Sony) machine - though it really was made by Sony.

In those days, many engineers felt Sony=bad, RCA=good but Wollensak???

It was a pain to dub to and had low resolution. Channel 6 then, was more serious about changing to an all-tape news room and had better Sony industrial U-Matic decks - so any news airchecks from 6 in those days seemed to have held up better. Their 2" machine recordings ranged from bad to good - depending on the production budget.

Back to that 3/4" machine at 8 - tape was expensive. At like $50 a 60 min. tape in the early days (now about $15 now) and so any Chick airchecks were made on 2" - we didn't have the $$ to spend on 3/4" airchecks. Besides we swam in used old 2" dub or news reels or whatever was deemed near-surplus for fun work.

Total 8 news set (courtesy of Jim Reid)

I still have a few Total 8 Tulsa 3/4" airchecks that I paid for my own tapestock - ditto 2 Oil in Oklahoma shows. For a guy making $2.50 an hour as a director - spending maybe $200 on tape - at a discount via Tom Roberts, then working for Sam Pate at Delcom - was a big expense...

Time: November 30 2002 at 23:33:46
Name: Emily Webb
Location: Tulsa
Comments: I hope you didn't get the Norwalk virus on your cruise!

Nope, we wore surgical masks the whole time! Actually, no problems except overeating. Visited the chilly Keck Observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea on the big island, cruised the Kona coffee coast, enjoyed a luau on Maui, saw where Elvis made "Blue Hawaii" on Kawai (the Coco Palms Hotel), met a Tiki carver and his lovely wahine at a fabulous Tiki bar, La Mariana Sailing Club in Honolulu, and met the original owner since the 50s, had our picture taken in front of the statue of Duke Kahanamoku at Waikiki Beach...

The webmaster, his wahine and Gecko (photo by Ailie)

Time: November 30 2002
Name: Webmaster
Location: Tulsa
Comments: Archived Guestbook 118.

The webmaster is back after a honeymoon cruise in Hawaii.

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