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Category Archives: entertainers

Ray Price

Ray-Price_cmhof

(Image credit: Country Music Hall of Fame)

Born outside Perryville, Texas on January 12, 1926, Ray Price became one of the best known country singers of his era.  His parents were Walter Clifton and Clara Mae Bradley Price.  There were no other known children born to this union.  His parents divorced when he was only three years old, with his father remaining on the Wood County farm and his mother moving to Dallas and remarrying Dominic Cimini.  Ray spent time with both families at various times, mostly in Dallas where he graduated from Dallas Adamson.  Until World War II, Price attended North Texas Agricultural College (NTAC), formerly known as Arlington College and now known as University of Texas at Arlington.  He lied about his age and at 17, one year early, Ray enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1944, serving served in the Pacific until 1946.

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Posted by on January 24, 2019 in biography, entertainers

 

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William Orville “Lefty” Frizzell

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(Image credit: Country Music Hall of Fame)

Lefty Frizzell was born in Corsicana, Texas in 1928 to Naaman Orville and Ades D. Cox Frizzell.  His father was an oilfield worker who followed the drilling rigs.  Lefty was the oldest of eight children and his family moved around as the oil exploration business required.  There are several explanations of how he came by the nickname of Lefty.  The one seeming told most often (and perhaps a legend) was that his classmates began calling him this after a schoolyard fight.  He was called Sonny when he was growing up, but he was left handed, which is possibly also the source of his nickname.

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Posted by on November 15, 2018 in biography, entertainers

 

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Dan Blocker

Dan Blocker was well known as an actor on the long running series, Bonanza.  He was born Bobby Dan Davis Blocker to Ora and Mary Davis Blocker in DeKalb, Texas in 1928.  He weighed 14 pounds at birth and is still believed to be the largest baby ever born in Bowie County, Texas.  After suffering the effects of the Great Depression, in 1934, the family moved to O’Donnell in West Texas, where his father ran a mercantile store.

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Posted by on June 28, 2018 in biography, entertainers

 

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The Goree Girls

On Sunday, October 23, 1960, the Texas Prison Rodeo performance in Huntsville was slated to have a personal appearance by actor John Wayne, in Texas to promote the release of his film “The Alamo” in Houston the following week.  Scheduled to appear with Wayne was pop singer Frankie Avalon, who had been cast as the character known as “Smitty” in the film.  Wayne’s production was only the fourth of fifty-one film or television projects that Avalon appeared in, but he was at a peak of his career in pop music.  The previous year, his recording “Venus” was Number 1 for five weeks.  Between 1958 and 1962 between two and three dozen of his recordings hit the Billboard chart.  The rodeo arena was expected to be filled to capacity at around 30,000.

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Tex Ritter

Woodward Maurice “Tex” Ritter was born on January 12, 1905 to James Everett and Elizabeth Matthews Ritter of Murvaul, Texas, in Panola County about 10 miles south of Carthage.  He was the youngest of about nine children.  His first name is sometimes spelled “Woodard” but in one account it is related that he was named for Dr. S. A. Woodward, the doctor who delivered him.  Tex was the grandson of Benjamin Franklin Ritter, who had been brought to Texas as a baby in the early to mid 1830s from Tennessee.

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Posted by on April 26, 2018 in biography, entertainers

 

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Cyd Charisse (Tula Finklea)

Cyd Charisse was born Tula Ellice Finklea in Amarillo, Potter County, Texas on March 8, 1921 to Ernest Enos and Lela Norwood Finklea.  Ernest was a well known Amarillo jeweler of French descent, though he was born in Texas.  Ernest was the proprietor of E. E. Finklea Jewelers at 410 South Polk Street in downtown Amarillo.  Finklea’s billed itself as “The Jewelry Store of the Panhandle.”  The name Cyd is a respelling of the nickname her brother gave her when he could not pronounce “sister” and she adopted it as her stage name.  The last name Charisse was actually her married name.

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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in biography, entertainers, texas women

 

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Mary Martin

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(Image credit: Playbill)

An eight foot tall bronze statue of Peter Pan was dedicated to Mary Martin on July 4, 1976 and is located on the south side of the Weatherford Public Library at 1014 Charles Street, near Soldier Spring Park in Weatherford, Texas.  It was dedicated as part of Weatherford’s American Bicentennial celebration.  Martin was depicted in a pose as Peter Pan, her 1954 Broadway character.  An earlier stylized statue of Peter Pan was dedicated in her honor in Weatherford’s Cherry Park recreation area, 300 S. Alamo Street, not far from her childhood home.

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Posted by on January 4, 2018 in biography, entertainers, texas women

 

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