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Joanne King Reads The Night Before Christmas―In Texas, That Is

Lois Perucca

No Sound on Film | 1960s

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TAMI Tags
  •  Houston newsman Ron Stone introduces Joanne King 
  •  The Night Before Christmas―In Texas, That Is, written by Leon Harris, was originally published in 1952. 
  •  “’Twas the night before Christmas / In Texas, you know, / Way out on the prairie / (Without any snow).” 
  •  “Asleep in their cabin / Were Buddy an Sue. / A-dreaming of Christmas / Like me and like you. / Not stockings, but boots, / At the foot of their bed, / For this was in Texas, / What more need be said?” 
  •  King’s two sons, Beau and Robin 
  •  “The driver was ‘Geein’, / And ‘hawin’, with a will. / The hosses (not reindeer) / He drove with such skill. / ‘Come on there Buck, Pancho, / And Prince, to the right! / There’ll be plenty of travelin’ / For you-all tonight.” 
  •  Texas-style Santa 
 
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In this television segment for Houston’s KHOU-TV, socialite and daytime talk show host Joanne King reads Leon Harris’ book, The Night Before Christmas―In Texas, That Is, to her sons Beau and Robin. Newsman Ron Stone introduces King. This footage came to TAMI as part of the Patrick S. Coakley Jr. Collection. Coakley was a producer with KHOU-TV. Please note, there is no sound attached to this footage.
Called “perhaps the most popular and revered news anchor the city [of Houston] has ever known” by the Houston Chronicle, Ron Stone was born in Hannah, Oklahoma, on April 6, 1936. He began his career as a broadcaster in Ada, Oklahoma, in the 1950s, working as a radio disc jockey and television news anchor. In 1961, Stone caught the attention of Houston newsman Dan Rather, who hired Stone as an anchor and reporter for KHOU-TV. In 1973, Stone moved to Houston’s KPRC-TV, where he worked as a news anchor for 20 years.
 
After retiring from television news in 1992, Stone formed his own production company, Stonefilms, Inc., with his son. In 1999, he took over hosting the regional television series The Eyes of Texas, which focused on unique people, places, and events across the state. Stone also authored several books on Texas history, including The Book of Texas Days, Disaster at Texas City, and Houston: Simply Spectacular. 
 
Stone died of cancer on May 13, 2008.
International socialite and diplomat Joanne King Herring was born Joanne Johnson on July 3, 1929, in Houston, Texas. In the late 1950s, already a fixture of the Houston social circuit, Herring began hosting her own daytime talk show, The Joanne King Show, on KHOU-TV and later KPRC-TV. The show lasted for 15 years. 
 
By the 1970s, Herring became more involved in international politics. She developed a long association and political relation with President Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan, ultimately serving as the nation’s honorary consul and winning the Tamgha-e-Quaid-e-Azam, or Jinnah Medal, Pakistan’s highest civilian honor.  
 
Throughout the 1980s, Herring also worked with Charles Wilson, a U.S. Representative from Texas, to persuade the federal government to train and arm the Mujahideen resistance fighters in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, a program later known as Operation Cyclone. Herring convinced Wilson to visit an Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan, an experience that Wilson later credited as the deciding factor in his determination to take action. Their efforts inspired the book Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History. Actress Julia Roberts portrayed Herring in the film adaptation of the book.
 
Herring remains a very active figure among Houston’s social circles. In 2009, she founded Marshall Plan Charities to complement U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan by providing villages with clean water, food, health care, schools, and jobs.