1867, Steve Brodie

(Frank) Today on Around Kansas we first look at one of the top three pivotal dates in Kansas history – 1867. Next “meet” Steve Brodie, a hard living, hard drinking actor from Kansas who appeared in many westerns and action films in the 50’s and 60’s. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with a look at the Bald Eagle; find them in Kansas near lakes, rivers and marshes.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank Chaffin) It’s an early January morning, but we’re going to brighten up your day. I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) This is Around Kansas. (Deb) Yes, we’re going to brighten your day. We’ve got some — middle of the winter that didn’t stop us from having fun — we’ve got some big events coming up and I want to let you in. We’ve shared the clip from Home on the Range documentary. I can’t tell you how great this documentary is going to be. We gave you just a little sample of the couple of interviews that I did with Michael Martin Murphy and Ken Spurgeon, the filmmaker. But if you want to see the whole thing, Friday night is the world premiere at the Wichita Orpheum Theater, seven o’clock. On Saturday, The Center Theater in Smith Center Kansas, the hometown of the Home on the Range song, and then on Sunday — wait a minute, Saturday will be a Matinee and then Sunday will be a Matinee. Then on January 29th, we’ll have the Home on the Range, that’s Kansas Day of course, we’ll show the Home on the Range documentary at the Fort Wallace Museum in Wallace Kansas. February 19th, at the Brown Grand Theater in Concordia, and February 24th at the Murdock Theater in Wichita to benefit the North Field High School. There are some other screenings that are being scheduled. If you want to schedule a screening, you can just send me an email and I can hook you up. It’s going to be phenomenal. This is going to spread far and wide beyond Kansas and I think it’s going to make all Kansans proud when they see it. We need a screening here in Topeka. Who wants to do a screening here in Topeka? Your living room, Frank would be perfect for screening. (Frank) We could do it here in the Dillon House. (Deb) We could do it here in the Dillon House. What a great place! Yes, we can have Hors d’Oeuvres and a nice time, champagne. That would be — good idea Frank. Good job. (Frank) Hey, we have a party. (Deb) Good job. Good job. But really, if you’ve got a beautiful theater, The Grand, The Brown Theater in Concordia, have you ever seen that one Frank? (Frank) No. (Deb) You did a story on some of the – (Frank) – some of the restored theaters, yes. (Deb) There’s a lot of them around the state that would be perfect to show this film. (Frank) That’ one I didn’t do though. (Deb) It is stunning, it is stunning. We had one of the screenings for, I think it was Bloody Dawn, one of the Lone Chimney films at the Brown Theater and it’s spectacular. It’s just, of course, Concordia is the most beautiful town. They’ve got the most wonderful museums and the sweetest people, the nicest museums and really love their history and did such a beautiful job with it, and the Brown Theater is just kind of the decoration on the cake of this beautiful town in Cloud County. It’s so pretty. Cloud County is famous for something other than Boston Corbett. [Laughter] (Frank) Okay. (Deb) All right. We won’t go there. We’ve got a great show for you. Stay with us.

(Frank) We’re back again, 2017 well underway around Kansas of course. Gosh. We’ve been on the air now for what? Four years? Five years? (Deb) You think, Frank? (Frank) Gosh. Isn’t that something? (Deb) I was actually trying to think about that the other day, how long we had been doing this and how long have you and I been co-hosting? We used to be out on our own. We go do a show and — that was like 20 years ago or something. (Frank) [Laughs] Trek out somewhere and – (Deb) Yes, and it was hard, wasn’t it Frank? [Laughter] (Frank) Well, anyway. 2017 again, it’s one of those, I don’t always say odd year, but it is, seven is an odd number year or number, and a lucky number. There’s a lot of stuff that will be going on in Kansas this year. This is one of the places that you’re going to be able to find out about a lot of events and celebrations and all that. In fact, you have one you’d like to talk about. (Deb) Of course I do. Fort Wallace, the Memorial Association at Fort Wallace, will be hosting the Great Fort Wallace and Western Kansas 1867 Exposition, July sixth through the ninth. We’ll have bus tours of the Scenic Byways, we will have a symposium for the nerd faction out there, the scholarly folks, then we’ll have an encampment which will reflect the 1867 and before. The Cheyenne, the other tribes that would have been in the area on through the pioneers and the railroad, and just so many cool things. Then on Sunday, we will have a ceremony at the cemetery, the Fort Wallace Cemetery, where a seventh Cavalry Marker is the center of that cemetery and it’s one that the Seventh Cavalry erected for its comrades. It’s a really beautiful marker. Highlight will be a concert by Michael Martin Murphy. He is coming to Wallace, Kansas. Is that not cool? (Frank) That’s cool. (Deb) Fort Hays will be having its hundred and fiftieth anniversary. There are so many events. If we don’t mention yours, this is a good time to let me know about it so that we can get that on the air. Great to advertise with us. Advertise your event with us and we will be happy to share it. (Frank) 1857 is when the Hays House in Council Grove – (Deb) Council Grove. (Frank) – was founded. (Deb) I’m going to be speaking in Council Grove in June. June. The Kaw Indian Mission at, our good friend Mark Brooks down there, asked me if I would be one of their regular speakers. They have, look them up on online, the speakers series this year, the same as the Santa Fe Trail. I want to be talking about the Sumner Expedition on the Santa Fe Trail in 1857. Good job! (Frank) It’s amazing I remembered that. It’s just that this isn’t to get a free lunch, but I love the Hays House. If you’ve never been there, you’ve got to go there. (Deb) It’s awesome. It’s awesome. (Frank) After 1857, by now they really have the recipes down. (Deb) They really got it right. Well, let’s take a look at 1867 in Kansas. There are three pivotal dates in Kansas history: 1854, when the Kansas-Nebraska Act was signed and the Territory was opened for settlement; 1861, when Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state, and 1867, when a third of the counties were established and the Plains Indian Wars escalated in the West. In 2017, we will mark the 150th anniversary of so many places and events in Kansas that we should just begin the commemorations now and continue them throughout the year. The Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty, the Kidder Massacre, the founding of Fort Hays, the Battle at Fort Wallace, and then this landmark event in government. In November of 1867, the state held a referendum on a proposed constitutional amendment to grant women the full right to vote. Women had limited voting rights already. It was the first-ever referendum on women’s suffrage in U.S. history, and specifically sought to amend Section 1, Article 5 of the state constitution to “eliminate the word “male” from the clause defining the qualifications of an elector.” The amendment had been approved by the legislature, but had to be ratified by the all-white-male electorate of the state; the proposed amendment shared the November ballot with a proposition to “eliminate the word “white” from the clause defining the qualifications of an elector” and allow African-American males the right to vote. The results of the Kansas election saw both women’s and black suffrage defeated, with black suffrage receiving 10,483 votes and women’s receiving 9,070. With the defeat, equal rights activists were forced to realize that their campaign had failed. The failure of the campaign stemmed from the tensions within the Equal Rights Association. The major problem arose from the fact that many members were “feminists” and abolitionists torn between supporting suffrage, or fighting for freedmen and women at the same time. It would be decades before these issues passed, but in looking back at the events of 1867 the suffrage debate reflected the upheaval following the Civil War. The interesting times were not over, and in fact, were just beginning.

(Frank) Back again. This is Around Kansas by the way, in case you just tuned in. I’m Frank, she’s Deb, and we’re here every Wednesday morning this time. Anyway, tune in. We’ve talked about Kansas has a lot of, a lot of famous people, and I don’t know why people think, “Oh, I’m really surprised.” But there are a lot of talented people that have gone on to Broadway, to movies, to television and all that, and I get to do a story about one of those coming up. When I first got on with the story I thought “Who’s he?” And then I remembered what he looked like and some of the movies and TV shows that he was in. We’re talking about a man named Steve Brodie. That’s his theatrical name. (Deb) You will recognize his face. (Frank) Yes, you will. (Deb) That’s — especially now people who are fans of classic TV shows and older classic movies, he was everywhere. I think part of the reason that people are surprised when we have so much talent is because our population is so small. We have basically we’re 1% of the US population. When you think that Kansas has 1% of the population and we have so much talent export, that’s pretty amazing, Frank. (Frank) Yes it is. (Deb) That’s very cool. (Frank) Anyway, let’s take a look. Steve Brodie. There are lots of fans of classic television westerns and films that will recognize the face of Steve Brodie. He even had a recurring role in the TV show, Wyatt Earp, but unlike Wyatt himself, Steve had an even stronger Kansas connection. He was born here. That invaluable encyclopedia of film, the International Movie Data Base, reports that Steve was born John Daugherty Stephens on November 25, 1919, in El Dorado. Raised in Wichita, he dropped out of school and raced cars, boxed and worked on oil rigs to get by. He initially entertained a criminal law career but that interest quickly wore off. He had a passion for acting and found early work in summer stock. Changing his stage name to “Steve Brodie”, a move to New York did not pay off but a subsequent move to Los Angeles did. He broke into films after being spotted by an MGM talent scout in a Hollywood theatre production entitled “Money Girls”. Loaned out for his first film, Universal’s Ladies Courageous, Brodie appeared in a few tough-guy bit parts in such MGM films as Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and Anchors Aweigh before he was dropped. It wasn’t long before he was signed by RKO and it was with that studio that his reputation as a heavy in westerns grew, with such roles as notorious outlaws Bob Dalton in Badman’s Territory and Cole Younger in Return of the Bad Men. In between those two pictures were strong roles in film noir classics including the leading role in Desperate. A hard-living, hard-drinking actor, Brodie married actress Lois Andrews in 1946 but the couple divorced. He married Barbara Savitt and the union produced son Kevin Brodie two years later. Kevin later became a producer/director. Interest in Brodie eventually waned at the studio and his contract was not renewed. Freelancing elsewhere, he appeared as a lead in Rose of the Yukon and another classic film noir, Armored Car Robbery, and also earned good parts in Home of the Brave and Lady in the Iron Mask as the Musketeer Athos. A familiar presence on 1950s and 1960s TV, he worked on such crime series as Public Defender, Hawaiian Eye, Surfside 6, Perry Mason, and such western series as The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Lone Ranger, Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, Laramie, Sugarfoot, Maverick, Rawhide, Gunsmoke and even Ozzie and Harriet and the Beverly Hillbillies. Brodie’s later years were marred by drinking arrests. In the 1970s he made sporadic appearances, including a lead in the campy low-budget horror film The Giant Spider Invasion He also provided voice work in commercials and showed up at nostalgia conventions. In 1973 Brodie married a third time, to Virginia Hefner, and they had a son Sean. Suffering from esophageal cancer and heart problems, Brodie died at age 72 on January 9, 1992, at a West Hills, California hospital.

(Ron Wilson) Another landmark of the Flint Hills are the deep ravines, the deep draws and the stone which might look simple to a bureaucrat sitting at a desk, but when it comes the time to build fences, you need to call on somebody special. This poem is entitled “Up Hill and Down, a Tribute to the Fencing Man.” The government man sits at a desk and draws a simple line and says, “Here where the property ends, a fence here would be fine.” Though, what seems so simple in the government domain doesn’t match the real world of the natural terrain. For when we need a fence built across this rugged land, we need a hard working expert, we need the Fencing Man. Yes, the Fencing Man is he who suffers the consequence when the Flint Hills are the place that’s required to build a fence. By contrast in the flat lands, building a fence can be a breeze, but out here in the Flint Hills, we can’t build a fence with ease. When that line cuts across the steepest of these hills, it creates a major challenge, which the Fencing Man fulfills. It’s one thing to build a fence where the land is flat and level, but it’s different on these hillsides with a 60-degree bevel. It’s a place where a pickup truck or four-wheeler can’t squeeze, so he drags a chainsaw out by hand to cut the brush and trees. Seems its in the most inaccessible place we need the fencers most, he’s hiking up a side hill with a driver and T-post. Then he’s sliding down the draw where the sides are very steep and the ground is too darn rocky to drive the post in very deep. While the government man draws a line across the aerial maps, the Fencing Man is on the ground with barbed wire and water gaps. It looks easy sitting in a room drawing up a man-made plan but it ain’t easy in the Flint Hills, so we salute the Fencing Man. Happy Trails.

(Frank) Here we are again and I’m chuckling a little bit because we’re going to have a story on bald eagles and I don’t know, I’m not trying to be smarter than thou but, when I was growing up, because my name’s Chaffin and in England really meant little bald man down the road, and I thought – (Deb) You’re making this up. (Frank) No, I’m not and I said, “Oh gosh, my ancestor was some little bald man down the road?” and then I understood and found out later when my vocabulary grew that bald meant white hair. It was little white-haired man down the road. (Deb) Which is slightly better. (Frank) Was my ancestor in England. Anyway, when you’re talking about something that’s bald like the bald eagle – (Deb) Which is really not bald either. (Frank) It’s not bald; it’s got a white hair. (Deb) It’s got white hair or white feathers as it be. (Frank) There you go. (Deb) We’ve got apparently an abundance of eagles in Kansas, not only the bald eagle but of course the golden eagle — we’ll do a segment on them later. I was walking over on the State Hospital grounds, it’s not far, I was not an in-patient, that was after that, and after that they let me out. I’d never seen this before Frank, we don’t have a lot of eagles where I grew up, and this golden eagle swooped down and caught a squirrel, pretty amazing. There is a Facebook page dedicated to the sightings of bald eagles in Kansas. There are some beautiful photographs throughout the state of our national emblem, which is apparently flourishing in the Sunflower state. According to Cornell University’s All About Birds website, the Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782 and a spiritual symbol for native people for far longer than that. These regal birds aren’t really bald, but their white-feathered heads gleam in contrast to their chocolate-brown body and wings. Look for them soaring in solitude, chasing other birds for their food, or gathering by the hundreds in winter. Once endangered by hunting and pesticides, Bald Eagles have flourished under protection. The Bald Eagle dwarfs most other raptors, including the Turkey Vulture and Red-Tailed Hawk. It has a heavy body, large head, and long, hooked bill. In flight, a Bald Eagle holds its broad wings flat like a board. Adult Bald Eagles have white heads and tails with dark brown bodies and wings. Their legs and bills are bright yellow. Immature birds have mostly dark heads and tails; their brown wings and bodies are mottled with white in varying amounts. Young birds attain adult plumage in about five years. You’ll find Bald Eagles soaring high in the sky, flapping low over treetops with slow wingbeats, or perched in trees or on the ground. Bald Eagles scavenge many meals by harassing other birds or by eating carrion or garbage. They eat mainly fish, but also hunt mammals, gulls, and waterfowl. Look for Bald Eagles near lakes, reservoirs, rivers or marshes. For a chance to see large Bald Eagle congregations check out our Kansas wildlife refuges or lakes this winter and make sure you take a camera! (Frank) Are you going to start or me? We’re back. (Deb) He would never let me start. This is the close Frank, we’re done. (Frank) Yes, okay. (Deb) Bye. I’m Deb, he’s still Frank. (Frank) I’m Frank, I think. (Deb) We’ll see you somewhere, (Frank) Around Kansas. [Laughter]

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

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