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Roy Clark: Still Grinning

Catching up with the legendary musician and entertainer



 



One of the music industry’s true living legends is being honored with a new exhibit at Oklahoma City’s American Banjo Museum. The recently opened “America’s Super Picker: Roy Clark” gives guests a glimpse into Clark’s life, featuring stage costumes and musical instruments from the artist’s personal collection.
 

Clark has been making music for more than a half-century, and has won multiple Entertainer of the Year awards from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. In 2009, Clark was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 30 years. While he’s most commonly known as a country entertainer, he has also had hit records on the pop charts, including “Yesterday When I Was Young” and the novelty hit “Thank God and Greyhound She’s Gone.” Clark hosted “The Tonight Show” multiple times, was a guest on “The Muppet Show” and even appeared on “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Since the mid-1970s, Clark has made his home in Tulsa. 405 Magazine had a chance to sit down and visit with the “Hee Haw” star during a recent press junket in Bricktown.

 

How long have you lived in Tulsa? “I was living back east, and in 1976 I went on a concert tour of Russia. I was the first country music entertainer to ever perform in the Soviet Union. When I got back to the States, one of my first shows was in Tulsa. So in one tour, I left as a Yankee and came back as an Okie.”

You have some longtime roots in Oklahoma, having performed with our own “Queen of Rockabilly” Wanda Jackson. “Yes, I was in Wanda’s band, the Party-Timers, back in the early ’60s. She is a sweetheart. She is actually the one who put me in touch with Capitol Records. I just saw her last week in Nashville.”

On “Hee-Haw,” you and Buck Owens were known for your “pickin’ and grinnin’” with you on the banjo. Was that the first instrument you learned to play as a kid? “Yes, it was. When I was starting to learn, I had to go where the instrument was, because we couldn’t afford to buy one. My uncle had a mandolin, so I learned to play that. And my dad had a tenor banjo. After the mandolin and banjo, I graduated to guitar. That’s when I decided there’s more to this than I was aware of, so I went out and decided to see if I could make a living at it.”

Do you remember the first time you were on television? “Yes, I was still living at home with my parents and appeared on the old DuMont network in 1947. That was a long time ago. I saw Bob Hope on “The Tonight Show” one time; they asked him how long he had been on TV, and he said something like 40 years at that time. I thought to myself, ‘I’ve been on TV longer than Bob Hope!’”

“Hee-Haw” came along in 1969, and was sort of a cornpone version of “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” that was on the air until 1992. How long did it take you to shoot that? “We only got together twice a year, in June and October, and did all our shows for the season in about two weeks.”


Do you ever catch yourself on the reruns? “Every chance I get! Sometimes I will see myself and think, ‘Well, that’s not too bad.’ Then other times I’ll see something and think, ‘Oh, why did I do that?’”

Back in the late ’60s, you appeared on “The Beverly Hillbillies” as Cousin Roy Halsey, and even did a dual role in drag as Cousin Roy’s mother, Myrtle. What do you remember about that? (Laughs) “Well, they had me in a mini-skirt and go-go boots, but they couldn’t find any pantyhose that would fit me. So I went out at lunch and bought the biggest pair of pantyhose I could find, and cut the feet out of them. When you saw the scene of me in the go-go boots, you couldn’t tell the pantyhose didn’t have feet!”

You’re going to be inducted into the American Banjo Museum’s Hall of Fame in September, so will you be coming back to Oklahoma City? “Oh, you bet! You can’t get rid of me yet.”

 

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October 2017

DogFest Walk n' Roll is a family-friendly, dog-friendly walk and festival benefiting Canine Companions for Independence, which is the oldest and largest dog assistance organization in the...

Cost: Free

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Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

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Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
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Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
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This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
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A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

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415 Couch
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This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

ROCK OF AGES is a high-energy rock musical built around classic rock songs from the 1980s. This worldwide hit musical takes you back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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Telephone: 405.236.3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
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ROCK OF AGES is a high-energy rock musical built around classic rock songs from the 1980s. This worldwide hit musical takes you back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

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Sponsor: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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Cost: $35

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
SW, over the bridge from Farmer's Market
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

ROCK OF AGES is a high-energy rock musical built around classic rock songs from the 1980s. This worldwide hit musical takes you back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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Cost: Free - $15

Where:
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Oklahoma City, OK  73109


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Saturday cartoons aren’t just for the children anymore. Share the classics with your crew every Saturday on an Oklahoma River Cruise. Kids 6 and under ride free.

Cost: $15 (free for kids 6 and under)

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

ROCK OF AGES is a high-energy rock musical built around classic rock songs from the 1980s. This worldwide hit musical takes you back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

ROCK OF AGES is a high-energy rock musical built around classic rock songs from the 1980s. This worldwide hit musical takes you back to the times of big bands with big egos playing big guitar solos...

Cost: $30-60 (military/child discounts available)

Where:
Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
1727 NW 16th St
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

Tired of the same old Halloween parties?  Come Haunt the River and enjoy the decorated boat, haunted tunes, light snacks and cash bar. This is an adults-only cruise and boards at 7:45...

Cost: $35

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
SW, over the bridge from Farmer's Market
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This portrait of early Oklahoma revolves around photography from the decades of shots archived by Land Run settler Henry Wantland.

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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