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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 2018

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Cost: Free with admission

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Join the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy as we "wrap up" OK Foster Wishes for the season and kick off 2018! Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks while seeing your impact...

Cost: $50-$75

Where:
Dunlap Codding
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: 405.236.5437
Contact Name: Miranda Hines
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Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
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This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
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415 Couch Dr.
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Telephone: 405.236.3100
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 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

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Telephone: 918.495.6000
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More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
J.L. Johnson Stadium
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
J.L. Johnson Stadium
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Website »

More information

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Cost: $10-$15

Where:
NOIR Bistro & Bar
701 West Sheridan Avenue
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Sponsor: OKC Improv
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Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
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415 Couch Dr.
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View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
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 This championship is a three-day event taking place at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
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7777 S Lewis Ave
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View map »


Telephone: 918.495.6000
Website »

More information

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Cost: $29.99

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Sponsor: Andy Alligator’s Fun Park & Water Park
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Cost: $10-$15

Where:
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701 West Sheridan Avenue
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View map »


Sponsor: OKC Improv
Telephone: 405.456.9858
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

This new solo exhibition uniquely presents a selected survey of rarely seen experimental short films and video installations by Weerasethakul, alongside his photography, sketches and archival...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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