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Campus Communications
Laura Dahl, Director
P.O. Box 430, Goodwell, Oklahoma 73939
Phone: 580-349-1354 * Fax: 580-349-1350


**For Immediate Release**
“Alfalfa Bill” Murray Lives On
- released by OPSU Campus Communications 08-23-07

Goodwell, Okla. — No other single individual is more colorful or more controversial in past Oklahoma politics than Governor “Alfalfa Bill” William H. Murray.

On Wednesday, August 29 at 7 p.m. in Hughes-Strong Auditorium on the campus of Oklahoma Panhandle State University, John Hinkle, actor and puppeteer will provide the audience with a glimpse of the many sides of Oklahoma’s ninth governor through a story concert. The program is free and area residents are encouraged to enjoy this lively portrayal of the legendary Oklahoma Governor.

“Alfalfa Bill” was known for many things:

  o As an agronomist who tried to help farmers nourish their soil and livestock;
  o Represented the Chickasaw nation as an attorney, fending off false claims for land grabs;
  o Secretary to the Indian Territorial Sequoyah constitutional convention;
  o President and legal mind that helped format the Oklahoma constitution;
  o Speaker of the 1st elected House of Representatives in Oklahoma;
  o Member of the U.S. House of Representatives during WWI;
  o Leader of a utopian society in Bolivia;
  o Governor during the Depression and Dust Bowl;
  o “The Red River War.”

In his last years, he was plagued by dementia and defamed for his anti-Semitic and racist views.

Hinkle comments, “To say Alfalfa Bill was colorful is an enormous understatement. Oklahomans either loved him or hated him. He is hero/villain, good/evil. I think that he is worthy of a Shakespeare play because he’s so complex.” The performance is written for adults and Oklahoma history students.

The actor has been encouraging a handlebar mustache for a couple of years, but he has shaved off his soft white beard by which Oklahoma children identify him as a puppeteer. “I’ve bought white shoes and short white socks, gotten a bad haircut, purchased a pocket watch, had a white suit made with the pants too short, gone almost the whole route with black sleeve garters, black suspenders, and a rocking chair. However, I’ve drawn the line at chewing tobacco. It gives me violent hiccups.”
Hinkle visited every library in the state when he was a consultant at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and has performed as story teller and puppeteer over the past 50 years in every Oklahoma county but three. His history with the Oklahoma Arts Council spans 25 years as puppeteer, Artist in Residence, musician and story teller.

“When I grow up, I want to paint watercolor portraits and play Irish music on the streets of Bricktown,” the 72-year-old sighed.





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