Stories from Texas

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June 16, 2021

There’s Something About A Person Named Tex

By: W.F. Strong

Tex is an incredibly popular nickname. It is so fitting for some… that it pushes their given first name entirely out of use. I thought it would be interesting to look at a few famous folks known mostly as just Tex.

Tex Ritter is probably the most famous person named Tex. I doubt more than one in hundred Texans could tell you that Tex Ritter’s first name was Woodward. Full name: Woodward Maurice Ritter. More people likely know that he was the father of actor John Ritter of “Three’s Company” fame.

The elder Ritter was an incredibly popular recording artist, television and movie star from the 1930s to the 1960s. Here’s his most famous song: “You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often.”

 

Everyone knows that you’re untrue,

Honey you and me are through,

You two timed me one time too often,

I’m so tired of your abuse,

Guess I’d better turn you loose,

You two timed me one time too often.

 

Then there’s another famous recording star, Tex Williams But he wasn’t really from Texas.  He was born Sollie Paul Williams, in Ramsey, Illinois.  He just got the Tex nickname because early in his career he played Western Swing in California, a musical genre that had a lot of Texas fans there at the time, and so he was given the nickname to connect him to his audience, and it stuck. His most famous song was “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette),” which you may remember from the 2006 film: “Thank You for Smoking.”

 

Smoke smoke smoke that cigarette

Puff puff puff

And if you smoke yourself to death

Tell St Peter at the Golden Gate

That you hate to make him wait

But you just gotta have another cigarette

 

Tex Brashear, born in Kerrville, Texas, is a voice actor, narrator and movie trailer announcer with a deep bass voice. You’ve probably never seen him, but you’ve likely heard him. Known as the man of a thousand voices, he’s  won 102 Addy awards. Here’s a promo he recorded for NBC for Lethal Weapon:

https://soundcloud.com/tex-brashear  (first one, NBC – 33-40?)

According to the babynamescience website, Tex is a unique modern baby name for boys. Only 1 in 335-thousand babies were given that name in recent years.  And it’s even rarer for girls, which brings us to our last entry here – a famous woman who was nicknamed – not Tex, but Texas.  Texas Guinan.  She was a well-known actress and vaudeville singer, comedian, and speakeasy performer during prohibition.

The life story she told about herself was that she was named Texas the day she was born in Waco in 1884. Not true. She was named Mary –  not Texas – but she built her entire show-business persona around the Texas claim, and it served her well.

She left us some memorable quotes. As hostess of speakeasies for the rich and famous she would often welcome customers from her place on stage, with this line: “Hello suckers! Come on in and leave your wallet on the bar.”  And her most famous line: “A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.”

There are hundreds more. There’s Tex Schramm, the first President of the Dallas Cowboys. Randall “Tex” Cobb, the Bridge City-born boxer, actor.  Tex Avery, the cartoonist and Warner Brothers animator who was born in Taylor. It’s a long list. Younger generations are picking it up, too. We have Tex Sands, the outube star.  And the youngest, on-the-way-to-fame-“Tex”,  is voice actor Tex Hammond, 14, known for the two animated series, The Loud House and Vampirina.

I say name your babies Tex, boys or girls. It’s a rare given name and seems to lead to great things.


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