Amazing Duo: Adie Marks and Morris Frank

Excerpt from "Your 1948 Houston Buffs, Dixie Champions: Brief Biographies By Morris Frank and Adie Marks (1948).

Excerpt from “Your 1948 Houston Buffs, Dixie Champions: Brief Biographies By Morris Frank and Adie Marks (1948).

As a result of those two columns I’ve done this week on the work of Morris Frank and Adie Marks, this very important question came to me today as a comment from Anthony “Tony” Cavender: “Bill: Who drew those great illustrations?”

Adie Marks

Adie Marks

His name was Adie Marks, Tony. Adie Marks did the artwork and Morris Frank did the script for  their 1948 Houston Buffs autograph book of player sketches and summaries. Both were involved with the Houston Buffs as friends and working supporters of club president Allen Russell and beyond Russell’s tenure to the end of the team’s existence in 1961. Frank handled the public address duties at Buff Stadium and Marks handled the team’s advertising. Both used their differing abilities to promote the welfare of Houston baseball. Marks just did his work more quietly, but perhaps, more measurable over time.

It was Adie Marks, who continued his support of Houston baseball as the advertising man for Judge Roy Hofheinz and the Houston Astros. In those times, Marks was credited with coming up with the words and phrases “Astrodomain”  and “Eighth Wonder of the World” as usable descriptors for the world’s first covered athletic stadium. Those entries are what I mean by work that is “more measurable over time”.

It’s not how much you say, but what you say that gets remembered.

I was privileged to have met and lunched with Adie Marks during the very early years of the 21st century. He’s the one who gave me a copy of his 1948 Buffs autograph book. He was a nice guy, fun to spend time with, and a dynamo for ideas on how we could do a better job of promoting baseball in Houston. Unfortunately, Adie Marks died on August 31, 2006 at the age of 91. He went out as he lived – working all day as a Houston ad man.

Morris Frank

Morris Frank

Morris Frank was an absolute force as a Houston sports figure during the 1940’s and 50’s, especially. He wrote a column for the Houston Chronicle and he did all the greeting and announcing of lineups over the PA system at Buff Stadium. If there ever was another voice that handled those duties for the Buffs, he has been long ago forgotten by people like me. Morris Frank and his East Texas twang was – the ballpark voice of the Houston Buffaloes – and the Master of Ceremonies at any sports banquet in Houston that was worthy of holding.

Like Adie Marks, Morris Frank was a close friend and strong working associate of Buffs president Allen Russell – and another person who figured strongly in Russell’s ability to put together a winning business team. Like Marks, Frank was also a charitable man who volunteered his talents to a number of local causes that called upon him for help.

Today we even have a Houston Library branch named for Morris Frank. We ought to have one ,or a school, named for Adie Marks too – and maybe even an avenue for Allen Russell. They were all part of a generational force that has helped to make Houston a better city today.

In a post-mortem column on Morris Frank, friend and fellow writer Bob Bowman closed with the following:

“On July 16, 1975, the day after Morris passed away, the Chronicle published an editorial praising him for his qualities. The editorial concluded with these words: “Will Rogers has often been quoted as saying he never met a man he didn’t like. That was the way it was with Morris Frank, but there was more. With Morris, there never was a person he didn’t love.”

Here’s are links to two Internet pieces on the lives of each man:

Adie Marks ~

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-deaths/article/Adie-Marks-creative-adman-with-knack-for-1496472.php

Morris Frank ~

http://www.texasescapes.com/AllThingsHistorical/Morris-Frank-BB705.htm

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One Response to “Amazing Duo: Adie Marks and Morris Frank”

  1. Mikw Says:

    I didn’t know Adie Marks, but when I was still a schoolboy in Beaumont; when the local channel(s) would go off the air around midnight, sometimes I could pick up faint feeds from the Houston stations. Channel 13 would occasionly come on and I would watch the end of a late movie. Then before they would sign off, just before the national athemn would play, they had a segment called “From the Morris Chair.”

    “From the Morris Chair” would last about 4 or 5 minutes and would feature Morris Frank, sitting in a big easy chair (seems like smoking a cigar) leaning back and talking about whatever he felt like.

    I remember one night he spoke about a trip he took to Canada. How while he was there he learned that there were hot winds in the western part of Canada that the native Canadians called Chinooks. And that while he was there, he earned the nickname “Chinook” from the Canadians because he was so full of hot air. And that was the show. Quite a dry, funny guy!

    Mike

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