Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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Remembering Betty Fowler

(Photo courtesy of Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation)

Arkansas entertainer icon Betty Fowler died Saturday, April 15, 2017.

The information below is adapted from her obituary.

Betty was born on September 17, 1925 in Wynne, Arkansas to the late Harry Willis Hunter and Elizabeth Sands Hunter. Her love for music began at age 9, when she started taking piano lessons. Betty began her illustrious career at age 18 after winning a talent contest, which gave her the push she needed to pursue her life’s passion. Betty graduated from Little Rock Jr. College in 1944. She spent most of her life in Little Rock as a popular musician and television entertainer.

Betty began her musical career on a statewide radio show. She moved on to become a television performer in the early 1950’s in Little Rock with what is now known as Channel 7. She was best known for her children’s TV show, “Betty’s Little Rascals”, which began in 1955.

She went on to co-host the “Little Rock Today Show” on Channel 4 with Bud Campbell, where she did live commercials, played the piano and interviewed celebrities who came to town, such as Liberace, Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope, Red Buttons and Robert Goulet.

Through the years, Betty maintained a vigorous schedule with her band, “The Betty Fowler Four”, which produced a record album of her music. She was also musical director for The Miss Arkansas Pageant (1960-84), Musical Director for Broadway musicals produced by the Community Theater, Musical Director for the Farkleberry Follies and The Gridiron.

For many years, Betty taught piano and had a recording studio in her home, where she gave voice coaching lessons and made accompany tapes for many aspiring performers.
Betty Fowler will forever be remembered and treasured for her lifetime love and devotion to the world of music, both in performing and in the teaching of music to others.

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Tailgate Party to celebrate VOICES OF THE RAZORBACKS book on Sept 5

bc-purvisFans aren’t the only ones who call the Hogs. Voices of the Razorbacks, which has just been released by Butler Center Books, traces the history of the Razorback broadcasters who many fans grew up hearing. Celebrate the launch of this book at a free book signing and tailgate party in the Main Library’s garden and Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street, at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 5. Author Hoyt Purvis will speak and sign books, which will be available for purchase at the event. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP to kchagnon@cals.org or 918-3033.

Established more than sixty years ago, the Razorback broadcasting network was a pioneering effort in collegiate sports. With announcers such as Bud Campbell and Paul Eells at the microphone, it has become an enduring feature of life in Arkansas. The Razorback network, from its modest beginning to its growth into a major force in sports broadcasting, is the basis of Voices of the Razorbacks.

The Razorback broadcasting network helped build interest in the Razorbacks and a loyal following for them as well as forged strong links among Razorback fans and the broadcasters who became “voices” of the Razorbacks. A sense of kinship developed within the audience, and the broadcasts of Razorback sports became an essential part of the state’s culture.

Although an announcer today may say, This is the Razorback Sports Network from IMG College,” the Arkansas broadcast network is a direct descendant of the Razorback network Bob Cheyne assembled in the early 1950s at the direction of Athletic Director John Barnhill. There had been earlier broadcasts of Razorback sports, including games announced by Bob Fulton in the 1940s, but the Razorback network Cheyne developed help turn broadcasters into cultural icons.

Voices of the Razorbacks traces the history of the broadcasters and the memorable events and highlights over the decades, and it features interviews with many of the key figures in that history. It is hard to find anyone in Arkansas, or Razorback fans anywhere, without special memories of listening to or watching broadcasts of Razorback games. Voices of the Razorbacks brings all those memories back.

Co-author Hoyt Purvis has taught journalism, international relations, and political science at the University of Arkansas (UA) since 1982. He established the first sports journalism course at UA and taught it for twenty-five years. Co-author Stanley Sharp of Booneville, Arkansas, has followed Razorback sports all his life and has a master’s degree in journalism from UA.

Voices of the Razorbacks is available from River Market Books & Gifts, 120 River Market Ave., and from the University of Arkansas Press, Butler Center Books’ distributor. Butler Center Books is a division of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). The Butler Center’s research collections, art galleries, and offices are located in the Arkansas Studies Institute building at 401 President Clinton Ave. on the campus of the CALS Main Library. For more information, contact Rod Lorenzen at (501) 320-5716 or rlorenzen@cals.org.


Hogs Broadcasters focus of new book from Butler Center Books

bc-purvisRazorback football season is just a few short weeks away.  As thoughts start turning to the gridiron, it is time to think about the legacy of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Established more than sixty years ago, the Razorback broadcasting network was a pioneering effort in collegiate sports. With announcers such as Bud Campbell and Paul Eells at the microphone, it has become an enduring feature of life in Arkansas. The Razorback network, from its modest beginning to its growth into a major force in sports broadcasting, is the basis of Voices of the Razorbacks, by Hoyt Purvis and Stanley Sharp, which has just been released by Butler Center Books.

The Razorback broadcasting network helped build interest in the Razorbacks and a loyal following for them but also forged strong links among Razorback fans and the broadcasters who became “voices” of the Razorbacks. A sense of kinship developed within the audience, and the broadcasts of Razorback sports became an essential part of the state’s culture.

Although an announcer today may say, This is the Razorback Sports Network from IMG College,” the Arkansas broadcast network is a direct descendant of the Razorback network Bob Cheyne assembled in the early 1950s at the direction of Athletic Director John Barnhill. There had been earlier broadcasts of Razorback sports, including games announced by Bob Fulton in the 1940s, but the Razorback network Cheyne developed help turn broadcasters into cultural icons.

Voices of the Razorbacks traces the history of the broadcasters and the memorable events and highlights over the decades, and it features interviews with many of the key figures in that history. It is hard to find anyone in Arkansas, or Razorback fans anywhere, without special memories of listening to or watching broadcasts of Razorback games. Voices of the Razorbacks brings all those memories back.

Co-author Hoyt Purvis has taught journalism, international relations, and political science at the University of Arkansas since 1982. He established the first sports journalism course at UA and taught it for twenty-five years. Co-author Stanley Sharp of Booneville, Arkansas, has followed Razorback sports all his life and has a master’s degree in journalism from UA.

            Voices of the Razorbacks is available from River Market Books & Gifts, 120 River Market Ave., and from the University of Arkansas Press, Butler Center Books’ distributor. Butler Center Books is a division of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). The Butler Center’s research collections, art galleries, and offices are located in the Arkansas Studies Institute building at 401 PresidentClinton Ave. on the campus of the CALS Main Library. For more information, contact Rod Lorenzen at (501) 320-5716 or rlorenzen@cals.org.