(Frank) Today Around Kansas starts with a story about the Order of the Indian Wars, a group dedicated to the history of Indian warfare in the US. Next is Fay Tincher, a comedienne from Topeka who acted in, and directed, movies made in the Silent Era. Then enjoy a poem and we’ll end with information about the many historical sites in Kansas.Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.
(Frank) It’s Wednesday morning again, and I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. This is a show when we talk about what makes Kansas great, the people, the places, the things. And so anyway, that’s about all I’m gonna say in this because she is going to do some shameless self promotion here. (Deb) Shameless. (Frank) So, I’m gonna… (Deb) But it’s all for the common good. Frank, you gotta agree. (Frank) I’m gonna take a nap. (Deb) It’s all for the common good. I’m working on a project and I have been for a long time, on Charles Curtis. And most school kids in Kansas know that he was the Vice President, Native American. He was Kaw and Osage and maybe some Pottawatomie. And we’ve been working on some documentary proposals on Charles Curtis. But I will have a short volume on him available just in time for Christmas. Christmas is just around the corner folks. (Frank) Imagine that! (Deb) So, you can email me and we’ll have my email there on the screen. And the pre-publication price, for only $10 dollars, and $3 dollars shipping and handling, you can have this under your tree, just in time for Christmas. Our Charlie from the reservation to Washington. So, it’s his Kansas years. (Frank) But wait, order now… (Deb) Order now, right. I’m not gonna double it. I feel like…there used to be this show on Bonnie Lou and Buster when I was a kid and they came from Wheeling, West Virginia. And they sold Jim Walter Homes. Yes friends, you too, can own a Jim Walter Home. They were hilarious. They’d do Blue Grass and she wore her big fluffy skirt, with the pantaloons and everything. Yea, Bonnie Lou and Buster. Here we are. Bonnie Lou and Buster. Don’t you have something to say to sell this morning Frank? (Frank) Well, yes, I can always promote of course, WREN Radio, oldies radio, worldwide. You know wrenradio.net is where you can listen to us or on Tune In Radio, which is a free download from your app store. (Deb) Free is good. Free is good. How much is free? (Frank) Free is free. (Deb) Radio is free. (Frank) No, if you like oldies from the 50s, 60s and early 70s, we recreate an 88-year-old radio station WREN and we now have like 200,000 listeners worldwide, so I think we’re doing OK. (Deb) So Frank is free. I’m cheap. That’s the bottom line this morning. (Frank) Oh my. (Deb) I’ve got low rates, but Frank is free over here. Of course, if you want to advertise with WREN that is another great, especially with so many people doing business over the internet. That’s a great opportunity too. (Frank) Another thing, at least through the holidays, we’ve got, again, the Beatles memorabilia on our wall in our studio. (Deb) Oh wonderful. (Frank) Over in NOTO. It was very popular a year ago. It was going to be like a one month deal and it turned into four months that it was there. But one of the Beatles collectors is back. And it’s on the wall, so stop in anytime and take a look at this memorabilia. (Deb) Oh that’s a great…oh it’s really cool. Yea, if you go to NOTO, do your Christmas shopping…that’s right then you stop in WREN and see the Beatle memorabilia. We’ll be right back.
(Frank) And we’re back. And I think we’re done with all of our shameless self promotion this morning. (Deb) Now we’re going to shamelessly promote other people. (Frank) Yea. (Deb) And one of the things that we’re going to be talking about for the next few weeks as we lead up to Christmas are Christmas gift ideas. And you know, people have so much stuff, so it’s always a challenge to figure out what to get, especially for guys. Guys are so hard to buy for. I don’t know why. But they’re so hard to buy for. And I belong to a lot of really interesting organizations that give you a lot of opportunities to do cool stuff. So, one of those I want to talk about today is the Order of the Indian Wars. And it sounds like it’s all about fighting, and there is a lot of that. There’s a lot of military history in it. But we get to go on some really cool trips. So, this past fall we were in New Mexico, down around Las Cruces? and did some great day trips with some experts on the Apache Wars and on Pancho Villa and on Billy the Kid. So, it is a really awesome organization. And then every spring they have an event in Denver that’s just a day of talks and just camaraderie. But it brings together people from all over the country with a common interest. And it has some great opportunities and so I just want to share a little bit of what they do with you guys today. (Frank) OK. (Deb) There’s a real joy in the company of folks who share the same passions and obsessions as yourself. That camaraderie is the glue that holds together the Order of the Indian Wars. Layton Hooper, OIW board member, offered his insights. Layton Hooper grew up in Smith Center, Kansas in the 1950s and 60s. While he was surrounded by countryside that was rife with Indian Wars history, it was the television that sparked his imagination. “My friends and I spent our summer days and weekends playing Cowboys and Indians,” said Layton, “it’s how we grew up, so naturally we still have love for western and Indian Wars history.” Layton became fast friends with Indian wars scholar and author Greg Michno after Layton contacted him about one of his books. Then living in Fort Collins, Layton also became acquainted with Mike Koury, the organization’s president. We all belonged to the Fort Collins Westerners. Then I became a member of OIW. “I became interested in Indian Wars history and the Apaches, when I worked in Cochise Stronghold”, added Layton, “as a young man, as a firefighter for the Forest Service.” The OIW was founded to study, in-depth, and share US military history of Indian warfare, whether it was tribes against one another or with emigrant peoples. To that end, the OIW holds two annual events: a symposium in Denver each spring and a trip in the fall. “We also seek to preserve and protect those important sites associated with the this history,” said President Mike Koury, “and to encourage people to become involved in preservation in their own communities.” In 2015, the fall excursion explored points in southern New Mexico related to warfare with the Apache, events with Pancho Villa, and the life of Billy the Kid. Next year the group heads east–to western Pennsylvania to explore sites related to a young George Washington and the French and Indian Wars. Whether it’s Geronimo, Sand Creek, Little Bighorn or lesser known sites or personalities, the OIW jumps headfirst into discovery. The journey is enlightening, respectful, always surprising. The best part though, is the company you have along the way. For more information, visit indianwars.com.
(Frank) And we’re back again. You know we’ve talked about a lot of people in show business in one form or another, either Broadway star or TV soap star or something like that. And there are a lot of them from Kansas. There really are. And a lot of ’em from Topeka. And I recently discovered another one named Fay Tincher. Now, and I don’t know…you know there are Coca-Cola trays and a lot of them are now re-pops. Thing is is Fay is on one of those. (Deb) Isn’t that something? (Frank) And I have seen one of ’em over in NOTO at Finder’s Keepers. He has a lot of Coca-Cola memorabilia. I’ve got to go back over there now and see if he still has that one. But Fay Tincher was a model and she was an actress in silent movies, and anyway, a very interesting story about Fay. (Deb) Beautiful gal. (Frank) 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. In fact, she wasn’t typical at all. A film historian noted that most of her films from this period are lost, we know little of those years when Tincher was at her most powerful as a film producer as well as a comedy star. In front of the camera Fay Tincher had three distinct personae: Ethel, the stenographer, the role that made her a star; a cowgirl; and the housewife, Min Gump. Before taking on the role of Min, her characters were consistently strong, independent women, anticipating something of the uniqueness, confidence, and even dominance of men, with the chutzpah later embodied by Mae West. Like West, Tincher was short, only five feet two, but both commanded the screen despite their size. Unlike West, however, Tincher never pretended to be a sex symbol; she rarely put herself in a romantic situation and rejected conventional beauty. The Milwaukee Journal in 1914 observed that Tincher “persists and revels in making herself look awkward, no makeup…nor does she care how it makes her look provided it accomplishes her purpose—to make people laugh and be happy.” Fay was born to a wealthy Topeka family in 1884. She began appearing in amateur theatre at an early age. From the beginning, she was remarkably savvy about publicity and gained a good deal of notoriety in 1908 when she seemed to be unsure about whether or not she had, on a dare, married a wealthy Connecticut bachelor named Ned Buckley. Stories about this escapade ran in a number of papers, including The World, where in 1908 Tincher is quoted as saying, “Not that Ned would not make a desirable husband for any girl who wished to marry. But I do not want to marry him nor any man”. As far as is known, however, this marriage was a publicity hoax. Tincher never did marry and did not have children. Fay Tincher seems to have struck out on her own when she formed Fay Tincher Productions in 1917, but exactly how many comedies she made is uncertain, and none of these seem to have survived. She seemingly disappeared after her final film appearance in 1930, as talking films changed the industry. Her image is immortalized on a Coca Cola tray. Many of the headlines mentioning Fay during the height of her career were in the social columns: a sister, Elizabeth, committed suicide following the accidental shooting death of her husband; another was married to a Topeka mayor. She died of a heart attack at the age of 99 and is buried on Staten Island in an unmarked grave.
(Ron) Years ago we had a bad fire here on the ranch when our daughter was little. We lost an entire machine shed and it was a traumatic experience for her. I wrote this poem about that day and its titled “You have to Cowboy Up”. Daddy what do we do my little girl said as we stared at the burning remains of our shed. The machine shed on our ranch had just gone up in flames, with the tractors and the trailers and wagons it contained. I looked at my daughter as she cradled her scared pup and said at times like these you have to Cowboy Up. You have to be strong. You have to be tough. You can’t let hard times get you down facing this stuff. When you get bucked off pick yourself up off the ground. And get back up on that horse to try another round. And if life gives you lemons you just can’t be afraid. Turn a negative into a positive and make some lemonade. Yes we’ve lost our old machine shed, but that opens up some space and we’ll be able to rebuild something better in its place. But daddy my daughter said with tear-filled eyes, think of all the work you did on the things inside. Yes, I said, as I thought of what we faced, it is a loss and there are things that just can’t be replaced. But things are still just things. They’re not the people that we love. We still have many blessings thanks to the good Lord up above. So I held my daughter close as I drained my coffee cup and said Be brave my little one, you have to Cowboy Up. Happy Trails.
(Deb) Welcome back and Frank and I are always encouraging you to get out and see the state and there’s so much to see and do of course. And again, following up on a theme of what to get people for Christmas, there are memberships available at the friends’ groups that support a lot of our state and national historic sites. But there’s a few in particular I wanted to share with you today. And the Parks and Tourism asked me to write a blog for them a while back and we’ll share that link for you. They wanted me to name my ten favorite sites and I thought, well that’s the way to make enemies, you know, win friends and influence people. So, what I did was preface what I wrote about by saying if it’s a state site or if it’s a national site, it’s so designated for a good reason. And those are places that you just ought to see. Period. So, with that being said, what’s your favorite state or national site? (Frank) Oh boy… (Deb) What’s one you love to go see? (Frank) Well I think, the Tall Grass Prairie. (Deb) Oh yea. (Frank) I mean it’s a beautiful, beautiful place. It’s been well preserved. And you can go there and just kind of spend a couple hours or you can go there and actually spend a week if you want because of all the hiking and camping trails and all that. And any time of the year is a good time to go there because it changes with the seasons. So, Tall Grass Prairie, I think is…now that’s a national site… (Deb) It’s beautiful. (Frank) It’s a beautiful place. (Deb) It’s beautiful. When my sister came out to visit a few years ago, that’s one of the places I took her to because it so much exemplifies the prairie and that era, when the farmhouse was built there. So that’s a beautiful, beautiful site. Now, one of my favorite state sites is the Pawnee Indian site, in Republic County, because it’s on an actual site of an Indian Village. It’s so unique. It’s one that is sort of off the beaten path So, a lot of people don’t pass it every day. You have to sort of be on your way to get there. But that’s one, everybody’s got to see that one at some point. So, let’s take a look at a few others. The story of Kansas is interpreted through dozens of historic sites around the state. Each tells one piece of the story whether it is westward expansion, the struggle for statehood, or the rich and varied cultures that have called Kansas home. There are four National Park Service sites: Forts Scott and Larned, Brown V Board, and Nicodemus. In addition, the Tallgrass Prairie Natural Preserve celebrates the grassland ecosystem of the Great Plains. Five nationally recognized trails cross Kansas: the Santa Fe (with more miles in Kansas than any other state); the Pony Express; the Oregon; the California; and Lewis and Clark. Signage and sites along the way, in addition to pre-recorded audio tours, are available for the explorer. The Kansas State Historical Society administers several sites including its museum and the newly restored statehouse. They are Constitution Hall in Lecompton, Fort Hays, Grinter Place, Hollenberg Station, Kaw Mission, Shawnee Indian Mission, Pawnee Indian Museum, Red Rocks, Home of William Allen White, and Mine Creek Battlefield. Self-guided sites are Iowa and Sac & Fox Mission, Pawnee Rocks, and Marais des Cygnes Massacre site. Partner sites are Cottonwood Ranch, the First Territorial Capital, Goodnow House, and the John Brown Museum. Merely listing these names gives you an idea of the variety of eras and stories represented at each of these places. Many of them have Friends Organizations and gift shops. Support those with your dollars. Take the kids. Take the grandkids. Pick up a National Park Service passport and encourage your family to begin collecting the stamps from across the nation, Kansas first. Often, we plan trips to experience something new when we haven’t even experienced what we have here at home. Click your heels and repeat, There’s no better history than in Kansas, There’s no better history than in Kansas, There’s no better history than in Kansas!
(Frank) Gee, we’re out of time again. So well, I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m still 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.