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What is a Boy

Cactus and Peggy Davis Pryor

Sound | 1950s

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TAMI Tags
  •  The mischievous, unruly boys devour sundaes in an ice cream parlor.  
  •  The contents of a boy's pockets  
  •  The boys enjoy a game of football in their front yard.  
 
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This short black and white film, narrated by Cactus Pryor, explores boyhood and what it means to a boy. Capturing the “boys will be boys” sentiment, the narrator describes boys’ love of fun, dirt, playing, frogs, knives, noise, and comic books. Although they are always late to supper and detest Sunday School and neckties, when Dad arrives home in the evening, “with only the shattered pieces of hopes and dreams, he can mend them like new with those two magic words, ‘Hi, Dad’.”
Richard S. "Cactus" Pryor was a comedic television and broadcast personality from Austin, Texas. Cactus, an Austin native, was born in 1923, straight into the entertainment business. His father owned the Cactus Theater on Congress Avenue (hence the nickname), and starting at just 3 years old, Cactus made stage appearances before the shows began. Cactus attended the University of Texas and served in the US Army Air Corp. When he returned to Austin from his service in 1944, Cactus joined the broadcasting team at Lady Bird Johnson's KLBJ radio station, where he worked until 2008. He joined the world of broadcast television at KTBC in 1951 where he was program manager and hosted a variety of television programs, including a football program with Darrell K Royal and many celebrity interviews. Cactus appeared in two films with his friend John Wayne, Hellfighters and The Green Berets. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, he became a sought-after speaker and event host, famous for his roasts of entertainers and politicians, most of whom he counted as close friends. Cactus was also known for his disguises. He would appear at functions in character, often pulling a fast one on the crowd as he charmed them first in disguise, then again as he revealed himself and used his earlier conversations to entertain the crowd. As an active member of the Headliners Club of Austin, Pryor starred in many humorous television news satires alongside Texas politicians, some of which can be seen in his film collection, as well as the Gordon Wilkison Collection and the Wallace and Euna Pryor Collection. He was nationally-known, but kept Austin his home, helping put the city on the map in the 60s and 70s. Cactus Pryor announced to his KLBJ listeners in 2007 that he had Alzheimer's disease, and Austin's "original funnyman" died in 2011.