Billy Andrews

The name Billy Andrews probably means nothing to you, but if I told you he was the younger brother of Dana Andrews, what would that mean to you? I just watched “The Hanged Man” on Prime Video featuring Dana’s younger brother.  Dana and Billy were the sons of a Baptist Minister, living next door to Marilyn Austin’s home on Avenue “M” in Huntsville, Texas. They bothe grew up to become movie Stars. Both have passed away, but their films are still available. I discovered a board on the inside wall of the garage next door to my former wife’s home that bore “Billy Andrews” prior to the whole place was to be torn down. I removed that board and located an address in California and mailed it to ‘him’. Never got a response, but it was fun to do, donchaknow. Really. Still need a clue? How about photos of both men?

Dana Andrews (top)                     Steve Forrest (Billy Andrews)(bottom)

How ’bout that?

And that’s what I get from MY box of chocolates.   AMEN

Prince Bounine, Amarillo 1958

In a very heavy costume and itchy beard, 1958

I was working mid-days on KRAY-am in Amarillo. The morning man, Fred (?), was about to begin directing a production of “Anastasia” at Amarillo Little Theater and he asked if I would like to play the role played by Yul Brynner in the movie. Of course, I said yes. It was a most challenging role for many reasons. First, I needed  to look older, and Fred determined to give me a beard and mustache. (The adhesive itched something terrible)  We rented all the costumes from a Hollywood Costume House and I wore one made for Vincent Price that weighed in at 38 pounds. The Dowager Princess was played by a lady who had been in Hitler’s Royal acting company back during WWII. In her mid-sixties, her heavy accent and stately presence made for good theater.  We had rehearsed our scene numbers of times and I was very comfortable with it.  It was her throne room with lavish drapery and a beautiful throne placed center stage with a few steps up to double doors.  She was seated the entire scene and I was to pace around her attempting to convince her that this waif we discovered was the real princess.  On opening night, she did everything she could during performances to ‘upstage’ me. Instead of remaining seated, she immediately stood and went upstage to stand on the top level. I was shocked. Had we played that scene her way, it would have destroyed the whole thing. I would have had to address her with my back to the audience. In theater, that is a scene killer. Fortunately, I didn’t lose my composure. I immediately crossed up to stand beside her, refusing to give her the advantage. Afterwards, Fred read her the riot act and aside to me said, “Way to Go!”. The scene was played as directed for the remainder of the run. That experience further convinced me to give acting a whirl.  My next run at civic theater was at Stage Center in Bryan. I played detective McLeod in “Detective Story”, John Proctor in “The Crucible”, Joe Cantwell in “The Best Man” and directed “Annie Get Your Gun”. I also did summer stock at The Point Theater, outside Kerrville, in “South Pacific”, Brigadoon” and “The Little Foxes”. And, of course the dream tour of a lifetime in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”.  I wouldn’t trade for my theatrical experience, at all, donchaknow. Really.

And that’s what I get from MY box of chocolates.   AMEN

Mother and I

Mattie Tabb Austin and son

This picture ( poor copy of original) is the only one I have showing a hug of any kind. I look like a sumo wrestler. She lost my brother at birth. I am told he was too large. Well, from the looks of this lad, my little (5′ -0″) Mom must have had a bit of trouble the second time (@ 7 lbs).

My Mother was never a hugger. I’ve asked my children if they recall her ever giving them a hug and they can only remember her ‘allowing’ one. She just didn’t hug. Sam Austin made up for it, however. I think that’s why I love to hug so much. I know I must have caused some folks to feel ‘invaded’, but I love to hug and if I ever missed the opportunity you must have been moving too fast or too far away to reach. Looking at this makes me realize just how lovely Mattie Tabb Austin really was. Her journey of life took its toll of that beauty, but never did it change the love she felt for everyone, even those who stressed her out. 119 South Church was always a place of welcome. It was also a place to enjoy good old fashioned cooking, pancakes that would melt in your mouth and Sweet Spirit, donchaknow. Really.   Just for me, hug somebody.

And, that’s what I get from MY box of chocolates.  AMEN

School Days

I have shared my faith and examples of just how much I love to share my faith and reveal the consequence of sin. It has been a personal journal written in the hope that what I have shared will cause those in need to seek the Truth about which I speak. 

You know where I stand and on the issues, so until I feel the need to do otherwise, I will share stories that I pray will be of interest.

We all have had teachers who left an indelible mark on our very being. We all remember the name of our first teacher,  If we grew up in a church-going family, we certainly recall our first pastor and if we were baptized, the pastor who officiated at the dunking. Those who participated in sports certainly recall their first coach and their team records. Every one of us will have  favorite teachers and subjects. In my case, I really loved “school”. I enjoyed every class and subject. I honestly was never truly challenged until Albegra and Geometry. 

Some of us were ‘advanced’ and placed in higher grade subjects. Algebra and Geometry convinced me to study, but my first taste of algebra left a bad taste in my mounth since the teacher obviously appreciated the handsome ‘older’ boys and spent her time teaching from each one’s desk. Most in the advanced group seem to have no problem at all, but that still irks me, donchaknow. Geometry cause me difficulty and the teacher had been doing it too long to be interesting. Chemistry was another “need to focus”, but I made it. Being musically inclined, I excelled in choir and band. We had choir in junior high, but it was simply singalong. My first ‘director’ was beautiful and he daughter of the Episcopal minister. She also loved the older boys. She didn’t make it and the rumor was she ‘loved’ the older boys too much. Lorene Sanders, Bill Sorrells and Duncan Thompson were my favorite teachers. Ms. Sanders was my inspiration to teach. Duncan Thompson was my band director and Bill Sorrells was my choral teacher. They each challenged me at every turn. I still do not understand how my senior year fall band grade was “96” and my final was”92″? Notice my one absence. Only one in all twelve years. Also, no one signed my final card since it was ‘final’.

College days at a later date.

And that’s what I get from MY box of chocolates.  AMEN

Costas, Bowa, Tark and Me

KORK was the flagship station for the Las Vegas Stars minor league baseball team. Larry Bowa was the manager. He was a very fiery fellow who was known, far and wide, to be tossed during a game for confronting umpires.  Whenever the team needed someone to replace the singer of the National Anthem, they would call me. I got to know the team members and the manager pretty well.

Bob Costas was beginning a five-minute sports program for State Farm and his producer was attempting to get Bowa on for his first guest.  Bowa was difficult to deal with all the way around, and when he refused, The producer called the ‘flagship’ station for assistance. I happened to answer the phone and when told of their dilemma, I said that I might be able to convince Larry.  The producer said, “You get Bowa on tape, asking questions I will send you and I will pay you $25 for them.  I did and they did.  I used a cassette machine, recorded the questions they sent, mailed it to an address in St. Louis and Costa would record his voice with my questions and thus the broadcast. 

It went so well, I got the contract.

My next assignment was with Jerry Tarkanian, coach of the National Champion UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.  I knew the coach also, and I did additional questions that I thought would be of interest.  They liked mine and from that time on, I was given carte blanche to do the same for notables whenever they came to Vegas.  I made some easy money for that whole sports show run. Las Vegas Sports Books always had sports figures hanging around and that worked out well for me.

Not many can say, “I was Bob Costas for a season,  donchaknow, really. 

And that’s what I get from MY box of chocolates.      AMEN

The Greatest Hymn Ever Written

I would have said, “Amazing Grace”, but at a recent gathering of hymnologists, they unanimously determine it to be:

“Holy, Holy, Holy”, lyrics composed by Reginald Herber in the 1700’s and set to music by John Bacchus Dykes in 1861. The second verse seemed to sum up just how lessened God’s importance seems to be today. After refreshing my memory, I totally agree. I have said many times that we ‘walk in darkness’ without the Light of God. You many not know the words, so I’ve included the lyrics here. The focus verse is in “Bold” font, donchaknow.

“Holy, holy, holy!! Lord God Almighty, early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee. Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty, God in three persons, Blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee, Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see. Only Thou art holy, There is none beside Thee perfect in power, in love and purity.


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty, All thy works shall praise Thy name In earth and sky and sea. Only Thou art Holy, Merciful and mighty, God in three persons, Blessed Trinity!”


The words in Bold shout out loudly today. “Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see” is very, very true. Just look at how far we’ve strayed from The Word!

i promised not to be so “preachy” from now on, but just couldn’t pass up this one. Thought you’d like to know. Really. I wonder if it is still Hymn number one in hymnals today. I wonder if there are still hymnals in use in worship, today.

And that’s what I get from MY box of chocolates.   AMEN