McKennon, Joe 1978-06-27

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Joe McKennon discusses his tent show, the Marion McKennon Players, along with his work as equipment manager for Harley Sadler and tent shows in general.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Joe McKennon

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: June 27, 1978

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Jerry Martin

Length: 1 hour


Tape 1, Side 1: Joined a circus (age 19), Worked on tent dramatic shows as a teenager, Shows worked on, Worked on carnivals (late 1930s), Served World War II, Married Marion, from Pasadena, California (1940s), Marion’s opinion of circuses and carnivals, Put out Marion McKennon Players (1946), Size, quality of show, Plans to expand into six companies, Poor audience turnout, Plays produced, Southeast U. S. territory, Moved into West Texas area, Formed partnership with Harley Sadler (1947), Repainted show equipment, trailers, Renamed as Harley Sadler’s Own Show, Charlie Brunk was advance man, Showed Lubbock, Texas, Large audiences, good business, Plunkett Family show, Anecdote about money earned by children, Performed circus acts, Fighting among siblings, Sadler presents McKennon Stage Show (1948), Harley Sadler received 25% of the show’s gross, Size of cast, show, Brunk’s Comedians, Circus atmosphere, Average tent rep shows, Manager was also owner, performer, Informal organization, lifestyle, Opposition from movie theater managers, Harley Sadler, Worked for favorable tent show legislation, License fees, Marion McKennon Players, Use of vaudeville, Situation playing, Ad-libbing done on the show, Orchestra, choir, Sequence of performances, Harley Sadler show, Use of drop curtains, fly well, Size of tent.

Tape 1, Side 2: Marion McKennon Players, Circus tent used, Henry Brunk’s Comedians, Territory in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Plunkett family, Didn’t show one night due to family fighting, Affected McKennon’s business, Sadler presents McKennon Stage Show, Tent burned in Littlefield, Texas (1948), Show played in school auditorium, Bought a new tent, Plunkett family lent McKennon a tent, Played in Levelland, Texas, Played in Odessa, Texas, Marion McKennon Players, Gave passes to kids who helped set up, Importance of advance agents, "Hi Joe" Club of school kids, Advance work done, Signs, posters made, Incident involving competition from Cole Brothers, Circus, Midland, Texas, Story about showing in Red Rock, North Carolina, Gave out free passes, Charlie Brunk, Advance agent for Sadler presents McKennon Stage, Show, Joe McKennon, Worked for Fred Brunk’s Comedians, Acquainted with Glen Brunk, As a lecturer.

Range Dates: 1930-1960

Bulk Dates: 1940-1950

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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