Sadler, Fernando William 1974, 1975

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Fernando (Ferd) W. Sadler, brother of tent showman Harley Sadler, reminisces about his brother’s family and life in show business and in Texas politics.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Fernando William Sadler

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: May 18 and July 16, 1974; and April 25, 1975

Location: Ruidoso, New Mexico

Interviewer: Clifford Ashby and Suzanne Ricker

Length: 3 hours 15 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Colonel Harry Phelps, Donations to Texas Tech University Museum, Harley Sadler, Dr. Kelley, Baptist preacher (Big Spring, Texas), Book about Harley Sadler, Sadler family history, Father’s occupation, grocer, To Avoca, Texas, To Crosbyton, Texas, Ferd and Gladys Sadler married (1922), Mount Blanco, Crosby County, Texas, Harley Sadler, College scholarship, Presbyterian Junior College (Albany, Texas), Studied law (Taylor County, Texas), Family history, Brothers and sisters, To Stamford, Texas (1905), From Hopkins County, Texas, Ferd born at Cumbie, Texas, To Avoca, Texas (1910), Characteristics of family, Very close, Religious, First Baptist Church, Childhood, Ran away at 16 to a carnival, Trombone player, Joined Mississippi Floating Theater, Roy E. Fox Shows, Stamford (1916), Brunk’s Comedians, Show #3 (1917-1921), Harley Sadler Show (1921), Waco, Texas, West Texas Shows, Show Members, Ferd Sadler, Advance work for show, Santa Anna, Texas, Crosbyton, Texas, Family history, Harley Sadler Show (again), Characteristics of Harley, "Rose of the Rio Grande".

Tape 1, Side 2: Harley Sadler Show (continued), San Angeleus Hotel, San Angelo, Texas, First Christmas banquet (1921), Show members, Family history (again), Harley and Burnett buried at Cameron, Texas, Richard Allen, Harley’s son-in-law, Harley Sadler Show (again), Closed (1948), Lifetime passes to show, Visited Ferd Sadler (1954), Dexter, New Mexico, Texas State politics, State Representative, Sweetwater, Texas, Party for Harley Sadler (1944), Sweetwater, Harley’s last performance, Avoca, Texas, Harley Sadler died (1954), Mississippi Floating Theater (again), "Little Giant", Tent Show, Plays performed by Harley Sadler, "The Old Soap", "Saintly Hypocrites and Honest Sinners", Harley Sadler (again), Shows, Political career, Oil business, Funeral, Political friends, Known as the "soft voice senator".

Tape 2, Side 1: Harley Sadler (again), Spoke at universities, Harley Sadler Show (again), Floydada, Texas, storm, Repair of canvas, Plainview, Texas, Stage manager, Bob Kelley, Boss canvasman, Howard Hack, Comedian, Burnett Massengale, Practical joke, Harley’s boots, Plays, "Trail of the Lonesome Pine", "Lure of the City", "Ten Nights in a Barroom", Ethel Snow, Leading lady, Harley’s personality, Gabe Garrett’s Tent Show, Harley Sadler’s Tent Show (again), Description of tent, Putting on the show, West Texas towns, Show put on, Austin, Texas, Confederate Home, Veterans’ dance.

Tape 2, Side 2: Harley Sadler (continued), Baseball, Clovis, New Mexico, Bought Stamford, Texas, franchise, Moved it to Sweetwater, Texas, Harley Sadler Show (again), Burt Couch, "Saintly Hypocrites and Honest Sinners", Ten cent admission price, Gilbert Lamb, Fernando Sadler, Postal service, Manny Lois Sadler, daughter, Harley Sadler Show (again), Cast members, Plays, "Rose of the Rio Grande", "Fall of the Alamo", San Angelo, Texas (1936), Reminiscences of Harley Sadler.

Tape 3, Side 1: Billie Sadler, Cancer, Committed suicide, Funeral, Burnet Massengale, Overdose of sleeping pills (February 1955), Shot herself (August 1, 1955), Burnet Massengale, Died at Temple, Texas (1965), Roy Paine, Administrator, Gloria Sadler, daughter of Harley Sadler, Death and funeral, Harley Sadler Show (again), Cast members, Ben Marrow, Joe Gofforth, Harry and Pearl Goldie, Parades, Fernando Sadler (again), Work, Illness, Harley Sadler (again), Gaines McGee, Parsons, Kansas, Sadler family, Parents, Proud of Harley.

Tape 3, Side 2: Tent shows, Roy Fox Players, Cameron, Texas, Billie Massengale meets Harley Sadler, Three-day courtship, Married, Rosebud, Texas, Bill Massengale, Gloria Sadler, Dancing between acts in show, Harley Sadler (again), Houston, Texas (1926), Gloria Sadler, burned, Mother’s illness, Gloria Sadler (again), Funeral, "Help Somebody Today", Sweetwater, Texas, At groundbreaking parade for Texas Technological, College (August 1923), Fernando Sadler (again), Married (September 16, 1922), Dedication of West Texas Museum (Holden Hall), Harley Sadler (again), Life and characteristics, Show, Corn liquor (Hamlin, Texas), Fernando Sadler (again), First meeting with future wife, Belton, Texas, Married (September 16, 1922), Anson, Texas, Dry land farming (1926-1936), Crosbyton, Texas.

Tape 4, Side 1: Costume, Harley Sadler, Toby character, Harley Sadler, illness (1921), Family history, Harley Sadler born in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas (1893), Father (farmer), Brothers, To East Texas, To Stamford, Texas (October 1905), Delivery boy for father, Carnival, To Avoca, Texas (1909), Grocery store, Characteristics, Family members, Tent show (1931), Austin, Texas, Depression (1930s), Smaller tent, Cuero, Texas (1933), Financial problems, Sweetwater, Texas (1926), Harley’s home, Dr. Roseborough, Problems with the town, Problem members, Theatre work, Waco, Texas, Texas Legislature, Convictions, Roadshows, Crosbyton, Texas, Santa Anna, Texas (1921), Texas Legislature, Theatres owned by Harley, Killeen, Texas, Lawn, Texas, Circus (1934-1935), Theatres versus tent shows, Roswell, New Mexico (1939), Austin, Texas, Dr. Kelley, Family history, Father, Discipline, Religion, Family life, Singing, Fannie Sadler, sister, Piano, Luther Sadler, brother, Halloween pranks, Tent show members, Ethel Snow, Harry Phelps, Charlie Meyers, Roommate, Receipts, Businessman, Bob Siler.

Tape 4, Side 2: Bob Siler (continued ) Roy Paine Oil business Seth Burnett Massengale, brother-in-law Inheritance from Billie Roy Paine (again) Died in 1965 Haverstock Players Harley Sadler Show Members Gilbert Lamb Charlie Harris Tent show Tent show Lamesa, Texas Railroad (1910) Sports Shorty Hornbuckle Fort Worth Cats (Baseball team) Exhibition baseball Ferd Sadler Night patrol in Ruidoso, New Mexico George Mahon Allan Shivers Government Harley’s attitude Texas State House of Representatives Lyndon B. Johnson Watergate Illness Ferd Sadler School Harley Sadler Scholar Air Force Academy.

Tape 5, Side 1: Financial status, Went broke in late 1930s, Owed $25,000, Payed off debt, Late 1920s or 30s burn-out, Circus (1936), Marriage, 3-day courtship, Church-goer, Paul and Ed were Catholic, Joined First Baptist Church in Sweetwater (1920s), Lubbock Avalanche, Politics.

Tape 5, Side 2: Phil Reed (phone conversation), Sadler Theatre, Advertising for shows (1910), Started career in Corpus Christi, Texas, Sadler’s relatives, Sadler tent show, Daughter Phyllis was never on the show, Sport North Show in Kansas for 2-3 weeks, Harley and Phil, Partnership of movie theater in Killeen during World War II, Sadler Theatre.

Tape 6, Side 1: Blank

Tape 6, Side 2: (Hard to decipher).

Range Dates: 1893-1975

Bulk Dates: 1905-1955

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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