Tulsa History: April 2012 Archives

Legendary Tulsa TV weatherman Don Woods is "gravely ill", but "in good spirits" according to a report on KTUL.com:

Don is now 84 years old. He spoke with Channel 8 News Director Carlton Houston Tuesday and says he's been in good spirits recently and enjoying the company of family and friends.

Don Woods was the meteorologist for KTUL channel 8 from its first sign-on in 1954 until his retirement in 1989, and every weathercast featured an impromptu cartoon of a character named Gusty illustrating the forecast. The cartoon would go to a lucky viewer whose name was announced on the air. Our wild weather is an inherently interesting topic, but Don Woods' lighthearted and friendly manner made it fun to hear about cold fronts and high pressure cells as he sketched them on the US map. I imagine I wasn't the only Tulsa kid inspired to ask for a home weather kit for Christmas by Don Woods and his KOTV contemporary Lee Woodward. It was a golden age for local TV, a time of homegrown creativity, replaced too soon by cookie-cutter consultant-driven content.

Woods often made appearances at churches and schools; I remember him doing a presentation at our little church sometime in the '70s, and everyone left with an original Gusty sketch. Since his retirement, Don has often appeared at the Tulsa State Fair and trade shows on behalf of a local company, drawing Gusty and visiting with the fans who grew up watching him. In 2005, Gusty was designated as the official cartoon of the State of Oklahoma.


As concerned as he was about today's weather, Don Woods's greater concern for his audience is epitomized in the title of a little booklet featuring Gusty as its main character: "Do You Know How to Have a Happy Forever?" You can read the booklet online (in English, French, Spanish, and Russian), download a printable digital copy, or order copies in bulk to give away.

It was touching that the KTUL.com story made special mention of the booklet and provided a direct link.

Don wants everyone to know that Gusty -- who is now the official state cartoon of Oklahoma -- is still uplifting people and making them happy to this day.

Don is also well known for a little orange booklet. It's called, "Do you know how to have a happy forever?"

It features Gusty's message that God loves you. Over the years, Don has passed out thousands of these books around the world.

You can find information about the book at his website, www.gusty.us/books.htm. There, you can also leave a note of encouragement for Don.

You can also leave a message for Don in the comments on the KTUL.com story, and they'll be passed along to him.

Please join me in praying for Don Woods's health, and take a moment to leave a happy memory and a kind word for him.

MORE: Tulsa TV Memories has more on the history of TV weather in Tulsa, with an eight-minute TCC video of Don Woods reminiscing about his years covering weather on TV. I especially enjoyed hearing about the origins of Tulsa's first TV weather radar and the filming of the legendary "The News Guys" western-style promo.

A bit busy tonight, so here's Tulsa music legend Rocky Frisco performing an original song, "The Blues for You," at the Church Studio. It's an excerpt from the movie Red Dirt on 66.

And here's Rocky under his original stage name, Rocky Curtiss, from 1955, with his band the Harmony Flames, performing "Teenager in Love."

An instrumental from the same album, "Big Teddy":

Via TulsaGal, we learn of a cool new way to use modern technology to explore local history.

In my Government 2.0 feature story for This Land, I mentioned last October's Tulsa Hackathon, in which teams of beer-and-pizza-fueled developers created mobile applications for local agencies and non-profits.

One of the apps born at that time has now been officially released by the Tulsa City-County Library and is available in Apple's App store. It's called "Tulsa Then and Now: Mapping the BFC." From the description:

The Tulsa City-County Library's "Tulsa Then and Now: Mapping the BFC" app provides access to approximately 300 photographs selected from the Beryl Ford Collection. It includes streets, buildings, and residences. Browse, search, and view these historic images that document growth and change in Tulsa. The photographs have been mapped to allow for location-based browsing and to enable you to find images nearby your current location.

When you find a remarkable image from decades ago, share it via email, Twitter, or Facebook. Snap your own photo of present-day Tulsa and send it side-by-side with the historic image, creating your own custom Beryl-O-Gram. You can even use your iPhone's camera to overlay the historic photograph with your current view.


· Access hundreds of historic images
· See a map with drop pins that represent the photos
· Search for a photo or location
· Browse photos taken nearby your current location
· Share images through email
· Share images on Twitter
· Share images on Facebook

I don't have an iPhone, so I can't try this out myself, but I hope my iPhone-equipped readers will give it a try and send me the Beryl-O-Grams you create.


There's another Tulsa Hackathon just around the corner, April 13-15, 2012, with a focus on providing convenient access to open data.

You can browse the Tulsa Library's digital collections online, including photos and items from the Beryl Ford Collection.

Many photos from the Beryl Ford Collection have been posted to Flickr in search of help in identifying unknown people and places.


About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa History category from April 2012.

Tulsa History: February 2012 is the previous archive.

Tulsa History: May 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]