Holland, J Harvey and Euna

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J. Harvey (Harve) and Euna Holland review their lives as tent show performers and owners, along with their recollections of various repertoire performers. They also perform skits with Clifford Ashby’s drama classes.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: J Harvey and Euna Holland

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: March 9, 1975; December 29, 1975; April 28-30, 1976

Location: Lubbock and Fort Worth, Texas

Interviewer: Clifford Ashby, Bob Nash (KFYO Radio), Rick Boucher

Length: 7 hours, 12 minutes (total)


Tape 1, Side 1: Euna Holland’s first sightings of Harve Holland, Fourth of July picnic, Anecdote: Seeing Holland boys on the way home from town, Euna Holland’s family moved to Midlothian, School, Charlie Holland, Anecdote: Boy paying "dirty" complements, Meeting Harve Holland, Anecdote: Walking home after the fire, First date, Sundays at the tank or cemetery, Anecdote: Stopping to watch the 5:15 train come in, Marriage proposal, Wedding, Honeymoon, Calling home to break the news, Moving Mrs. Holland from home, Orchestra pit Majestic Theater, Singer of illustrated songs, Theater closed, Job playing with Corsicana Band, Traveling with land company, Returning home to Midlothian, Texas Homecoming celebration, Practicing gymnastics, Sold house to buy a tent show, Harve Holland’s feelings in the morning after the wedding, How the Hollands got into show business, Anecdote: Harve Holland goes to the circus, Erecting a trapeze, Working the way to Hamilton, Texas and back, First acrobatic comedy act, Buying house in Midlothian, Cost, Space, Preparing to go on tour.

Tape 1, Side 2: Trip to Hamilton (again), Bookings along the way, Anecdote: playing in Hillsboro Texas, Town band plays for picnic in Midlothian, Advertised for bass player, Anecdote: injured bass player, Buying a tent, First show in Venus Texas, Putting Euna Holland’s niece in show, Ballyhoo stand, Playing Alvarado Texas, "Jig show", Hillsboro Texas, "Grind show", Shorty Harbor comedian, Cyclone blows tent down in Irene Texas, Patching tent and improving the show, Hiring from Billboard, Interviews, Tent burned, Returned to Midlothian, Hiring on with dramatic show in Venus Texas, Interviewing with Dutch Sheffield, Meeting townspeople, Training, Wardrobe, Harvey’s first part, Euna’s first part, Learning to play piano for show, Anecdote: knee showing out from under robe, Harvey helping with the tent, Directors worked with Ned Barrington, Mrs. Holland goes home to get her daughter, Minstrel show.

Tape 2, Side 1: Minstrel show (continued), Parades, One night stands, Return to Texas, World War I, Problems keeping actors, Anecdote: cars being condemned, Sold cars to government for troop transport, Return to Midlothian, "Shepherd of the Hills", Anecdote: playing Gainesville Texas in the show, Otto Johnson, playwright, Harve Holland’s fear of the draft, Sold cars to carnival company, Return to Midlothian, Joined Renfro Jolly Pathfinders Company, Roles performed, War (again), Draft depleted cast and show closed, Gabber Davis show, Influenza epidemic (1918), Shows closed, Working in San Antonio Texas, Silent films, Anecdote: driving wagon for "Three Wise Fools", Vaudeville theater, Working through chorus girl strike, Daughter brought to San Antonio, Performances, Euna Holland returns home to await arrival of baby, Son born (March 1919), Euna and children join Harve with Rec company, Joined Brunk’s Comedians, Partnership with Dot and Billy Lee, Towns played, Christmas in Dekalb Texas, Running a clean show, Traveling with children, Public relations, "Rough talk" never used, Split with Dot and Billy Lee, Wintering near public schools, Playing Houston Texas (1925), Meeting Clark Gable, Problems keeping a lot, Bought new tent (Spring 1925), Fall business in Rio Grande Valley.

Tape 2, Side 2: Summer of 1928, Showing Taylor Texas, Daughter opened dance studio, Third child born, Harvey Jr.’s experiences in Taylor, Family moves to Dallas, Living conditions, Cast made moving picture commercials, Gene Kenyon leading man and drummer, Mark Williams leading man and saxophonist, Orchestra broadcasted over local radio stations, Shows weekly newspaper, Show goes back on the road (Spring 1930), Glen Rose Texas, Gene Kenyon and Maxine Holland married, Two tent theaters playing one town, Terrell Texas, Meeting and hiring Gene Kenyon, Marriage of Maxine and Gene (again), Kenyon’s parents visit from Carthage, Missouri, Closed show when Harvey Jr. started school, Leased out tent for Boy Scout circus, Hollands helped with circus, Hollands go into Houston to check on house, Return to Midlothian, Telegram offering a job in stock, Traveled to Carthage Missouri to work, Rented cottage with Gene and Maxine, Fire in Joplin theater, Fire in Carthage theater, Hollands purchase small grocery store, Settled in Carthage so Harvey Jr. could go to school, Harvey and Gene Kenyon traveled with circle stock, Organized a show to perform in towns near Carthage, Performing with Gary Clark show, Working in and around Osage City Kansas, Harvey studies art at Washburn College, Second grandchild born, Gene Kenyon took a show on the road, Harvey becomes partner in Holland-Kenyon Players, Show closed for winter, Job with Central Scenic Studio (Waco Texas), Opened Scenic Company in Waco, Moved to live with Aunt Zelda, Anecdote: bathing in soft water, School, Aunt Zelda’s yard, School (again), Grades, Harvey Jr.’s roles.

Tape 3, Side 1: Euna Holland’s father, Description, Harvey Jr. as a street singer, Harvey joins the Elk’s Lodge, Working with the Nutt show (1919), Ladies join Elks Ladies Auxiliary, Pensacola Florida, Roles played by Harvey Sr. and Euna Holland, Children, Harvey Jr, Maxine, School, Performing on weekends, Sammy Monroe, Anecdote: breaking up fight amongst children, Harvey Sr did light comedy as a young man, "Call of the Woods", Plot, Harvey Clark comedy show, Anecdote: spraying water after seeing parents, Osage City Kansas, Anecdote: lowering trunk out of window, Gene and Harvey setting up stage, Anecdote: incident in cobbler’s shop, Money earned in Depression, Maxine’s roles, Various songs (performed by Euna Holland and Maxine).

Tape 3, Side 2: Euna Holland’s father Robert Morgan, Anecdote: offering money to purchase stockings, Euna Holland’s siblings, Cara Jettie, Cara Cine, Edna Mary, Zelica Zola Grace, Euna Vaye, Judge Erickson, Robert Tillman, Georgia Bennett, Mrs. Holland’s shoe size.

Tape 4, Side 1: Harvey Holland, Born: Hamilton County Texas (December 19 1888), To Midlothian Texas (c. 1893), Family, Brothers and sisters, Interest in circuses, Taught himself acrobatics, Worked at Texas Christian University (1907-1908), As first Physical Director, Show business skills and abilities, Organized dramatic club with wife, At Midlothian, Began playing clarinet in town band (age 6), Began doing vaudeville, Started in tent show business, Bought a medicine show, Leslie E. "Skeeter" Caal, Dr. Hightower’s New Discovery, Stories involving bass player, Tent burned in South Texas, Fred Chant’s Dramatic Show, Plays performed, Acting techniques, Fred Chant show, Harve and Euna Holland with the show a long time, Holland’s Big White Minstrel Show (1914-15), Railroad cars owned by the Hollands, Problems, Lived in Gainesville Texas, Incident in Houston, With Renfroe’s Jolly Pathfinders, During World War I, Harley Sadler, With Glenn Brunk show, With Bostwick-Davis show, Leon Bostwick, With Ed C. Nutt Stock Company, Responsibilities on the show, To San Antonio, Texas, Worked with silent pictures, With a tabloid show, Silent picture performers, Vaudeville acts, With Ed C. Nutt Show, Places shown, Put out show with Billy Lee (1924), Toby shows, Fred "Toby" Wilson, Holland’s show, Baseball team, Length of season, Mexican-American and black audiences, Lines from "Lure of the City", Different Toby characters, Repertoire shows as training grounds, Decline of tent show business, Advent of unions, Holland returned to school (1945), Became teacher and principal, Various towns, With Joe McKennon show, Size of show, Use of neon lights, Performers, Holland painted scenery and drops, Madcap Players in Dallas, For Texas schools, School of fine arts established after retired from teaching (1949), Harley Sadler with Joe McKennon show, Al Pitcaithley contortionist, Incident School of Fine Arts emcee, Love for performing, Holland’s hernia injury, Children, Betty daughter in Dallas, Son in Irving, Texas, Acting experience, Teacher on the show, Holland’s education.

Tape 4, Side 2: Euna Holland, First recollection of Harve, In high school together, Musical abilities, Went into show business with husband, Met professional showman (1910), Bought a tent, Vaudeville show, Acts, Acrobatic act, Holland’s show, Admission prices, Free tickets, Candy sale, Clean shows, No profanity, Interaction with townspeople, Emphasis on wardrobe, Railroad cars owned by Hollands, Description, Character parts, Length of shows, Orchestra, Changed scripts around, Types of shows performed, Cooperation with movie theaters, Incident at Holland Texas, Mrs. Holland’s activities on the show, Played in the band, Worked at the door, Worked circle-stock in Missouri, Lived in Osage City, Kansas, Grocery store business (1933), Holland’s show (again), Street band, Young people on the show, Salaries, Harve and Euna Holland’s children, Salaries, jobs on shows, Candy sale, Incident about balloons, School teacher on the show, Activities, Children on the show, Harve Holland’s family, As performers, Mark Williams, nephew, Success in show business, Seating capacity of tents, Different seating, Free show tickets, Harve Holland’s drunken act, Directors on the show, Harve Holland in San Antonio, Texas, Worked with a tabloid show, Worked with silent pictures, Worked with Buster Keaton’s grandmother, Tabloid show in San Antonio, Caroline Schaffner, Neil Schaffner, Wrote plays, Robert Le They Johnson and wife performers, Worked for Holland, Jimmy Davis performer, Harve Holland (again), Toby character, With Joe McKennon show, Worked at a nightclub, Hollands as Bible salesmen.

Tape 5, Side 1: Anecdote Holland poisoned, Lines from "Saint Elmo", Roles performed by Harve Holland, [Clifford Ashby describes and discusses Harve and Euna Holland].

Tape 5, Side 2: Blank

Tape 6, Side 1: Jennings Tent Show, Grace Jennings and Pete Lavelle, Paul Lavelle son, Buddy Lavelle son, Appearance, Neil Fletcher performer, Invented the corn dog, Appearance, Pete Lavelle, Trumpet player for Roy E. Fox Show, Cleaning business in Fort Worth, Toby Gunn organist, Roles he played, Appearance, Married Miss Hearn, Madcap Players, Mr. Hearn, Joy Holland Coleman niece, Dancer, Hollands worked in Dallas (1929), Rialto Theater, Anecdote, Harve Holland’s Comedians, Agent, Plays performed, Business declined, Grocery store business, Played circle-stock, In Kansas, Mack Johnson performer, Jobs on the Harley Sadler show (1948), Marie wife, Appearance, Put on amateur shows, Ethan Allen performer, Worked on different shows, Allen brothers Tent and Awning Company, Dallas Texas, Appearance, Worked for Clyde and Barney Moving Picture, Worked for a circus, Jobs on tent shows, Harley Sadler, Started as a stage hand, Jimmy Hogg, Success as a promoter, Stage experience, Wife, Appearance, Monty Stuckey performer, Appearance, Juvenile man on tent show, County judge near Houston Texas, Elsie Stuckey wife, Gene Stutzberry, Charles Evans, With Madcap Players, Taught music, Appearance, Played organ, Monroe Hopkins, Worked for Fred and Hila Morgan, Vaudeville act, Virge and Alice Lester, Worked for Monroe Hopkins, Holland show in Terrell Texas, Anecdote about the band, Competition from the Hila Morgan Show, Hila Morgan’s hotel burned, Generosity of Holland show performers, Gene Kenyon son-in-law, Fort Worth as a show town, Betty O’Conner performer, Dave Sullivan husband, Appearance, Trixie Masqueue performer, Parts on tent shows, Writer, Buddy Harris, Owned a tent show, Elizabeth Camp, Worked as a teacher for the Hollands, Houston and Dallas as show towns, Holland show, On the road, In Dallas, Show business visitors, In Houston, Clark Gable stock performer.

Tape 6, Side 2: Blank

Tape 7, Side 1: Holland’s scrapbook, Harve Holland’s start in show business, Circus performer, Learned gymnastics, Annual circus at Baylor University, Texas Christian University, Early days, Anecdote, Smoking, Short verse about the drawbacks, Reasons to stop, First job in show business, Married high school sweetheart, Early show business activities, Vaudeville show, Purchased a tent, Holland Show in Venus Texas, Leslie Caal, Blackface act with Euna Holland, Show traveled by train, Discussion of various photos, Candy sale, Tent used, Heating, Rain, With Fred Chant’s Show, Gave show to Hollands, With Fred Brunk, Harley Sadler with Glenn Brunk, Holland Show, In Dawson Texas, Everett Stover technician, Candy sale, Pitch used, Prizes, More expensive prizes, Holland show, Anecdote about Dawson Texas, Admission price, Applause, Balloon privilege (sale).

Tape 7, Side 2: Balloon privilege (continued), Cost, Preparation and sale of balloons, Show musicians, Street band, Singers, Mind readers act on the show, Harve and Euna Holland, Tricks used, Balloon sale, Started around 1925, Harley Sadler show in Houston (1922), Competing stock company, Clark Gable actor, Experiences of Harve and Euna Holland, Early airplane, Early automobile, Book written by Euna Holland, Early life, Show business start of Harve and Euna Holland, Mr. Holland’s career, Small roles, Preparation description, Hollands began in show business (1911), Various shows worked on, Repertoire shows, Tabloid shows, Silent pictures, Ticket prices, Concession sale, Effects of the Depression (1930s), To Kansas, Worked circle-stock, Theft of show equipment, Robbed while in Atchison, Kansas, Money, jewelry stolen.

Tape 8, Side 1: Anecdotes and stories.

Tape 8, Side 2: Blank

Tape 9, Side 1: [Interview with Bob Nash on KFYO Radio], Started in show business (age 21), Performance skills, Show business activities with wife Euna, Organized dramatic club in Midlothian Texas, Vaudeville acts, Children, Bought a tent show, Dr. Hightower’s New Discovery, With Fred Chant’s Dramatic Company, Present-day theaters and clubs, Return of vaudeville, [Advertisements], Harve Holland, Early experience with a circus, Activities in school, Played in a band, Taught himself acrobatics, At a cotton mill, Mother’s reaction, With Fred Chant’s show, Gave Holland 50% interest, "The Shepherd of the Hills", [Advertisements], Euna Holland wife, Texas Tech tent show revival, Renewed interest in vaudeville live theater, Fred Chant gave show to Holland, Effects of World War II on tent shows, [Advertisements].

Tape 9, Side 2: Blank

Tape 10, Side 1: This tape is a recording of Harve and Euna Holland performing a skit.

Tape 10, Side 2: Blank

Tape 11, Side 1: The Hollands perform a skit with Clifford Ashby’s drama class, Tent shows.

Tape 11, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: 1888-1976

Bulk Dates: 1910-1950s

Access Information

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Recording Format Notes:


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