Gentlemen in the White Hats: The KMBC-CBS Texas Rangers
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Starting in the 1920s through the late 1950s, Kansas City-based broadcasting pioneer Arthur B. Church produced a broad range of syndicated radio programs including Phenomenon, The Brush Creek Follies and the Texas Rangers. The Texas Rangers were a particularly successful franchise, heard on over 100 of the 116 CBS affiliate stations. The eight-man choir played twenty different instruments between them, while garbed in western wear, topped, of course, with classic white hats. Their ability to traverse successfully between hymns, cowboy songs, novelty, and western swing demonstrates their incredible range as musicians both on their own show and on The Brush Creek Follies. Moreover, they displayed their acting skills in Night Time on the Trail and Life on Red Horse Ranch, broadcasts offering “thrills of the old west” that mixed drama, romance, comedy, and music. Skilled as they were, their formidable talents remain in relative obscurity. As part of an NEH-funded grant project, the University of Missouri--Kansas City University Libraries is bringing the Texas Rangers and their posse back to light! By providing bibliographic access and digital preservation to a collection of transcription discs, lacquer discs, and negative metal stampers that comprise the KMBC collection, radio aficionados will once again be able to delight in the antics of the Rangers. This session will provide an introduction to the KMBC-CBS Texas Rangers, and will feature both musical renditions and dramatic interpretations by these versatile performers.