(Frank) Around Kansas starts with a story about the Fossils of Kansas, found today in museums across the state including ones in Fort Wallace, Minneapolis, Oakley and Hays. Next learn details about the 2016 Kansas Music Hall of Fame inductees. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with Michael Dante, an award-winning actor of television, films and stage.
Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.
(Frank) Well good morning. (Deb) Good morning. (Frank) I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. (Frank) Aren’t they, aren’t they bringing breakfast in? (Deb) Exactly. We’re waiting for the caterer to show up. (Frank) Yea. (Deb) So, they’re setting up obviously for an event here at the Dillon House, so we thought we’d take advantage of that. And I like having a table. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) It’s like the Today Show or something, you know. (Frank) It is nice, yea. (Deb) Yea, we should get our own table with our own logo. (Frank) And breakfast. (Deb) Yea and breakfast and coffee. Yea, that would be great. (Frank) That would be nice. (Deb) That would be nice. (Frank) OK, anyway. Here we are in, what month are we in now? (Deb) February? (Frank) February, good grief already. OK. (Deb) Happy Valentine’s Day everybody. (Frank) And by the way, yea this isn’t set up the way it would be here at the Dillon House. They really do a fantastic job when you have a meeting or a reception or something here. So, anyway we hope that you’ll take advantage of it sometime. (Deb) It’s gonna be real “pirdy” when they get it all done. (Frank) Real “pirdy.” (Deb) Real “pirdy” yes it will. (Frank) OK, so what have you been up to? (Deb) Oh, just all over the place. Heather and I were out in Oberlin a few weeks ago. Love going to Oberlin. Always. We’ve done some segments on Oberlin and we’ll do more. But I’ve just got to say this. We were working on a video. We’re actually doing a video for the town of Oberlin. And so we were going around town just getting pictures of people doing normal stuff. They were having a blood drive while we were there. It was packed. (Frank) Huh. (Deb) It was absolutely packed and people kept coming in while we were there. The sense of community really is remarkable. We visit a lot of wonderful communities, but Oberlin has got to be just on the top of every good list you can think of. Just an amazing group of folks out there. (Frank) Yea. (Deb) So, we always love going. So, what you been up to? (Frank) Oh well you know, WREN radio keeps cooking along and all of that. And we’re getting ready for Spring, NHRA of course is coming back this year. And we’re a partner station with them. (Deb) Oh fun. (Frank) So, you’re going to be hearing a lot about what NHRA is going to be doing here and all over the country. And also we have a baseball team in Topeka as well. (Deb) I am so excited about it. (Frank) Yea, the Topeka Train Robbers. And so we’ll be telling you a lot more about them too as they get underway. That’s an incredible league, it’s called the Pecos League. And so, it’s been kind of fun. I talked to one of the head guys in the league who is in New Mexico. And we were talking about WREN radio and we like to cover the league for ’em and all that and I said, “You might tune us in and listen.” And he said, Well I’m not in Topeka, I’m in New Mexico.” I said, “We’re on the internet.” And he went, “Oh OK. That’s right.” So anyway, it’s kind of fun. (Deb) That’s awesome. I can’t wait. I love baseball. And baseball players are almost the best looking too. All through the ages. That’s a fact. That’s a fact. (Frank) OK. So, what are we going to talk about today? (Deb) Well, we’re gonna talk about some fossils around Kansas, Kansas Music Hall of Fame of course coming up. And then an interview I did in Dodge City a few months ago. (Frank) OK. (Deb) I’m going to share it with y’all. (Frank) Alright, so we’ll be back.
(Frank) And we’re back. (Deb) So, I was in Philadelphia as you know over New Year’s. And while I was there I went to the Academy of Natural Sciences on Logan Circle. And this is their little brochure, so you gotta go if you’re ever in Philadelphia. I went to see the fossilized remains of an elasmosaurus that was actually dug up out near Fort Wallace in the 1860s, right in the middle of the Indian Wars. And we’re going to do some more stories on that because it’s a phenomenal, just a phenomenal story. But while the personnel there at the museum were showing me through their collections, they’re looking for all the stuff from Kansas. So, you’ve got these fossilized remains of these mostly sea beasts, from when we were an Inland Sea. (Frank) Oh yea, we were the Great Inland Sea. (Deb) We were. It’s amazing. (Frank) And you know, they do study that in school now, cause I know one of my granddaughters said, “Grandpa, do you know about the Great Inland Sea?” And I said, “Hey it’s a fun thing,” and we looked it up and all of that. (Deb) It’s really an amazing story. So, as they’re pulling out these drawers in this incredible facility in Philadelphia, they’re all these little fossilized vertebrae, there’s just all kinds of things. And there are names. Theophilus Turner is the man who found the one out near Fort Wallace. But you’ve got Sternberg, you know a name that everybody in Kansas and anybody in anthropology knows from the Sternberg Museum, of course. But you’ve got Sternberg’s name and on these things. So, I got to thinking about all the places around Kansas that have boasted fossils, and we’ve got some incredible locations here in Kansas that you can go visit and some tremendous stories of people that found things and how they found them. And so, there’s just stories all over the place. (Frank) Yea, yea. And the thing is especially with a lot of sandstone and all of that, cause I know I’ve got a pond in my garden and all that and as I was collecting rocks, I’d come upon a rock and there would be like a seashell in it. And it’s like, huh that’s cool. So, this has been around for some time. (Deb) Exactly. It’s just an amazing part of our history and geography and it’s so accessible. Like I said there’s just locations all over the state that you can go and learn more and some of these you may be familiar with and some you may not be that familiar with. So, we want to share some of those with you today. According to the Kansas Geological Survey, Kansas rocks are full of fossils. Fossils are the signs of ancient plants and animals. They come in many forms, from bones and shells to carbon traces, tracks, and burrows. For fossilization to occur, an organism must be buried fairly quickly to protect it from being eaten by scavengers, attacked by bacteria, or worn away by wind or wave action. Occasionally, mudslides and volcanic eruptions quickly bury organisms on land, but rapid burial is more likely to occur in water. Based on marine fossils contained in many of the rocks that crop out at the surface in Kansas, scientists know that shallow seas covered the area for long intervals throughout the past. These seas were ideal for rapid burial. Rivers, lakes, ponds and streams also made good burial sites. Many significant fossils have been discovered in Kansas and many sites throughout the state have them on display. One of the most significant was near Sheridan, Kansas, when the post surgeon from Fort Wallace, Theophilus Turner, uncovered a plesiosaur nearly 42 feet long. A replica of the fossil is now displayed in the Fort Wallace Museum. Another interesting exhibit is in Minneapolis at the Ottawa County Museum. The Silvisaurus condrayi was found by rancher Warren Condray in the 1950s. Senator Frank Carlson connected Condray with folks at KU and the beast he discovered was named for him and is the only one of its type discovered to this point. The museum displays many rocks and fossils other than Silvisaurus, including a dinosaur egg from China. The Fick Fossil and History Museum in Oakley began with the collections of Ernest and Vi Fick. When the thousands of shark’s teeth and other finds outgrew their home, the museum was established to share these artifacts with the public. Of course the Sternberg Museum in Hays, Kansas, is famous for his fish-within-a-fish fossil discovered by George Sternberg. Other fossils include huge marine reptiles, toothed birds, giant clams, flying reptiles, sharks, and bizarre fishes.
(Deb) Welcome back folks. And what Frank and I love I think most about doing this show is sharing the people and places and events that we love the most. And so in talking about the Music Hall of Fame that’s coming up in March we were talking about Bill Lee, who passed away recently. So, I think it’s just fitting and proper to talk about your relationship with Bill Lee. (Frank) Well, I worked at KLWN, 106 the music station, which became the Lazer, KLZR. And Bill was the program director of the AM station, KLWN, while I was there. And Bill was a talented, talented guy. And he had a great knowledge of music and obviously in his later years when he retired, he had the idea of having a Kansas Music Hall of Fame. I mean, after all, look at the stories we’ve done about the musicians from the state of Kansas like Kansas…there are tons of ’em. (Deb) Tons of ’em. (Frank) And especially in the ’50s there were a lot of small bands that traveled around. And of course, radio station KOMA, which was a 50,000 watt station, promoted a lot of these bands. And so Bill said, “You know we need to have a Hall of Fame here to let people know about a rich history that Kansas has in the music industry.” And it’s not just in rock it’s in a lot of different venues. (Deb) In all genres of music. It’s just ongoing. And Bill brought a bunch of like-minded folks together to create the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. And the wonderful thing, I was at Bill’s memorial service at Liberty Hall and when all his children took to the stage to talk about his life and career, they shared memories, musical memories that Bill had created for them, taking them to concerts, or being at the radio station with him, or meeting people that were in the music business. And it was wonderful to hear them share those stories. And the wonderful thing is Bill created something that lives past him and is still going on and is going to go on for a long time because we’re still producing a lot of talented folks in Kansas. (Frank) Absolutely. (Deb) And we are going to keep that tradition going for sure. (Frank) Let’s take a look. The election is over. The votes have been cast. The board has met, and the results are in. The 2016 Kansas Music Hall of Fame Inductees and performers at the Induction Ceremony are: Billy Bob and the Belaires-Beloit; Sawdust Charlie, Wichita; Mark Selby and The Sluggers-Salina; South of the Tracks-Manhattan; Thumbs-Lawrence; Charlie & the Stingrays-KC. Completing this year’s inductees are: King Alex & the Untouchables-KC; Marva Whitney-KC; Roger Walls-Rose Hill; The Fabulous Apostles- Wichita. The DIRECTORS AWARDS go to: Dick & Jay, KY-102- KC and Wayne Rouse-Manhattan. The BOB HAPGOOD AWARD goes to Orin Friesen of Benton. The Kansas Music Hall of Fame was established in 2004 to recognize and honor performers and others who have made significant contributions to the musical history of the state of Kansas and the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. The Hall of Fame will endeavor to promote public interest in the musicians of the past and encourage those of the present and future. Inductions will be held March 5th at Liberty Hall, Lawrence, and tickets are available from their box office. On Friday night, March 4, a jam with inductees is held at the Holiday Inn in Lawrence, which also offers room discounts to those attending the event. Kansas Music Hall of Fame Allen Blasco invites you to foster the talent and dedication of these performers while enjoying a night of unsurpassed entertainment.
(Ron) Farming is a gamble. A farmer puts a crop into the ground, a rancher raises a calf, not knowing what kind of weather conditions, market conditions or other factors could affect it in the end. So, farming is a gamble. Just like Las Vegas. This is a poem I wrote titled, “Gambling Man.” Did you hear about the guy who went on an amazing trip and hit it rich winning money at an amazing clip, rolling gambling bigwigs, who roll the dice in Vegas and really hit it big. But I am way too conservative or risk averse they say, to take a chance on losing all my money in this way. Maybe the biggest gamblers aren’t in Vegas after all, but rather in the country at agriculture’s call. That’s where a farmer takes a gamble to plant a crop of wheat, never knowing if it will survive the drought or freeze or heat. And just as Lady Luck can snatch a gambler’s money when they win it, a hailstorm can claim a Kansas wheat crop in a minute. A mother cow takes a year to breed and feed and thrive, but that whole year’s income is lost if that baby calf does not survive. The market shows the farmer the value of his crops, but it’s a gamble to sell before the market drops. But rather so maybe the biggest gamblers aren’t here. So maybe the biggest gamblers aren’t the ones with Vegas claims, but rather the farmers and ranchers out here on the Kansas plains. I think I’ll take the risks I know with crops and with cattle. Instead of trying to beat casino odds in some Las Vegas battle. Did you hear about my friend who’s Vegas trip caused such a fuss? He drove there in a $20,000 dollar car, and came back in a $100,000 bus. Happy Trails.
(Deb) 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.” What was so cool is I had seen an episode, a rerun of “Bonanza”, the week before I interviewed him and then I’m sitting there talking to him. And so we’re gonna talk a little bit about his life and career. First generation Italian American, professional baseball player. (Frank) Yea. (Deb) So, we started talking about his baseball career, Frank you’re gonna love this, he played for the Washington Senators. And what became of the Washington Senators? (Frank) Well, they kind of went away. Now, I mean there’s another baseball team in D.C. now but I can’t even think of their name, sorry. (Deb) Yea, who is it? (Frank) But the Senators yea, they had a lot of good players. (Deb) They had some tremendous players. So, he and I started visiting then about Yogi Berra because Heather and I happened to be in St. Louis the day Yogi Berra died, eating dinner in the neighborhood – The Hill, where Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola and those guys grew up. So, we went by his house. I got out and spoke to his niece and expressed our condolences. So, Michael Dante knew Yogi Berra very well and DiMaggio and it was like all those Italian players had their own little clique or club or support group or whatever you want to call it. They were all very close friends and supporters of one another. And they, I think Yogi was living in New Jersey I think when he passed away. So Michael talked about visiting Yogi’s home in New Jersey and how they would all get together. It was just an amazing connection. Just amazing. (Frank) Yea. I’ll share a book with you that I’ve got. It’s called “Yogisms.” (Deb) Oh my gosh. (Frank) And it is an entire book of course of what, of course the most famous one is, “It ain’t over til it’s over.” (Deb) “Nobody goes there any more, it’s too crowded.” (Frank) Yea, “Nobody goes there anymore cause it’s too crowded.” And so, it’s too bad Yogi’s not from Kansas. We could do a year on the guy. (Deb) But you know, my friend Shelby Smith, used to be Lieutenant Governor of Kansas, knew Yogi. They played baseball against each other when Shelby grew up in St. Joe, even though his career was made in Kansas, he grew up in St. Joe. So, they played the State Championship against each other. Garagiola and Berra and of course, their team won, as Shelby points out. But anyway back to Michael’s career and hopefully we’re going to get to share more of him as time goes on because he was an amazing man and you’re going to love getting to know him better. (Michael) When I went to Warner Brothers, that’s where I really learned my craft. I did about three Cheyenne’s, Colt .45, a Sugarfoot, Maverick, and I went from one Western to another and I was a good type. But at Warner Brothers, I went from one show to another and that gave me the versatility to play the good guy and the bad guy. Though very few actors had my physical attributes to play the good guy and the bad guy, usually with my good looks, my stature and my presence I would play the good guy. But I also had the strength and the power and the passion to play the bad guy. So that kept me alive. And when I was freelancing and left Warner Brothers I was able to play the heavies and guest star in the other shows. So I was able to play the villain, and play it well, and a lot of them were Westerns, and I really loved and enjoyed playing Westerns, because I always wanted to be a cowboy. My dad came from Italy and he didn’t know the language, he assimilated, was a businessman, free enterprise, and all of his brothers were in business, he had six brothers and one sister. The six brothers they were all in business for themselves, and Dad spoke English as good as we did. And the emphasis was on education and all the opportunities you have in America, and we support you and we love you. Because my Dad was in the produce business, so when we traveled we traveled on the truck. And we were seven people, so we all couldn’t fit in the front cab, so the boys had to get in the back and they managed with three or four up front. But I was so thrilled when I was able to buy an automobile for my family. And that was such a thrill. And young people, if you don’t take advantageous of the opportunities that America, the greatest country in the world, shame on you! I took it, advantage of them, and I worked hard and I was blessed with so much, so much rewards and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be an American.
(Frank) So, they still haven’t brought breakfast in, so I guess we’re going to have to go get it. (Deb) I guess so. Heck, it’s brunch time now. We can eat a lot. (Frank) Anyway, I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we’ll see you somewhere… (Both) Around Kansas.
Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.