Tyler, 1959-1984


1966, Age 7

This is me in First Grade.

Mom loved to slap on the Brylcreem, also known as "greasy kid's stuff." She loved the way it made my hair "cute and perfect." One time I opened a book and accidentally touched it to my head. The oily spot remained there forever.


At the Trailer, 1967

Our "Farm" was about 5 miles west of Yantis, Texas. About 300 acres.

1967 was the year Dad originally poured the concrete. This photo was taken just before we put in the stairs.

Mama Kate (my grandmother) and Aunt Peggy drove up from Houston for the occasion. I'll never forget the fish fries. Dad would fry just about anything -- Channel Cat, Mud Cat, Shrimp, Chicken and the occasional frog leg.

He sold the place about 20 years later. The new owner broke up the property into 10-acre tracts and put in houses, turning our main road into a street and naming it after himself -- "Cozine Lane."

I always had this fantasy of buying back the land and re-naming the street "Fitzgerald Avenue," as it should be.
The trailer is long gone. Somebody built a cabin in its place.


Eagle Scout, 1973

40 years later, I still put it on my resume.


As Grandpa in "You Can't Take It With You," 1976

My favorite role in high school.

I think I was cast because I was the only person in the department who could sound like a 75-year-old man.

I really got into it -- the posture, the mannerisms. I would spend an hour before showtime hobbling around backstage, pursing my lips and talking like an old man. It might have worked if I had gotten a haircut!


Youngest Member of Tyler Motion Picture Rating Board, 1976

"Gonna start at the bottom and work my way up."

Back in those days, I took myself very seriously. I thought I would change the world -- I just wasn't sure how I was going to do it.

Tyler was one of the last cities to have its own movie rating board. We didn't actually go to very many movies -- we just read the press releases the studios sent out, and took a wild guess whether the movie had violence or language or whatever. Then we would notify our "findings" to the newspaper, and they would put the letters "L," "S" or "V" in the theatre listings.

I think somebody finally figured out that no one understood the letters, and didn't care.


High School, 1977

A legend in his own mind.

A filmmaker who had little idea how to actually make a movie. A comedy writer with not much sense of humor. An actor with an ego to match. I desperately wanted to be popular, and never was.

If only I could do it over, knowing what I know now!



As Uncle Stanley in "George Washington Slept Here," 1977

With Barry Jones

"Newton, I feel a draft!"

A rare shot of Barry and I onstage together.

Years later, Jan Jones established a theatre scholarship in Barry's name, to be given each year to an outstanding Drama student.

Cable Tyler Radio

Cable Tyler Radio, 1977

"I'm on the radio. I love it!"

CTR was the brainchild of Sans Hawkins, a gifted radio engineer who has since gone on to a successful broadcasting career.

It didn't last very long, but it sure was fun.

Maybe too much fun. Once I made a stencil with a CTR logo that I designed, and spray-painted it in several places around the building. Sans' dad was not impressed! Another time I made a show tape and plugged it into the on-air feed. The first 90 minutes went fine, but then the tape started repeating itself. Sans was not happy!

Sorry for the headache, Sans. Thanks for making CTR possible.

Tyler Film Society 01

Tyler Film Society

Free film programs offered at Tyler Junior College, programmed by me and Physics professor Richard Whipple, with a different sponsor every other week. It lasted nearly two years, and it was fun.


Copywriter at Advertising Associates, 1981

The first "real" job I ever had.

In 1982-83, I lived in Broadway 428, the apartment complex next door -- located on South Broadway, the major thoroughfare through town.

It was lots of fun to sit on my balcony at night with my girlfriend and drink wine, watching the traffic. We used to buy several different wines and keep a little critique book. We were consummate connoisseurs!

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