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I attended this school around 1949-1951. It was in a separate building on the periphery of the main University of Houston campus. Our productions were presented in the Cullen Auditorium, very big deal for little kids. My first big play was "Pinocchio" and starred Robert Foxworth, the one among us who acquired actual success in show biz. Yes, I had a mad crush on him at the time, he didn't know I existed.

Our leader, director, teacher was an exotic woman named Kiki Gray, whom we adored. Her husband, Charles Gray was guest Director at the original Alley Theatre (in the round) and went on to become one of the earliest Station Managers at Channel 2. He gave my mother and I tickets to all the Alley dress rehearsals, which was thrilling and later gave us a private tour of the new KPRC-TV building on Post Oak.

A long shot, but has anyone here heard of this or possibly attended?

Shouldn't mix things up, but old Frontier Fiesta just came to mind. Anyone frolicking there around 1953-54? My cousin, 6 years older, was a Frosh in '53 and the whole family went. I think his parents were a little shocked at how bawdy it all was, but we kids loved it. Kenny Rogers headlined one of the shows, though he was still locally known only at the time. Quality stuff and ultimate fun.

Okay, so I'll lump all the show business in one post. How about the Larry Hovis Trio? Although he went on to fame in Hogan's Heroes, I'll always remember the super performances of his musical group at civic events and cocktail lounges through early 1960's.

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Shouldn't mix things up, but old Frontier Fiesta just came to mind. Anyone frolicking there around 1953-54? My cousin, 6 years older, was a Frosh in '53 and the whole family went. I think his parents were a little shocked at how bawdy it all was, but we kids loved it. Kenny Rogers headlined one of the shows, though he was still locally known only at the time. Quality stuff and ultimate fun.

Okay, so I'll lump all the show business in one post. How about the Larry Hovis Trio? Although he went on to fame in Hogan's Heroes, I'll always remember the super performances of his musical group at civic events and cocktail lounges through early 1960's.

I went to just about all the Frontier Fiesta shows in that time-frame. Loved it! Knew some of the kids who performed there. Some of the more famous were Tommy Sands and Paula Ragusa (who later became Paula Prentiss). They were comtemporaries of mine at Lamar HS. Robert Foxworth also went to Lamar, but he was several years behind me. I don't remember Kenny Rogers performing at the FF, when I was going, but I did see him around town, when he started out with The Bobby Doyle Trio and, later, with his group, The First Edition.

Speaking of the "Larry Hovis Trio", I remember Larry as a member of a group from Reagan High called The Four Spades. They were a big hit playing at the Frontier Fiesta and at school proms around town. Happen to have a picture of them from about 1953. Of course, you know which one is Larry.

FourSpades-1953.jpg

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I went to just about all the Frontier Fiesta shows in that time-frame. Loved it! Knew some of the kids who performed there. Some of the more famous were Tommy Sands and Paula Ragusa (who later became Paula Prentiss). They were comtemporaries of mine at Lamar HS. Robert Foxworth also went to Lamar, but he was several years behind me. I don't remember Kenny Rogers performing at the FF, when I was going, but I did see him around town, when he started out with The Bobby Doyle Trio and, later, with his group, The First Edition.

Speaking of the "Larry Hovis Trio", I remember Larry as a member of a group from Reagan High called The Four Spades. They were a big hit playing at the Frontier Fiesta and at school proms around town. Happen to have a picture of them from about 1953. Of course, you know which one is Larry.

FourSpades-1953.jpg

You may or may not know that Larry Hovis died of cancer three years ago. After retiring from "actively" chasing work in show business, Larry settled down and got a real job. He taught drama at Southwest Texas State University -- now Texas State University -- in San Marcos for the final ten or fifteen years of his life. A pity. He was one of the most talented and versatile people Houston has ever seen.

Everybody knows what happened to Kenny Rogers, (especially that goofy looking godawful plastic surgery) but does anybody know whatever happened to Bobby Doyle? Or Joyce Webb, who sang and played with Doyle for a long time. They were enormously talented people in their time too.

I've read that Tommy Sands now lives in Hawaii, where he owns a clothing store.

Edited by FilioScotia
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The synapses are sizzling now! Didn't Bobby Doyle and Joyce Webb appear on a late night local show on Friday or Saturday nights on television for a while? I remember them well.

The U of H cousin I spoke of actually dated Paula Ragusa when they were at Lamar. Bobby Foxworth and I were both born in 1941, I used to have Tommy Sands autograph on his first record, a 45.

Hey, no one has mentioned Tommy Tune! He was amazing even at age 16. Already that tall and on Saturdays over at Blanton Memorial Club House behind Lamar was always singing and dancing. He was in another cousin's class at school. I could not dance with him, too embarrassing. I am 5'2" and that put my eye level at about his belt buckle, you can array the rest on your own. I was 14 and never danced with or even dated tall guys after that experience.

Really appreciate the photo of Larry in the old days, I knew he had died, but not about the teaching. Does this song ring a bell? "Cigareets and whiskey and wild, wild women; they'll drive you crazy, they'll drive you insane." Sung in a very twangy, hick manner, Larry would look goofy and cross his eyes on the second line.

Lovin' this guys, I am so happy I found this place.

Sandy

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Everybody knows what happened to Kenny Rogers, (especially that goofy looking godawful plastic surgery) but does anybody know whatever happened to Bobby Doyle?

I read in the Austin paper a couple of weeks ago that Bobby Doyle died.

His obituary....

Robert G. "Bobby" Doyle Robert G. "Bobby" Doyle, age 66, of Austin, Texas, died on Sunday, July 30, 2006. He was born on August 14, 1939, in Houston, Texas, to Edward and Ella Doyle. Bobby was a renowned musician, whose original trio included himself, Kenny Rogers and Don Russell. He appeared on the Joey Bishop Show, the Steve Allen Show, and toured with Blood, Sweat & Tears and the Kirby Stone Four. In recent years Bobby performed regularly at Ego's, Driskill Hotel, and Eddie V's Restaurant. When he wasn't performing, he enjoyed all sports, especially baseball and football. Bobby was preceded in death by his loving wife, Mary; his parents; his daughter, Kathleen; and by two of his sisters. He is survived by his children, Michael, Kevin and Adam and wife Melissa; stepchildren, Lewis Powell III and wife Barbara, Misty Lampani, and Melanie Kooser and husband David; brothers, George Doyle and wife Edith, John Doyle and wife Geneva, Patrick Doyle and wife Jean, Raymond Harkey; sister, Ruth Drousche; and by 5 grandchildren, Lewis IV, Dominic, Logan, Addison, and Evelyn. A Memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 3, 2006 at Weed-Corley-Fish Chapel with Mr. Duane Miller officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Bobby's name to The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and South Texas, 2224 Walsh Tarlton Lane, Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78746, (800)880-9474.

Published in the Austin American-Statesman on 8/1/2006.

Edited by 57Tbird
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I read in the Austin paper a couple of weeks ago that Bobby Doyle died.

His obituary....

Robert G. "Bobby" Doyle Robert G. "Bobby" Doyle, age 66, of Austin, Texas, died on Sunday, July 30, 2006. He was born on August 14, 1939, in Houston, Texas, to Edward and Ella Doyle. Bobby was a renowned musician, whose original trio included himself, Kenny Rogers and Don Russell. He appeared on the Joey Bishop Show, the Steve Allen Show, and toured with Blood, Sweat & Tears and the Kirby Stone Four. In recent years Bobby performed regularly at Ego's, Driskill Hotel, and Eddie V's Restaurant. When he wasn't performing, he enjoyed all sports, especially baseball and football. Bobby was preceded in death by his loving wife, Mary; his parents; his daughter, Kathleen; and by two of his sisters. He is survived by his children, Michael, Kevin and Adam and wife Melissa; stepchildren, Lewis Powell III and wife Barbara, Misty Lampani, and Melanie Kooser and husband David; brothers, George Doyle and wife Edith, John Doyle and wife Geneva, Patrick Doyle and wife Jean, Raymond Harkey; sister, Ruth Drousche; and by 5 grandchildren, Lewis IV, Dominic, Logan, Addison, and Evelyn. A Memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 3, 2006 at Weed-Corley-Fish Chapel with Mr. Duane Miller officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Bobby's name to The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and South Texas, 2224 Walsh Tarlton Lane, Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78746, (800)880-9474.

Published in the Austin American-Statesman on 8/1/2006.

Oh no. Oh lord what a talent he had. Not just for singing and playing, but also for song writing. He wrote a song sometime in the early sixties that was recorded by John Gary, and it is quite simply the most beautiful song I've ever heard, before or since, because of the wonderfully poetic way it expresses its thoughts and emotions. The name of the song is "Beautiful", and it had such a profound effect on me 40 something years ago that I remember every word of it today. I can't believe I just typed out all the words from memory in about three minutes.

Beautiful

By Bobby Doyle

Feeling as though it is wrong to be alone and free I sigh,

Feeling as though in my brief romances I let my chances go by.

Songs by the score mourn the fate of he who just like me declined,

I sing no songs of the things I lack now, but looking back now I find,

Life

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Filio,

More on Bobby....

He gave Kenny Rogers a gig in 1959 and replaced David Clayton-Thomas in Blood, Sweat & Tears in 1972, but piano player Bobby Doyle made the most impact locally by establishing Ego's, a dark apartment complex lounge on South Congress Avenue, as a live music venue in the early '90s.

A musician's musician, Doyle succumbed Sunday to lung cancer, surrounded by friends and relatives in his North Austin home. He was 66.

Able to handle requests for songs by everyone from George Gershwin and Nat King Cole to Jerry Lee Lewis and Stevie Wonder, Doyle, who was blind, was a brilliant, self-taught piano thumper who possessed a raspy, soulful voice.

"There aren't too many white guys that can do Ray Charles, but Bobby Doyle was one of them," said keyboardist Riley Osbourn.

"He had such a broad range," Osbourn said. "He could play blues, R&B, gospel, jazz. . . . He had his own style by combining all those things."

He was "the main cat," said former Asleep At the Wheel pianist Danny Levin. "If you were thinking about doing a solo piano thing, Bobby Doyle was the guy you looked up to."

A Houston native, Doyle moved to Austin at age 7 to attend the Texas School for the Blind. While at McCallum High, where he was the first blind student to graduate, he played on KVET-AM on Saturday mornings.

"Bobby always had a transistor radio in his pocket," said Eddie Wilson, who would later book his former classmate at Threadgill's. "He'd be bopping to the radio in class. He'd keep it just loud enough for him to hear, but not the teacher." Bassist Jon Blondell, who played in a trio with Doyle in the '90s, said the pianist "had the ears of a bat."

After high school, Doyle started the Bobby Doyle Three, a popular local jazz outfit, with a University of Texas student named Kenny Rogers on standup bass. Rogers soon dropped out of college to play full time with Doyle, singing high harmony and playing bass on the 1962 album "In a Most Unusual Way."

The trio disbanded in 1965, and Rogers went on to become a country-pop sensation.

"Bobby told me that he used to write checks for Kenny Rogers for five years, then Kenny went on to make $200 million and ain't written Bobby a check once," Wilson said.

But the Gambler never forgot Doyle; about 10 years ago, David Letterman asked Rogers to name the best musician he'd ever played with, and "Bobby Doyle" came out instantly.

Doyle also impressed producer Phil Spector, who used him on several sessions in the late '60s, when Doyle lived in Los Angeles.

When Clayton-Thomas left BS&T in '72, Doyle was tapped as a replacement, but the piano player didn't last long with the horn-driven pop band, appearing on only two tracks on 1972's "New Blood."

Doyle moved back to Austin in the late '70s and performed five nights a week at an East Riverside Drive lounge. But he was soon back on the road, ending up with steady work in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe during the '80s.

He moved back to Austin for good in 1990, performing every Thursday and Friday at Ego's, a dive he'd enjoyed playing during visits to Austin.

The word got out that there was an incredibly soulful singer and piano player at Ego's, and Doyle's sets soon were frequented by musicians and hipsters. Two nights a week, the dank, hidden joint on South Congress was cooler than any basement jazz club in Greenwich Village.

Because of Doyle's draw, the club started booking other acts, even rock bands, and the dive was transformed into a scrappy stop on the live original music circuit.

Doyle also played regularly at the Driskill Lounge and Eddie V's. Doyle played regularly until two months ago, when he became too ill. Wilson said playing music was one of Doyle's few pleasures after his wife, Mary, died in August 2004. They had been married for 17 years.

"They were quite a team," Wilson said. "I've never seen a couple have so much fun together. He was ready to go the day after Mary died."

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  • 1 year later...
Frontier Fiesta!!! Wow!! I never missed one. What a great time for a high school junior, senior, etc. :rolleyes: Yes, I would do it all over again..............................

I can't believe I found this site by accident. I do remember the Little Red Schoolhouse. I had a friend who attended. I went to the Alley Academy, the Alley Theater's acting school for kids. I was only 10 years old, but I loved it so much! I moved away from Houston in 1957, but still have family there. I went to Montrose Elementary School, which was torn down many years ago. My mother went there too. It seems like the older I get the more vivid my memories of being a kid in Houston become.

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  • 2 years later...

http://blogs.chron.com/bayoucityhistory/2009/12/old_photos_maps_and_more.html

University of Houston is now sharing (on-line) some of their Houston History archive photographs. I think you guys missed this link, the first time I pointed it out. I spent hours looking at those photos. Thanks again to Bayou City History Blog. for bringing it to my attention.

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http://blogs.chron.com/bayoucityhistory/2009/12/old_photos_maps_and_more.html

University of Houston is now sharing (on-line) some of their Houston History archive photographs. I think you guys missed this link, the first time I pointed it out. I spent hours looking at those photos. Thanks again to Bayou City History Blog. for bringing it to my attention.

Some good ones in there. Some of those are the oldest decent pictures I've ever seen

of Houston.. IE: 1850's-60's..

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  • 1 year later...

Last week we went for an official tour of the UH campus for my son who is looking at various colleges. On the tour we passed by a old metal building that now houses the school of engineering's labs but the tour guide described as a old hanger and maybe the oldest building on the UH campus. Anyone know what airfield used to be there?

Here's a picture from the UH website.

y_01.jpg

Edited by august948
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The building was constructed at some point between 1953 and 1978 according to Google Earth historical aerials. And at least as far back as 1943, there was not an airfield on the site. It was mostly just trees.

It is a cool building, though.

Edited by TheNiche
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It is the "Y building" I think it dates on campus from about 1949.

I never understood it to be an "aiplane" hangar at UH. I imagine it was a surplus WW2 army structure that was repurposed and moved there.

When I was at UH in the early the 90s, it housed a wind tunnel, engineering student organization offices, a machine shop etc.

I believe there are plans to replace it with another building.

Edited by gnu
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It would be absolutely phenomenal if they renovated that structure like they did to the Keeland Building, just outside the College of Architecture.

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The building was constructed at some point between 1953 and 1978 according to Google Earth historical aerials. And at least as far back as 1943, there was not an airfield on the site. It was mostly just trees.

It is a cool building, though.

I poked around on both Google Earth and Historic Aerials and found that there were two buildings with the same shape and roof structure as the currently existing building in 1953. The one in the picture above runs east-west. The second one ran roughly north-south and stood where there is now a parking lot to the east of the school of architecture. Judging from the 1953 picture these must have been major buildings on campus at the time, just from their size. I wonder, though, if they were not in fact on campus in 1953 and were set up for some industrial or warehouse purpose and then later acquired by UH as it expanded.

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I've always heard that a number of "temporary" buildings were hurriedly installed on the UH campus in the late 1940's-early 1950's to accommodate the huge increase of students who were attending college on the GI Bill. Some of the buildings were barracks-like wooden shacks that stayed in use for decades -- I remember attending art classes in one of them. Another one behind the Art Shack was used as a coffee shop.

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Two big issues for the country after WWII were jobs and housing for vets. Compounding the housing problem was a shortage of building materials, especially wood, for construction projects. Several hundred vets and their families were housed on the UH campus in trailers. They did this also at A&M. Possibly the shortage of materials was part of the reason for the re-purposing of the other buildings. Wasn't UH pretty much always underfunded, too?

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It's funny to see this as I was just giving my girlfriend a tour of campus today and we were wondering about this very question. I always had the impression that is was moved to campus after the war (and after looking at aerial photos from the 1930s I think it's safe to say that there was never an airfield there).

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  • 4 months later...

http://digital.lib.uh.edu/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/p15195coll35

along with the great Foley's display that Sevfiv pointed out (thanks for that), UH also has updated their map collection. It's great...

so far, I have found on map 5, the exact location of Luna Park, etc.

and on map 10, Magnolia Park annd Central Park locations, with a street listed as Belgium, never heard of that before, I think it may have been renamed Ave. E. (where my great-grandmother's house was).

I know German St. became Canal.

Interesting.

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Oops...I have to correct myself, on the Magnolia Park map, Belgium St. is German St. in parentheses. Ave. E. is a different street.

I agree, they're not very easy to work with, have to magnify to 100%, then move the box around. Oh well, better than nothing.

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  • 4 years later...

I've got a date with the Briscoe Center in Austin after the holidays to visit and view some Bob Bailey photographs of my little corner of Houston. I'm still reeling with the sticker shock, though, of buying the rights to a print for the SBHDHA (what a terrible acronym -- what was I thinking?)

 

It's $50 a pop. Thank God for GoFundMe and some nice donors!

 

Makes the $12.50 charged by HPL look like a downright bargain.

 

Anyway, shortly thereafter I'm back in Houston for some more research and the Foley's Department Store Records housed at UH are calling my name. 

 

I can't seem to locate the info about how much they charge per negative/photo, however. 

 

Does anyone here happen to know?

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  • 3 months later...

Well, if anyone searches for this information, here's a comparison:

Briscoe Center: requires a week lead time to request specific boxes to be pulled from offsite. Currently requiring appointments. They will require you lock up all your belongings but you can take your cellphone. I was allowed to photograph negatives for personal review, but to publish any of them (anywhere) it was $50 per photograph. Took six weeks to get those from the time I gave them my list (15 photographs) to download. 

Houston Public Library (Julia Ideson Texas Reading Room): asks a few days notice to pull materials if possible, but depending on how busy they are, they have been able to go look up things on the spot, no appointment necessary. Lockers required for belongings, cell phones allowed. Charge per photograph $12.50. I have ordered batches of anywhere from 3 to 12 photographs on three different occasions and have had them delivered within a few days. 

University of Houston Center for Public History: no appointment, no lead time, materials are pulled on the spot. Copies are FREE (up to 250!) and depending on how busy they are, could be supplied while you wait or pick up later/have mailed. PDFs will be emailed. 

 

 

 

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  • 5 years later...
  • The title was changed to University of Houston History

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