Welcome back and with the movie having such a huge impact on the local economy, I thought my continued report on it being shot in Pawhuska deserved to be first up. Several dozen equipment trucks parked side by side, some pulling large restroom trailers, out of town caterers serving meals to well over one hundred people and dozens of cars with tags from just about every state. Yes, my friends I’ve covered a lot of high-profile murder trials around the country along with the grand opening of shows in New York City and travels with celebrities so I can speak from experience when I say this major film shoot is special. I’ve seen entire warehouses filled with 1920s cars, milk trucks from back in the day when milk was delivered to your door, you name it. If Pawhuska’s Main Street doesn’t offer something that is needed to recreate the 1920s era, the movie people are bringing it in. Millions of dollars are being spent on period items and setts which includes everything from clothing to the construction of a replica train station downtown and an Indian village out on the prairie. You can mark my words that the year 2021 will be remembered and talked about long after you and I are gone.
Another story which comes from the Osage that many people find just as enthralling as the Killers of the Flower Moon is the Mullendore saga. If you read last week week’s column I wrote about the beginning of their story, now in the 1960s where I left off the empire is growing. The patriarch of the family Gene Mullendore is running the operation with the help of his son E.C. Gene’s daughter Katsy Kay and her husband John Mecom have just bought the New Orleans Saints professional football team. The Mecom oil business is also growing and both of Gene’s kids are having children of their own. Life is good. All that changed on September 26, 1970 when E.C. was brutally beaten and shot between the eyes in his own home on the ranch. His murder was still unsolved three years later when Gene died of gangrene after burning his feet in the scalding water of a hot springs spa in Arkansas. Although she was living in Houston Gene’s daughter Katsy took over the running of the ranch but the land buying stopped and in order to save the main homestead she was forced to hold two huge land auctions which whittled the once massive spread down to well under 100,000 acres. Nevertheless, Katsy remained committed to her heritage and the Cross Bell persevered as one of Oklahoma’s great historic ranches.
Then on December 6, 2016 Katsy’s second husband and the man she called the loved of her life, James Andrew “Jimmie’ Whittenburg died and just two months later Katsy herself passed away on February 21, 2017. Jimmie had been an extremely successful businessman in his own right and together the pair had traveled the world. Their deaths set in motion what looks like the end of an empire with the possibility that the ranch has been sold outside of the family. Of course there is much more to this story but maybe it’s best left to rumor.
As for me, Pawhuska is going to be my home till the end of July so I hope to see ya there or till next time I’ll see ya down the road…