Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Texas State Network--in More Ways Than One

Elliott Roosevelt and TSN Radio
In the beginning of the summer of 2012 I was working on research involving Elliott Roosevelt's radio station in Fort Worth, leading up to revealing how the men who had initially supported his father, FDR, rallied around him in the hope of sucking power from the Presidency to themselves. This is the next segment of the research at that link.

Elliott's first introduction to radio, it is said, came through his work in advertising—handling radio accounts for Albert Frank company, Paul Cornell, Inc., and Kelly, Nason and Roosevelt, Inc. in New York. As sales manager for three stations owned by Alva Pearl Barrett through his Southwest Broadcasting company, Elliott became director of the Southwest division of Hearst Radio, Inc. bought the stations in 1936, then made him its president until January, 1938 when he began forming his own network. At Texas State Network, which began operation on September 15, 1938, Elliott also had a two-day-a-week show called "Texas in the World News" over KFJZ, which was quickly added to TSN.

A Texas Strategy Flouted

It had begun in 1932 with the political strategist, Colonel E.M. House of Texas , who had worked from behind a curtain in 1912 to select, elect and reelect in 1916 the last Democrat to national office, Woodrow Wilson.

Col. House also chose Franklin Roosevelt and encouraged him early on  to run for office. House knew Sara Delano Roosevelt from visits to his summer home in Essex County, Massachusetts, about three miles away from his friend, T. Jefferson Coolidge, of Manchester, whose father had worked for Russell and Company with Warren Delano, FDR's grandfather.

The Delano and Coolidge families had both been steeped in the opium trade in the previous century. But Colonel House died in 1937, and neither Roosevelt nor Garner saw the need to continue the misformed relationship merely to keep a dead man happy.

After two terms as vice president, Garner was fed up with both the President and with being his subordinate. So too were the money men who had accumulated the capital at the instigation of House in 1932, alas, a story reserved for another day! Garner, through his supporters, was prepared to pour the bucket of warm piss which was the vice presidency on FDR's son, if not on the President himself.

When Radio Was New

FDR assigned Elliott "the task of putting in place an infrastructure from which to launch FDR's final run for the Presidency in 1940," although, of course, the younger man's first love was really air transportation.

The Associated Press reported in August 1938 as follows:
The state of Texas today granted a charter to the Texas State Network, Inc., Fort Worth Broadcasting company incorporated by Elliott Roosevelt, Harry A. Hutchinson and Raymond E. Buck. The firm, which has 1,000 shares of no par value capital stock ($50,000 paid in), proposes to operate 23 Texas stations tied in with 108 stations of the Mutual Broadcasting company.
...The president's son bid last spring for managership of the Dallas station but the commission renewed its contract with Mgr. John Thorwald instead. Roosevelt then advanced the counter proposition. Thorwald said in Dallas the network's key stations would be WRR in Dallas and KFJZ or KTAT of Fort Worth.
A.P. Barrett
The KTAT call letters came from Texas Air Transport (TAT), an airline company whose stock was purchased in 1928 by Alva Pearl Barrett,
a former state senator, who years earlier had sold the San Antonio land which became Fort Sam Houston to the U.S. Army. Barrett then moved to Fort Worth and became a pioneer in commercial aviation in that city.

The competition to capture contracts to carry federal airmail was fierce as early as 1925, and it was Mayor H.C. Meacham and his ally, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, who fought for it the hardest. Their vision of owning an international mail route was achieved when TAT became the third U.S. transport company to deliver mail to a foreign country by establishing a route via Laredo, Texas, to Mexico. Don Pyeatt has written an excellent history of the development of this airline, in which he states:

In February 1929, Alva Barrett incorporated Southern Air Transport (SAT) in Fort Worth as a holding company for the purpose of acquiring numerous independent transportation related companies. SAT bought Gulf Air Lines (GAL), TAT Flying Service, Airports Engineering and Construction Company and Dixie Motor Coach Bus Lines and merged them into the new company. SAT's headquarters was in Barrett's Aviation Building in downtown Fort Worth and operated from terminals at Meacham Field at Fort Worth and Love Field at Dallas.  C.R. Smith of Fort Worth was named vice-president and treasurer of SAT and Tom Hardin became a vice-president and general manager of both TAT and SAT.  Silliman Evans, a former political writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and a personal friend of Amon G. Carter, was named Public Relations Director.

Texas Air Transport and KTAT

In 1930 Raymond E. Buck moved into Fort Worth's brand-new Aviation Building at the corner of Main and 7th Streets, built by his client, Texas Air Transport, which also owned its own radio station, KTAT.
Glasscock memorial
Buck's civil law practice began in Fort Worth soon after WWI ended. The son of an eminent appellate judge whose paternal roots were planted in Forth Worth in the 1860s, Raymond was also related to another group of Fort Worth attorneys named Lattimore, one of whom was married to Judge Buck's sister Emma Buck Lattimore.

In 1921 Raymond E. Buck married Katherine Camp of Fort Worth, a granddaughter of Catherine Glasscock, whose birth in Texas in 1837 made her an eligible candidate for the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT); thus their sons could easily have joined the Sons of the Republic of Texas (SRT).  Katherine Buck's grandmother was a niece of George Washington Glasscock, who arrived with his brother, Joseph Milligan Glasscock, in Texas (then part of Mexico) in 1835. Both men fought in the Siege of Bexar, which began the year prior to the battle at the Alamo, and Joseph died a hero in 1839. We have written many times here about the SRT, a secrecy-loving fraternity that linked Texian descendants all over the state.

In 1938 KTAT became KFJZ Radio when newspapers reported it had been purchased by the wife of Elliott Roosevelt. She acquired 313 shares, Elliott one with one share going to Harry A. Hutchinson, a resident of Benbrook, who was listed in the city directory for Fort Worth as the general manager of the Elliott Roosevelt Properties. 
 
Legal paperwork may have been handled by R.E. Buck, whose father, Judge Raymond Halbert Buck, had long been close politically to Vice President John Nance "Cactus Jack" Garner. Years later Buck himself told Jeb Byrne, an advance man for the 1963 Presidential visit of JFK, that he himself had been friends of Vice President Lyndon Johnson for many years.

Buck had acquired an interest in the radio station in his own name (possibly as a front for Barrett). Barrett's office was located in the Aviation Building, which was later called the Trinity Life Insurance Building.

In addition to his law practice, he owned interests in other businesses in insurance, banking and corporate matters. He was, for example, vice chairman of Fred Korth's Continental National Bank in Fort Worth. A brief summary of his major clients was furnished by long-time secretary, Mary Marett, given in 1975:
  • General counsel and director for Southern Air Transport (SAT);
  • Associate counsel for American Airlines (of which Amon G. Carter was the largest shareholder, and Cyrus Rowlett Smith was chairman);
  • Associate counsel for General Dynamics; and 
  • President of Midway Airport Corp., a corporation set up in 1942, before it evolved into today's D-FW International Airport.
JFK's stetson from Ray Buck
In 1963 Raymond Buck, a longtime friend of Lyndon Johnson, was president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored a "non-partisan" breakfast as the central event of JFK's presidential visit to Fort Worth. It was Buck who presented President Kennedy with cowboy boots and a stetson hat shortly before he traveled to Dallas, where he was assassinated.

Elliot's radio network was operated from KTAT as the flagship, with its offices in the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth, while the Roosevelts made their home west of town at a ranch in Benbrook. He had divorced his first wife in 1933 to marry Ruth Googins, the daughter of a Swift meat-packing magnate who helped to create Cowtown. The Hotel Texas, where President Kennedy spent the last night of his life, was a couple of blocks west of the packing plants. The plants remained there until the 1970s, when the area became the popular Stockyards District.

4 comments:

Jimmy Karlsson said...

To Linda Minor. About researching the Elliott Roosevelt's radio station in Fort Worth. We are two Swedish screenwriters who write a TV-series about Alva Myrdal, a famous Swedish sociologist who also worked and lived in USA. She had a speech in Elliott Roosevelt's radio channel in February 1940- and we wonder if there is any archive that has kept that recording? Please contact us - Jimmy Karlsson and Kirsi Vikman. jim.kar@telia.com

Linda Minor said...

I have not come across any archives of the program in my research, which does not mean one does not exist. Thanks for your comment. I will check into Alva Myrdal.

Karl said...

Linda, Seeking 1939 archival material concerning TSN dramatic programs. Any suggestions? Thanks, Karl bluecar91@hotmail.com

George Lees said...

Dear Linda, you are on of the bravest & most objective women on this planet. Do you understand that FDR's family were on the MAYFLOWER
De LaNoys (new Deal Joke THEN DELANY's DONKEY for all GLOBAL FREEMASONS). All of it is covered up by a massive SPEND in the social media & false news. FDR's SPRINGWOOD ESTATE IS DUPLICATED IN MY HOME TOWN & it IS OWNED BY THE ELLIOTS. I have put this message on the front of my FACEBOOK page just in case like JFK you get taken down.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE BURIED: just in case that strategy does not work. I use FACEBOOK CIA chatline all the time and Id love to talk to you about your BEAUTIFUL MIND & capacity to tell the truth SINCERE & EQUALLY WELL INFORMED REGARDS Prof George Lees GEORGE Lees on YOUBE where this has been posted for our mutual safety.