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John Russell “Hondo” Crouch (1979)

Wallace and Euna Pryor

Sound | 1979

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TAMI Tags
  •   A look into the small town of Luckenbach, Texas 
  •  Shot of Hondo Crouch’s biography written by his daughter 
  •  Wally Pryor begins interview with Becky Crouch Patterson 
  •  Hondo’s mother, “Toughie,” that was quite the Texas character 
  •  They discuss the story behind Hondo’s purchase of Luckenbach 
  •  Musical montage in Hondo’s memory 
  •  Shots of Luckenbach edited to Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson’s “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” 
  •  UT versus A&M basketball game footage begins 
 
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  • About the video
  • Wally Pryor Wally Pryor
  • Guich Koock Guich Koock
  • Hondo Crouch Hondo Crouch
  • Texas Locations
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In 1971 John Russell Crouch – better known as Hondo or Peter Cedarstacker – purchased the town of Luckenbach and anointed himself mayor. A former All-American swimmer as well as a renowned satirist, Hondo was known as an eccentric and good friend of Wally Pryor. In fact, Wally’s signature sign-off during his Longhorn announcing days ordered Hondo to go pick his grandmother up from various Austin bars. Crouch died of a heart attack in 1976. In this 1979 interview footage, actor Guich Koock and Hondo’s daughter Becky Crouch Patterson are interviewed by Pryor about Hondo on the occasion of the publication of Crouch Patterson’s book “Hondo, My Father.” This footage also contains additional footage of Luckenbach featuring several country songs about the tiny town, including “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” performed by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. A University of Texas Longhorns basketball game against Texas A&M University.
Known to many as the “Voice of the Longhorns,” Wally Pryor served as the announcer for UT sports from 1953 until 2002. While his voice was certainly recognizable he also played an active role as a producer – for KTBC, amongst others – and regularly served as an emcee for various events. Wally regularly worked as a producer for his older brother Richard “Cactus” Pryor. The films in the Wally Pryor collection represent a range of films from home movies, to various pieces he produced, films featuring himself, and several films.
Guich Koock, born William Faulk Koock, is a sixth generation Texan whose mother was Mary Faulk, sister of Texan author and famously blacklisted radio entertainer, John Henry Faulk. Koock grew up on 23 acres in a Victoria home just south of Austin, which his mother turned into the well-known Green Pastures restaurant in 1946. Consistent with the Faulk family's progressive values, Green Pastures was open to all races beginning on its opening day, 18 years before the Civil Rights Act. The Koock family lived above the restaurant, enjoying constant visits from friends and extended family and an ideal combination of urban and rural life as they raised animals on their 23 acre property.
 
In high school, Koock worked as author and folklorist J. Frank Dobie's driver. His access to Dobie influenced his intellectual interests and led to his acquaintance with many prominent Texans, including Tex Robertson, who hired him to work at Camp Longhorn. At Camp Longhorn, he befriended Cactus Pryor and Hondo Crouch, with whom he remained friends into adulthood. Koock studied history and English at Texas A&M. His Master's thesis was a history of slavery in East Texas, compiled by Koock from an extensive series of interviews with the children of former slaves in the region. Koock was later awarded a Lomax Fellowship from the University of Texas to collect Texas folklore from South Texas ranches.
 
In 1970, Koock teamed up with Hondo Crouch to buy the town of Luckenbach, Texas. With the help of its owners, Luckenbach became a major tourist attraction in Texas and hosted five World's Fair celebrations. It was in Luckenbach that Steven Spielberg's casting director spotted Koock and recruited him for a supporting role in The Sugarland Express (1974).
 
Koock spent the next two decades traveling between Texas and Los Angeles, where he perfected the part of the "good ol’ boy" in movies such as Piranha (1978) North Dallas Forty (1979), American Ninja (1985), and Square Dance (1987) and television shows such as Carter Country (1977-79), Lewis & Clark (1981-82), and She's the Sheriff (1987-89). He also made recurring appearances on Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, and The Merv Griffin Show
 
Koock has 3 children, Travis, Dobie, and Jennifer. He continues to occasionally appear onscreen and is currently working in green technology development with his partners.
Hondo Crouch, the self-proclaimed “Clown Prince of Luckenbach,” was born John Russell Crouch in Hondo, Texas on December 4, 1916. He earned a degree in physical education from the University of Texas. Having been an All-American swimmer there, he later encouraged the school to build the Texas Swim Center in 1975. Crouch settled into ranch life near Fredricksburg  and married Helen Ruth (Shatzie) Stieler. He continued to coach swimming, and he also wrote satirical articles for the Comfort News under the pen name Peter Cedarstacker. These “Cedar Creek Clippings” touched on a variety of topics, from politics to everyday issues in country living. 
 
In 1971, Crouch bought the small town of Luckenbach, Texas, where he earned his fame.  As the mayor, he presided over three people, the dance hall, and a single parking meter. He also held a variety of oddball events, including an all-female chili cook-off and an unofficial world’s fair. He also coined the town’s motto: “Everybody’s Somebody in Luckenbach.” Hondo was beloved by many, and helped revitalize the near ghost town of Luckenbach. He died in Blanco on September 27, 1976, leaving behind his wife and four children.