Each week we’ll take a step back into the history of Great Bend through the eyes of reporters past. We’ll reacquaint you with what went into creating the Great Bend of today, and do our best to update you on what “the rest of the story” turned out to be.
Up until 1965, television had mostly been broadcast in black and white. Color technology was available, but adoption was slow. Not only did broadcasters need to invest, but home viewers would too, and at first, technologies were incompatible. For younger readers, it was like trying to run an Apple program on a PC. Of course, now you can, but there was a time....
In fact, it took more than 15 years of research and development before it was possible for the mass market. The transition was also delayed by a lack of the metals required, in part due to the war in Korea. But in 1965, the three major networks of that day, ABC, CBS, and NBC, brought a world of color into the living rooms of people all over the country when they began broadcasting their entire fall lineup in color.
Only NBC continued to roll out some of their sitcoms in black and white that year, but in 1966 they went to an all color format. Then, only shows that were originally filmed during the black-and-white era remained. It would be another 20 years before the technology for adding color to black-and-white films was developed to a point it was widely used. But that’s a story for another day.
Fifty years later, we’re still watching re-runs of those color revolution shows. Titles include: I Dream of Jeannie, Get Smart, Run for your life, F Troop, Green Acres, Lost in Space, The Big Valley, The Wild Wild West, Hogan’s Heroes, and the Saturday morning cartoon The Beatles.
The Tribune listed a column feature daily with the television schedule for the evening and through the next day. That was possible because there were only four channels at the time, transmitting out of Hutchinson. For example, Tuesday night, the only debut program was the one-year looser, My Mother the Car, a story in which a man learns his mother has been reincarnated as the family car. No surprise it only lasted a year. The rest of the lineup that night were tried and true shows, most appearing for the first time in color.
Lost In Space premiered at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday night on channel 12, opposite The Ozzie and Harriet Show and The King Family Show, a musical variety show featuring The King Sisters. The Beverly Hillbillies and Gidget appeared at 7:30 p.m. on channels 2 and 12 and 10. Green Acres appeared for the first time Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. on Channel 12. It was opposite The Bob Hope Show on channel 2 and Bewitched on channel 7. Then and 9 p.m., I Spy made it’s debut on channel 2, opposite The Danny Kaye Show and The Amos Burke Show.
Bowling them over
Television was already beginning to make a mark on daily life in by 1965, but it didn’t demand nearly the attention it does today. Great Bend’s population supported two bowling alleys back then, the Walnut Bowl and 300 Bowl. There were leagues of all kinds, and scores were listed in the sports pages of the paper regularly.
This week in 1965, the story of Minnie Bunselmeyer, Stafford, made the front page. The headline, “Stafford’s Oldest Bowler Celebrates 72nd Birthday,” was listed under the feature header, “Just as young as you feel.”
“Mrs. Minnie Bunselmeyer, Stafford’s oldest lady bowler who celebrated her 72nd birthday in August, feels as young as the youngest when she steps up in the line to bowl at the Gold Crown Lanes.
Last month Mrs. Bunselmeyer walked away with the first place trophy for bowling on a mixed doubles team sponsored by Ray Henry Insurance in the Golden Rule League. In addition, she was awarded an insignia by the Women’s International Bowling Congress.”
It turns out she was subbing for a friend that evening. She had been bowling for five years, since the bowling alley first opened, finding she really enjoyed the game. Her advice to others, to remain active and stay young.
According to the South Central Kansas Tourism Region, LLC, the Gold Crown Lanes still exists in Stafford, and continues to have at least one league and lessons provided according to various web sites. However, we were unable to reach anyone by phone to confirm. In Great Bend, we still have Walnut Bowl, and it still continues to be a popular recreational venue. The GBHS Bowling Team practices and competes there, and several community fundraisers are also held there. Popularity waxes and wanes, but time spent in the bowling alley continues to be fun for young and old alike.
College and high school
While around the country, protests and teach-ins against the Vietnam War made headlines, things remained quiet and status-quo here in Barton County. This week, it was reported the Barton Community College had been approved by the State Department of Education as one of 22 allowed under the state system, and USD 428 school board members were touring the new facilities in the new addition at Great Bend High School.
Joy Juice hits grocery shelves
It’s time for our “just for fun” section. This week, amongst other important sports news, the Tribune announced, “Kickapoo Joy Juice coming to this area.”
“Time was when Kickapoo Joy Juice, a powerful potion brewed by Al Capp’s Hairless Joe and Lonesome Polecat, was available exclusively to Dogpatch residents. Now, however, the general public will have access to Kickapoo Joy Juice, thanks to the National NuGrape Company of Atlanta, Ga., and the Great Bend Coca Cola Company.
The drink first made its appearance back in the 40s in Al Capp’s well known Li’l Abner comic strip. The original recipe has been slightly revised (omitting such items as old overshoes( and “hoominized,” but according to local bottler Great Bend Coca Cola, Kickapoo Joy Juice has lost little of it’s original zip.”
What is Kickapoo Joy Juice? The Great Bend Coca Cola company described it as being just the right balance between sweet and tart, with an enticing citrus flavor. And Hairless Joe merely says “it’s the most potent sody pop ever whomped up!”
Here’s a surprise. It turns out the Kickapoo Joy Juice brand is still around, and doing very well, according to the Monarch Beverage Company, which now owns the trademark beverage.
“Today Kickapoo has become the #1 heavy citrus brand in Malaysia and Singapore thanks to its superior taste. In those countries, the brand now challenges Sprite and 7Up for market leadership after colas. Kickapoo contains caffeine. The amount of caffeine will, in general, be superior to the amount present in leading cola brands.” Also, according to the website, it can be found at select retailers, including Ace Hardware and through Amazon.com.
Final trivial bit
We can’t forget to note that this week, Miss Kansas, Deborah Bryan, 19, of Overland Park, won the Miss America contest.