When KFDX TV in Wichita Falls, Texas went on the air 60 years ago this year, all programs were black and white, the local commercials were all live and you had to fiddle and adjust your knobs to even get a viewable picture.
In that first year it is no surprise Nat Fleming, who is always quick with a good joke, found success in his own variety show.
From those early TV days to the thousands of custom fit cowboy hats sold AT THE Cowlot Nat Fleming has truly shown his Spirit of Texoma.
Nat Fleming says, "I just missed the horse and buggy days by a few years, I really did. I was born in 1921."
Nat Fleming got his first taste talking to the public and entertaining in 1947 as a rodeo announcer.
He had already begun a career in radio when KFDX first hit the airwaves in 1953.
Nat: "They'd except anything in the World that was live. That's why they invited me out. I was what they called a live version."
Nat says his invitation to Channel 3 came from President and General Manager Darrold Cannon, Sr. 60 years ago.
Tawana: "Very few people had TV's back then, very few."
Nat: "They would meet in someone's house."
That's why Nat's Mom would walk nearly a mile to his brother's house to catch the show each night.
Nat: "I was very aware of that and right at the end it just came out, I said "bye Mom" and I ended all the shows that way."
There was really something for everyone on the Nat Fleming Show, good laughs and live music.
Nat: "I always tell people I had the best band to ever hit this area, I could say that because I didn't play an instrument."
Nat says the show was pure country and offered a stage where just about anything could happen.
Nat: "None of it was planned, as far as we were concerned...this fell in place that fell in place. I've had the opportunity of meeting a lot of people and I appreciate that more than anything."
He also very much appreciates how television helped him get his family's store open for business.
Nat: "They let people know where it was, what it was and it was the greatest little stores in the whole World and if you didn't believe it you could ask any of us."
Tawana: "I was riding barrells and a couple of friends of mine came over the Wichita Falls for the weekend and I needed a new pair of jeans and I stopped in to get a new pair of jeans and he didn't have any that fit me they were too long...and everything...but he was in such need for the money he sold them anyway...laughing... and I was dumb enough to buy them I guess."
She's been telling that story ever since they met in 1952.
The couple would go on to put just the right crease in quite a few cowboy hats in their over fifty years of serving customers at the Cowlot.
Over all those decades hundreds of cowboys and friends would hang their hats from rafters there and generations to come will be able to enjoy Nat's hats at the Museum of North Texas History not too far from where the Cowlot once stood.
The spirit he put into his business and TV show still stands too, a cowboy spirit that fits Texoma so well, just like his hats and boots did for nearly 92 years now.
Nat is a member of the Texas Bootfitters Hall of Fame.
He always voiced his own ads and can still recite his commericial to this day.
Nat: "I'm Nat Fleming from the Cowlot. Did you ever look at an old boys hat and wonder where he got it and why? Did you ever look at his boots and wonder where he got them and why? I am kind of glad by looking you can tell if it came from the cowlot."
The store offered Nat far more than a career in western wear, it's where he fell in love with his wife Tawana.Type your paragraph here.
"You can tell by lookin...it came from The Cow Lot." - Nat Fleming, Founder 1952
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