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Faces of Amarillo No. 2 - Promoters (1987)

Panhandle PBS

Sound | 1987

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  •  Cal Farley’s daughter, Genie Farley Harriman, on her father’s influence on radio amongst Amarillo residents 
  •  Putt Powell and Bob Izzard on the wrestling of Dutch Mantell and others 
  •  Wrestling broadcast on radio and television 
  •  Amarillo newspapermen and topics that amused people 
  •  Cal Farley’s publicity stunt to drop a Goodrich tire from an airplane to demonstrate its durability 
  •  Cal Farley and the Maverick Club, a sports club for boys 
  •  Boys Ranch, Texas orphanage for boys 
  •  Parade put on by Cal Farley in Amarillo and Gene Howell and the founding of the Audubon Society in Amarillo 
  •  The death of Cal Farley as discussed by Senator Bill Sarpalius 
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This is a segment from the Faces of Amarillo documentary series that aired on Panhandle PBS, a television station in Amarillo, in January 1987. “Promoters” discusses famous individuals in Amarillo, including Cal Farley, who promoted various business and social activities and was noted for his radio and television broadcast personality. The second half of the film reviews how the founding of modern social institutions, such as the Audubon Society and the Boys Ranch Orphanage, helped make Amarillo a modern city. This film is produced by Benton and Hoke and Amarillo College Television.
Born on December 25, 1895, in Saxton Iowa, Cal Farley was an professional wrestler and businessman. He moved to Amarillo, Texas, in 1923, acquiring a tire shop and launching a daily radio program. The show ran for 15 years. In 1934, Farley started the Maverick Club, a program designed to keep boys constructively occupied by helping them become involved in athletics. The program reached over 10,000 boys aged six to 16 years. To further the organization’s aims, Farley founded the Boys Ranch in 1939, ultimately selling his business in 1947 to completely devote his services to the ranch. For his work as a humanitarian, Farley received several honors, receiving the Veterans of Foreign Wars Silver Citizenship Medal, the Bronze Keystone Award of the Boys Clubs of America, and an honorary doctor of humanities degree from what is now Texas Tech University. He was also named an Outstanding Citizen of Texas. On February 19, 1967, Farley died suddenly yet peacefully while attending chapel services with the boys at the ranch.
Located on the site of Old Tascosa in Oldham County, the Boys Ranch was founded in 1939 by Amarillo businessman Cal Farley. After noting that many boys involved with his Mavericks Club did not receive proper supervision or encouragement at home, Farley opened the ranch in order to provide underprivileged and delinquent boys with a “shirttail to hang to.” The boys lived on the ranch as cowhands, tending to livestock and crops as well as performing various chores and duties. By the mid-1940s, the ranch became widely known. It held its first annual Boys Ranch Rodeo in 1944. And two years later, MGM produced a film about Farley and the ranch starring James Craig and Dorothy Patrick. As contributions to the ranch increased, Farley hired a staff and expanded the property. Beyond its dormitories, the ranch came to include its own church, bank, post office, and schools. The Boys Ranch Independent School District opened in 1941, providing K-12 academic and vocational education. After the deaths of Cal Farley and his wife Mimi, the ranch was run by the couple’s daughter and son-in-law, Gene and Sherman Harriman. In 1987, the Boys Ranch merged with Girlstown, U.S.A. Now a coed facility, the ranch is still in operation today.