About People of Kansas On this page you will find some fun segments of cool people of Kansas. Some you might already know, but I am sure there are some you didn’t. Enjoy as you look through many of the talented people that either were born here, traveled here, or impacted the state in ways that deserve to be featured by Deb Goodrich-Bisel or Frank Chaffin…enjoy and feel free to share with your friends.
“Topeka Jack” Johnson So anyway, I’m going to have a story about Topeka Jack. Here’s a great story. “Topeka Jack” Johnson passed away in 1940, and his grave in the capital city’s Mount Auburn Cemetery was unmarked for more than half a century
Meet Marshall Allen Bailey You get Marshall Allen Bailey. Oh my gosh, what a hoot he is. (Frank) Again, we keep going back to my childhood, which is shortly after dirt was made. I grew up down in Newton, Kansas and of course.
Louise Harrison That was what lead to the founding of the Liverpool Legends in 2005. Harrison acted as an advisor to the group, which has performed in Branson, Missouri and all over the world. I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to actually sit next to and talk with the sister of one of the Beatles.
Trailer for George Caleb Bingham Documentary On October 15th there’s a screening at Arrow Rock State Park in Missouri, if you’ve never been to Arrow Rock, I can’t recommend it highly enough, beautiful preserved village, and then October 27th at the Nelson Atkins Art Gallery. So two great opportunities to see it.
Tribute to Major Dean Klenda Yes, it’s bitter sweet. So she’s going to be doing the story. Anyway, she’ll give you a little bit of background. (Deb) Major Dean Klenda, who was shot down in Vietnam 51 years ago. He was missing, they have all these official designations, they did not recover him until recently, recovered his remains.
Author and Screenwriter Esther Lutrell Hello. I thought you were going to go first. [Laughter] (Deb) You never let me go first. Why should I think I was going first? (Frank) I don’t know. I was just sleeping. (Deb) He never lets me first. (Frank) I’m suffering from hay fever today, so excuse me I’m going to take a nap.
Living Historian Maria MatkinI’m fortunate to know a lot of very, very talented people as are you, Frank. And I have a lot of reenactor friends, living historians. And what they mean by living historian as opposed to the dead ones? Living historian portrays a person so they’re portraying somebody.
Clarina Nichols So anyway, getting the right to vote in Kansas is a good story for an election year. Like many reform-minded settlers, Clarina Nichols was a New Englander. She was born in Vermont in 1810. Clarina was well educated and committed to educating others.
The Life of Kansas Statesman Arthur Capper After graduation from high school Capper went to work as a typesetter for the Topeka Daily Capital. Working his way up at the newspaper, he became an editor and served as correspondent for the state legislature and U.S. Congress. In 1892, Capper married Florence Crawford.
Topeka’s Memorial to Harry Colliery The other is Miss Able, the Space Monkey. Amelia, of course, was born in Atchison, and famously disappeared in her attempt to fly around the globe.
Miss Able, Kansas Space Monkey The other is Miss Able, the Space Monkey. Amelia, of course, was born in Atchison, and famously disappeared in her attempt to fly around the globe.
Cyrus K Holiday Yes, but it’s pretty much about the building of the Union Pacific and then the Southern Pacific and it’s getting close to the end of the series right now, which is really going to be sad because I love westerns.
Meet Kelley Hunt And here we are again! You know I’m proudly on the volunteer board of the Jayhawk Theatre of Kansas and we are in the process of raising funds to completely renovate the theatre. In the meantime we have a lot of events that are going on there.
The Late Sculptor, Jim Brothers Well I had the privilege of speaking in June at the dedication of the newest statue in Gage Park here in Topeka, and that’s Homage.
Ken Spurgeon Well and we have done the story about Evers to Chance to…and of course Evers is from Kansas. Mickey Mantle who grew up around Baxter Springs and played there and I mean it just kind of goes on and on. (Deb) Just goes on and on.
Burt Reynolds and Buck Taylor Interview Of course, I do. That’s why he was in Dodge City last fall at the Wild West Fest, one of the coolest events ever. He and Buck Taylor, who of course was Newly on Gunsmoke and one of our dear friends, had a press conference together.
Elvis Impersonator Frank Werth I guess they did. Now that Elvis of course is not on the scene anymore. At least we guess he’s not, we’ve got all this phenomenon Elvis impersonators. It’s just like a culture onto itself. (Frank) [chuckles] Well, it is and I got to do a kind of an Elvis impersonation at Apple Valley Farm several years ago.
First Woman Executed in the United StatesYes, I don’t know what it is, I’m into the dark side of life I guess. Its all war and murder and mayhem and everything it’s, yes, that’s pretty much sums up my life. Did you see the movie The Conspirators?
Happy Birthday Mike Torrez Well and we have done the story about Evers to Chance to…and of course Evers is from Kansas. Mickey Mantle who grew up around Baxter Springs and played there and I mean it just kind of goes on and on. (Deb) Just goes on and on.
Patriot Guard Honored at Combat Air Museum So, Celebrity Pancake Feed at the Combat Air Museum. I got to flip pancakes next to Vice Commander Chris Turner, a great guy from the 190th. And it was just a fantastic time.
Macey Hensley in Council Grove I was thinking, it’s funny you should say the Sunbeam thing because I look at Macy Hensley and I think Little Miss Sunshine or Little Miss Sunbeam or something because she’s just this boundless ball of energy.
Brent Harris the Face of Dodge City I think we will. In the meantime, let’s visit with my friend, Brent Harris. Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City began in 1947 as a community service project by the local Jaycees. First housed in the Boot Hill Building adjacent to Boot Hill Cemetery, the Museum contained a wide variety of cultural and natural history objects.
Artist Carol Long One of my favorite places, of course because we know so many talented artists Frank, you and I know most of them don’t we? So, the Strecker-Nelson Gallery in Manhattan, which is right there on the main drag. It’s just a gorgeous, gorgeous gallery and Jay and Barbara are the most wonderful people.
Andy McKee and his Acoustic Guitar Andy McKee is among the world’s finest acoustic guitarists. His crossover success to millions upon millions of YouTube viewers underscores his emergence as one of today’s most unique and influential artists.
Kansas Senator E. G. Ross This next story is one that I love. This is one of my favorite stories about Senator E.G. Ross of Kansas. And I thought, given the political climate Frank, that it would be appropriate to talk about a decent man and how he was treated, how this one decent man got treated.
Kansas Artist Jerry ThomasJerry Thomas is as much a product of the High Plains of Kansas as Monument Rocks or the buffalo grass that stretches like buckskin over the landscape. A graduate of Scott Community High School, he studied business at Southwestern College in Winfield.
Native Sons & Daughters Honor Jim Hoy Mighty Troy. Here it is. Each year, the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas gather on or near Kansas Day to honor, well, native sons and daughters. This year’s choice for Kansan of the Year was almost a given. He was sure to receive this award sometime in his life.
Hugh Cameron, The Hermit Yea, really. Let’s take a look. According to the book, Wonderful Old Lawrence, Hugh Cameron came to Lawrence in July 1854. He was a free-state man and decided to come to Kansas where the action was. He is listed as a farmer in Andreas History of Kansas, 1883.
Explorer Jedediah Smith They take self reliance to a ridiculous degree, don’t they? I mean really. Let’s take a look at the real life of Jedediah Smith. Okay, so maybe Robert Redford’s movie Jeremiah Johnson was NOT based on the life of Jedediah Smith,
Doc Brinkley, Goat Gland Doctor Well one of the reasons that we got to thinking about the incredible life of Doc Brinkley, and again another Robert Redford connection, he’s just on my mind today, the recent Sundance Film Festival, which is another really big deal. Robert Redford I guess, started Sundance, didn’t he?
Michael Dante Welcome back folks. I want to share today a piece of an interview that I did a few months ago at the Wild West Fest out in Dodge City, when I got to meet and interview Michael Dante. And you may not recognize his name, some of you will, but you will all recognize his face if you are a fan of old TV westerns, he even guest starred in “Get Smart.”
Lincoln’s Visit to KS Territory in 1859He did. He came. Took the railroad as far as St. Joe and then the railroad had not yet reached Kansas. Didn’t until after the war. But of course, the railroad was big business.
Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr.And that was Buffalo Bill. He was full of bluster, but he could back it up. So Deb, being a good friend and knowing how I love Buffalo Bill sent me that. But the next segment is not about Bill, it’s about Deb’s family who, her husband’s family actually.
Jon LeavittWell we will now. You and I have talked a lot before about all the talented musicians that we have from Kansas and we’ve got Kansas Music Hall of Fame coming up in the spring, so we’ll talk about that later on. Mark your calendars, first weekend in March.
Charles CurtisDon’t tempt Heather she might come down. OK, so we’re working on this documentary on Charles Curtis. And that’s what this next segment is about. So, I have minions. And like I said before I have people that just give me stuff.
Remembering Dwight D. EisenhowerYou know and one time he was coming up to to Fancy Gap, Virginia. He was going to be at Sunnyside, which is a little store there, a wonderful store. It had a little bit of everything and they got special shipments of Christmas toys in.
Phil Starke Speaking of art, we’ve got our next story is about a treasure that showed up in a very unexpected place. It was donated to the Restore, actually in Topeka. And I love shopping at thrift stores. I love the Restore.
Osa and Martin Johnson So have you visited the Osa and Martin Johnson Museum down at Chanute, Kansas? (Frank) No. (Deb) It’s a wonderful museum and I had not been there until a couple years ago. Jackie Zimmer is the director there. And her husband, remember the bookstore?
Amanda Blake I’m planning ahead. Got a couple of gals that I want to mention. We’re going to interview Beckey Burgoyne. And we met her out at Dodge City when they were having the Wild West Fest and Michael and I went out and did some wonderful interviews.
Don Coldsmith Absolutely. You know if you…well actually several years ago I discovered a Kansas author Don Coldsmith. We had a cabin over at Council Grove. And so it was nice to get out under all the poplar trees and read. And I found his Spanish Bit Saga that summer.
Fay Tincher Yea, lived a very, very long life and so anyway, gonna share that with you. The lively, dark-haired comedienne was often called, the “female Charlie Chaplin.” Appearing in more than 160 films between 1913 and 1930, the Silent Era, Fay Tincher was not the typical actress or beauty queen, though she was both.
Dennis “Spirit Dancer” Rogers Dennis Rogers. That’s right. You’re gonna love this. He is called Spirit Dancer. He teaches, entertains, encourages, enlightens. Audiences have been amazed by his agility and creativity during the hoop dances and mesmerized by the sound of his flute.
Kansas Artist Zak BarnesArt. Oh my goodness. And of course, we’ve got this wonderful arts district where Frank sits in the middle of every day, up in NOTO. But we’ve got art all over the state and just galleries everywhere.
Mickey MantleAt one time Topeka, Kansas, was really a place where especially the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees came to scout for talent. And they don’t necessarily scout for them out of the colleges, they might come and look at a little league baseball team and say.
McLemore Twins and DrivenYou might think of family sing alongs, unless you’re like me and you can’t sing, and you’d just rather not sing along with the family. I am the one person, I grew up immersed in music, and I have no music ability whatsoever. I wrote a book on Kansas music and I talk about that.
The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give UpHe’s one of my favorite outlaw stories in the Wild West, Mr. McCurdy. And I got to visit his grave down in Guthrie, Oklahoma, I think it was in April, when we were down for the Wrangler Awards. McCurdy, I don’t know how to not give the story away, but he was not a very successful outlaw. And I will say this, he winds up as a mummy and he winds up as basically a sideshow exhibit.
Civil War ReenactorHerschel Stroud just celebrated his 85th birthday. His energy, and that of his wife, Jacque, would make most 20-year-olds envious. Herschel retired from dentistry but hardly took to the rocking chair. Rather, he took to the roads. The Strouds travel thousands of miles every year to make presentations on Civil War history.
Jeff Kready Actor Jeff Kready said in an interview, “I grew up singing barbershop in a chorus directed by my dad. When I was still in the womb, I’m told that I kicked really hard when a bad quartet got up to perform at a concert. From that moment, my mom was convinced I had perfect pitch.” His mom was right. Jeff made his Broadway debut as the youngest Jean Valjean ever while
Carrie NationCarrie Nation arrived in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, after her first husband died of alcoholism and her second husband failed in farming. David Nation was a minister and she operated a hotel, very well according to most accounts. She organized a chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and that is when she began to make history.
Buffalo Bill DazeI had never been to Georgetown, Colorado, and was thrilled when invited by Kyle Banister, organizer of Buffalo Bill Daze, an art show with a Buffalo Bill theme at the Georgetown Loop Railroad. It will become an annual event said Kyle so get ready for next year!
Clint BowyerYou know I come from NASCAR country because of course, moonshining and NASCAR went hand in hand and probably still does. So, I grew up racing NASCAR and all those guys, Richard Petty, you know The King, who was out here. You know Richard and…Richard Petty was out here and his son were out
Orin Friesen So, they had a wonderful celebration for him down at the Prairie Rose and a little bit of roasting going on too. But I’m not gonna spoil it for you, take a look. Chances are, you have heard Orin Friesen. On the radio or on the stage, Orin has spent fifty years playing and promoting other folks music or making music himself. Recently, his friends and fans gathered to pay tribute to his career and offer some good-natured ribbing in the process.
James Reynolds Yea Jim Reynolds, of course his professional name is James Reynolds, but Jim grew up in Oskaloosa. And Linda and I, my wife and I, were involved with the Dale Easton Players for about 26 years, and Jim was part of the Dale Easton players at one time. We did shows downstairs in McFarland’s, if you can believe it or not. We did regular shows and we did The Drunkard there. Then we went to Apple Valley Farm.
Roberts Family In Kansas, the Roberts Family is synonymous with rodeo. That rodeo tradition began in the Roberts pasture near Strong City. That’s where Emmett, his son Ken, and his son-in-law Eddie Boysen put on what they called the first Chase County Rodeo in 1938. It was dubbed the Flint Hills Rodeo the next year and is still going strong, the oldest consecutive rodeo in the state.
Ray HildebrandAnd this one I was shocked to find out he had
a Kansas connection, when he was inducted into Kansas Music Hall of Fame a couple of years ago, Ray Hildebrand, who does a lot of Christian music now. But most of our viewers, I’m sure, remember the song, Hey Paula.
Lewis Lindsay DycheSomething, anyway, so…oh back to business. You know, we’ve talked about a lot of museums and really interesting places around the state and there’s one over in Lawrence and you’re gonna do a story about that. And it is the
Judge Richard RogersAbsolutely. Let’s visit with Dick a little while. Born in Oberlin, Kansas, in 1921, Richard Rogers earned his undergrad degree from K-State in 1943, in the middle of World War II. Soon, he would be serving in the middle of the war himself. As a bombardier in the US Army Air Corps, Captain Rogers was stationed in Italy and flew his first combat mission in October 1944.
Sam RameyRight. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place and we’re at various places in here to do our introductions and all of that. And I would imagine, now it kind of echoes in here right now. And I would imagine if an opera singer came in here, it would be rather fantastic, don’t you think?
Randy SparksAnd we’re back again, that was an interesting story, so anyway. That’s done in Kansas now. And we’ve talked a lot about people that are in show business that are from Kansas and of course, one of my favorite people is Randy Sparks because I got to know him about 15 years ago when he came and did a concert over at Ward Meade.
PlutoNine and half years after it left the earth, NASA’s New Horizons spaceship reached Pluto, or got close anyways. As it neared the newly designated dwarf planet this July, scientists realized that it was bigger than had been thought. Maybe they will be forced to rethink its demotion. Onboard this historic spacecraft are the ashes of the Kansan who found Pluto in 1930.
Walter Johnson You know, what an amazing story. And you know I’ve always said baseball players… of course I grew up as a real baseball fan, more so than any other sport. I guess it was accessible. You know kids were always playing baseball. You could just pick up a game of baseball anywhere….Click link for more.
Jack Stillwell Welcome back. And you know, my first love of course is history and especially the old west. So, I read a lot of magazines and a lot of books on the old west and one of my favorites is True West by my good friend, Bob Boze Bell, who puts out a phenomenal magazine.
Patsy Cline In 2002, country music artists and industry members voted her Number One on Country Music Television’s The 40 Greatest Women of Country Music and ranked 46th in the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Many artists performing today speak of having been inspired by Patsy Cline.
Bat MastersonWhy don’t we take a look and see what he was really all about. From Dodge City to New York City, Bat Masterson lived a life of adventure, surviving the violence of the Wild West that had claimed his brother, Ed, who was gunned down in Dodge. Gene Barry played the sophisticated lawman and gambler in the television show, Bat Masterson, that ran from 1958 to 1961. Bat became as famous as his legendary friend, Wyatt Earp.
T.C. Wells It was the same 150 years ago. This is a letter written by Kansas pioneer Thomas C. Wells to his relatives in the East. His letters were collected and published. Though written more than a hundred years ago, there is so much we can all relate to. So much of this young couple’s struggle holds true for folks starting out today: I did not write home last week for I had enough else to occupy my time.
William Inge His name William Inge. And he was an interesting character. He didn’t start out to be a writer. He was a news broadcaster. He was a columnist in St. Louis and he met up with a guy named Tennessee Williams. And Tennessee Williams is the one that really encouraged him to start writing. But I don’t want to get ahead of the things here.
Vivian Vance You know we’ve talked about a lot of theatres and theatre people, and movie people and music people coming from the state of Kansas. And there’s one that, well you can see on MeTV now on the I Love Lucy that they’re showing again and that’s Vivian Vance. Vivian Vance is from, not Topeka, but from Kansas.
Santantaone of the individuals who became legendary across the Plains, and actually was reported on quite a bit in the Eastern press, was Satanta. And he is one that the Kansas school children learn about because he was quite a remarkable orator. And so his speeches got picked up by the Eastern press and reported. He was an adamant…he had adamant opposition to the whites moving in and taking the land and killing the buffalo.
Michelle Martin Well, one of my dearest friends, Michelle Martin is like myself, not a Kansas native. She came to Kansas and fell in love with it and we came together through Kansas history. She is just a remarkable person and has been a wonderful friend to me. But more importantly, she’s been a fantastic friend to Kansas history from Fort Larned to Lecompton and especially the Fort Scott area.
Cowboy Culbertson And I want to start today with my good friend Robert “Cowboy” Culbertson. You have met Robert “Cowboy” Culbertson before when we visited his ranch near Easton a couple of years ago. American Frontier Productions is Cowboy’s home and place of business. It is a movie set, a location for artists to paint western scenes and people.
Julia Louisa Hardy Lovejoy Born in Lebanon, New Hampshire, Julia Louisa Hardy Lovejoy reportedly experienced a deep religious conversion at the age of nine. From that moment on she was a devout Methodist who wanted to influence the world around her. She wanted to become a missionary or to find another application for her religious ardor.
Forever Outdoors Rob and Gil have begun a new endeavor, Forever Outdoors, an organization that enables people with challenges to get outside and hunt and fish and do all those things these men have enjoyed. Rob says, we welcome veterans, kids, organ donors or recipients, cancer survivors — anyone with challenges to overcome.
Phog Allen “Beware of the Phog.” And of course we mean Phog Allen. And if you’ve ever been to the Allen Fieldhouse when the cheers and chants of the KU fans can reach upwards of 120 decibels then you know what “Beware the Phog” means and what impact that has on the opposing teams…click to learn more!
Adjutant General Lee Tafanelli You know a few months ago when Topeka Cemetery celebrated the, or marked rather, the anniversary of the Battle of the Blue in which many of our state militia men were killed, of course that state militia went on to become the National Guard, the Kansas National Guard. So who was the obvious person to come to the ceremonies at historic Topeka Cemetery…click to learn more!
Wyatt Earp Few names loom larger in the Wild West than Wyatt Earp and even young kids hopefully, you’re familiar with the story of Tombstone and the shootout at the OK Corral in 1881. There have been few scenes in American history that have been more written about, more talked about, more interpreted in books and movies. You know before Wyatt Earp…click to learn more!
Abraham Lincoln in Kansas On November 30, 1859, Abraham Lincoln crossed the Missouri River on a ferry. He came from St. Joe over to Elwood and at the Great Western Hotel in Elwood, Kansas, Kansas Territory that is, he made his first speech in the Kansas Territory. It was all about slavery. How we didn’t need to expand slavery, and we should get rid of it…click to learn more!
Blackbear Bosin Even though he was born in Oklahoma, the Kiowa Comanche Blackbear Bosin adopted Wichita as his hometown and of course one of Wichita’s most iconic works of art was done by Blackbear Bosin. The “Keeper of the Plains” is a 44 foot tall steel sculpture that embodies the essence of the American Indian’s relationship to the Great Plains…click to learn more!
Charles Curtis Every school kid in Kansas can tell you that he was Vice President of the United States and they can probably tell you that he was part Kaw and Osage. What else can they tell you? Precious little. And this fascinating man who rose from literally being born in a log cabin in North Topeka in 1860, and became Vice President of the United States…click to learn more!
Dean Smith You know the flags were flying at half-mast in North Carolina recently mourning the death of Coach Dean Smith, longtime coach of the University of North Carolina basketball. Dean is a Kansan. He was born in Emporia, grew up in Topeka where he played high school basketball at Topeka High. And of course went on to KU to play basketball there…click to learn more!
Benny and Stella Dickson You know the 1920’s and 30’s in America were exciting and tragic times. Prohibition, bootlegging, organized crime, the rise of the Federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI and the Treasury Bureau. Some of our most notorious and colorful criminals come from that era. Folks like Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger…click to learn more!
Douglas McArthur I want to talk to you for a couple of minutes about Douglas MacArthur, one of only five, five-star generals in American history. Now few names loom larger than that of Douglas MacArthur in world history. Best known of course, for his command of the Allied Forces in the South Pacific in World War II and famously fired by Harry Truman during the Korean War…click to learn more!
Kansas Women You know when I moved to Kansas 20 some odd years ago, Joan Finney was Governor. And I believe that there was a time when every elected official that was serving me, was a woman. That really impressed me about Kansas. And you know Kansas from the very get go has expressed incredible confidence in its women. You know when they were writing…click to learn more!