(Frank) Today Around Kansas starts with the story of Carol Long whose ceramic artwork is featured in galleries all over Kansas. Next is a look at the remarkable Museum of Also Rans in Norton. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with the Dodge City Trail of Fame, a walking tour project honoring legendary figures from the Old West.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.
(Frank) Good morning, it’s Wednesday again. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. Good morning. (Deb) Another beautiful day in April. (Frank) Yes and so, let’s see you’re several days into your most recent trip around the sun here too. (Deb) Yes, I am. (Frank) In case you didn’t wish her a Happy Birthday… (Deb) There’s still time. (Frank) It was a while ago. (Deb) The whole birthday month. Do you know who I share my birthday with, that I’m really proud? It is Libby Custer, George Custer’s wife and she was the best thing that ever happened to him by far. His press agent for all eternity. And Josephine Markus Earp, who was Wyatt Earp’s wife. Two really interesting women in Western history. Pretty good company there. (Frank) Dixie Lee, also turned the corner. (Deb) Dixie Lee retired. (Frank) Dixie Lee retired. (Deb) Heather, our producer, decided it was time for Dixie to retire. So, Dixie Lee’s moved off to some honey bun in the South somewhere. (Frank) Oh my, oh my, oh my. (Deb) She’s having some sweet tea and honey buns somewhere. (Frank) You may see soemthing in the background here, they’re mowing the lawn here today. We are of course at the Dillon House, which is obviously across from the Capitol, here in the Capital of Topeka. (Deb) From snow blowing to mowing, there’s no in between. (Frank) Oh, there goes somebody. (Deb) Hey we’ve got some cool stuff coming up I want to tell you about. (Frank) OK. That’s what we need to talk about. (Deb) Yes, we do. Number one, the Topeka Western Vintage Baseball Team. Their season has begun and they play their games on the lawn at the Kansas State… (Frank) Yes, couple of places, mostly they play out at the Historic Museum in the grass because the vintage baseball was in the grass. (Deb) Right. (Frank) They didn’t have all of the infield and all that. They play by various rules. (Deb) Old rules. (Frank) Yes and old rules meaning, they could play 1870 rules; they could play 1898 rules. That’s what they decide when they get there. So, they play the game differently each time, so it’s fun to watch. (Deb) Wow. Check out their schedule. They’ve got a game coming up this Saturday, the Westerns versus Emporia. Also, later this month on the 30th is the Celebrity Pancake Feed at the Combat Air Museum and I will be one of the celebrities, once again, flipping pancakes. I love those guys. The Combat Air Museum is just one of my favorite places on earth. They do amazing things and we were out there the other day, and there were visitors from Europe. There were visitors from Canada. There were families from Wichita. There were kids on the flight simulator. There was a pilot, experienced pilot, trying out the flight simulator. There were families of people who had things on display. It’s just a treasure. Love that place. So, come out on the 30th from 7-12 in the morning to say hello and support all the good things they’re doing out there. (Frank) And she’ll make you a pancake that looks like a bunny. (Deb) I will. I will do it. Order, custom orders, whatever you want. We’ll have it for you.
(Frank) We’re back again. (Deb) 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. They are so encouraging, and so positive and so talented themselves. They showcase some incredible work there. I was in the gallery a few weeks ago and went out to lunch with Jay and Barbara. I think it was just right there in front of the door, the ceramic work of Carol Long. You will be blown away. This woman is absolutely amazing. Her work is incredible and as I was mentioning her to several of my friends, I said, “Oh yea, I have one of her pieces. They are just awesome.” Check out the Strecker-Nelson. Tell Jay and Barbara that we sent you over. They’re so supportive of the community, like I said, so encouraging. So many of our friends have had exhibits over there, Barbara Waterman Peters, Larry Peters, Cally Krallman of course. So many of our friends have exhibited over there and have their wares I think for sale most any time. Zak Barnes, so many people that we have featured or know from around town. Beautiful gallery. Always nice to go to downtown Manhattan. So much cool stuff to do there. Let’s take a look. Carol Long was raised on a farm in Stafford County. Since the farm had been homesteaded in the 1880’s, enormous trees had formed a thick shelterbelt. In these wooded areas, Carol explored and connected with nature. She developed a total appreciation of plant and animal life. Her mother’s interest in art led them to visit museums. Always looking for outlets for her active imagination, she remembers as a child using one of her father’s cattle syringes filled with mud to draw in the driveway. In high school, Carol’s interest in ceramics was sparked by her teacher, Sheldon Ganstrom. When she moved on to Barton County Community College she was always drawn to the ceramics lab. Among her mentors was the late Glenda Taylor. Carol draws influence from plant and animal life and is fascinated by the small complexities of the micro aspects of nature. Her work continues to evolve as she experiments with new ways of expressing the tiny, beautiful, intrinsic qualities of nature that we often take for granted. Carol’s work has been featured at the Strecker-Nelson Gallery in Manhattan, and can be found at Bella Luz in Wichita and the Courtyard Gallery in Lindsborg. She also has a booth each year at the Outdoor Living Show in Wichita. Carol has taken on two apprentices, Mark Freeman and Bambi Freeman. Carol is thrilled with the new energy in her studio and is looking forward to new venues and future expansion.
(Frank) And we’re back again. We’re in an election year. (Deb) Really!?!?! (Frank) In case you hadn’t noticed. (Deb) Who knew? Who knew? (Frank) I had the privilege of working for Alf Landon, who of course was a former Governor of Kansas back in the 1930s and had many, many conversations. He owned WREN radio. There are a lot of stories about Alf, but the one that I like is when I first met him because when I was in college I worked a very early morning shift at WREN, it was from 4 to 6 and I got to read the farm markets, cause I could read them. I had no idea what I was reading, but I sounded convincing. Anyway, one morning about 4:30 in the morning, the studio was over on 10th Street and it had an all glass front and there was this old guy knocking on the glass and pointing toward the back door. I kind of ignored him. He pounded on the glass and pointed toward the back door. I shook my head “No.” But he was insistent so I went to the back door and I said, “I’m sorry sir, but we can’t allow anyone in here this time of the day. And he said, “I own the place.” I said, “Oh, Mr. Landon, it’s you.” (Deb) What a great first impression there Frank. (Frank) Yes, I really made a first impression. He had on this old flannel shirt and these old pants and this old hat and of course, he used to get up very early in the morning and ride his horse out by the mansion. So anyway, then I knew to look for him in future times. (Deb) You know another interesting Alf Landon fact is, I did a presentation in Philadelphia to Mayor Nutter, during the Sesquicentennial Centennial of the Civil War, from the grateful citizens of Kansas for all the things that Pennsylvanians had done to help make us a free state and I talked about all the connections. I actually cheated. I called Blair Tarr at Kansas State Historical Society. He’s a Pennsylvanian. He sent me everything I needed and I put it in this beautiful letter and Governor Parkinson signed it. I presented it to Mayor Nutter. Seven of our Governor’s including the territorial period are from Pennsylvania and the last one was Alf Landon, who was born in Pennsylvania. So the connections between Pennsylvania and Kansas are tremendous. Maybe more than any other state, quite honestly. (Frank) Now, another story, a lot of people don’t know this, but everybody’s seen “The Godfather,” and of course, Marlon Brando. And Marlon Brando studied films of Alf Landon in his various ages. Brando of course put cotton in his cheeks and then would kind of talk like this and the mannerism and all of that were Alf Landon. Especially the scene where he is in the garden with his Grandson, the hat and the shirt and the pants and all that, chasing him around was Alf Landon. (Deb) Who knew? I had no idea, no idea. (Frank) Yea, true story. (Deb) And of course we talk about Alf Landon because he is one of the famous Kansans in the Gallery of Also Rans. (Frank) It’s a wall of losers. Tucked away in Norton’s First State Bank is the Museum of Also Rans, featuring portraits of the presidential losers. It is a pretty remarkable list. First up is Thomas Jefferson. Yep, he was beaten by his friend John Adams in 1796. Of course, Jefferson would go on to serve two terms himself but his picture is a great reminder that you don’t win them all. There are a couple of famous Kansans on the wall, Alf Landon and Bob Dole, both of whom our viewers will recognize. But there are others with Kansas connections as well. John C. Breckenridge was vice president under James Buchanan and had a county named in his honor when the Kansas Territory was organized. He ran against Abraham Lincoln, lost, of course, and since he then served as a general in the Confederate Army and as a cabinet member in the administration of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, he lost his Kansas county namesake as well. Breckenridge County was changed to Lyon County, honoring Union General Nathaniel Lyon in 1862. John C Fremont was ironically defeated by James Buchanan. Fremont, the great pathfinder, is credited with securing California. His military expeditions were staged from Fort Leavenworth and he crisscrossed and mapped what would become Kansas. He, too, had a county named for him in the new Territory but when Kansas became a state and lopped off the far western reaches, it cut off Fremont County. Now, there is a Fremont County, Colorado. Horace Greeley championed the free state cause of Kansas, writing many editorials on the subject and even visited Kansas where he was injured when his stagecoach overturned. Even so, he still proclaimed in his paper, the New York Tribune, “Go West Young Man!” He, too, was honored with a Kansas County name in 1873 and unlike the ill-fated Breckenridge, it stuck, and the county seat became Tribune. There are others, including Winfield Scott Hancock, famed Civil War and Indian Wars general, “Hancock the Superb,” who served in Kansas during the Plains Indian Wars and was defeated by another Civil War veteran, the ill-fated James Garfield.
(Ron) Years ago there was a cartoonist named Gary Larson who wrote cartoons, some of which featured cows talking to each other. And it made for a funny cartoon because you wonder what animals would say to each other. This poem is entitled, “The Perfect Name.” Three new horses were talking over the pasture fence, they thought they’d get acquainted so their grazing could commence. What’s your name, they asked the first horse? And he swelled up with pride. My owner calls me Champion, when we go out to ride. They turned to the second horse and said, so what’s your name? Just as the first horse swelled with pride, the second did the same. I got a cool name when I was just a colt. You see my owner always calls me Thunderbolt. Then the other two turned to the third and final horse and they asked for him to tell his name of course. Well, I’m not exactly sure the other horse finally said, from what I hear, I think it’s Whoa You Stupid Knucklehead. Happy Trails.
(Deb) Welcome back folks and one of my favorite topics, one of my favorite places is Dodge City. Of course, when I was growing up in southwestern Virginia, my first introduction to Kansas was Gunsmoke and I am a huge fan of Gunsmoke; I always have been. But one of the real lasting legacies of Gunsmoke, and I think you’ll agree Frank, is that James Arness filtered that character of Marshall Matt Dillon through his own personality but then he played him for 20 years. And James Arness a combat veteran of World War II, just an amazing person personally. James Arness gave this image of fairness and decency and strength and there were so many great Kansas qualities that he portrayed to the world. So, right now, I think they have a Go Fund Me Campaign, for the Marshall Matt Dillon statue that will be added to the Walk of Fame, the Trail of Fame in Dodge City. I think that’s pretty dog gone cool, don’t you? (Frank) Yes, yes it is. Some stories about James Arness. He went ashore on D-Day. Because he was so tall he was the first guy off the LST, so people could judge how deep the water was. Very true. Another thing is remember the movie, “The Thing” back in the 1950s? That was really one of his first movie roles. He was the Thing. (Deb) Cult classic. (Frank) He came walking in. (Deb) Cult classic. (Deb) Let’s take another look at the Trail of Fame in Dodge City. The Dodge City Trail of Fame began as a simple idea back in the late 1980’s. Then, in conjunction with the project to restore the huge Santa Fe Depot building, Downtown Dodge, Inc. developed a committee of a few forward-thinking citizens with the thought “If Hollywood can do it, why can’t we?” The State Department of Travel and Tourism funded the initial planning, marketing and placement of the 24-inch bronze medallions into the sidewalks throughout the Dodge City historic district. Other beautification efforts were undertaken as well with the city and the CVB contributing. In 2004, the project had grown to the point where it had taken on a life of its own so a new entity, the Dodge City Trail of Fame, Inc. was formed with its own board of directors and group of special leaders, volunteers and supporters. So far, a total of 29 sidewalk markers have been placed as well as a larger than life statue of Wyatt Earp and a life-sized statue of John Henry “Doc” Holliday. The organization also contracts with Special US Deputy Marshall Charlie Meade to provide free walking tours of the Dodge City National Historic District. Bob Boze Bell and True West Magazine selected the Dodge City Trail of Fame as “Best Historic Town Tour.” The next subject is a life-sized statue of James Arness in his famous role as Marshall Matt Dillon. Inductees honored with sidewalk medallions include a mixture of real life and Hollywood: Wyatt Earp, Dennis Weaver, Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, Henry Fonda, Charles Rath, Big Nose Kate Elder, Errol Flynn, Bill Tilghman, Kurt Russell, Satanta, Dull Knife, and the list goes on and on. To nominate a legendary figure, visit the group’s website. More importantly, walk the Trail of Fame yourself. You’ll literally be walking in the footprints of history.
(Frank) Gee how quickly a half hour goes. I’m Frank (Deb) Still Deb. (Frank) We’ll see you somewhere (Both) Around Kansas!
Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.