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©2017 Tex Fletcher Archive

Webmeister George A. Fletcher

ON THE AIR

 

WNAX

Early press mentions that Tex Fletcher sang his first on-the-air cowboy songs over WNAX in Yankton, SD in the late 1920s. It was also confirmed by the widow of a man who knew Tex when he was still Jerry, however, there is no air date information 

 

WFAS

Sometime around 1932, Fletcher was hired by station WFAS in White Plains, NY singing cowboy songs before the microphone. This comes as no surprise when you consider that young children flocked to the screen every weekend to watch Bob Steele, Buck Jones, Hoot Gibson and others wrestle cattle rustlers, and radio stations across the country knew that cowboy songs were popular. Often used as fillers for time slots that could not be sold to local advertisers, Fletcher's time slot bounced back and forth throughout the months he worked at WFAS.

WMCA

According to radio historian Jack French,

Tex Fletcher's early 1930s return to his native state of New York was as quite a different fellow from the boy, Jerry Bisceglia who jumped on that circus train just a few years before. An early gig that can be confirmed was as a member of Rex Cole's Mountaineers (Photo top right).

But handwritten notes faintly penciled onto the back of a very old photo of my dad with what I always mis read as "Emerson's Mountaineers" actually read: "Rex Cole's Mountaineers, later Emerson's Mountaineers."

This is the only reference to these two groups being related in any way that I have ever seen.

A recently unearthed news clipping and the The Rex Cole Mountaineers Wikipedia page both put Tex Fletcher as a member of the hillbilly act in 1933 and 1934, the period following the departure of founding members Arthur Fields and Fred Hall. This second group made no recordings, and their last broadcasts came in mid-1934. They continued to play smaller venues in the city for another year or so, and then disappear from the record.

WOR/Mutual Broadcasting System

In late 1932 or early 1933, Fletcher went solo and made the move to New Jersey and became the "Cowboy Answer Man" over WOR for a short period. Executives at the Mutual Broadcasting Company offered Fletcher better prospects, and shortly before the Christmas holiday in 1933, the cowboy began what would become a lucrative and profitable career spanning 3 decades at WOR, the New York City flagship station for Mutual. In the same manner as White Plains, Fletcher's time slot jumped around and recent findings have unearthed a number of weekly time slots for which Fletcher performed behind the microphone. For the convenience and ease of documentation, his appearances over WOR have been listed below under each respective day of the week. Tex Fletcher's radio tenure at WOR/MUTUAL included voiceover work and also some dramatic acting. He was seen regularly on WWOR, WNBC and WPIX TV from 1949 through 1956, the year he moved his wagon train to South Dakota and broadcast over both radio on KDSJ in Deadwood and TV on KOTA Rapid City for several years before leaving broadcasting for good.

 

 

Monday

June 11, 1934 to July 30, 1934, 9:30 to 9:45 p.m.
April 27, 1936 to June 8, 1936, 9:00 to 9:15 a.m.
June 15, 1936 to July 1 3, 1936, 8:45 to 9:00 a.m.
Sept 7, 1936 and Sept 14, 1936, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Aug 23, 1937 to Sept 27, 1937, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Nov 22, 1937 to Dec 27, 1937, 8:20 to 8:30 a.m.
Jan 3, 1938 to Feb 7, 1938, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Feb 14, 1938 to June 6, 1938, 8:30 to 8:45 a.m.
June 13, 1938, 11:45 a.m. to 12 noon
June 20, 1938 & June 27, 1938, 10:15 to 10:30 a.m.
July 4, 1938 to Sept 5, 1938, 10:30 to 10:45 a.m.
Sept 19, 1938 to Dec 5, 1938, 9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
Dec 26, 1938 to Jan 2, 1939, 11:00 to 11:15 a.m.


Tuesday

Feb 27,1934 to Mar 27,1934,9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
April 3, 1934 to July 24, 1934,5:45 to 6:00 p.m.
April 9, 1 935 to May 21 , 1935, 9: 1 5 to 9:30 a.m.
June 4,1935 & June 11 ,1935,9:15 to 9:30 a.m.
June 18, 1935 to Sept 3, 1935, 10:00 to 10:15 a.m.
Sept 10,1935 to Oct 15,1935,11:30 to 11:45 a.m.
July 1 4, 1936 to Sept 1 , 1 936,8:45 to 9:00 a.m.
Sept 15, 1936 and Sept 22, 1936, 9:15 to 9:30 a.m.
March 2, 1937 to March 9, 1937, 9:00 to 9:15 a.m.
March 16, 1937 to July 20, 1937, 8:45 to 9:00 a.m.
July 27, 1937 to Aug 10, 1937, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Sept 21, 1937 to Oct 5, 1937, 9:45 to 1 0:00 a.m.
October 26, 1937 ,9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
November 2, 1937, 9:15 to 9:30 a.m.
Nov 9,1937 to Dec 28,1937, 9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
Jan 4,1938 to Nov 29,1938, 8:05 to 8:20 a.m.

Wednesday

Mar 20,1935 & Mar 27,1935, 12:15 to 12:30 p.m.
Dec 4,1935 to Dec 18,1935, 11:45 a.m. to 12 noon
Jan 8, 1936 to March 11, 1936, 11:45 a.m. to 12 noon
April 29, 1936 to June 3, 1936, 9:00 to 9:15 a.m.
June 17, 1936 to July 15,1936, 8:45 to 9:00 a.m.
Jan 5, 1938 to Feb 2, 1938, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
February 9, 1938, 8:30 to 8:45 a.m.
Mar 2, 1938 to July 27, 1938, 8:30 to 8:45 a.m.
Aug 3,1937 to Sept 7, 1938, 9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
Sept 21, 1938 to Nov 2, 1938, 9:00 to 9:15 a.m.

Thursday

Nov 23,1933 to Jan 18, 1934, 9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
April 11, 1935 to August 1, 1935, 9:15 to 9:30 a.m.
Nov 7,1935 to Mar 5, 1936, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
June 4, 1936, 12:45 to 1:00 p.m.
July 23, 1936 to Dec 24, 1936, 8:45 to 9:00 a.m.
May 6,1937 & May 13, 1937, 9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
May 20, 1937 to July 22, 1937, 8:45 to 9:00 a.m.
July 29, 1937 to August 12, 1937, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Nov 11, 1937 to Dec 30, 1937, 9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
Jan 6,1938 to Sept 28,1939, 8:05 to 8:20 a.m.
October 5, 1939, 8:05 to 8:15 a.m.

Friday

December 1, 1933, 10:15 to 10:30 a.m.
Sept 13, 1935 to Oct 18,1935, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Oc 2, 1936 to Dec 25, 1936, 9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
July 17, 1936 to Sept 4, 1936, 8:45 to 9:00 a.m.
September 25, 1936, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
March 19, 1937 to April 23, 1937, 8:45 to 9:00 a.m.
Dec 3,1937 to Jan 7,1938, 8:20 to 8:30 a.m.
Jan 14, 1938 to Feb 4,1938, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Jan 11, 1938 to Mar 4, 1938, 8:30 to 8:45 a.m.
Mar 11, 1938 to Mar 25, 1938 ,9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
April 1,1938 to May 20,1938, 10:15 to 10:30 a.m.
May 27,1938, 9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
June 3, 1938 & June 10, 1938, 10:30 to 10:45 a.m.
Oct 14, 1938 to Dec 9,1938, 9:45 to 10:00 a.m.

Saturday

Jan 13, 1934 to April 20, 1935, 9:45 to 10:00 a.m.
April 27, 1935, 8:30 to 8:45 am. (originally scheduled
for 9:45, but changed days before broadcast)
June 29,1935 to August 31,1935,12:30 to 12:45 p.m.
Sept 21,1935 to Sept 28, 1935,12 noon to 12:15 p.m.
Dec 7, 1935 to Dec 21,1935, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Jan 4,1936 to Jan 18, 1936, 1:00 to 1:15 p.m.
January 25, 1936, 1:05 to 1:30 p.m.
Feb 1,1936 to March 7,1936, 1:15 to 1:30 p.m.
Mar 14, 1936 to Mar 21, 1936, 1:00 to 1:15p.m.
Mar 28, 1936 to April 4, 1936, 1:45 to 2:00 p.m.
April 18, 1936, 1:15 to 1 :30 p.m.
May 9,1936 to May 16,1936,1:15 to 1:30 p.m.
May 30, 1936, 11:30 to 11:45 a.m.
June 13, 1936, 10:00 to 10:15 a.m.
June 20, 1936 & June 27, 1936, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Sept 12,1936 to July 10,1937, 10:00 to 10:15 a.m.
July 24,1937 to Dec 25,1937, 9:30 to 9:45 a.m.
Jan 8,1938 to Jan 21,1939, 8:05 to 8:20 a.m.
Dec 22, 1945 to Mar 30,1946, 11:15 to 11:30 a.m.

Sunday

June 1,1941, 8:15 to 8:30 a.m.
May 5,1946 to February 23,1947, 8:15 to 8:30 a.m.


Tex Fletcher's radio career was abruptly put on hold for WWII in 1941, not returning to the radio microphone until 1945. It should also be mentioned (courtesy of baseball aficionado) Ken Stockinger, that there is a strong "possibility" that Tex Fletcher also supplied unscheduled filler for WOR when Brooklyn Dodgers games were temporarily pre-empted due to rain and other factors.

  


Other Radio Broadcasts

All radio appearances listed below were broadcast over the Mutual Broadcasting System,

October 20, 1945, 2:00 to 2:45 p.m.

"Air-Breaks: Welcome Home Auditions Anniversary"


December 22, 1947, 3:45 to 4:05 p.m. "Special Christmas
Fund Party" for the benefit of hospitalized children.
Broadcast via pre-recorded transcription, this special
featured such guests as New York Mayor William
O'Dwyer, Robin Morgan, Don Carney, Commissioner
Edward Bernecker (Commissioner of Hospitals of New
York City) and Tex Fletcher

 

September 3, 1951 to December 28, 1951, 5:55 to 6:00 p.m."Songs of the B-Bar-B" A series of five-minute musical entertainment was

broadcast three or four times a week (varied week by week), Monday through Friday, as fillers between programming. Sponsored by Cliclets
Gum. The format is Tex or Bobby Benson singing a song, then actor Don Knotts (as Windy Wales) tells a funny tale, followed by Tex or Bobby singing the last song and then "fade to commercial."


November 11, 1951 to August 3, 1952, 4:55 to 5 :00 p.m.
"Songs of the B-Bar-B" Same as the above, this five-minute musical entertainment was broadcast once-a-week on Sunday afternoon,
as filler between scheduled programming. Five episodes from 1952,  February 3, March 23, May 25, June 1 and June 22, exist in recorded form.
Note about the two entries above: Herb Rice (owner of the Bobby Benson character and V.P. of Operations
at Mutual at that time) sent Tex Fletcher on the road several times for personal appearances with actors Clive Rice and Don Knotts.

Knotts mentioned these personal appearance tours in his autobiography, and it was apparent that he hated them. This included the 1953 and 1954 national championship rodeos in New York's Madison Square Garden. The radio show lasted to mid-1955, totaling over 350 episodes.

The Bobby Benson show transitioned to television in the mid-1950s with Clive Rice, also at the Channel 9 Studios. The set, adjacent to that of "The Merry Mailman" was a tiny bunkhouse. The cast consisted of only three people: Clive, Tex Fletcher  and a comedian named Paul Brown. The show was sponsored by Wilrich's Grape Drink. Besides the radio and TV duties, Clive was kept busy touring the country with Mary Jane Williams. They literally went coast to coast promoting the series and related "Cowboy Kid" merchandise.


September 22, 1951 "Heroes of the West" was a documentary series produced by Mutual. This particular episode, the fourth and final episode of the series, was titled "Old Timer" and Jim Boles was featured in the title role. Bobby Benson and Tex Fletcher were heard on the program. Broadcast dates vary depending on what part of the country you lived in.

 

Possible date: December 14, 1951 "Bands for Bonds"

Tex Fletcher made appearances on more than one episode

of this radio program, syndicated by the U.S.Treasury

Department. The series was heard as late as1956 over

specific stations.

Six-Gun Rhythm, like hundreds of obscure motion pictures during that decade, has the distinction of a strong radio connection. During the opening credits, Fletcher sings "Lonesome Cowboy," the trademarked song featured prominently on his radio broadcasts. I'd also like to take the time to clear up a small mis-conception. There was another singer who billed himself as "The Lonesome Cowboy," John I. White, on the NBC series, Death Valley Days, from 1929 to 1936. White performed under a number of pseudonyms including "The Lone Star Cowboy," "The Old Sexton," "Whitey Johns,"
"Jimmie Price" and "Frank Ranger." If you come across information about "The Lonesome Cowboy," please make sure you clarify which singer is specifically being referenced.

Texfletcher.com in the mid '50s though early 1961, Tex Fletcher moved his family to his adopted home state of South Dakota and broadcast on both radio (KDSJ in Deadwood. SD) and TV (Rapid City, SD ). We are still searching for details on his South Dakota radio and TV work.
Texfletcher.com: John I. White was a friend of Tex Fletcher and was also an accomplished photographer who is credited with a number of photographs taken early in Fletcher’s career. (Utah State University. Libraries. Special Collections and Archives).
Texfletcher.com: It has been erroneously listed on the internet Movie Data Base IMDB  that he also made a film appearance with Tom Emerson’s Mountaineers in 1938 in the short subject musical film, “Down on the Barn.” Texfletcher.com acquired a rare copy of Down on the Barn and sadly, Tex Fletcher is nowhere to be found!

We gratefully acknowledge research results and biographical information kindly provided by Jack French and  Martin Grams  

Incomplete WOR/Mutual radio air dates

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