Bob Allen has been in the radio business since he was a kid in Oklahoma City. He owns and operates Texoma’s KJIM-AM. With a notable career in radio and advertising from one coast to the other, Allen always wanted his own radio station. He got it when he moved to Sherman in 1994, bought KJIM, a religious music station, and gave it a new life with a lineup of nostalgia music and old radio shows.
Well and good, but even Allen’s impressive credentials and long experience in broadcasting pale to his real claim to fame. Bob Allen knew Icky Twerp.
Icky Twerp was Bill Camfield, who graduated from TCU in 1955 and went to work for a Fort Worth department store. When a friend suggested he might get some work in television, Camfield gave it a whirl. The television whirl lasted more than 30 years.
He started by creating commercials for advertisers. It took a special sort of wackiness to come up with a character called Mortimer Moneybags to promote a local bank, and the station executives knew talent when they saw it, so they turned Camfield loose to come up with other characters to host their local shows.
In those days, stations carried a lot of original programming, and this was especially true at KTVT. There were four stations in Dallas and Fort Worth, and KTVT was the only one without a network affiliation. With a line up of old movies and kid shows, they were scrambling to fill the broadcast day, and Camfield, with his amazing imagination, quickly became the man to call when the station needed something to put on the air.
He began as Captain Swabbie, the host of a cartoon show. Then came Ickabod Twerpwhistle and later, Icky Twerp.
Icky wore a wrinkled black suit, black glasses and a tiny cowboy hat that perched atop a mound of frizzy hair. Late at night, Icky Twerp became Gorgon, the spooky host of Nightmare, introducing old horror movies.
If you were a kid living within range of Channel 11 in the late 1950s and early 1960s, you watched “Slam Bang Theater” with Icky Twerp every day.
It was Icky, the apes, cartoons and the Three Stooges. Icky Twerp became so associated with the Stooges that they put him in their 1965 movie, The Outlaws Is Coming.
“The camera guys were the guys who wore the gorilla masks,” recalled Allen. “In fact all of the characters on the show came from the crew.”
Camfield took a job in Denver in the 1970s, and Icky Twerp said farewell, announcing to his loyal fans that he had inherited the Lost Twerp Mine from Uncle Ickabod. With a shovel on his shoulder he walked across the station parking lot and in to the sunset, while “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” played in the background. Bill Camfield died in Fort Worth in 1991.
This article appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of Texoma Living!.
Featured Archive Story
An early morning breeze bears the summer sweetness of roses. Your eyes catch the splendor of moonflower just closing, and hummingbirds dart from bloom to bloom on the trumpet vine. A barn rooster’s crow breaks the silence. Dew shines on the rose petals, and the cattle begin to stir.
You’re crazy!” That was Karen’s reaction when her husband, Tom Shields, said he wanted to leave their comfortable home in far West Sherman to live in a long-abandoned fire station near Austin College. But she’d had a similar reaction in 1985, when he wanted to leave a picturesque Dallas residence and raise their kids in a small town.
In 1978, the Cottons moved to Chickasha, Oklahoma, Ronald’s home town. Joetta worked as a secretary in an oil field company. When the oil business went bust, she landed a job in the Chickasha Library as an administrative assistant and loved it. She took library science classes and completed a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and soon became the Library Director.
Looking for the Printed Version?You can find a complete set of Texoma Living! Magazine in the library at Austin College.
Search Every Issue
- October 2011
- July 2011
- December 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- March 2009
- December 2008
- September 2008
- June 2008
- March 2008
- December 2007
- June 2007
- March 2007
- December 2006