Please Pass the Biscuits, Pappy: Pictures of Governor W. Lee by Bill Crawford

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By Bill Crawford

Long sooner than motion picture stars Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger turned governors of California, a well-liked radio character without past political experience—who wasn't even registered to vote—swept into the governor's place of work of Texas. W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel was once a Thirties businessman who chanced on the ability of radio to promote flour. His musical indicates with the sunshine Crust Doughboys (which introduced the occupation of Bob Wills) and his radio homilies extolling relatives and Christian values came across an unlimited, enthusiastic viewers in Depression-era Texas. while Pappy made up our minds to run for governor in 1938 so one can promote extra flour—a truth he proudly proclaimed in the course of the campaign—the humans of Texas voted for him in list numbers. And regardless of the ineptitude for politics he displayed as soon as in place of work, Texans again him to the governorship in 1940 after which elected him to the U.S. Senate in 1941 in a different election within which he defeated Lyndon Johnson, in addition to to an entire time period as senator in 1942.

While the hit movie O Brother, the place paintings Thou? celebrated a fictional "Please cross the Biscuits, Pappy" O'Daniel, this ebook captures the essence of the true guy via images taken via staff of the Texas division of Public security, so much of that are formerly unpublished. corresponding to the paintings of WPA photographers reminiscent of Russell Lee and Dorothea Lange, those images checklist the final unscripted period of politics whilst a charismatic candidate may nonetheless deal with a crowd from an unpainted entrance porch or a cellular bandstand at the back of a truck. They strikingly make certain that Pappy O'Daniel's skill to connect to humans used to be as nice in individual as at the radio.

To set the images in context, invoice Crawford has written an exciting textual content that discusses the political panorama in Texas and the us within the Thirties, in addition to the increase of radio as mass medium for ads and leisure. He additionally presents vast captions for every photo. John Anderson, picture Archivist of the Texas country files, discusses the paintings of Joel Tisdale and the opposite DPS photographers who left this striking list of the best vote-getter in Texas background, who turned considered one of America's first celebrities to pass the road from leisure to political office.

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Additional resources for Please Pass the Biscuits, Pappy: Pictures of Governor W. Lee ''Pappy'' O'Daniel (Clifton and Shirley Caldwell Texas Heritage Series)

Sample text

Pappy himself was confident of his ability to avoid the pitfalls of the professional politicians. Then, as the stately visages of Richard Coke, Michael B. Menard, and others looked on from the walls of the eighty-six-year-old room, the prince of biscuits appeared. Smiling, he greeted the large audience with “Good morning, folks” and took his place behind a battery of microphones. At exactly 8:30 a Hillbilly Boy started playing, and the strains of “Home Sweet Home” floated through the chamber and over the airwaves of the state on the Texas Quality Network.

49 But in Texas politics, miracles do happen. Over the next few days, more than a dozen counties came in with “corrected returns,” giving the 175,590 to 174,279 victory to O’Daniel by a margin of just 1,311 votes. Pollsters commented that the “amazing change of votes . . ”50 Perhaps it baffled other laws as well. ”51 Some political observers surmised that the Texas liquor interests had a hand in 46 P l e a s e Pa s s t h e B i s c u i t s , Pa p p y pushing O’Daniel over the top because they were so anxious to get the teetotaling governor out of the state.

I can’t O’Daniel, surrounded by his wife and children, holds a stack of telegrams from supporters as they listen to election returns on the family radio, July 23, 1938. (Courtesy: Fort Worth StarTelegram Photograph Collection, Special Collections Division,The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries) P l e a s e Pa s s t h e B i s c u i t s , Pa p p y 35 begin to tell you how many carloads I’ve sold this morning. Boy, . . ”28 Later that year, Pappy attended a rally for the Fort Worth Salesman’s Crusade at the Texas Christian University stadium and received a loving cup inscribed with the well-deserved message,“To W.

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