Tarbox, Elmer 1973-08-01,03

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State Representative Elmer Tarbox recalls his early life, athletic career at Texas Tech, and military career with the Air Corps during World War II. He then summarizes his business career as a theater owner, car dealer and manufacturer of athletic weights, discusses his children and lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease, and reviews his political career.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Elmer Tarbox

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: August 01, 03, 1973

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: David Murrah

Length: 5 hours 20 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Biographical information given, Family lived in Higgins, Texas, High school participation in basketball described, Football career at Texas Tech discussed, Mentions other sports in which he participated, Football career discussed further, Characterizes Coach Pete Cawthon.

Tape 1, Side 2: Football career at Texas Tech (continued), Change in uniforms and name recalled, Cites highlights of his career, Discussed basketball player named Frank Saxy, Track and field accomplishments mentioned, Won a district boxing championship at Tech, Reminisces about senior year football team.

Tape 2, Side 1: Athletic career at Texas Tech discussed further, Senior year football season of 1938 described, Cotton Bowl game with St. Mary’s recalled, Summarizes senior year basketball season, Senior year track season noted, Explains Tech’s expulsion from the Border Conference, Training rules and schedule outlined.

Tape 2, Side 2: Athletic career at Tech (continued), Coach Pete Cawthon clashed with Parker Prouty of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Circumstances of Cawthon’s departure from Tech discussed, Attended track meet in China during World War II, Tennis match with Chinese National Champion mentioned, Recounts Cawthon’s career after leaving Tech.

Tape 3, Side 1: Texas Tech athletics discussed, Parker Prouty’s influence emphasized, Names succession of football coaches, Pressure exertd for Tech’s entrance into the Southwest Conference, Early business ventures discussed, Joined the Army Air Corps in 1940, Trained to fly B-25 bombers, Went to China in 1942, Stopover in India recalled.

Tape 3, Side 2: Military service (continued), Served in China, Mission when he was wounded described, Returned to the U. S. in 1944 for the remainder of his service, Recalls bombing raid to Kowloon, China, Medals won in the war listed, General Claire Chennault characterized, Notes character of the Chinese people.

Tape 4, Side 1: Business career discussed, Established first drive-in theater in Lubbock, Sold out to Preston Smith, Owned car dealership in Big Spring for 7 years, Explains manufacture of athletic weights, Describes problems in getting the weights accepted, Sears first bought and distributed them, Status of the company today.

Tape 4, Side 2: Manufacture of athletic weights (continued), Customers for the weights named, Operated a plant in Puerto Rico for a short time, Children and their activities discussed, Personal battle with Parkinson’s disease described.

Tape 5, Side 1: Illness with Parkinson’s disease discussed further, Receives treatment from Dr. Joseph Bianchine at Texas Tech Medical School, Establishment of a Parkinson’s Institute at Texas Tech discussed, Describes efforts to get appropriations from the Texas Legislature, Church activities noted, Parkinson’s disease discussed further, Outlines political career, First race for State Representative recalled.

Tape 5, Side 2: Political career (continued), Elected State Representative in 1966, Campaign described, Recalls subsequent elections for State Representative, Sponsored rock festival regulation law, Also sponsored law governing licensing of athletic trainers, Stock scandal discussed, Is now 26th in seniority in the House.

Tape 6, Side 1: Political career (continued), Texas Tech name change controversy recalled, Increasing emphasis on vocational education mentioned, Discusses association with Preston Smith, Was early acquaintance with Smith, Cites relationship with him as Governor, Believes Smith was best Governor Texas has had, Benefits to Lubbock of Smith being Governor listed, Suggests persons to interview concerning Smith.

Tape 6, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: 1930-1973

Bulk Dates: 1934-1973

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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