By Norris Chambers

            I guess I have been fortunate to have known several men who made their marks in various fields and are remembered for it. The closest little town to our country home was called Cross Cut. That is where Clifton and I graduated from the Cross Cut High School in 1935. For those who would like to know more about this colorful little town that blossomed and had its day in the sun and eventually became a virtual ghost town, this website will get you started. www.norrisc.com/crosscut.

            Clifton ’s mother was a first cousin of Glenn Strange. The Strange family was among the early pioneers who settled in the community. The McPeters family was also one of the early families to settle down around Cross Cut. Curtis McPeters was also a cousin of Clifton ’s. Glenn and Curtis were much older than Clifton and me. In the late 1920’s they decided to go west and seek their fortunes.

            Glenn and Curtis were good musicians and were available to play for the area dances and community programs. As I recall, they were both good singers. Glenn usually played the fiddle and Curtis the guitar. Many hated to see them leave because they would miss the music. Every community needs good musicians. Others would miss them as ball players and just plain good friends.

            We heard from them a few times from the kin who received letters. It seems they got as far west a New Mexico where they played in a band. The band traveled on west to Hollywood where its music was used in western movies for dances, celebrations and other festive occasions. Both Glenn and Curtis began appearing in movies and we saw many of them in the area theaters. Glenn is probably best known for his many years as Sam, the bartender, on Gunsmoke. Curtis was listed under various names. Probably “Cactus Mack” was best known. There are hundreds of blogs and sites on the Internet detailing the movies they were in.

            I remember when Glenn and Curtis returned to Cross Cut and presented a free performance at the high school. I heard the song “When the Bloom is on the Sage” for the first time that night.

            Clifton and I visited Glenn in Los Angeles when were stationed on Catalina Island . After I was sent to New York Clifton visited him two more times.

            Cross Cut also produced Robert E. Howard, a fantasy writer of the late 20s and early 30s. Robert is remembered for the creation of Conan and his western and fight stories. The Howards were good friends of our family and we saw them often. In another tale I told how I typed stories for Robert and other writers when I was in high school. Robert E. Howard is also well represented on the Internet.

            After graduating from high school and a trade school in Fort Worth I was fortunate enough to work for W. Lee O’Daniel who gained fame by organizing the Lightcrust Doughboys and writing several very popular songs during the thirties. These included Beautiful Texas , Million Dollar Smile, Put Me in You Pocket as well as several well known theme songs. While working for O’Daniel I was associated with several musicians who are still well known today.        W. Lee O’Daniel was performing 8 programs a day on this station along with recorded programs on stations in Texas and Oklahoma . He was later elected Governor of Texas for two terms and was a Senator from Texas for several years.

            While working in Mexico I became acquainted with Lonnie Glosson, a nationally famous harmonica player (also well defined on the Internet) who sold harmonicas and lessons over the powerful radio station in Piedras Negras, across the river from Eagle Pass. I had the pleasure of introducing Lonnie Glosson on stage at a bluegrass festival in Perrin , Texas in the 1980s. W. Lee O’Daniel was performing 8 programs a day on this station along with recorded programs on stations in Texas and Oklahoma . He was later elected Governor of Texas for two terms and was a Senator from Texas for several years.

            After I retired in 1974 I became acquainted with one of the top showmen of the century – Bill Camfield, known to many as Icky Twerp. Some of you youngsters will probably remember his kid show on Channel 11, Slam Bang Theater.  Bill was a friend of our family and visited us on many occasions. He was an early columnist for Startext, a computer bulletin board introduced by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and a forerunner of the Internet. He inspired me to begin my series on “Making Money at Home for Fun” on Startext.

Ella and I were invited to a wake for his cat. It was an unusual and interesting party with several well known TV entertainers in attendance. The poor cat was properly directed to “Cat Heaven”.  Bill left Fort Worth and appeared in several movies but returned and worked for a TV network until his death. Bill Camfield is well documented by Google! You can see many movie clips of Icky Twerp on www.youtube.com.

In conclusion, the Old Timer has this advice for you kids – Stay young, have fun and keep plugging!”