Another Affliction……………..#111 (the 60’s)

Kennedy Dallas Motorcade

Kennedy Dallas Motorcade

.  It was 12:30 p.m. November 22, 1963,  the television was channeled to WKY in Oklahoma City awaiting the Tom Paxton Show to begin, today’s guest,  the renown piano duo Ferrante and Teicher.   Gary was attentive as Tom Paxton started his opening,  but coming into view walking towards Tom with his back to the camera was Ernie Shultz the stations news director.   Turning, facing the camera, a hesitant voice making an announcement,   “We have just received a call from our Dallas affiliate,  President Kennedy has been shot, the network will be interrupting momentarily.”
.  Gary’s first reaction was one of  unwarranted disbelief but then the network broke in.  The tragic event of President Kennedy’s death traumatized the nation,  the impact of his death would not only affect the national scene, but the personal one too.  Gary’s  immediate concern was the effect this grievous event was having on his wife who was visiting his parents,  Kaye having flown to California earlier in the week with their  four-month old son Scott.   A California phone call confirming the turn of events  was affecting the normative of the elder Willson residence, one that wasn’t a to pleasant to begin with as Kaye wasn’t accustomed to the proclivity of Gary’s family.  Gary suggestion that it would be best to fulfill her round trip reservation rather than the hassele contingency of an early return.  With her arrival Gary’s wife not looking forward to returning to work, aware of the prospect of despondent co-workers at the Federal Aviation Agency.  Besides the national tragedy another affliction had come to fruition,  the federal government inaugurated a thirty-day moratorium on all  celebrating events including live entertainment at all military installations.   The proclamation having an immediate effect on the band, the moratorium depriving the Untouchables of several crucial military base engagements.  Gary recognizing the detriment, an arduous  struggle to find alternative bookings  on such a short notice would have to commence immediately.
.  The sudden demise of scheduled bookings finding Gary on the phone reaching out for booking opportunities,  the initiative providing results not only from Oklahoma City  but engagements from outlying  clubs in Harrah,  Seminole and even the Midwest City Country Club, the financial situation  not up to military standards but satisfactory.  Gary receiving an unexpected call from the owner of a club in Seminole, an oil boom town of 25000 in the 1920’s but now a rural community of five thousand.   The Untouchables fulfilling a weekend booking,  venturing the one hour drive southeast to the family owned Iwana club. The clientel resembling that of a VFW or AmVets club,  middle-aged community folk, the band  targeting a variety of old  40’s standards   a flavoring of country western and pop hits from the 50’s including  rock n roll to an appreciative crowd.  The Untouchables with their piano, bass, guitar, two tenor, alto sax and clarinet variations of  sound providing a music arrangement change from the monolithic sound  of the guitars, drums and bass groups that normally inhibited the nightspots bandstand.

Greeting a new friend

Greeting a new friend

Hammond F100 Extravoice

Hammond F100 Extravoice

.  The pianist road weary Wurlitzer 112# model electric piano was succumbing to primordial demise,  the internal action having attained a halting deposition, the Pianist discovering his the friend was tired.   Gary was cognizant of a Wurlitzer dealership  on N.W. 23rd,  less than a block from the larger Hammond Organ Studios and acquainted with Larry Flowers who’s  family owned the Hammond Organ Oklahoma City franchised.   Gary conversing with Larry inquiring if he might be able to accomplish a Wurlitzer but to no avail,  Larry mentioning a fairly new Hammond product that was on the market called The F100 Extravoice.   The single keyboard 52 key appliance with a one octave bass pedal  administered the ability to incorporate the sound of other instruments, but contradictory to a normal organ which proclaimed musical instrument impersonations, this reproduction of instrumentation was similar to a synthesizer.  Larry affording the Hammond to Gary on a trial without assumption and if not captured by its performance,  just return it.  The Extra Voice was put on trail with the band and it was  discovered the Hammond offspring was dismal substitute for the wurlitzer, but in all fairness Gary wasn’t an organist. Feeling somewhat apologetic when returning it, especially knowing that in all probability he would purchase a new Wurlitzer from Larry’s down the street competition.  As in the past the first alteration Gary performed on his recently acquired Wurlitzer  #120 was to remove the sustain bar from the lower two octaves to allow it to  perform simultaneously as a keyboard bass and a sustainable piano  something he rendered to his previous Wurlitzer.

Welcome to Sheppard Air Force Wichita Falls Tx.

Welcome to Sheppard Air Force Base  Wichita Falls Tx.

.  With the year coming to close,  the future once again looking promising with  the return of principal military installations at Tinker, Vance, Ft. Sill, Shepard,  the ten-hour excursion  to the West Texas  array af Abilene, Big Springs ,San Angelo, including the Texas Towns towns of Wichita Falls, Midland and Odessa.    A New Years Eve booking was traditionally the “il numero uno” night of the year,  a band compensated three times the normal booking fee for this festive occasion,  The Untouchables having booked  the prestigious Midwest City Country Club,  the patrons all nonpareil in their  attire,  the tables lavished with hor ‘d vor’s,  the band welcomed to partake of the surroundings.   Upon conclusion of the nights musical interlude,  Gary accepting the gratuity for the bands labor, the clubs management paying in cash as was the accepted means of transaction,  unlike the Military Bases who paid by government issue check,  but willing to  cash it.  The club requiring  no documentation or  signature of acceptance,  Gary always suspicious that the declared amount of the bands fee was amplified by the club for tax write-off purposes.   Gary recalling the statement “nothing ventured,  nothing gained”  the band gladly accepting the undocumented  cash donation for its labor.

ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Read more at

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

.  The assassination of President Kennedy having a grievous effect on the nation,  Gary like many other young adults struggling with an introduction to the political arena discovering the paladin of leadership abruptly removed  having the door of their  acknowledgement slammed shut.  Overcoming the thirty-day moratorium on federally sponsored entertainment was of little consequence compared to overcoming the  political vacuum left by John F Kennedy,  concluding that adversity breeds character.






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