The Pure Missouri Post: 5/30/21

Vol. 1, Issue No. 5

As we observe Memorial Day weekend, we honor those we’ve lost both in war and in peacetime. Also wishing our readers a restful holiday weekend as we ease into the unofficial start of summer.

If you’re an email subscriber (And why not? It’s free!), join the private Pure Missouri Post Subscribers Facebook Group and let us know what’s happening on your holiday weekend. Post a pic if you’re doing something fun around the Show Me State!

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Today’s date marks the death in 1932 of U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver of Missouri. He was born in Virginia in 1854 and his family moved to Boone County when he was around three years old. He was an academic—rising from professor to college president—and a politician who served at both the state and federal levels. From 1913 to 1921, he was the Assistant Treasurer of the United States before coming home to retire on a farm outside Columbia.

However, Vandiver is best known for popularizing (likely not creating) the phrase that would inspire our state’s indelible nickname: In an 1899 speech in Philadelphia, Vandiver declared, "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton, cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri, and you have got to show me." 

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Mizzou softball’s Jordan Weber pitched a no-hitter against Iowa State last Sunday to advance the Tigers to the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time since 2016. On Friday, the Tigers dropped Game One of the Super Regional tournament, losing to James Madison University, 2-1. Last night, Mizzou roared back to beat JMU in Game Two, 7-1. The deciding game will be broadcast today at 11 a.m. on ESPN, with the winner going to the Women’s College World Series.

Baseball season is in full swing, so here’s a story from Royals Review about the original “Voice of the Royals”—a man who knew both St. Louis and Kansas City very well—Buddy Blattner.

Among the many interesting anecdotes in the article: In 1951, when Blattner was doing radio for the St. Louis Browns, owner Bill Veeck came up with the idea to fasten a walkie-talkie to Blattner and have him come out of his recent retirement as a player to simultaneously play and broadcast a game. The Browns, however, didn’t have player rights to Blattner, so the idea was foiled. More here.

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“All of the savings that my dad had at the time was in stock for the Empire District Electric Company [in Joplin, where he worked as an electrician] and when the Depression came it just evaporated... not that he had a lot of money, but what he did have disappeared. My father and my mother were actually raised on farms...  so they naturally thought to grow something to eat... so that’s what they did. They bought a 10-acre [farm] lot, or plot, about 10 miles outside of Joplin... and we were there for about four years. These were very formative years in my life and had a lot of impact on, I think, what I became. It was a great experience for me.”

Joplin-born-and-raised actor and environmental activist Dennis Weaver—birth date June 4, 1924. He was best known for his supporting role on TV’s “Gunsmoke” and his starring role as NBC’s “McCloud”. He died on February 24, 2006, the same day and age as actor/comedian Don Knotts.

Dennis Weaver Interview, Television Academy Foundation, interviewed by Henry Colman on September 24, 2002. Visit for more information.


That time Chuck Barris wore a Royals jersey on the Gong Show

Not sure of the date, but during one episode of The Gong Show (which only aired from 1976 to 1978), Gene Gene the Dancing Machine again brought down the house as host Chuck Barris danced next to the stage wearing a powder-blue road jersey of the Kansas City Royals. Coincidentally—keeping the KC theme—the regular “theme song” for Gene Gene’s act was a mish-mash of two Count Basie numbers, “Jumping’ at the Woodside” and “One O’Clock Jump.” Basie formed his band, the Count Basie Orchestra, in Kansas City in 1935.

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Someone needs to build a computer-generated re-creation of how this car, with two young men inside, tumbled end over end and onto an unsuspecting couple’s roof in Eureka—and no one was hurt. KSDK in St. Louis has the story:

Rooftop Car Link

The man who created Mickey Mouse was a genius from Missouri.

But it wasn’t Walt Disney.

NPR affiliate KCUR has the story about the two men from Kansas City’s Laugh-O-Gram Studio who went on to create an empire in Hollywood that would be known around the world:

Mickey Mouse Link

It was a sweltering hot day in August of 1861 when more than 5,000 Union soldiers succumbed to more than 12,000 Confederate fighters at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek near Republic, not far from Springfield.

In 1961, Wilson's Creek National Battlefield was dedicated as a national park on the 100th anniversary of the clash.

And this past Friday, the park’s Visitors Center was re-opened after a $3.5 million renovation. The Springfield News-Leader has more:

Wilson's Creek Link

When Tony and Emily Savage were investigating locations to open a coffee shop, Tony was particularly interested in finding a Somali community, with intentions of returning the kindness he received as a teacher of English in Ethiopia. Emily, who grew up outside St. Louis but lived much of her life in Haiti, appreciated cultural diversity and what it’s like to live in a foreign country.

The diverse community they found—with a sizable Somali population—is Noel, a town of about 1,800 people on the Elk River near the Arkansas border.

Their Melting Pot Coffee Shop opened yesterday.

Kaitlyn McConnell of the Ozarks Alive blog and newsletter wrote about the multicultural gathering place earlier this week:

Melting Pot Link

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Once again, it was an unusually cold, gray day on Friday in west-central Missouri—and we’re well into May! So, it was a great time to be inside to view the incredible artwork at The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia. We even spotted some pieces by folks we know, like Jim Leedy and Cary Esser!

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