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

Origin of this site
Webmaster Mike Ransom, courtesy of KTUL Apathy Cam
Screen capture from a man-in-the-street interview with webmaster Mike Ransom just prior to the creation of Tulsa TV Memories in late 1998.

"If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." - Toni Morrison

(That applies to web sites, too, but TTM has many writers and continues to be written - webmaster)

My December 14, 1998 post to internet newsgroup "ok.tulsa.general" was the start:

There was a late night local show on Channel 2 here in Tulsa called 'Fantastic Theater'. It was a vehicle for showing old horror movies. The host was Peter Hardt (actually, Oktoberfest's Josef Hardt). He had an authentic German accent. He would introduce the movie and provide spooky commentary at commercial breaks. Anyone remember that?

The thing that is driving me crazy is the music. It was all early synthesizer, spiced up with odd bubbling and clicking sounds. Just hearing it was frightening. What was it? I haven't succeeded in finding out. I called Channel 2, but no one there knew. A friend of mine knows Josef Hardt himself, but he didn't know either.

I thought I once heard that it was called 'Quiet Village' by Les Baxter, but that is actually classic 'Exotica' music of the late fifties, with jungle sounds and percussion, part of the 'patio culture' of the time. Does anyone have any memory of this?

Later, I was able to ferret out the answer to this burning query myself...see the Fantastic Theater page.

Here are some of the responses to my post:

From Patrick L. Humphrey:

You mean someone else watched that? (Unless I'm thinking of something else, that was how I spent my late Saturday nights while I was growing up in Tulsa -- in the early 1960s.) I wasn't yet ten years old, and a lot of the movies were what would be prime fodder these days for MST3K, but for me at least, the die was cast on those late Saturday nights glued to the tube watching KVOO's cheesy sci-fi movie of the week. (Now, at the end of the millennium, with the Sci-Fi Channel, these are good times. :-)

I remember bits and pieces of the music, and I'd appreciate it if anyone else could track down a cite for it. I haven't heard it used anywhere but on Fantastic Theater -- and that was 35 years ago...

--PLH, talk about yer basic blast from the past

And from Tim S.:

How interesting! I don't remember that show, when was it on? I do remember the old Zeppa Pop Mazoti (or however you spell it) and a few others that weren't so popular. I could really get into this old local media trivia stuff!

Here's a weird request... back when I was a little kid (late 60's & early 70's) I have very fond memories of sitting at my grandpa's house and watching the 10:00 pm news on Channel 6 with Clayton Vaughn and the puppet, King Lionel. Anyway, during the closing credits they showed video of the fountains at Southroads Mall and the old Southland mall and there was some kind of music playing in the background. I can't even remember how it goes but I've always remembered that it made me feel very comfortable and safe and reminded me of my grandfather.

Well, that's enough of me crawling into my memories (ha ha) Does anybody else remember these things?

Despite this 1995 Oktoberfest picture taken with Karen Keith, I have no background in media or broadcasting.

The webmaster 'co-anchors' with Karen Keith

Response from me:

Well, Tim, as it happens, I actually appeared on the "The Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting" on Channel 6 in 1971. Mazeppa (now Hollywood character actor Gailard Sartain) was on live that evening, as he tirelessly reminded the viewers. The repetition finally penetrated the rapidly dimming consciousnesses of me and a couple of friends. We conceived the bold plan of driving down to the studio.

When we arrived, Mazeppa was out at his van having a smoke (don't ask). He waved us in to be the focus of a skit conceived on the spot. I'm sorry to report that I can't remember the setup, but the punchline spoken by us was "We didn't throw any snowballs". Probably the actual punchline was a slow pan of our less-than-alert visages. At least my dad and brother at home watching thought so.

Joe Dickens, one of the protagonists of this story, later left this comment in the TTM Guestbook:

"Just to let you know that the 'we didn't throw any snowballs, Officer' line came from an experience I had had a few years earlier that involved being questioned at length by the Vinita police about throwing snowballs and gravel at cars...we stuck to our story."

Joe's sister, Carol Dickens Overstreet, was a viewer at home:

"I thought you guys were nuts when you headed out to the TV station in hopes of being live on The Uncanny Film Festival. I squealed so loudly when I saw you three that I woke up Bar & Big Joe (remember I was barely a teen at the time). I'm certain the line was "We didn't throw any snowballs, OCCIFER" whether intentional or not. I don't have a clue where Joe Hargrove (the other Mazeppa "guest star") is. Maybe a search for "Kowalski" would turn something up...but that's a different story."

After our performance, we got to sit around and watch the show from behind the scenes. Sherman Oaks (Jim Millaway) was there. He smiled and acknowledged our presence once, as he quickly assessed the unlikelihood of an intelligent conversation. I do remember the movie that night: "The Conquest of Space". Mazeppa showed a lot of horror films from the 30s through the early 60s. Later in the run, he played old musicals such as "42nd Street" and "The Big Broadcast of 1938", and later yet, Laurel and Hardy.

I don't remember the music you mentioned, but I do have a postcard of Lee Woodward and King Lionel. You've given me the idea to post some of this stuff I have on the internet. If and when I do, I will put the URL out here.

Site history:

"Memories of old Tulsa TV" debuted two weeks after the above posts on 12/29/1998 at http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Network/8226 (GeoCities is defunct as of late 2009). Remnant now at http://www.reocities.com/TelevisionCity/Network/8226.

GeoCities provided 15 meg of free storage. The site was renamed "Tulsa TV Memories" between 2/9/1999 and 2/14/1999.

TTM moved to tulsatv.tripod.com on 1/8/2000 with the enticement of 50 meg of free storage as a "Super Member Site".

Due to bandwidth restrictions imposed by Tripod in early 2002, TTM moved to a box in a closet in Dallas with a new URL, tulsatvmemories.com, during the week of 2/24/2002.

In late 2005, TTM moved to a server at Dick Schmitz' Irving Productions in Tulsa.

1/18/2013: TTM moved to commercial hosting (it has gotten much cheaper over the years).

The earliest version of TTM viewable in the Internet Archive is from 8/27/1999.

Detailed early site history on the first What's new? page.

Complete history of changes in the What's new? Archive.

8/6/2014: The GroupBlog became an adjunct of the new Webmaster Blog, due to the demise of the Greek guestbook service.

I hope to jog loose some memories here and pass them around. The Guestbook (6/6/06: now called the GroupBlog) is your means for contributing the contents of your long-unused brain cells.

A special contributor to this site, Mike Bruchas, lived in Tulsa 1969-1978 and worked at KTUL as a cameraman, projectionist and director. His amazing memory and photos played a key role in this site's take-off. Let's hear a warm round of applause for Mike! Mike Bruchas

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