legendary Kiowa War Chief Santana, Picnic, William Inge

(Frank) Today around Kansas has some great stories for you, starting with one about the legendary Kiowa War Chief Santana. Then we take another behind the scenes look at the movie Picnic and find that author William Inge changed the ending of his original Pulitzer Prize winning play for the movie adaptation. Next learn all about Locusts and then we’ll end with a poem from Ron Wilson.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Deb) Good morning, welcome to Around Kansas, from the historic Dillon House in downtown Topeka in the shadow of the State Capitol. I’m Deb Goodrich. (Frank) And I’m Frank Chaffin. (Deb) Good morning, good morning. And Frank in honor of his series on the movie Picnic has worn his picnic shirt today. (Frank) Yes, yes, yes, I’ll take the heat on that. In fact, I hadn’t thought of that and then you said that. You wore your picnic shirt. Well, it does look like a table cloth. (Deb) Yea, did you interrupt a picnic to grab that one? (Frank) Yes I did. It was fun. Anyway, we’re referring to the fact that I’ve been doing this series on the movie Picnic which was of course filmed in Kansas 60 years ago, had six Academy Awards, won two of ’em. And of course starred Kim Novak, it was her actual first starring role. Of course, she was very young at the time and she played opposite a 38 year-old-man who was pretending to be in his 20’s, William Holden. (Deb) William Holden can get by with anything, I don’t care how old he was. He was something. (Frank) And Rosalind Russell. So, it was filmed in several locations around the state-in Hutchinson, and Salina and Halstead and Newton. So, anyway, of course if you’ve been following it, I’ve been doing trivia, some of the fun stuff and maybe not so fun stuff during the filming of the movie. I’m about done with that though. (Deb) So, I’m gonna get equal time for the old westerns right? When you get done with Picnic? OK? Alright, cause I’m into the war movies and the old westerns, you know the shoot ’em ups. Somebody’s gotta die in one of my movies to make it interesting. So, June…. May is just gone practically and June is gonna be an incredibly busy month. The first event I think I’m attending in June is National… is Armed Forces Day out at the National Guard Museum in Topeka, out at Forbes Field. And that’s fantastic. They have great programs all day. They’ve got I think some reenactments, booths set up. They have planes and tanks and all kind of cool things. Kids just love it. So, they have a pancake feed. They start out in the morning with a pancake feed. So, visit their web site for the National Guard Museum. And go back in our archives because we’ve done some really wonderful interviews out there with some very, very interesting veterans. So, you can go back and look for those too. What’ve you got coming up in June? (Frank) Well, of course I’m doing also a series on opera houses around the state, so we’ll probably visit the C.L. Hoover Opera House over in Junction City. It’s quite a place. And then have you heard of the Wolf Hotel? (Deb) Well, not until we were at the Weekend Festival you know, with the Sampler Foundation and saw the young man that owns that. But I had never heard of it until then. (Frank) It’s quite an historic hotel. And it is still under restoration, even though a lot of it has been restored and you can… it’s kind of like a bed and breakfast, but we’ll tell you more about that. And how about a coffee shop with no roof? (Deb) Hey, Kansans just don’t let anything stop them. (Frank) Yea, I imagine… (Deb) No roof, no problem. (Frank)…and I imagine that’s really fun in the winter. (Deb) Really, that’s going to be a great one. (Frank) OK. Well, we’re gonna talk about what’s coming up today here, pretty soon too. So, we’ll be back. (Deb) We’ll be right back.

(Frank) We have way too much fun on this show. Anyway, we’re back on Around Kansas. OK, Deb your turn. (Deb) Well, I’ve got a fascinating feature on a really fascinating person. Before whites came to Kansas obviously there were a lot of American Indians here. There were Indian tribes who were moved out here by the Federal government and there were a few who were native, like the Kiowa. So, one 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. So, he was quite outspoken in that regard and a pretty fierce warrior. So he’s a really interesting person. Very interesting person. Let’s take a closer look. He was called the Orator of the Plains, White Bear, and Satanta. This Kiowa warrior was born along the Canadian River but migrated south with his family. The Kiowa were a nomadic people, following the herds they hunted, and they came to the high plains of Kansas long before it became a territory. Satanta became one of the most recognized names on the Plains in the 1860s and 1870s. His raids along the Santa Fe Trail created terror among the white pioneers and resolve among his fellow tribes. In 1867, Satanta represented the Kiowa at the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty. A newspaper reporter from St. Louis recorded the speech: All the land south of the Arkansas River belongs to the Kiowa and Comanche, and I don’t want to give away any of it. I love the land and the buffalo and will not part with it. I want the children raised as I was. I have heard that you want to settle us on a reservation near the mountains. I don’t want to settle. I love to roam over the prairies. There I feel free and happy, but when I settle down I grow pale and die. A long time ago this land belonged to our fathers; but when I go up river I see camps of soldiers on its banks. These soldiers cut down my timber; they kill my buffalo; and when I see that it feels as if my heart would burst with sorrow. This building of homes for us is all nonsense. We don’t want you to build any for us; we would all die. Look at the Penatakas! Formerly they were powerful, now they are weak and poor. I want all my land, even from the Arkansas south to the Red River. My country is small enough already. If you build us houses the land will be smaller. Why do you insist on this? What good will come of it? I don’t understand your reason. Time enough to build us houses when the buffalo are all gone. But you tell the Great Father that there are plenty of buffalo yet, and when the buffalo are gone, I will tell him. This trusting agents for food I don’t believe in. The treaty did not result in peace but in greater conflict. For a short time, Satanta was held prisoner by George Custer, a bargaining chip to coerce the Kiowa to move. Satanta was in the middle of raids as far flung as Texas before turning himself in to authorities in 1874. When told he would never be released from prison, he jumped to his death from a second story window in the Huntsville, Texas, prison hospital. He was buried in the prison cemetery and later his remains were moved to the cemetery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

(Frank) Well, welcome back on Around Kansas. I’m Frank. And I think this is Deb. (Deb) You’re still wearing your picnic shirt I see. (Frank) Yea, still wearing the picnic shirt. (Deb) So, I guess we’re still talking about Picnic then aren’t we. (Frank) Yea, we’re about to wrap that up. But there’s so much stuff in that. I really had to pick some of the things that I thought were very interesting and very funny and I hope the viewers also agree with that. But there was another thing too. They shot a lot of stuff along the railroad yard because you know, his character jumps a train and gets out of town. That’s the way he got to town. And anyway, they were shooting a lot of that. Kids were playing in the train yard and they were always having to kind of get ’em out of there. And one of my stories talks about this big booming voice that came over speakers one time and said, Get ’em out of there. So anyway, we’ll see some more about the filming of the movie Picnic. And of course, that was written by William Inge. It was originally a stage play. And William Inge, of course, is from Kansas, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and playwright and I’m gonna be doing some stories on him too. Let’s take a look. (Frank) OK, more on the movie Picnic filmed 60 years ago here in the state of Kansas. Of course, written by William Inge, who won the Pulitzer Prize for writing this particular play. Of course, he had many other plays. But an interesting thing, William Inge was obliged to continually rewrite the ending of his original stage play for the movie, even while it was in rehearsals, with the director rejecting each ending as being more depressing than the last. Inge’s original idea was that Madge would stay in town, her shoulders slumped as she dragged herself to a dead end job at the dime store, taunted by local boys who knew she’d thrown away her reputation to a drifter, who was played by William Holden. The director insisted Madge had to chase after Howell and leave town, even though most of the audience would realize it would be a doomed affair. Alright, alright, Inge told ’em, but I want you to know I don’t approve. The director later wrote in his memoirs, It’s as though he killed his favorite child. And so it was. In 1955, 60 years during the filming of Picnic in the great state of Kansas.

(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas and Frank’s been talking about Picnic so I’m gonna talk about bugs. (Frank) Before you do. They were attacked by a lot of bugs, cause they did this in May and it was so humid and all that, they got eaten by the bugs, but you go ahead and talk about yours. (Deb) See there’s no end, there’s no end. Well, I was walking through the Kansas Sampler Festival a couple of weeks ago, when this very nice gentleman had a display about cicadas. And you know, we talk about locust here and you know, the emergence of the locust every year. They’re not really locust. A locust is truly more like a grasshopper. I found out all this stuff lately. But this is cicada year, or locust year as we always called it in Kansas. So, there is all kinds of information. This magic cicada website has all this information on when the different broods hatch out around the country. So, I forget the number of the brood that we’re in, but it will be like in Oklahoma and Nebraska and Iowa and everything. And they have 13 year locust and they have 17 year locust and then they have the one year locust, the annual locust that come out every year. And I can remember as a kid playing with those little shells. Remember the little shells they would leave behind? (Frank) Yea. (Deb) Yea, they were pretty scary looking. You’d find them clinging to the trees and stuff. So, I thought it was pretty interesting. And they can damage some crops. And the locust plan is to overwhelm with numbers. When they first emerge there’s so many of them, you know the birds are having a field day. But there’s thousands of ’em so eventually some of ’em survive to come back again. But when they’re young they can really do some damage to some crops, especially young trees. So, they are kind of a force to be dealt with if you’re growing stuff. (Frank) OK, well I’m gonna hide my eyes for this one then. (Deb) Stay tuned. Daddy was born in Locust Year, 1935. At least that was locust year in the mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The first locust year I recall was 1969, when Daddy was 34 years old. I remember so well because we had a young peach orchard. My younger sister and I walked along the small trees pulling the newly hatched locusts off and stuffing them into a paper bag and then we burned them. It must have been busy work because this was by no means effective in clearing the orchard of the thousands of locusts who had waited so long to feast on this young trees. The noise was deafening, like some science fiction movie where insects are taking over the world. As fate would have it, this is locust year in Kansas and we will soon be inundated with the little creatures, creatures who are not locusts at all but cicadas. Locusts are actually in the grasshopper family. But don’t we have cicadas every year? We sure do, the Dog Days of Summer Cicadas, who bless us every August. Other cicadas, however, only show up every 13 or 17 years. There are different broods in different parts of the country. The website, magicicada.org, reports that Brood IV, the Kansan brood, will be emerging from mid to late May in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Oklahoma. This is a 17 year cycle cicada and has a distinctive orange striping on the abdomen not present in other species. (For those of you who want to get up close and personal). When the cicada emerges from its shell, it is a virtual feast for birds and other small animals who enjoy a diet of insects. Eventually, though, these predators become gorged on the insects and thousands of the cicadas survive to mate and insure that another generation emerges in 17 years.

(Ron) Cowboys like to eat and we also complain about the food. In the days of the old cattle drives, of course, there were chuck wagons that went with the cattle herds. And the guy who was chosen a chuck wagon cook, sometimes his only qualification was that he was too stove-up to drive cattle, which didn’t make for much of a culinary resume. This poem is entitled, This Grub is Out of This World. Now I hate to be someone to complain, cause people who gripe can be quite a pain. But as cowboys are really stuck on the hook, because of our awful chuck wagon cook. On this trail ride, he’s the only food that we’ve got. But his grub tastes like your belly will rot. Well, Cookie makes coffee as bitter as tar, these beans have flavor that seemed quite bizarre. His beef is tough, you have to saw on it first. But it’s old Cookie’s biscuits that are really the worst. Buying his biscuits will give you a shock. They land in your belly, like they were a rock. Whatever his recipe, he ought to adjust, because they taste like a mix of gunpowder and saw dust. Anything for a meal in town, because his biscuits are the toughest thing around. But instead of giving our stomachs abuse, I think I’ve come up with the perfect use. That fellow Jules Verne wrote of going to Mars, on some magic ship that could fly to the stars. A ship like that would have to be strong to make a journey so far and so long. But when they make that trip, they should use Cookie’s biscuits to build the ship. Happy Trails.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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