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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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Calendar

May 2017

The inaugural Oklahoma City Whitewater Festival will host many whitewater rafting and kayaking events. This four-day whitewater celebration will include the R4 Rafting National Championship and USA...

Cost: Free

Where:
Riversport Rapids
800 Riversport Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Boathouse Foundation
Website »

More information

Six homes and gardens -- from grand domiciles to cozy bungalows -- are ready to welcome the public. The 2017 tour will showcase the diverse architecture, array of interior décor and...

Cost: $10

Where:
Miller Neighborhood
2649 NW 14th St
OKC, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Miller Neighborhood Association OKC
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...
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Internationally known multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson’s first Oklahoma solo exhibition will feature recent artworks that draw upon his Native American heritage (Choctaw and Cherokee) and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson interweaves fiber art, ceramics, video and performance art, painting and elements and influences from his Choctaw/Cherokee heritage for this captivating exhibition...

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center
3000 General Pershing
OKC, OK  73107
View map »


Telephone: 405.951.0000
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Internationally known multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson’s first Oklahoma solo exhibition will feature recent artworks that draw upon his Native American heritage (Choctaw and Cherokee) and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson interweaves fiber art, ceramics, video and performance art, painting and elements and influences from his Choctaw/Cherokee heritage for this captivating exhibition...

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center
3000 General Pershing
OKC, OK  73107
View map »


Telephone: 405.951.0000
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

A joint exhibition of Western portraiture and iconography from Oklahoma Hall of Fame artists Mike Larsen and Harold T. Holden.

Where:
OK Hall of Fame Museum
1400 N Classen
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.235.4458
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Internationally known multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson’s first Oklahoma solo exhibition will feature recent artworks that draw upon his Native American heritage (Choctaw and Cherokee) and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
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

A joint exhibition of Western portraiture and iconography from Oklahoma Hall of Fame artists Mike Larsen and Harold T. Holden.

Where:
OK Hall of Fame Museum
1400 N Classen
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.235.4458
Website »

More information

Multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson interweaves fiber art, ceramics, video and performance art, painting and elements and influences from his Choctaw/Cherokee heritage for this captivating exhibition...

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center
3000 General Pershing
OKC, OK  73107
View map »


Telephone: 405.951.0000
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Internationally known multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson’s first Oklahoma solo exhibition will feature recent artworks that draw upon his Native American heritage (Choctaw and Cherokee) and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson interweaves fiber art, ceramics, video and performance art, painting and elements and influences from his Choctaw/Cherokee heritage for this captivating exhibition...

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center
3000 General Pershing
OKC, OK  73107
View map »


Telephone: 405.951.0000
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

A joint exhibition of Western portraiture and iconography from Oklahoma Hall of Fame artists Mike Larsen and Harold T. Holden.

Where:
OK Hall of Fame Museum
1400 N Classen
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.235.4458
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Internationally known multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson’s first Oklahoma solo exhibition will feature recent artworks that draw upon his Native American heritage (Choctaw and Cherokee) and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

A joint exhibition of Western portraiture and iconography from Oklahoma Hall of Fame artists Mike Larsen and Harold T. Holden.

Where:
OK Hall of Fame Museum
1400 N Classen
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.235.4458
Website »

More information

Multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson interweaves fiber art, ceramics, video and performance art, painting and elements and influences from his Choctaw/Cherokee heritage for this captivating exhibition...

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center
3000 General Pershing
OKC, OK  73107
View map »


Telephone: 405.951.0000
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...

Internationally known multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson’s first Oklahoma solo exhibition will feature recent artworks that draw upon his Native American heritage (Choctaw and Cherokee) and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Celebrate the last day of the Farm's spring season and Memorial Day!

Cost: $11.50

Where:
The Orr Family Farm
14400 S. Western
Oklahoma City, OK  73170
View map »


Sponsor: The Orr Family Farm
Telephone: 405.799.3276
Contact Name: Shanain
Website »

More information

Departs Exchange Landing | Saturdays (May  – August) | 11:40 am Experience history as you never have before. Colorful Oklahoma characters will reenact history through the eyes of...

Cost: $6-15

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

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

Multimedia artist Jeffrey Gibson interweaves fiber art, ceramics, video and performance art, painting and elements and influences from his Choctaw/Cherokee heritage for this captivating exhibition...

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center
3000 General Pershing
OKC, OK  73107
View map »


Telephone: 405.951.0000
Website »

More information

A joint exhibition of Western portraiture and iconography from Oklahoma Hall of Fame artists Mike Larsen and Harold T. Holden.

Where:
OK Hall of Fame Museum
1400 N Classen
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.235.4458
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...
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