December 19, 1958: The day WKY-TV came to Fairview, OK

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FAIRVIEW, Okla. -- Television in Oklahoma was still less than a decade old when WKY filmed an episode of 'This Afternoon' on Main Street Fairview, December 19th, 1958.

Tom Paxton was host then along with Jane Whitney and organist Ken Wright.

They all made the trip to northwest Oklahoma with engineer Gene Lyons.

The whole town turned out to see the show staged on a flatbed trailer despite the cold.

We know because Fairview is still full of people who were right there shivering along with TV guests Wilma Lowell, the mayor Harry Salaska, even little Stephanie Wooward sporting a Fairview manufactured Walk-a-Tot.

"There's our Walk-a-Tot right there," smiles Butch Eddingfield. "The one I have still has the tag on it that says it was manufactured in Fairview, OK."

This video has been available for viewing on the internet video site YouTube for a few years now but people like Eddingfield, Len Leonard, Roberta Usher -Swearingen, and Sue Peck -Karbs will still stop to watch themselves through a 60-year-old window.

"The whole town turned out," recalls Butch. "If you thought you had a chance to be on TV you were going to be there."

Butch and all the kids got a day off from school to come out and watch.

He can point himself out in several crowd shots.

He's the one not waving.

Butch laughs, "Well no! Look at those other idiots. I was too cool."

The show is remarkable in a lot of ways.

Fairview called itself the World's Turkey Capitol in those days.

WKY cameras visited the Hallren processing plant.

Wilma Lowell won a portable RCA TV for writing in and suggesting the show visit her town.

It's a brand new black and white model that took two men to lift.

Roberta wasn't sure how she was chosen to sing a solo but she was ready with a rendition of 'He's Got the Whole World in His Hands'.

"Oh my gosh," smiles Swearingen, then 12-year-old Roberta Usher. "My hair, those glasses, everything. The good old days!"

Tom Paxton waded into the crowd late in the show and found then 8th grader Sue Peck.

Her family didn't even own a TV yet.

"It was all big for me with TV," she laughs.

Town businesses received mention.

Ken Wright played the organ.

The Sweet Milk Barbershop Quartet sang.

One of the tenors, Joe Houk, now 90 years old, still has a law practice in town.

A big city TV station was a big deal in Fairview in 1958.

It's history now.

A lot has changed, but it's nice to know some things haven't

"Those were the good old days," smiles Sue.

Click here to view the entire 1959 "This Afternoon in Oklahoma" program.


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