Monday, November 12, 2007


Oklahoma's official state cartoon character!

GUSTY! Who knew?

Somehow, I totally missed this news. But I LOVED Gusty when I was little. On KTUL-TV, Channel 8, out of Tulsa, the creation of weatherman Don Woods. He drew Gusty every night at the end of the weather, and sent the drawing to some lucky kid!

Read all about Gusty!

Also on Channel 8 was Uncle Zeb! Before Uncle Zeb were Mr. Zing and Tuffy, also on KTUL. As a teen, I watched Mazeppa host late-night movies, same channel. Mazeppa was an early character of nattive Tulsan Gailard Sartain.

Tell me about your own local TV characters and such!


Not a character, exactly, but the Rainier Beer commercials I'd see when my family lived in Montana in the early 80's were always a source of amusement. The one with the motorcycle gets referenced in family conversations on a fairly regular basis.
I have several, but my memory of the names is pretty shoddy. First, there was the Saturday TV host on Syracuse NBC affiliate WSYR, Captain something or other; he was the guy who pimped the whole Muscular Dystrophy carnival kits in our area. His show also featured as bump music "Uncle Albert" and "Band on the Run" by Wings. The cartoons they presented were Mr. Magoo not as Magoo, but as characters in great animated renditions of classical literature - the Count of Monte Cristo, as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and as Natty Bumpo in Last of the Mohicans, among others.

The Elmira NBC affiliate, which used to have the call letters WSYE (and is now WETM), used to have a Saturday afternoon B-horror movie frame with some guy in bad hunchback make-up and his "Master" who was represented by a hand dancer (I always thought it was cool, but I suppose it was worse than hokey) as they presented another "Blob" movie, or Robert Vaughn in an early howler where he played a cave man.

The best was "Chiller Theater" on, I think, WOR (although it might have been WPIX) late on Saturday nights, which presented a claymation, six-fingered hand emerging from quicksand.
Cool. That reminds me: I forgot about Boo Theater, Saturday night scary movie feature on KFSA-TV Channel 5 (I think) out of Fort Smith, Ark. ... Seems like the host wore a black cape and stovepipe hat...
How could you forget Lee Woodward and Lionel?
I got all of the Tulsa TV memories, plus Wichita plus Oklahoma City (The magic triangle!)

In OKC it was Foreman Scotty, Ho-Ho the Clown with Pokey, the sock puppet, Willard D. Scott (3-D Danny, as in Danny Williams). Foreman Scotty had a wooden horse -- Woody. It's at the Oklahoma History Center -- last I saw it was in a secret warehouse. I am hoping it's out where people can enjoy seeing it again. There's a web site Scotty's daughter has put together for all the kids who visited the "Circle 4" Ranch.
This puts me in mind of Toy Story which, for all its nostalgia-soaked appeal to our guilt feelings at abandoning our childhoods rather haphazardly and thoughtlessly, nonetheless reminded a generation brought up on the internet and hundreds of television channels that, once upon a time, local television provided surprisingly good children's entertainment, work for local actors (even if only on a part-time basis), and many fond memories.

There might actually be an opportunity here, for an entrepreneurial spirit with a bit of hucksterism - a museum dedicated to the variety of local TV programming once aired on affiliates and independent stations all across the country.
Big John and Sparky, and then there was the Bar-B- Bar Ranch with Bobby Benson and the Bar-B-Bar riders. The there was Flash Gordon, but wait, these weren't on TV! Dang it those were the radio shows I used to listen to on my Dad's Stewart and Warner Radio every afternoon after school. The first TV I saw was in 1952. They had just opened some stations in Lawton and down in Texas, so on Friday nights they would line up a dozen TVs (about all there was in town for sale) along the loading dock down at the Frisco depot and people would back their trucks and pickup up to the docks and watch the TVs. That went on for several months until it got too cold and people started buying thier own TVs.
By the way ever notice how careful the Centennial people have carefully balance the Tulsa/Oklahoma City stuff? As well as the stuff East and West of I-35, and North and South of I-40.
And just for the record the damn centennial logo (logos? hmmm) looks like a Tennis Shoe logo. As for the Song, "Oklahoma Rising" It is a chamber of commerce poem set to music. Should ought to have been "Blowin in the Wind".
There got that crabbiness out for a while. There's more where that came from.
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