Slam Bang Theatre: An Oral History

An Oral History

By Greg Knight

One of the things that will be remembered about the dawning of the Information Age is the ability of "ordinary people" to register their thoughts and ideas for instant dissemination to a global audience. The potential for future historians to glimpse into the thoughts of our generation will be unparalleled. To that end, this oral history will be a respository of those thoughts. Slam Bang Theatre was an important part of the formative years of many North Texas Baby Boomers as well as an entertaining example of live television programming of the 1960's. No matter where you lived in the U.S.A., there was usually some type of live kid's show. We all carry something with us from that era, now we can share them.

Icky Twerp Memorial Message Board

RETROSPECTIVE My Thirteen Years As Icky Twerp. Confessions from the ringmaster of Slam Bang Theatre. By Bill Camfield published in D Magazine, February 1987.

Special message from Mr. Paul Camfield, son of Bill Camfield a.k.a. Icky Twerp!

I am writing to express the profound pride and joy that I experienced when I visited this site. I am the son of Icky Twerp- my dad Bill Camfield. I visited Greg's site last summer and was blown away with the section dedicated to my father and his show. Now reading these remembrances it really lets me know that there is still a group of people who believe that his programming was something special. I could write for ever on my memories of SBT and other aspects of my life with my father- I will tell you that I consider myself very lucky to have witnessed the things I did down at the studios on the east-west freeway. Those nights when my father would take me and my sister to the studio after dinner, as the group gathered to tape the next week's shows was a magical time for me. I also rode with my father a few times in those parades and even did some live personal appearances toward the end in 72', - I am also lucky to be the keeper of the flame if you will of his " stuff"- his coat tie and hat sit in a closet not far from where I sit- I have many archival boxes filled with items from his TV career.

I have made some attempts in the past year to see if there would be interest in some sort of a retrospective or exhibit somewhere in Dallas- email me and let me know if you would support such an event- also for those of you who might want memorabilia- I have some buttons left over from a venture we did in 85 called " Kids of the Sixties" if anyone is interested in this stuff let me know- I am grateful for all these shared email memories- I know Dad would be honored.
Paul Camfield

Just yesterday (4/10/00) I was watching a B-movie on cable "Heartbreak Hotel" in-which Jerry "Mr. Peppermint" Haynes had a small part. Today I was looking up info on the "new" Three Stooges when this site was dropped in my lap. Wow talk about memories pulled out of the back of my head! I was born and raised in Dallas and remember "Slam Bang Theater" being one of my favorites. I still have the theme song stuck in my head, I use to do a stupid little dance for my older brother and sisters to make them laugh. What I remember most was Icky's prat falls, getting hit on the head and falling straight back. My brother and I would take a pile of blankets and try our best to do it just like Icky. "No small children where hurt while trying this at home." I'm a comedy writer in San Diego now and have always given Monty Python, Mad Magazine, and SNL my influences in comedy. Today I have realized that Slam Bang Theater had to be the seed of where I'm am today.
Andy Russell
San Diego, CA

Memories . . . Four years old, riding in the family car past the Channel 11 studios on the West Freeway, hoping for a glimpse of not only Icky Twerp, but the Three Stooges themselves. I had it in my head they all lived there . . . Later visiting the studios to be part of the studio audience for the Mickey and Amanda Show. Glimpsing Captain Swabbie's wheel in the prop room. (Mickey and Amanda were the puppet hosts of a lunchtime cartoon show. Later renamed the Mickey and Michelle Show.) . . . Channel 11's Saturday night line-up: Panther Hall (featuring live performances by the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis), Nightmare Theatre (Gorgon seemed like Icky Twerp's evil twin, which somehow made the show even creepier), Northside Coliseum Wrestling (featuring Fritz Von Erich and other classic wrestlers) . . . The animated number eleven, with 1 kicking the other 1 and saying "Hey bud, whatcha' lookin' at?" (Interestingly, this logo can be seen several times in the Pat Boone film "State Fair" which was filmed in nearby Dallas. Channel 11 cameras and a truck (with the logo printed on the sides) were used in some of the location scenes) . . . Going to the Arlington Theatre's Saturday afternoon matinee (the day after JFK was killed in nearby Dallas) to see "The Outlaws is Coming," the Three Stooges' last feature film, in which Bill Camfield had a cameo role as Wild Bill Hickock . . .
If it were only possible, I'd give up every cable channel currently available just to have Channel 11 back the way it was in the 50s and 60s.
Mack White

I once followed Icky and Ajax around Richland Plaza (Richland Hills,early 60's) after an in-store appearance at Kresge's (the spelling is as close as I can remember...). I was about 10 or 11 and remember being really bummed when I heard Ajax TALK!! I don't think they knew I was following them, and were probably just yakkin' about lord knows what, but I was SPELLBOUND that I was actually so close to my TV heroes!! Too bad MY kids don't have 'em today... By the way, HELLO JERRY(BOOGIE) LAMONT and STEVE JONES!!!
Buddy Whittington

I watched Slam Bang Theatre every morning until it went off the air,and I remember like it was yesterday.The very last show had Icky Twerp walking off into the sunset, and the "sunset" happened to be the open field back behind the channel 11 studio. I remember because I had stayed over at my aunt's house,who lived behind channel 11, and I got to watch Icky walk across that field.
Alan Conn
Ft. Worth, Texas

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