Lamb, Gil 1975, 1976, 1982

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Mr. Lamb discusses his career with recollections of the Harley Sadler tent show in the 1930s and 1940s.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Gil Lamb

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: April 24, 1975; April 29, 1976; July 12, 1982

Location: Lubbock and Muleshoe, Texas

Interviewer: Clifford Ashby, Jerry Martin

Length: 4 hours, 30 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Gil Lamb’s start in show business, Played the trumpet, Show came through while he was in school, Harley Sadler, Love for his family and people in general, Memory for names, Sadler put out several shows, Gil Lamb with the Sadler-Davis Players, Sadler-Davis Players closed, Became Nairn Albretz Show, Gil Lamb on another of Harley’s shows, Harley Sadler had large tent (1929-1930), Tent capacity, Rehearsals in Sweetwater, Texas, Harley never learned his lines, Gil Lamb’s part on the show, Show became a one-night stand show, Played on the Canadian border, Band marched, Anecdote about marching, Harley Sadler (again), Toby parts, Incident involving his mother, New York plays, Done by the show, Harley never learned lines (again), Incident involving, Most actors would learn lines, During the winter would learn new plays, Prepare for the summer, Sadler show in San Angelo at Christmas, People took advantage of Harley, Gloria’s death, Effect on Harley, Gloria on the show, Incident involving Gloria, Gil Lamb with the show for a year and a half, Show under a tent most of this time, In theater in San Angelo, Sweetwater Auditorium, Harley’s gambling, Incident involving gambling, Gil Lamb born (c. 1907).

Tape 1, Side 2: Drinking on the show, Incident involving scenery man, Harley always knew when someone had been drinking, Harley’s generosity, Contributions to charity, Help to farmers, Harley’s oil business, Harley’s political campaign, Sadler show, Spent locally whenever possible, Depression, Transportation, Trucks, Weather, Problems with wind, Burnett Massengale, Large stature, Asthma problems, Harley felt responsible for family members, Gil Lamb’s scrapbook, Plays discussed, Billie Sadler, Drinking problem, Good person, Dressed well, Laws passed to keep tent shows out of towns, Harley called show Lone Star Chautauqua to get in, Toby plays, Lines, Incident of Gil Lamb being fired, Lamb had a drinking problem, Stayed friends with Harley, Different performers, Singing "Swede", Singing cowboy.

Tape 2, Side 1: Anecdotes about show people, Practical jokes, Jerry Barnes’ child, Charlie Guy, Wrote an article about performers’ Thanksgiving, Harley Sadler, Vice-president of actor’s equity, Generosity, Assisted churches, Baptist affiliation, Charlie Myers, treasurer for Harley Sadler, Married Ethel Snow, Anecdote about not being romantic, Ethel Snow, Russell Snow, son, Clifford Ashby, Professor of Theater Arts at Texas Tech University, Sadler show, Family entertainment, Anecdote about rain, Other tent shows, Neil Schaffner show, W. I. "Pappy" Swain show, Tent show history, Gene Autry.

Tape 2, Side 2: Blank

Tape 3, Side 1: Harley Sadler Tent Show, Why name changed to Chautauqua, Tents used, Paraffin wax waterproofing, Fire safety, Other problems, Difficulty with movie theaters, Sadler’s reactions to, Quality of tent shows, Care of pets, children on the show, Wayne Babb, Gil Lamb, Drinking, Anecdote: "Shorty", Rough towns, Harassment, Gil Lamb (again), Start in show business, Guyburt Davis Players, Lewis Lord Russell, Harley Sadler Tent Show (again), Types of shows, Success of shows, One-night stands, Difficulties with, Roles played by Gil Lamb, Drinking (again), Repertoire of shows, Rehearsal and performance, Ad libbing done by Sadler, First meeting with Harley Sadler, Harley Sadler Tent Show (again), "Nut" expression, Show in Tahoka, Texas, Candy sale, Treatment of minorities, Black performers, Charleston contests, Incident playing poker, Alcohol abuse, Advice for young people about, Harley Sadler, Fires Gil Lamb, Harley Sadler Tent Show (again), Anecdote: Sadler as a drummer, Sadler’s memory, Interest in people, Gambling, Anecdote: dice game, Quality of, Scenery, Bud Narin, Preparation of, Other effects.

Tape 3, Side 2: Lighting, Setting up, Color, Letter written about show (1939), Lighting (again), Show times, Orchestra and band instruments, Tents (again), Size of, Claude Kelley, Boss canvassman, Tent blowdowns, Amarillo, Texas, Gil Lamb (again), Marriage, Wife, Relationship, Involvement with Alcoholics Anonymous, Stay in State Hospital in Austin, Texas, Employees, Visitors, Ed Hudson, Harley Sadler, Pete Duvall, Social interaction between performers, Marijuana use, Alcoholism, Stephen Foster, Billie Sadler, Position on the show, [Note: This tape is distorted near the end of Side 2].

Tape 4, Side 1: High school (1924), Worked with Brunk’s Comedians first, Played in school and town bands, Guy Davis Players wired, New Mexico Military Institute, Opening with Harley Sadler, Lone Star Chautauquas, Working with Guy Davis players, Attempts to keep shows open, Working with Fred Brunk, Photograph discussed, Orchestra, Performers, Tent shows played, Fred Brunk show, Henry Brunk show, Harley Sadler show, Problems with alcohol, Brunk show in California, Fred Brunk, Roofing in Colorado, Married (November 21, 1939), Performers on Brunk show (1939), Show closed (1939), Wintered in Wichita Falls, Moved to Tyler, Texas, Worked for Montgomery Ward’s, Fred and Henry Brunk combine shows, Show closes, Fred’s death, Lamb’s salary, Glen Brunk show, Glen went to war, Harley Sadler keeps show going, Harley broke away, Transportation, Setting up in a town, Getting out and meeting people, Townspeople invite you out.

Tape 4, Side 2: Concessions, Candy prizes, Anecdote about money taken from candy sales, Sadler’s profits in Lubbock, Sadler’s involvement in politics, Personality, Reasons why Sadler joined the Brunk show, Billie Sadler, Marriage, Harley’s brother, Harley in oil business, Relations between Brunk show performers, Very little professional jealousy, Anecdote about Harley’s mother seeing him perform, Tent shows, Problems (early 1950s), Television coming to area, Lamb leaves tent show after marriage, Meeting Harley (1932), Daughter’s death, Harley’s generosity, Charitable contributions, Brunk show, One-night stands near Canadian border, Concerts when entered new town, Time played, Music played, Singing specialties, Picture and article in Amarillo paper, Plunkett’s show.

Tape 5, Side 1: Wardrobe, Competition between Brunk brothers, Other tent shows, Broadway plays performed by Brunks, Toby character, Brunk’s use of character, Harley Sadler, Gil Lamb played Toby, Performers on Brunk show, Monte Stuckey, Danny Davis, Comedian, Depression, Performers (again), Henry Brunk’s band members, Glen Brunk’s orchestra (1922), Henry Brunk (again), Roy Howe show, Importance of meeting people, Anecdote about Harley Sadler.

Tape 5, Side 2: Sadler never learned his parts, Brunk plays territories, Fred’s show most profitable, Setting up tent, Entertainment in West Texas towns, Sadler’s handling of picture show owners, Fred Brunk a fighter, Anecdote about dealing with high license, General paying of fees, Weslaco, Texas, Prohibitive ordinance aimed at tent shows, [Tape becomes inaudible].

Range Dates: 1907-1960

Bulk Dates: 1920-1950

Access Information

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