Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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.


UALR to honor film actor Julie Adams this week

Hollywood actor Julie Adams, a 1946 graduate of Little Rock Junior College, will be honored Friday, May 10, with UALR’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor given by the Alumni Association.

Julie Adams with Andy Griffith in 1962

Adams with Andy Griffith in 1962

The red carpet will be rolled out for Adams and other award recipients at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. The annual awards luncheon, hosted by the UALR Foundation Fund Board and the Alumni Association, will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Admission is free. However, guests are encouraged to donate a minimum of $50 to the UALR Alumni Association’s scholarship fund. Limited public seating will be available. Please RSVP by calling the alumni office at 501-683-2694.

Adams, born Betty May Adams, attended Little Rock Junior College from 1944 to 46 and was heavily involved in the drama department and a member of the Trojan Theater Guild.

She hoped to join a summer stock theater in Connecticut following graduation and take her chances as a stage actress in New York City afterward, but the program was full. Instead, Adams moved to Los Angeles.

The rest, as they say, is movie history.

In 1949, Adams landed her first leading role as Polly Medford in the film, “The Dalton Gang,” and continued to appear in numerous other western movies including a starring role in “Bend of the River,” alongside film icon James Stewart.

Adams became an even more recognizable star after being cast as a bathing suit bombshell in 1954’s “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” She was also featured in the musical “Tickle Me” starring Elvis Presley.

In addition to appearing in more than 50 films, Adams has had a range of roles in television, including several appearances as Janice Barton on the popular series “Perry Mason,” the only character among Mason’s clients to be convicted during the CBS show’s nine-year run.

Adams also appeared in “The Andy Griffith Show,” “General Hospital,” “The Jimmy Stewart Show,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” and “Melrose Place.” In 1987, she accepted a recurring role as Eve Simpson on CBS’s series, “Murder, She Wrote.” In the past decade, she has had roles in ABC’s popular series, “Lost,” as well as “CSI: New York.”

Adams, who still resides in Los Angeles, recently completed The Lucky Southern Star: Reflections From The Black Lagoon, an in-depth look at her rise to stardom.