The Dobson Digest is a weekly column featuring regional historical tidbits supplied by the Dobson Memorial Center Museum and Home in Miami.
It took decades for Miami Little Theatre to finally have a permanent facility to call home, but a talented board member who would later find success in television and on Broadway, finally saw his dream come to fruition.
Fifty years ago, the Miami News-Record featured a story about a season ticket drive for MLT’s upcoming seventh season. (The organization is now in its 58th year). The September 11, 1967 issue featured a photo of David Froman with the caption: Dreams on Paper – It may take time, but Miami Little Theatre is determined to have its own ‘home’ some day. Lack of a place to build and money to build with didn’t discourage David Froman from drawing plans for an MLT structure. He explains to Harold Erwin, another hard working MLT member.
Here are some excerpts from the story:
A weeklong membership enrollment, starting Monday, will launch the seventh season of Miami Little Theater.
The lobby of Hotel Miami will be the headquarters for the enlistment effort, according to Mrs. Bill Dunbar, membership chairman.
Season tickets will be available at the Micom Cablevision office and at the Wilson dance studio.
Readings will be held Monday and Tuesday nights for the first production of the season, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” under direction of Gene Maughan.
Production No. 2 will be “Barefoot in the Park,” with David Froman at the helm.
Membership costs will remain the same: patron status, $6; active, $3, and students, $1.50. A ticket entitles the holder to admission to all plays during the season as well as participation in other MLT activities.
MLT next spring will also be a sponsor of a Wilson School of Dance production, “The Land of Oz.” Directors Virginia Lee and Tom Wilson already had already begun the mammoth staging and costuming chore.
Officers of MLT for the 1967-68 season are Opal Wright, president; David Froman, vice-president; Helen Choate, secretary; Mariann Birch, treasurer; Mary Roddy, historian, and Dorothea Tebeck, parliamentarian and reporter.
Members of the board are Dave Arter, Jane Osborn, Gerri Dunbar, Dr. C. W. Letcher, Howard Essary, Harold Erwin, Bob Reavis, Jess Heck, Ron Forkum, Jerry Erwin, Hartley Owens, Tom Wilson, Cody Bailey, Gene Maughan and Belva Carson.
(David Froman would eventually leave Miami, to be cast as Gunther Wagner, as well as twin brother Bruno, in the long-running daytime drama, “The Edge of Night” and later nab the recurring role of Lieutenant Bob Brooks in the “Matlock” detective series with Andy Griffith.
Ottawa County Free Fair
With entertainment including “Oklahoma’s biggest nightly horse race meet,” the 48th annual Ottawa County Free Fair was the place to be in late August 1967.
While it is not unusual for today’s premium livestock sale to surpass $150,000 in prize money, things were a little different back then.
Vicki Morris, Afton, was probably delighted to see her grand champion steer fetch $280. (Last year’s entry brought $5,500). Most of the other entries brought around $80.
A group of area businesses, called the “$200 Club” had been organized to sponsor the Miami Chamber of Commerce’s annual effort to support youth in agriculture.
They included Farmers State Bank in Afton (later becoming a Security Bank & Trust branch), First National Bank, Miami Implement, Security Bank, Medical Arts Pharmacy, Farmers Co-Op of Afton, Farrier’s IGA Thriftway, Miami Savings & Loan, and B. F. Goodrich, each entity donating $200 to the funding pool.
An advertisement in the News-Record included a ticket with an offer of 10-cent rides for the merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, helicopter, and kiddie airplane, auto or tub.
A Sunday photo page by Ed Craig included fair participants Retha Mercer proudly showing off the kitchen curtains she had sewn, Junelle Rendell with assorted canned goods, a Mrs. Nell Rendell sampling her homemade pecan rolls, Jeanette Ingram with her dairy cow, Richard Matthews with Chester White pigs, Robin Weaver with an entomology project and Tommy Matthews with a fine angus steer.
That year, the Chamber’s sale netted $4,000, dispersed to the 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
That year, the Aurora Extension Homemakers decided on the theme “Family Togetherness” for their educational booth at the fair. The South Fairview Homemaker Extension Group chose a theme of “Keep America Beautiful, Don’t Litter.”
Lester Boyd served as president of the Free Fair Board.
If my math is right, the Ottawa County Fair will observe its 100th anniversary in 2019.
While visiting this year’s fair, stop by and say “hi” at the Dobson Museum booth.
The Dobson Museum and Dobson Home next door are open from 1 to 4 p.m. Sun., Wed., Fri., and Sat. There is no admission charge.
Let’s make history together.