Thanks to everyone who came to the film last night and raised some money for the Constantine. If you didn’t make it watch for another screening in December.
Welcome back. With three more weeks to go before I’m heading to the New Mexico badlands in search of UFOs, Pawhuska and the big budget movie being shot there still has my attention. I imagine it has yours as well so here we go.
As the world’s largest amateur rodeo event came to a close, the Saturday parade down Kihikah and on to Highway 60 featured well over 200 horses capping things off at the Pawhuska Cavalcade. Rodeo teams from all over the area participated along with a dozen Shriners in their little cars, western wagons, the Queen of the Cavalcade and her court, more horses, clowns and more horses. It was great! Well known trick roper Richard Heinrich performed and as an extra treat for Ree Drummond fans her son Bryce Drummond and a half dozen of his team mates from the University of North Texas were roaming the streets signing autographs and posing for photos.
During all this I spotted another person downtown who caught my eye even more. This guy wore boots and pants that showed the signs of wear that you would expect from an old cowboy and he had the face of a man who had worked outside in the elements his whole life. He was also wearing a nice gray felt western hat and when I looked at him, I knew this man had a story.
After learning his name, I did a little research and found out that this gentleman is the son of Frederick Alexander Drummond who was a direct descendant of Roy Cecil or R.C. Drummond as he was called. Friends, this old boy sitting out in the sun enjoying all the exactment is a walking link to the history of this area. I wanted to find out more about him and luckily for me I have a copy of the Drummond Family history book in my library.
His name is Charles Robert Drummond and he was born on March 12, 1943 at the Pawhuska Hospital. His first five years were spent on the family ranch eleven miles outside of town where he learned to ride a horse at the same time he was learning to walk. Farming and ranching would become his way of life but next to family, horses and hunting were his passion. I found out that as a boy “Chuck” as he is called had been active in the Boy Scouts and eventually became a Scout Master. He also played football in high school and was President of his senior class. He attended Oklahoma State University majoring in Agriculture Economics but on weekends it was always back to the ranch in Pawhuska where horses and a girl named Nan Olsen would play a big part in his life.
Chuck and Nan married on August 17, 1964 and in September 1965 their first son Todd was born. Chuck was beginning his career as a rancher and life consisted of long days of hard work. The young couple faced many challenges including ice storms, varmits and fluctuating cattle prices but they persevered growing their cattle operation from 150 cows purchased from Chuck’s grandfather to thousands more. In July 1967 Timothy was born, followed by their third son and future husband of the Pioneer Woman, Ladd in January 1968.
The cattle business continued its up and down cycles throughout the 1970s when a price freeze on dressed beef imposed by President Nixon pushed many ranchers into bankruptcy. Despite these obstacles Chuck and his family held on to their ranch and continued to grow.
His life is fascinating and Chuck’s always willing to share part of his
story so the next time you’re in Pawhuska keep your eyes open, you never know when history just might be right next to you.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road!
Welcome back. 1919 was a wonderful time in local American history and on July 24th you will have the opportunity to revisit that era in a real time machine with me. Yes, you will hear stories of the stars of silent movies, listen to the leading singers from the Metropolitan Opera and if you use your imagination maybe even see a baby elephant on stage performing with a dog and pony act. As you settle into your seat picture professional wrestling happening here every weekend with traveling variety shows taking up the other days of the week. I hope you will be excited to be here but as the lights in the theater go down, I’ll warn you that this place is now known to be haunted. Both workers and visitors have seen the ghost of the famous opera singer Enrique Caruso walking along the balcony accompanied by a woman wearing some sort of button-down dressing gown so prepare yourself for an unusual experience.
No, this show is not happening in Ponca City at the historic Poncan Theater which by the way is on the National Register of Historic Places. It isn’t at the very old Gregg Theater in Sedan which has been restored and returned to operations with the help of local businessman Roger Floyd. The Coleman Theater in Miami will also be a good guess as well with all of the celebrated performers who have appeared there but no friends this time machine is the Constantine Theater in Pawhuska. When I mentioned the Constantine in my column a few weeks ago I left you hanging so here’s the scoop:
On July 24th at 6:30PM a documentary film called The Last Ten Tapes will be shown at the Constantine. The film is based on the extensive interviews with key characters in the 1970 murder of prominent Osage County rancher E.C. Mullendore III which to this day remains the most famous unsolved mystery in the southwest. Stars in the film will be on hand to talk about the event and will take questions after the screening. I am also happy to report that thanks to the generosity of a Kansas oilman nurses will be admitted free. All the proceeds from ticket sales along with a portion of any book sales will be donated to the Coleman Theater and tickets are just five bucks so you won’t want to miss it!
Now for your unofficial update on the filming going on in Pawhuska. Last week the entire film crew and all of the actors returned to downtown and celebrities were everywhere including the legendary singer, TV and movie star Red Stegall. My contacts tell me that filming is roughly three quarters finished in Pawhuska and when they are done it will take about three weeks to put the town back together, removing all of the period building facades and awnings, taking down the telephone poles and getting rid of the dirt they put down on the streets. I have also been told that on top of the two hundred million dollars that has been spent on the actual production of the film, millions more will be spent marketing it bringing the total to three to four hundred million. Quite a big deal I’d say.
I hope to see ya on the 24th or till next time I’ll see ya down the road!
Welcome back once again to your unofficial report on Pawhuska the town and Pawhuska the site for Martin Scorsese’s film adaptation of the book Killers of the Flower Moon which if you haven’t heard depicts a time in the 1920s when murder was common in Osage County. Something else that’s common right now in another part of the country is UFO sightings. Friends if you missed me last week, my travels to distant locales in the north central mountains of New Mexico close to the continental divide where there are many reports of UFO sightings and also cattle mutilations kept me out of range of any form of communication but before I get to all that here’s an update on Pawhuska,
Last week the dirt was reapplied to the street and several dozen extras were again kept in the Constantine Theater before being marched like soldiers down the street and behind a fifty-foot curtain that has been erected to kept spectators from seeing exactly what they are doing. Horse drawn wagons and 1920s era automobiles also came down the street, went behind the curtain and then a while out they all came again. The actors went back to the Constantine and the cars, wagons and horses went to a secured vacant lot, all awaiting their next call. This is happening several times a day and I hear from my sources that while locations may vary, the actual filming will continue for another four to six weeks maybe longer.
Here’s the scoop if you’re interested in becoming an extra: Apple Productions is looking for you as they have been advertising extensively so come to Pawhuska where you can be in a movie, eat at a half dozen new restaurants, shop till you drop, go to museums, see bison at the Nature Conservancy’s Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, and walk across the famous swinging bridge but whatever you do come early to fit it all in.
As for UFOs you longtime readers may remember that a few years back I spent two weeks tracking reports of mutilated cattle possibly related to UFOs, getting close to the locations of these events, staying many nights out in the mountains and spending days interviewing eye witnesses. Well with all the recent publicity about the government’s findings last week I got a tip on another mutilated cow so I’m planning a new trip as you read this. Santa Fe will be my home base for a couple of weeks because I know communications will be reliable and from there, I head into the high mountains for daily excursions going where most of the sightings occur. Four hours north is Abiquiu, home to Georgia O’Keefe and the famous Ghost Ranch. Another four hours northeast is Taos where I will stay over as there have been sighting in the Taos area as well as around Cimmaron, Red River and Angel Fire. There is supposedly a secret government base in this area as well that I have directions to so I will keep you up to date on my discoveries in addition to the current news I hear in Pawhuska.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road………………
July 1, 2021
For Immediate Release:
Documentary about the Unsolved Murder of E.C. Mullendore III to be shown at the Constantine Theater, Pawhuska, OK
Footprints in the Dew: The Last Ten Tapes will be screened at the historic Constantine Theater in Pawhuska, OK on Saturday July 24th at 6:30 PM. The film is based on the extensive interviews Dale Lewis conducted for his bestselling book Footprints in the Dew: Chub Anderson and the Unsolved Mullendore Murder and includes never beforeseen footage of key characters in the case, including Chub Anderson.
Lewis’ book is about the life of Damon “Chub” Anderson and his role in the unsolved murder of prominent Oklahoma rancher E.C. Mullendore III. On September 26, 1970 Mullendore was killed in his home on the vast Cross Bell Ranch in Osage County. Although Anderson was in the house with him at the time, he was never charged with the murder. In the following years both the murder and Anderson’s own life took on a mythic quality.
Footprints in the Dew tells the story of what really happened on the night of the murder as well as the events of Anderson’s life before and afterwards as told to Lewis by Anderson himself. Anderson collaborated on the project until his death in 2010. Since its publication in 2015, the book has been consistently listed as one of the bestselling books in Oklahoma. Footprints in the Dew is now in its 6th printing. Tickets are $5 per person and 100% of the proceeds benefit the theater. Nurses and nurses’ aides will be admitted free. $5 from the sale of each book will also be donated to the Constantine.
For more information call the Box Office at (918) 900-6161.
Dale Lewis (918) 331-8423
Welcome back once again to your unofficial report from Pawhuska on how the filming of a 200-million-dollar movie there is coming along. From the spot where Apple Films built a replica train station, I can tell you all the trains and train cars are gone. The props have been taken away and I’ve noticed many of the cimi trails that were there are also gone. Are they done shootingthe scenes there? Well, it sure looks like it! All last week 200 extras along with another 100 or so crew members were in Fairfax where I understand they will all be again this week before returning to Pawhuska to film scenes in the downtown area. Friends it is not too late to see history in the making right in your backyard.
There’s another story I’m following in Pawhuska and no it’s not about Ree Drummond but a movie theatre that opened first as a boarding house back in 1880. After a fire damaged the building in 1914 Greek entrepreneur Charles A. Constantine bought itand converted the facility into a theater, showcasing all the big vaudeville acts of the day. Not a man to go partway on the remodel, he installed extra-large chairs, professional lighting and s top of the line heating and ventilating system. He even brought in an acoustical designer from New York City. The theater was a big hit but times changed so in 1926 Constantine replaced the stage with a movie screen. This grand showplace was second to none in its heyday but over the years it changed hands several times ending up vacant for ten years and filling with water from a leaky roof.
The theater was bound for the wrecking ball until in 1984 a group of citizens got together to save it. At the time Pawhuska was poor and money was hard to come by. Three years went by and nothing happned then the high school carpentry class began a remodel in 1987. Prisoners from nearby Connors Correctional Institute and volunteers helped the students remove debris, install new plumbing and electric service and restore the interior to its former glory.
The Constantine Theatre is now open for many events and for rentals. This local landmark deserves a visit so mark July 24th on your calendar and I’ll tell you why in a future column. Till then give em a call to find out what’s happening at the Constantine.Another story I’m fo0llowing from Pawhuska has to do with their Chamber of Commerce which I recently joined. I have belonged to the Chamber of Commerce in Bartlesville for over 20 years so you might ask why I joined in Pawhuska; here’s the scoop. The chambers aren’t just for businesses, they also support the people in their towns. Need directions., a phone number or information about a special event? The chamber is there and you don’t have to be a member to get their assistance. In Bartlesville Sherri Wilt and her staff are always friendly and helpful. The same is true in Pawhuska where they have just hired Kelly Bland to head the Chamber. Kelly will also be he Director of Tourism for Osage County so she will have a big job for sure but after meeting her last week I know she will be successful.
See ya in Pawhuska or till next time I’ll see ya down the road..
Welcome back. The sun doesn’t shine everyday so I’m starting this week with a dark day in our history back on June 23, 1976. You regular readers know of the Cindy Kinney story from a series of columns I wrote several months ago but for you new readers here’s a brief recap of this tragic story,
In 1976 Cindy was a junior at Pawhuska High School and a member of the Pom Squad and she also worked part time at her aunt’s laundromat downtown on Kihikah Street. Early in the morning of June 23rd this all-American girl just disappeared from the face of the earth while she was at the laundromat. Local police, the sheriff’s department and state investigators spent hundreds of man hours searching but found no clues about what had happened to her. All they found was her purse, her pom-pom and a half-eaten donut. After learning about the case, I myself have spent several days reviewing files and newspaper clipping in search of a lead, even begging the public through my column for information about her disappearance without any success. Could she have been abducted by a local person? Having checked out every possible suspect in town investigators still wonder what happened to her.
What about one of the deranged serial killers who were terrorizing the country back in the day when Cindy disappeared you may ask and with the recent death of Samuel Little who confessed to 93 murders I’ve been looking into that idea myself.
During his killing spree Little was known to have traveled across the country so he many have come to Oklahoma. However, his victims were all young black women, many of whom were drug addicts without a lot of family and with a big family and many friends Cindy did not fit this description. Little, who is considered by the FBI to be the most prolific serial killer in US history, died in a California prison this past December.
Gary Ridgeway, aka the Green River Killer, is second on the FBI’s list of serial killers in the U.S. and he was known for killing young women. His victims though were prostitutes and teenage runaways and although he was in the trucking business there is no indication that he was ever in Oklahoma. After his arrest Ridgeway made a deal to serve a life sentence in exchange for his assistance in identifying his victims which spared him from the death penalty.
Another was John Wayne Gacy, a building contractor and Democratic Party precinct captain who maintained a façade of normalcy that hid his secret life as a killer. Gacy lured his victims to his ranch house outside of Chicago where he chocked them, then buried their bodies under his house. By the time he was captured in 1978 he had killed 33 people but none were girls and again, there is no evidence that he was ever in Pawhuska.
Ted Bundy who is known to have killed at least 36 women in seven states across the country started his killing spree in 1974. A smart man with a degree in psychology from the University of Washington who was studying to be lawyer, Bundy would lure women by pretending to be injured then he would knock them unconscious with a crowbar and throw them into his car. After his initial capture in 1975 he escaped from jail twice and the second time he managed to get to Florida where he murdered two Chi Omega Sorority girls on the campus of Florida State University along with a twelve-year girl from the area before he was caught. Bundy was eventually executed in 1989.
All of these men were thoroughly investigated by law enforcement in Pawhuska but to no avail. So once again, if you have any knowledge pertaining to the disappearance of Cindy Kinney, please contact the the Pawhuska Sherriff’s Department
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…
Welcome back to your unofficial report on the filming of the movie version of Killers of the Flower Moon, or Gray Horse as we have been told it will be called. Nowadays the town of Pawhuska that you may have been familiar with is gone as construction continues to transform Kihekah Street into downtown Fairfax, Oklahoma in the 1920s. All of the buildings along the street have new facades in keeping with the era, telephone poles from the day have been put up and I understand they are bringing in dirt next week to line the road just like it was back in the day. I also heard that rehearsals with all the actors for the street scenes have begun on location. Although Robert De Niro was flown to California after he hurt his leg, Leonardo DiCaprio and other actors have been seen all around town. Cars and trucks from the ‘20s are everywhere along with horses and wagons and on the west side of town semi-trucks filled with props and equipment are parked on every available piece of land. This is also the area where a train depot and tracks have been constructed and original railroad cars brought in. A giant tent city has also been erected just to the south of Kihekah along Highway 60.
I can only imagine what impact all of this activity is having on local businesses as summer approaches and word about the film spreads. In another sign of Pawhuska’s increasing popularity, I recently learned that an Irish pub is opening soon downtown adding to the growth of a town that seemed empty ten years ago.
As for Ree Drummond’s Mercantile, if you want to avoid the crowds mornings Monday through Thursday are still the best times to get a table without a long wait. By 11 there is usually an hour wait, by 12 that stretches to 2 hours, and of course the wait starts even earlier on the weekends.
Despite all this, none of the folks I have spoken with have any complaints except places to stay locally are hard to come by and lots of people are ending up at hotels in Tulsa. Many of these out-of-town visitors have told me how much they enjoy learning about the history of this part of the country through trips to area museums. Woolaroc tops everyone’s list of favorite attractions and with that said, this is a great time of year to go there when all of the animals are giving birth.
The museums in Ponca City where Governor Marland made his mark, the Dalton Museum in Coffeyville and Philbrook along with Gilgrease in Tulsa also provide insights into the past and I recommend them all.
I’ve got to go now but if you want to see what a 200-million-dollar movie looks like come to Pawhuska!
Till next time if I don’t see ya there I’ll see ya down the road…
Welcome back. Over the years I’ve brought you stories of many legends along with the lives of other men and women who I hope have been as inspiring to you as they have been to me. Now here is the life story of another man who I recently learned has just left us. Daniel Allen Hodge was born on May 13,1932 in Perry, Oklahoma. The name Danny Hodge may not stand out to this generation but back in the early 1950s through the 60s. 70s and 80s his accomplishments made him world famous. He won a state title in wrestling while he was in high school and went on to wrestle for the University of Oklahoma where he went undefeated with a 46-0 record. He was never once taken off his feet during this time. Hodge won the Big Seven Conference Championship three times in a row at the NCAA championships. He became the only amateur wrestler to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated a world-wide magazine and by then he had taken up boxing as well and friends this guy was just getting started in life. After college he joined the Navy, participated in three Olympics and began an 18-year career as a professional wrestler, becoming the headliner. During this time Hodge also won the 1958 Golden Gloves boxing championship in Chicago becoming a wrestling and a boxing professional at the same time which is totally unbelievable even in today’s world of super conditioned athletes. In addition to his many championships, he was also inducted into a dozen halls of fame and other honorary organizations around the world. At the age of 80 Hodge received well-earned special recognition at the Oklahoma State Capital for his many accomplishments. Over the years he had developed a signature move which was the ability to crush an apple with one hand and he was still able to perform it at the time bringing everyone at the ceremony to their feet. Yes, the name Danny Hodge should always be remembered and by the way, despite all his success he never left Perry, Oklahoma.
Moving on, I’ve taken you to many places so now have your passports ready as we head to the world’s lowest lying country. There’s a reason for this trip to the Maldives, or as it is officially known the Republic of Maldives, and that will come later. The country ‘s 115 miles of islands sit southwest of India in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is also the smallest Asian country and the least populated with only around 557,000 residents. The main town is on King’s Island and is called Male by locals. Male is the capital and the most populated part of the islands. Fishing of course has been the main source of income here for generations and continues to be vital to the economy but after the Maldives joined the British Commonwealth tourism has become a big deal there. Remote? Yes. Beautiful setting? Yes. Lovely resorts? Yes, there are a few including newly built ones. If I go, will I be safe you might ask and the answer is yes again.
Now for the two reasons I am bringing you this story. First of all, last week a Chinese rocket fell to earth not far from the islands creating quite a light show. Secondly, this is the spot that the Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s daughter and her husband chose for their honeymoon after getting married last week. Now you can say you’ve been there too with the Original Buffalo Dale.
Hope you enjoyed the trip. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…
Welcome back Over the past three weeks I have been writing about local history for the enjoyment of not only you my loyal readers but also the new hires moving to town and the dozens of film crew employees who are here temporarily. These stories include Bill Hale who was otherwise known as the “king of the Osage Hills” back in the 1920s,and a profile of the Mullendore family, the ranching empire they built and the tragic murder which remained the most famous unsolved mystery in the southwest for over four decades.
This week I’m bringing you another story about a family which now has many members but back in 1887 there was only one in Pawhuska and his name was Fred Drummond. This Scottish born boy emigrated to America at the age of 16 after his father died. With three thousand dollars from his mother he first went to Texas where he purchased a herd of cattle but a drought wiped out most of his herd and his money. Seeking a new opportunity Fred moved to Pawhuska when Oklahoma was still known as Indian territory and got a job as a store clerk. Many of his customers were Osage Indians and Fred learned their language earning their trust and loyalty. After several years of long hours and hard work he was able to buy the store which was called the Osage Mercantile Company. A few years later he sold that store and bought out the Price Mercantile Company in Hominy, Oklahoma which was also very successful. Income from the store allowed him to invest in several banks and eventually Fred even became president of Farmers State Bank. When Hominy was incorporated in 1908 he became the town’s first mayor in recognition of his importance in the community.
While he was still working in Pawhuska Fred had met Adeline Gentner who was from Coffeyville, Kansas and on July 6, 1890 the two were married. Over time Fred and Adeline had six children and for twenty-three years all the research I have done indicates that Fred was a happy man, enjoying his family, expanding his business interests and developing a reputation as an extremely honorable man “ with absolute integrity.” The Osage tribe went so far as to give him an Osage name and he was equally trusted by the white settlers moving to the area.
Fred insisted that his children receive a college education and instilled them with his code of honor, setting them on a path to success in their own right. As they married and established families the Drummond name grew and then grew again with the following generations. The history of Oklahoma would not be complete without mention of their accomplishments.
Today the Drummonds are recognized by the Land Report which ranked them as 17th of the 100 largest land owners in the country with several branches of the family operating ranches in Oklahoma and Kansas.
On another note from Leonardo Di Caprio eating pizza at Ree Drummond’s place to Martin Scorcese’s wife shopping at Lorec Ranch for custom western furniture and décor, my sources tell me the movie people are here in full force and already filming scenes in several locations. It has been reported that the cost of the project could be over two hundred million dollars before it wraps up.
I’ll bring you more next week and until then I’ll see ya down the road…