The Country Gentleman magazine once provided a way for its readers to claim cost-free copies of Zane Grey books.  Zane Grey’s absorbing romance of love and adventure in  The “Man of the Forestö was published in March 1922.

Worried, fighting mad, armed for vengeance with all his hunter’s instinct alert, Milt Dale, “The Man of the Forest,ö crashes though the treacherous mountain trails, his trained eye searching for tracts of horses.

For into this forest, kidnappers in the hideout of Harvey Riggs had kidnapped Milt’s sweetheart, Helen Raynor and her sisters. Somewhere in these wilds, they were  defenseless, perhaps in danger. Wherever, they are, Milt must find them pronto, therefore he crashes on.

There is a real Zane Grey situation: tense, dramatic, and full of action. There are his typical giants of honest courage and those of ruthless villainy. And there are the clean, strong women who move through his romances.

If you have ever enjoyed a Zane Grey story, and what adventure-loving red blooded American hasn’t!, you won’t hesitate to let us give you this book cost free.

You may have, without charge, any or all of these favorite books by America’s most popular author:

The Mysterous Rider- “Hell Bentö Wade, riding into Belllounds Ranch in search of the man who killed his wife, meets strange adventures.

Wildfire- Lucy Bostil, a daughter of the western plains,  shares adventures and dangers with Wildfire, her spirited stallion.

The Last Trail- A glorious tale of the old Ohio frontier and the dramatic defense of Fort Henry. Against the attacks of Indians and renegades.

The Light of the Western Stars- The Western ranch of a New York girl becomes the center of bitter warfare between cattlemen and bandits.

The Spirit of the Border- A vivid, unforgettable account of the lives and loves of the sturdy frontiersmen of our history history.

Zane Grey’s photograph can be seen above. Scenes from the photo-play version of the “Man of the Forest.’

Let me inject a personal note. Several years ago, I acquired 31 tan and red volumes, each being about one inch thick. My favourite was “The Dude Ranger.ö It seems that one of the ranch workers, Ernest Selby, inherited a cattle ranch in Arizona. Someone had been rustling cattle there. So the rightful owner aquired himself an alias and signed on as a ranch hand to see what he can find out. Of course, after all is said and done, the guilty varmet(s) is duely identified and sent off into the sunset never to return. Surely they must have lived happily ever after.ö After all… all that is well ends well.

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Former radio personality, Joe Goodpasture, provided me with his thoughts about radio, wishing he could go back and do it again. According to Joe:


“It was late summer, 1956, and I felt I had hit a jackpot trifecta. In short order, I had enrolled at East Tennessee State College, found a three-bedroom apartment with five other guys on West Pine St., only a few doors from where I had grown up.

“And, best of all, I had landed a full-time dream job as a radio announcer at WETB. This was before the term “disc jockey,” or DJ, was commonly used.

“A bit of serendipity was involved in my getting the job. I was in the middle of an audition/interview with program director, Bernie Burleson, when fire engines were called to North Side School.

“Bernie, of course, had to rush to the scene and I tagged along. It turned out to be only a grease fire, but I took the initiative to talk with the fire chief and gather some details.

“Bernie asked me to prepare a quick two-minute summary and my live on-the-scene news report impressed him enough to offer me the job of morning man at the princely salary of $55 a week. I couldn’t imagine how I’d spend all that money.

“My first day on the job was a Sunday and I didn’t sleep a wink all Saturday night, tossing and turning and worrying about miscuing a record, mispronouncing names in the news or stumbling over the station break, 'This is WETB, the Press-Chronicle station at 790 on your dial.'

“My old ’47 Plymouth was broken down in Bristol with a busted water pump so the station’s chief engineer, Jeep Jones, picked me up at 5 a.m. so we’d be ready to sign on the air at 6 a.m.

“I had gained considerable experience as an almost-full-time apprentice announcer at WOPI in Bristol, but I was still an 18-year-old greenhorn.

“Jeep gave me a quick crash course on how to operate the control board, making sure I knew which switch turned on the mike and which pot controlled the sound from which turntable.

“The Sunday morning shift was pretty slow and my job consisted mostly of reading commercials and doing station breaks between religious programs, which came pre-recorded on big 16” vinyl transcriptions.

“I had to read a five-minute newscast from Associated Press wire copy, but I managed to make it through without too many stumbles and only a little dead air.

“I worked with WETB for five years and have never worked so hard in my life. I signed the station on at 6 a.m., six days a week and worked ‘til noon. Then, I rushed to the college campus and attended classes all afternoon.

“If you add in time for studying and courting the beautiful Bristol girl who became my bride of 58 years (and counting), and I was a busy boy. Four hours of sleep was a luxury and staying awake in class was a constant challenge.

“Despite the pressure, I was 'On-the-Air,' my life’s ambition. The morning show began to gain listeners and when my boyhood buddy, Merrill Moore, returned from the Army and we started the “Joe and Mo Show,” we provided some serious competition for Dick Ellis, the morning man at our archrival, WJHL.

“My years at WETB were among the happiest of my life and provided the foundation for an enjoyable career in broadcasting that spanned more than 20 years and included stints as news director for two of the most respected stations in the nation.”

“Sometimes,” said Joe, “I wish I could go back and do it all over.” We wish you could, Joe; we wish you could.

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In 1940, an unidentified announcer at WJHL radio wanted readers to understand that the idea that all there was to do at a radio station was to put on a record and let it play was erroneous to the extreme. He chose to send a letter to the newspaper educating the public: “Every minute of program material,” he said, “is carefully gone over and finally presented with a definite idea in mind. The purpose of the Program Department is to keep on the air the entertainment that is wanted by the listeners.

“Because there are approximately 350,000 listeners who tune into WJHL, the Program Department had to present a greatly varied program schedule in order to please every one of their listeners as frequently as possible.

“This is done by breaking down into separate units and scheduling as much variety therein as is possible. Yes, there is more popular music on the air than any other one type of entertainment, but that is because it pleases a greater number of people.

“And yet, only about 35 percent of a radio day consists of popular music. Some 20 percent is light classical and concert music while another 15 percent is news. Then comes religious programs and others. Every taste has to be satisfied at some time or another during the day. The more often listeners have available the type of program they like the best, the happier is the Program Department.

Unidentified WJHL Announcers Believed to Have Been in the Late 1930s-40s

“As for records, WJHL seldom uses them; instead, it uses transcriptions, which are vastly different. Here's how the Program Department at WJHL operates. All of the programs that go on the air are handled by this department. Some new idea might not become a program overnight, but given time, it usually works its way into the schedule sooner than later, and that is good.

“First, the idea has to culminate into a program that has a definite appeal to one group of listeners. If it is for the housewife, the idea is then scheduled as a mid-morning program. For the clerk in a store, an early evening program better fits the bill. For the kiddies, a late afternoon time works best. After all ideas are evaluated thoroughly, a program is established, which then requires rehearsals and timing.

“Then there is something else. The program, regardless of how good it is, cannot be scheduled too close to another program of a similar nature. Two programs of the same type of music or two programs of speakers cannot immediately follow one another. There has to be variety for the different listeners in that particular group.

“And so a clear time is picked, one that will not interfere with similar programs, and then the new program is set up on the master schedule from which comes the daily program schedule. Quite simply, however, there are some 69 quarter hours in each radio day. That is a lot of time to fill. Each program has to be timed and checked for program content.

“Then there is a matter of checking and filling all of the 50,000 musical selections, the crosschecking of all of the cards which enabled them to find these selections quickly, the on-going checking on copyrights, the unending search for new talent and the ability to present what the listeners want the most.”

Verification of Reception for the Radio Station in 1946

“If this didn't help clear up in the minds of the listeners what goes on in the Program Department, they were invited to drop in at WJHL any night at a late hour and see for themselves. Meanwhile, the radio station hoped listeners would pay attention and become better acquainted with what was offered in the way of their favorite programs.

“The station was convinced that if the listener knew their station, they would have no trouble in keeping up with the things they liked the most in the way of radio entertainment.”

The announcer concluded his newspaper remarks noting that “WJHL's modernly arranged and equipped office and studio, ranked as one of the best for any city of comparable size in the country.

If you can identify any of the announcers in my column photo, which appears to have been taken in the 1940s, I will post it again with an update of the names I receive. The only person I can recognize is Henry Frick on the top far left. He and Mrs. Frick owned and operated The Music Mart on S. Roan Street for many years. I had the pleasure of working for him for three years.

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In August 2006, I wrote an article about Jobe's Opera House, a former popular entertainment venue once located at the corner of E. Main and Spring streets on the second floor above Gump Brothers, a fashionable clothing store. Today's column provides supplementary information about the once popular establishment.

If we were to turn the clock back to 1890 in Fountain Square, there could be no mistake as to the identity of the business at that site. “Jobe’s Opera House” (see photo) appeared in sizable letters across the upper south side of the edifice, denoting Johnson City’s first public entertainment establishment. Ike T. Jobe built and managed the upstairs business; M.E. Gump was assistant manager and owner of Gump Clothing Store below.

The successful enterprise was proclaimed by a travel agent of McElreth’s Dramatic Troop to be the “largest and best hall between Lynchburg, Virginia and Knoxville, Tennessee.” A flyer from 1888 proclaimed: “Full Sets Scenery, First-Class Show Town, Play Companies Only on Shares,” with an added suggestion for patrons to “Stop at Piedmont House,” which was located nearby.

The enterprise offered cultural refinement from a variety of choices – operas, plays, lectures, humorists and music productions.

Entrance to the theatre was gained by entering Gumps through two doors on the Main Street side and climbing stairs into the auditorium. The lecture hall’s use also included sporting activities and even once served as a courtroom for chancery court sessions. In its formative years, the facility was used by such notables as Johnson City’s “Our Bob” Taylor, delivering lectures as part of his highly well-liked “The Fiddle & the Bow” series.

According to the late historian, Dorothy Hamill, the opera house occasionally opened its doors for high school graduations. Seniors, dressed in long white frocks or black suits, marched a short distance from “The Hill” on Roan Street to Jobe's Opera House where they received their diplomas.

Over time, numerous first-rate productions graced the opera stage, such as “Jesse James,” 1885, a production denoting the life of the infamous outlaw. Others appear as photos in this article.

The latter’s appearance was sponsored by the Longfellow Literary Circle and S.B. McElreth, a Johnson City comedian. This society was organized at the residence of Sallie Faw. Cargilles frequently sponsored such events, bragging that he owned “the cheapest store in existence.” Around the turn of the century, the opera management pioneered some brief action-packed silent motion pictures using a new invention – a hand-operated projectoscope.

The new medium of motion pictures was looming on the horizon and, by about 1907, would bring to an abrupt halt the once impressive opera house. As business waned, the second floor was divided into several small offices and rented until the building was finally razed and rebuilt.

An out-of-town reader of my column, who requested that I identify him only as Mr. John Doe, was thumbing through the fourth volume of an 1899-1900 “Official Theatrical Guide Containing Information of the Leading Theatres and Attractions in America.” John spotted an entry that he was certain would seize my attention. He was right; it offered some added specifics of Jobe's Opera House.

I am listing it just as it appears in the guide:

“Johnson City- Pop., 4169. Jobe's Opera House. Gump & Mathes, mgrs. and bus, mgrs. S.c. 606. Illum., elec. Wiley Porch, stage carp. Width prosc. opening. 20 ft. Height. 14 ft. Depth footlights to back wall, 22 ft. Depth under stage. 4 ft. 1 trap, located center. Theatre second floor. Wiley Porch, prop. man. Printing required, 3 stands, 2 3-sheets, 50 1-sheets, 50 1/2 half sheets. Wiley Porch, bill-poster.

Other information included: “Newspapers- “Comet,” weekly, Wed. “Staff,” weekly, Thurs.

“Hotels- Piedmont, Greenwood, Carnegie, special rates.

“Railroads- So., T. Klepper, agt. E.T.&W.N.C., J.C. Hardin, agt. O.R.&C., M.H. Weiler, agt. J.C., T. Klepper, agt. J.C.&C.T. Klepper, agt. Transfer Co., Sanders & Co.”

S.C. appears to refer to the seating capacity. According to other information I have from 1887, it seated 900 people that year.

Thank you, John Doe, for sharing with me and my Johnson City Press readers this diminutive treasure-trove of information.

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During Sept. 20-25, 1909, an impressive exhibit pitted Tennessee against the world. When you put together an exhibition that displays Tennessee’s resources in miniature, you have a sight that is worth observing and an inspiration to return home and take better advantage of the natural opportunities afforded by the South. The purpose of Nashville's Tennessee State Fair was to make the people of the South realize that it's not so much the number of acres they possess but the production output from them that truly counts.

The state planned to take over the management of the fair beginning January 1, 1910. The association the prior year made preparations to ensure its final effort produced the very best State Fair that had ever been held south of the Mason and Dixon line (or for that matter, anybody else’s line).

The premium appropriation that year exceeded $35,000, promising that the rewards offered would be a great deal more money with trophies more elaborate than those previously offered by outside individuals and numerous organizations. The premium list for the great annual show of the American Berkshire Congress, for instance, amounted to several hundred dollars in addition to the handsome championship cups offered.

1909 Tennessee State Fair Advertisement #1

The Fair was held in connection with the regular show of the State Fair’s Swine Department, but it was so big that several additional judges were required. It was a matter to be proud of that the present world champion Berkshires were bred in Tennessee and were still residents of the Volunteer State.

Tennessee’s exposition, which had come into the front ranks of the big state fairs and in actual money value to the people of the South, had established a great record since its modest beginnings.

The fair had a membership in the American Association of Fairs and Expositions, which made a showing for championship honors. The exhibition was recognized by Northern breeders as “The Fair” for winning good will in the South and it was the only Southern fair visited by a great many of them, though most of the best strings were shown at Memphis, which immediately followed the Tennessee State Fair and preceded the Illinois State Fair.

No event of the kind ever held in the South had been so helpful and interesting to the farmer, the stockman, the fruit grower and the public in general as was the 1909 Tennessee State Fair. 

1909 Tennessee State Fair Advertisement #2

While the educational features gave the fair its primary purpose in exhibiting, the management, realizing the importance of amusement attractions, appropriated over $10,000 for free features alone. These included the great Weber Band of Cincinnati, the same band that played for years with spectacular fireworks every night.

The Tennessee State Fair purposed to help teach the methods by which the agricultural worker could get the maximum output from every acre of land under cultivation. This applied not only to the products of the fields, but to the improvement of livestock and the teaching of modern methods of home-making by the Woman's Department.

In reality, the mission of the State Fair was to help the people of Tennessee and of the South to greater happiness and prosperity, which included more of the comforts of home.

As noted, the management of the event was spending heavily for free amusements. With this amount of money, the Amendment Committee was able to get the very best in entertainment available for any fair. What the South needed was the increase of the farmers' average income by $500.

It was generally agreed that this would be more quickly accomplished by the adoption of the principles taught at the state fairs than in any other way thus far devised. The fair was eagerly awaited by its public. Indeed, the 1909 Tennessee State Fair was a “Mighty Modern Exhibition.”

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The May 27, 1957 edition of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle occupied an entire page in the newspaper with the words: “WETB proudly announces affiliation with the Mutual Broadcasting System.” It went into effect on June 2 of that year.

WETB Radio As It Once Appeared on the Johnson City-Erwin Highway

Included was correspondence from Charles A. King, the network's Director of Station Relations, addressed to Mr. Arthur “Bud” Kelsey of radio station WETB in Johnson City. The small station was situated on the Erwin Highway for many years.

The letter stated: “Dear Arthur: I am happy to advise that the Mutual Planning Committee has recommended that we add radio station WETB as an affiliated Station.

“Your very favorable frequency and power will provide for Mutual a vast audience for the many fine news, music, variety and sports programs planned for our June 2 (sign on). As you know, many of the fine commentators and news reporters in the country will soon be broadcast on a stream-lined news schedule, which will be second to none in the broadcasting industry. Sports features, such as “Game of the Day,” will also be available to your listeners.

“Fellow broadcasters in Tennessee have pointed you out as an exceptional radio man and we are very proud that your station will soon be affiliated with the world's largest network. Best personal regard. Cordially, (signed) Charles A. King.”

The Mutual Broadcasting System, commonly referred to as Mutual; was an American radio network in operation from 1934 to 1999. In the golden age of radio, Mutual was best known as the original network home of several radio shows:

“Queen for a Day” featured women selected from the studio audience explaining why they needed a specific item. The winner was picked using a studio applause meter, crowned “Queen for a Day” and given the desired gift and plus additional goodies.

“Bob (Elliott) and Ray (Goulding)” satirized the medium in which they were performing, by conducting radio or television interviews, with unconventional dialogue, presented in a generally deadpan style as though it was a serious broadcast.”

“The Lone Ranger” opened with Rossini's William Tell Overture” (“With his faithful Indian companion, Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early western United States. Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a greater champion of justice. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.”)

“The Adventures of Superman” (Superman, alias Clark Kent, was a mild-mannered reporter for The Daily Planet. “Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!”)

“The Shadow's” opening theme proclaimed, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows. The dialog was followed by a sinister laugh.” “Once again your neighborhood Blue Coal dealer brings you the thrilling adventures of “The Shadow,” the hard and relentless fight of one man against the forces of evil.”

Sports programming included baseball, “Game of the Day,” Harry Wismer, and Frank Frish, named the “Fordham Flash” and “the Old Flash.”

For many years, Mutual was a national broadcaster for Major League Baseball (including the All-Star Game and the World Series), the National Football League and Notre Dame football. From the mid-1930s and for decades after, Mutual ran a highly respected news service accompanied by a variety of popular commentary shows.

Well-known sports commentators included Gabriel Heatter (American radio commentator whose World War II era sign-on, “There's good news tonight,” which became both his catchphrase and his caricature), Fulton Lewis (prominent conservative American radio broadcaster), Cedrick Foster (the first daytime commentator to be heard nationally on a daily basis), Sam Hayes (sports commentator) and numerous others.

The Mutual Broadcasting System also included a wide variety of favorite local shows and news, Town Talk, popular and country record shows, official weather forecasts, local sports news and Little League baseball. 

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Today's column is a glance back to August 1954 when 15-minute soap operas filled the weekday airways of radio and television. A contrast of these 14 programs with today's television “soaps” is rather noteworthy.

BACKSTAGE WIFE: Gambler Victor Stratton presses his attentions on Mary Noble, which she tries to ward off while still keeping his friendship because he owns part of Larry's new play. Larry, unhappy and hurt by what seems like Mary's loss of faith in him, turns to Elise Shephard, who is all too willing to open her arms to him.

THE BRIGHTER DAY: Despite Althea's own inner confusion, her instinct where men are concerned was sound enough for her to warn her younger sister Patsy that handsome Alan Butler would take some hanging on to. But that didn't keep Patsy's heart from breaking when Alan asked for release from their engagement. As Althea's relationship with Dr. Blake Hamilton develops, will Blake's younger brother help Patsy past her own crisis? CBS Radio.

FRONT PAGE FERRELL: David and Sally Farrell seem to be involved in cases that tax their resourcefulness and energy and put a constant peril on their lives. Sally always follows along, though the beginning of most cases finds her trailing behind. Before it's through, however, she's in as deep as David and follows each step until the case is solved, and another murderer caught. ABC Radio.

THE GUIDING LIGHT: Meta Roberts is baffled and worried as her stepdaughter, Kathy, continues trying to win happiness with the subterfuge and half-truths that have already caused so much misery. Is there any hope for Kathy, even if Dick realizes his true feeling-of lack of it for Janet Johnson? CBS-TV and CBS Radio.

JUST PLAIN BILL:The events of the past few months still seem like a horrible nightmare to Bill. The woman he almost married, Thelma Nelson. was proven to be a vicious criminal, but Bill is too big a person to have one incident destroy his faith in people. Because of this great faith in life we again find Bill trying to help. NBC Radio

LIFE CAN BE BEAUTIFUL: Chichi would never have married Dr. Mac if he hadn't been a courageous, independent man, but there is a line past which courage becomes rashness, and when Mac tries to deal single-handedly with a shadow from his family's unhappy past, he runs into trouble that his brother Craig might have helped him avoid. NBC Radio.

LORENZO JONES: Belle Jones has used desperate measures in a situation to save the marriage she recalls with such happiness. She leaves the theater and returns to Canada with Lorenzo. Gail Maddox, who has hoped to marry Lorenzo, is startled by this new turn of events and takes frantic new action against Belle. NBC Radio.

LOVE OF LIFE: As always, Meg Harper's arrogant, trouble-bent personality had stirred up a storm of problems even in quiet Barrowsville, which her sister Van feels honor-bound to solve before taking up her own happy future with Paul Raven. CBS-TV.

MA PERKINS: Ma's friendship with the Pierces is an old much-treasured one, and when Alf Pierce's will named Ma as trustee, she accepts unhesitatingly despite her inward qualms at being responsible for so much money. Has Ma done the right thing toward reckless Billy Pierce and his ambitious young wife, Laura? CBS Radio.

ONE MAN'S FAMILY:From time immemorial, parents have agonized over the question of whether to guide their children on a tight rein or a loose one. But in the Barbour family, the problem is settled by personality, for James Barbour is a man of strict principles. It remains for Fanny, his wife, to soften the restrictions on her children. NBC-TV.

OUR GAL SUNDAY: Sunday's separation from Lord Henry has left her weakened, shaken, and uncertain of the future of her marriage. It is understandable that when a new threat arises she finds it difficult to gather her strength to combat it. Sunday's future is going to depend on her ability to find her courage again. CBS Radio. 

PEPPER YOUNG'S FAMILY: Very few people are immune to the lure of big money, quickly made, and Pepper can understand his father's excitement over Dr. Grayson's prediction that oil lies beneath the Young farmland. But neither Pepper nor Linda can overcome an instinctive distrust of Grayson. NBC Radio.

PORTIA FACES LIFE: Though Portia gave up her legal career for full-time family life, Walter Manning has always been proud of her ability and more than once has been glad of her help with his own work. But what happens when Portia's career once again becomes an active issue in the Manning home? CBS-TV.

SEARCH FOR TOMORROW: Although Joanne Barron's marriage to Arthur Tate is blocked by the startling appearance of the woman who claimed to be Arthur's long-missing wife, Jo, and Arthur still believe that before long the truth about Hazel will emerge. CBS-TV. 

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I recently came across a listing of Saturday morning (“no school today”) television juvenile shows, ranging from 1946 through 1971. Since my family did not own a television set until about 1951, I had the option of going to a Johnson Avenue neighbor's house who owned a TV to watch a program or do without. The two generous neighbors I recall were the Gaines Johnson and William Wise families.

See how many programs you can recall. Howdy Doody stands high on my list, followed by Winky Dink and You, Sky King, Andy's Gang, Commando Cody, The Soupy Sales Show and Captain Kangaroo. See how many of these programs you can fondly remember:

1946-47: Birthday Party, Juvenile Jury, Small Fry Club.

1947-48: Howdy Doody, Lucky Pup, Scrapbook Jr. Edition, Winchell and Maroney.

1948-49: Adventures of Oky Doky, Captain Video and His Video Rangers, Cartoon Teletales, The Children’s Hour, Child’s World, Dunninger and Winchell, Judy Splinters, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, The Magic Cottage, Mr. I Magination, The Singing Lady, The Quiz Kids, Super Circus, Uncle Mistletoe and His Adventures.

Winky Dink and You

1949-50: The Big Top, Billy Boone and Cousin Kib, Cactus Jim, Children’s Sketch Book, Crash Corrigan’s Ranch, Life with Snarky Parker, Magic Slate, Sleepy Joe.

1950-51: Cowboys and Injuns, Kid Gloves, Fashion Magic, Sandy Strong, Rootie Kazootie, Space Patrol, Mr. Wizard.

1951-52: Foodini the Great, Hail the Champ!, Once Upon a Fence, Fearless Fosdick, Sky King, The Whistling Wizard.

1952-53: Atom Squad, Johnny Jupiter, The Ding Dong School, Lash of the West, There’s One in Every Family.

1953-54: The Pinky Lee Show, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, Winky Dink and You.

1954-55: Andy’s Gang, Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion, Captain Midnight, Children’s Corner, Commando Cody- Sky Marshall of the Universe, The Soupy Sales Show, Uncle Johnny Coons.

Howdy Doody, Clarabell, and Flub-A-Dub

1955-56: The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Kangaroo, Fury, The Mickey Mouse Club, My Friend Flicka, Tales of the Texas Rangers.

1956-57: American Bandstand, Circus Boy, Circus Time, The Galen Drake Show, The Gerald Mcboing-Boing Show.

1957-58: The Heckle and Jeckle Show, Gumby, Ruff and Reddy Show, Shariland.

1958-59: Shirley Temple’s Story Book, The Uncle Al Show.

1959-60: Matty’s Funday Funnies, Rocky and His Friends.

1960-61: The Bugs Bunny Show, The Flintstones, The Magic Land of Allakazam, Pip the Piper.

1961-62: The Alvin Show, Beany and Cech, The Bullwinkle Show, Magic Ranch.

1962-63: Cartoonsville, Magic Midway, Picture This.

1963-64: Fireball Xl-5, Hector Heathcote, Quick Draw Mcgraw, Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales.

1964-65: The Adventures of Johnny Quest, Hoppity Hooper Show, The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, Linus the Lion-Hearted, The Porky Pig Show.

Soupy Sales 

1965-66: Underdog, The Atom Ant Show, The Beatles, Milton the Monster, Magilla Gorilla, Tom and Jerry.

1966-67: Cool McCool, The Lone Ranger, The Monkees, The Road Runner, Space Ghost and Dino Boy.

1967-68: The Fantastic Four, George of the Jungle, Happening ’68, The Herculoids, Shazzan!, Spider-Man.

1968-69: The Archie Show, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, The Batman/Superman Hour, The Go-Go Gophers.

1969-70: The Hardy Boys, H.R. Pufnstuf, The Pink Panther Show, Scooby Doo, The Smokey Bear Show.

1970-71: The Bugaloos, Harlem Globetrotters, Josie and The Pussycats, Woody Woodpecker.

I hope this list brought back some fond memories for you.

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Older folks will likely recall the opening theme of television's “The Cisco Kid?” It began with thrilling background music as Cisco and Pancho rode their horses, Diablo and Loco respectively, down a hill, paused briefly and then continued their descent. The narration was “Here's adventure. Here's romance. Here's O. Henry's famous Robin Hood of the Old West. 'The Cisco Kid.'”

Recently, I came across an old newspaper from Sept. 1980 informing readers that Duncan Renaldo, known affectionately as the “Cisco Kid,” who brought law and order to television's Wild West, had died at the age of 76. The actor was survived by his wife, Audrey; daughter, Stephanie; and three sons, Richard, Jeremy and Edwin. A funeral mass and private burial was held at Santa Barbara's Old Mission.

Duncan Renaldo's Popular Depiction of “The Cisco Kid”

The scoop on Renaldo was that he was arrested for illegal immigration in 1934. He had been a sailor on a ship that docked in Maryland in the late 1920s, but it caught fire at the pier and burned, stranding him in the United States. Cisco claimed that he was orphaned at an early age and was unsure where he was born, although he believed it was in Spain. He was actually born in Romania.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt granted him an unconditional pardon the day before he was to be released. Renaldo confessed later that the experience was “the single most interesting, yet tragic time of my life.”

A Dell Comic Book Depicting the Adventures of The Cisco Kid

The year 1940 found the budding actor starring in numerous western flicks, including being selected for the lead role in “The Cisco Kid” movies and four years later the television series. Cisco and his well-chosen sidekick, the good-humored Pancho, portrayed by Leo Carrillo, were cowboys who used their wits more than their guns to bring justice to the Old West.

The Cisco and Pancho characters were somewhat analogous to those of Robin Hood fame. Although the law regarded them as desperados, they secretly defended the weak and helpless, all the while dodging those who misunderstood their noble motives. One movie theatre ad humorously stated that Cisco was “wanted by 100 sheriffs, the U.S. Cavalry, and 500 senoritas.” The handsome, loveable “outlaw,” did his job well in spite of a farcical $5,000 reward hanging over his head.

A Young Duncan Renaldo as He Appeared at the Beginning of His Film Career

The dashing star was best known to America's first television generation for his starring in 156 episodes of “The Cisco Kid” (1949-56) and 164 theatre movies to his credit, including “The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929),” “Zorro Rides Again” (1937), and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1943).

Those of us who fondly recall the “The Cisco Kid” will acknowledge that it was a respectable show. According to Duncan, “Pancho and I never killed anyone on the show. The kids who watched our films could go to bed at night and sport a smile on their faces with no fear of nightmares.”

Throughout the years, Renaldo credited his youngsters for his success. This included prayers from 17,000 young fans who once sent him get-well cards for a speedy recovery from a broken neck that he sustained in a 1953 accident during the filming of a scene.

A 1949 United Artists Theatre Lobby Card for “The Cisco Kid”

The show's memorable closing punch lines after a humorous situation occurred was a drawn out, “Ooooh Panchoooo, followed by “Ooooh Ceescoooo.” After a commercial break, the show concluded with the actors riding up on their horses with Cisco saying, “Goodbye amigos,” followed by Pancho's line, “See you soon, ha.” Afterward, they galloped into the sunset to seek another thrilling escapade for us expectant kids to watch.

To most western fans, the “real” “Cisco Kid” was Duncan Renaldo, although there were several others on radio, television and at movie theatres. The television show’s longevity is credited to the company's initial decision to film all shows in color and put them in syndication, an idea credited to Frederick Ziv, a visionary American broadcasting producer. This was done in spite of the fact that televisions in that era were black and white.

It's time to ride off in the sunset: “Goodbye amigos,” “See you soon, ha.” Those were the wonderful days of yesteryear.

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An October 1895 headline in The Comet newspaper proclaimed these eye-catching words: “Only a Few More Days Until Walter L. Main's Grandest and Best Show Will be Seen in all Its Glory.” 

The big show came as announced, delighting thousands of expectant attendees who enthusiastically clamored for admission to the huge tent, which was reported to be the largest ever constructed at that time.

No exhibition that had ever visited Johnson City was so comprehensive in its methods of advertising or had attracted so much attention by its posted pictorial wall announcements.

The finest lithographed printing ever seen in this section had been scattered profusely over the entire countryside for miles around for people to scrutinize. Even a brief moment's reflection would readily convince a resident that none but a meritorious amusement enterprise, backed by unlimited capital, could afford to do such extensive advertising, something unheard of in those days.

Advertisement for Walter L. Main's Show in Johnson City

Residents were gratified to learn that even the marvelous specimens of “printer's ink” could not begin to convey the story of the remarkable wonders to be seen in person at the upcoming event.

The attraction possessed such well-known features as Miss Gracie Thomas, the world's greatest equestrienne; “Wallace,” the only lion that actually rode a horse and an elephant; Mr. Frank Miller, who stood at the head of the bareback riders of profession; the Four Rosaria Brothers, Europe's foremost acrobats; Stirk and Zeno, acknowledged monarchs of the air; a double troupe of Royal Japanese performers; Miss Dollie Miller, the greatest lady aerial performer on either side of the Atlantic; the three famous French grotesques, known as the Renos; a troupe of 20 humanly educated horses and ponderous elephants, besides many other unique novelties.

It was also a well-know fact that the great shows presented the finest zoological collection in America and a hippodrome of unsurpassed merit. The impressive street parade, which moved from the showground promptly at 10 a.m. was, by itself, worth the price of a ticket, as well as traveling many miles to see the extravaganza.

The sublime culmination of the art of training was marvelously shown in the equestrian performance, executed by 63 thoroughbreds under the guidance of Joe Berris, America's most famous equine educator appearing with the Walter L. Main Show.

The act introduced the finest specimens of American and Arabian thoroughbred horses executing the grandest and greatest performances ever imagined. It was advertised that a positively wonderful display of such categorical novelty, absolute originality, unrivalled magnificence and thrilling interest would forever blot out forever previous animal exhibitions.

There were literally rings within rings, platforms on top of platforms and upon all were horses concurrently performing concurrently and moving in five circles in opposite directions. This feature alone was said to be worth more than the price of admittance.

The Roman Hippodrome part of the entertainment was not only interesting but exciting, consisting of chariot, barrel and obstacle races, Roman standing races, cowboy and pony competition, lady riders and many other features too abundant to mention. There was a profusion of horses, prompting the comment that no show could have finer ones anywhere in the world.

The menagerie, always a popular attraction especially with youngsters, was a splendid exhibit of the animal kingdom and was also a noticeable feature that there were no fakes or robbing schemes permitted on the grounds. The entire show was clean cut and of high standards throughout, with performers selected from the upper ranks of professional people and stood second to none.

If the above text was accurate, the Walter L. Main Show must have been quite an attraction for Johnson City and surrounding areas in 1895.

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