Ron Chapman, Dallas Radio and TV Legend dies at 85

by HB Auld, Jr

Ron Chapman, a Dallas, Texas, radio and television legend for more than 60 years, died Monday, April 26, 2021. Mr. Chapman was 85 years old.

This man had SO MUCH to do with my spending a lifetime in radio.

When I was 15 years old in Athens, Texas, I decided I might want a career in radio.  I listened to KLIF, the Mighty 1190, every morning. This was back in 1961 and I idolized the duo of Murphy and Harrigan, the morning team on KLIF then.  This was when Ron was teamed with Tom Murphy as “Irving Harrigan” and predates even the later days of Charlie and Harrigan.  

For Valentine’s Day, 1961, Murphy and Harrigan ran a contest called, “Your Heart’s Desire.”  Listeners were invited to mail in a postcard containing their “Heart’s Desire.”  I mailed mine in and one morning as I readied for school, Irving Harrigan read my entry ON THE AIR!  My heart’s desire was to go to Dallas and meet Irving Harrigan (In truth, I had hoped they would pay my way up there by bus or something).  Irving read it and then said something like, “Well, Sonny, save your newspaper route money and maybe you will get up here one day.”  And that was it, but I was hooked.  I had heard my name on the radio!  And it was uttered by the great Irving Harrigan (I had no idea then who Ron Chapman was).  

Fast forward three years.  I was 18 and my mom drove me to Dallas to take my FCC Third Class Endorsed Radiotelephone License.  I took the test that was required back then and I passed.  Afterward, I talked her into stopping by the KLIF radio studios.  I went inside, told the receptionist I was here to see Irving Harrigan (who had already gotten off the air by then).  She laughed in my face, but who should walk into the lobby but Irving Harrigan, himself.  She told him I was there to see him and I told him why.  He offered for me to take a “tour” of KLIF radio station with him as my “guide.”  I watched him cut a spot (I was amazed that he just walked in to a studio with just a mike and did the voiceover; a production engineer in the next room recorded it and then mixed it with music and sound effects.  None of the menial stuff for Irving Harrigan; he did voices only…a whole new concept to me back in 1964.)

Then, he showed me “HIS” studio.  Tom Murphy spun all of the records in a LARGE studio and off to the side in a little private booth that belonged SOLELY to Irving Harrigan was HIS little studio.  He showed me all of his sound effects bells and whistles, his own personal carts, and his own personal stand-up board.  He explained to me that he used a stand-up board because standing up, he was much more likely to reach around and get something out of a trunk or out of a rack on the wall than if he was sitting down. I WAS AMAZED.  

I went on to work in radio at several little small stations in East Texas and later at Armed Forces Radio and Television during a career in the Navy.  I never forgot about Irving Harrigan.

Fast forward to 1992.  By then I had retired from the Navy and moved back to McKinney, TX.  I was married and my two sons had grown up and moved away.  I heard one day that Ron Chapman was doing a remote that day.  I HAD to go down and see him…31 years after that first mention of my name on the radio.  I drove down to the remote, and watched him through the glass in a little portable travel trailer as he ran his remote shift.  When he was off the air, I told the engineer there I wanted to talk to him for just a few minutes and why.  Ron welcomed me inside his remote trailer.  I told him both stories above of our “meetings” so many years ago.  He pretended to remember (I know he didn’t, but it felt good) and then he gave me an autographed photo of himself.  Sadly, that photo was lost in a bad move later.  But, I will always remember a man who played the part of Irving Harrigan and took the time…TWICE…to make a young boy’s dreams come true:  once when I was 15 and once when I was 18.   I am 75 years old now and I have had a great life.  I never achieved greatness, but I have met greatness, and its name was Ron “Irving Harrigan” Chapman.  Thank you, Ron.  Rest In Peace, Sir!

What a Great Christian Song

by HB Auld, Jr.

Our church Music Director, Neil Barnes, played this video this morning during our morning church service at Providence Baptist Church in Paris, TX.

I thought it was a wonderful, upbeat, Christian anthem that I wanted to share with you here. The group is “Crowder,” led by David Crowder singing lead and playing the white guitar. “Crowder” is from Waco, TX.

Sad Day in US History Remembered Today

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today is a sad day for two incidents in recent American history: the end of the siege of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, and the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The first incident killed 82 people, including 25 children and two pregnant women. The second one, a direct result of the first, killed 168 civilians and military members.

The siege of the Branch Davidian compound at Mt. Carmel, Texas, 13 miles outside of Waco, began on February 28, 1993. Members of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) attempted to serve warrants for weapons on the Davidians, led by David Koresh. The Davidians resisted and the FBI soon arrived. They and other law enforcement held the compound at bay for 51 days. It ended April 19, 1993, when the Davidians allegedly set three fires inside the building, killing everyone, including Koresh, as it burned to the ground.

Oklahoma City Bombing

The subsequent bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City exactly two years later, was carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols at 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995.

The explosion was in retaliation for the siege on the Davidian compound in Waco. The resulting explosion killed at least 168 men, women, and children.

Timothy McVeigh was stopped for a license plate infraction less than 90 minutes after the blast and soon was connected to the bombing. He had set off the explosion in a Ryder rental truck filled with diesel oil and fertilizer. In addition to the 168 killed, 380 were injured and several buildings in the area were destroyed.

McVeigh served in the Gulf War and was angry at the government’s treatment of civilians at Ruby Ridge in 1992 and the siege of the Branch Davidian compound in 1993. Terry Nichols and Michael and Lori Fortier were soon identified as accomplices and also arrested and charged.

McVeigh was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was executed by lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute in Terre Haute, Indiana, on June 11, 2001.

On May 26, 2004, the jury found Terry Nichols guilty on all charges, but deadlocked on the issue of sentencing him to death. Presiding Judge Steven W. Taylor then sentenced Nichols to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole. He remains in prison.

Michael and Lori Fortier were identified as accomplices for their association with McVeigh and for helping him scout the Federal Building as a target, as well as failure to warn authorities prior to the explosion. Michael Fortier agreed to testify against McVeigh and Nichols, in exchange for a reduced sentence and immunity for his wife, Lori. Fortier was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $75,000 on May 27, 1998. On January 20, 2006, after serving seven-and-a-half years of his sentence, including time already served, Fortier was released for good behavior into the Witness Protection Program and given a new identity where he remains today.

On April 19, 2000, the Oklahoma City National Memorial was dedicated on the former site of the Murrah Federal Building, commemorating the victims of the bombing. Remembrance services are held there at the Memorial each year on April 19, at the time of the explosion.

Dick Clark Died on this Date, Nine Years Ago

by HB Auld, Jr.

Disc jockey and American Bandstand host Dick Clark, died on this date nine years ago: April 18, 2012. He was born on November 30, 1929, and was 82 years old when he died.

In addition to daily and later Saturday night versions of American Bandstand, Dick also hosted the Pyramid gameshow and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve shows.

Known as “America’s Oldest Teenager,” Dick suffered a debilitating stroke in 2004, but was back on the air a year later. He continued to host his New Year’s Eve show through December 31, 2011, into 2012.

I once had the honor of a short conversation with him when he called the radio station where I worked. He was negotiating the purchase of a California radio station from my boss.

Thanks for the memories, Dick Clark. Many of us wanted to be just like you. Up there in heaven looking down on us now: Rock on, Sir, rock on, and s’long.

HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Laid to Rest

by HB Auld, Jr.

His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was buried today following a state funeral at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, United Kingdom.

The Prince and Queen Elizabeth, II, were married 73 years. Prince Philip died a week ago, just months shy of his 100th birthday.

Today’s funeral followed pandemic protocols with a limit of just 30 of the royal family members in attendance. The funeral service was led by Justin Welby, the current Archbishop of Canterbury. Welby is the 105th in a line of Archbishops going back more than 1400 years to the first Archbishop in 597.

Civil War Began 160 Years Ago

by HB Auld, Jr.

On April 12, 1861,160 years ago, the American Civil War began.

“The bloodiest four years in American history began when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay.

During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, 1861, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

(Credit: The History Channel)

A Week of Remembrances

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today marks the beginning of the end for the Confederate States of America, 156 years ago today. (credit: Phil Galloway for the original post)

Back on April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. The army was down from nearly 100,000 earlier in the war to a mere 28,000 by then.

Union forces blocked the Confederate attempt to unite with General Joseph Johnston’s troops in North Carolina and so in order to prevent any further bloodshed in an unwinnable situation General Lee chose to surrender.

Although that major surrender is remembered as the official end to the war, that was not the end of the war however. Joe Johnston surrendered the largest Rebel army on April 26, some 90,000 men. General Richard Taylor surrendered another 10,000 in Alabama on May 4th and General Edmund Kirby Smith surrendered in the Trans-Mississippi arena on May 26th. The final surrender of land forces occurred in Indian Territory on June 23rd when Cherokee Brigadier General Stand Watie threw in the white flag. The last Confederate unit to surrender was the CSS Shenandoah which had been at sea and had not received the news of the collapse. She gave herself up in August, thus bringing a close to a horrific war.

Today marks the beginning of a week of historical remembrances. The Civil War officially ended today, April 9, 1865. The start of the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, (160 years ago), with the firing on Fort Sumter. President Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865. He died the following morning on Saturday, April 15, 1865. The RMS Titantic struck an iceberg and sank in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912, in the North Atlantic Ocean, four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.