Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Today marks the birthday, in 1907, of Gene Autry, song-writer, singer, cowboy, singing cowboy, actor, radio star, and baseball team owner.
A teenage Autry took a job operating a telegraph wire, sending people's messages for them. One day, in walked the comedian Will Rogers. Autry, a good worker though he may have been, happened to have been playing a guitar between customers. Rogers was impressed with what he heard and encouraged Autry to go into show biz.
To Autry this meant landing a spot of Tulsa's KVOO, billed as "Oklahoma's Yodeling Cowboy."
From there it was a successful radio career that would then propel Autry into the role of radio host, taking the helm of a show sponsored by Wrigley's. The CBS show put on a spread, not just of music and comedy, but even drama. It lasted a lot longer than a stick of gum: 16 years in all.
In the spirit of honoring that kind of longevity, we take off our hats and offer a cowboy salute to Gene Autry.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Perhaps once when you were enjoying the swinging dance music of Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys, you wondered "how did one get to be a Playboy?" Well, being Bob's brother was the way Johnnie Lee Wills chose. The banjoist joined his brother on the road and in the studio, where the band hosted a show on Tulsa's KVOO.
Brother Bob set his compass for Hollywood, the band became "Johnnie Lee Wills and His Boys" and the show went on. Were they no longer playboys? Had they turned a new leaf and started practicing temperance? Probably not.
In any event, the show ran exactly a quarter of a decade on KVOO, and did syndicated broadcasts after that. He also took the boys on the road. He and his family also ran a store that sold Western clothing. So let's salute a great musician and long-time radio host, born on this day in 1912.