Ev’rybody come on down! Our very own Fran Mahaney, affectionately known as Irish, will serenade you with his romantic melodies. Herbie Kratoska, Arizona as we call him, will grab your attention with his fast-playing banjo skills. Good luck keepin’ up with him! How can anyone resist the “hottest guitar player this side of Half Day, Illinois”? That’s right folks, the boys are in town.
What? No, they’re not Country Music Television’s latest stars! They’re members of a popular novelty musical group from the good ol’ 1930s and 1940s. They are the “Gentlemen in White Hats,” the Texas Rangers of KMBC and CBS.
Browse KMBC’s promotional portfolio for the Gentlemen in White Hats for an entertaining introduction to the eight-man group, not to mention “one of the sweetest quartets on air.” Their musical performances offer a variety of tunes for listeners, including western ballads, contemporary songs, Latin tunes, novelty numbers of a hillbilly nature, as well as hymns, solos, and instrumental interludes. Regardless of one’s personal tastes, the Texas Rangers offer something entertaining for everyone.
Marketed nationally by Arthur B. Church Productions as having the “largest established audience for any musical group of its type [and time period] in America,” Texas Rangers’ music carried melodies and sponsors’ messages from coast to coast. The boys were nationally celebrated. Irish and Arizona, along with their bandmates Tucson, Rod, Tenderfoot, Pappy, Joe, and Captain Bob, collectively played a total of 20 different instruments. Such talent easily attracted lucrative sponsorships, and over the years the Texas Rangers advertised for several national brands including Wrigley’s, Kellogg, and Camel.
Among the more unique instruments in their saddles was the ocarina, a “musical sweet potato.” Of course, to the Texas Rangers, it was the “golly poop.” It came in various colors, sizes and sounds, but always guaranteed a laugh. If the name has piqued your interest, listen to the boys put on a golly poop performance for a fan on the Musterole and Zemo audition. [audio:http://info.umkc.edu/specialcollections/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/2011-10-04_TexasRangers_Church_kmbc-850.mp3|titles=Hand me down my walking cane]
The boys sure are a fun time to be had. Luckily, the Arthur B. Church KMBC Collection is home to an extensive range of Texas Rangers entertainment, including radio programs like Life on the Red Horse Ranch and the Texas Rangers Transcribed Library, a massive collection including over 300 individual selections.
Click here to see our collection of Texas Rangers favorites.
Chadi El-Khoury and Christina Tomlinson, KMBC Project staff