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Tulsa Terrors

Thanks to RSU TV – northeastern Oklahoma’s public-television station – and its senior producer-director, Bryan Crain, I was recently able to co-produce and direct a documentary that I’ve been itching to do for a long time. Called Tulsa Terrors, it’s all about the direct-to-home-video horror-movie boom of the mid-1980s and how it was ignited right in T-town. I was...

Going Back to T-Town

Author Carmen Fields prefaces Going Back to T-Town, a fine new book about her Tulsa-based band leading father, Ernie Fields, with lyrics from a well-known song written by another musical Oklahoman, Elk City native Jimmy Webb. The lines, from the Webb composition “Didn’t We,” are all about trying and not quite succeeding, ending with the question, “Didn’t we almost...

Understanding Film Noir

For eight years now, I’ve been writing, co-producing and co-hosting a television show called Film Noir Theatre. From the beginning, it’s aired on RSU TV, Channel 35 – northeastern Oklahoma’s public-television station, headquartered on the Rogers State University campus in Claremore. For the first two seasons, RSU TV’s then-program manager, Jennifer Sterling, was on the air with me. When...

The Last Ten Years

Like a lot of other people, I watched as the last years of Jack Friedman’s life cascaded out over the Internet, rendered in dialogue-driven vignettes written by Jack’s son (and my good friend) Barry Friedman, the Tulsa-based stand-up comedian and author. Like most stage comics, Barry is used to telling stories from his own experiences to get laughs, and...

The Legacy of Scout Younger

“One hundred years ago,” says Harvey Shell, “most everyone in Tulsa would’ve known Scout Younger’s name. Now, no one does.”  Shell, along with fellow historian Stephen McCartney, are out to change that, hoping to bring a new round of recognition to a man they say was not only a pioneering Oklahoma filmmaker, but a consummate showman and trick rider who,...

It’s Great to be Back

It’s hard for both Brian Parton and me to believe that the last time I interviewed him for a story was more than a quarter of a century ago. That was in 1996, when I was on the back side of my 23-year stint as an entertainment writer for the Tulsa World, and he was on the rise as...

The Leavening Power of Humor

Vida and Daniel Schuman, Oklahoma Magazine’s publisher and president/editorial director, respectively, have graciously allowed my writing to occupy this space for well over 15 years now. And while that’s maybe been more of a blessing to me than it’s been to readers, I remain deeply grateful to have this platform to, among other things, celebrate some of the people...

Red Dirt Developments

More than 30 years after it first began rising out of the Oklahoma clay, in and around a funky, old two-story farmhouse outside of Stillwater, the music that came to be known as Red Dirt continues to win fans and influence performers worldwide. Here are a couple of recent developments involving the genre:  First came the news that Cody Canada...

A Tribute to Blackwell

Tulsa drummer and songwriter Chuck Blackwell began etching his name into pop culture history some 60 years ago, as one of the original guys who headed west from T-Town to enrich the southern California music scene with his locally honed talents. Over the next couple of decades, Blackwell would show up in a variety of key places, from the...