Farrell and Owens: The Vaudeville Act

In real life, they called themselves the Dalton Gang.

 

Another fantasia adventure with former Colt .45 pitchers Turk Farrell and Jim Owens. I never met Owens, but I did have lunch with Turk Farrell and two other guys at the Old Capitol Club on Halloween Day in 1972. We all arrived at 11:00 AM, ostensibly to discuss a community service project, but we didn’t finish until 2:00 PM – and it was mostly liquid – most of the time we were there. By that time, Turk was retired from baseball, but he was a great social companion that only moment I ever spent any personal time with him. Five years later, when Farrell was killed in a car accident in England, the sorrow was deepened for me by that one day of contact. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

At any rate, bear with me here. The following parody of an old vaudeville act was inspired by an article and cartoon I received overnight from Darrell Pittman. You may find those base source materials more interesting than this little Saturday morning parody that decided to write itself through me today. Knowing the number from “Gypsy” upon which it’s based, may or may not help. The inspirational article follows as the conclusion of this rather lengthy column.

Farrell-Owens Vaudeville Act Parody

(Sung to the Chorus number “Extra! Extra! From the movie “Gypsy”)

Bullpen Occupants Chorus:

 

Extra! …. Extra!

Hey, look at the bullpen

Historical news is being made!

 

Extra! …. Extra!

We’re drawing a red line

Around the biggest scoop of this decade!

 

A barrel of charm? …. Not much!

A fabulous thrill? …. No way!

The biggest little headline …. in vaudeville!

 

Presenting! …. In person!

That 2-Man Bundle of pitching dynamite

Farrell and Owens! …. alias Turk-n-Stein!

 

[applause]

 

Turk-n-Stein:

 

Hello, everybody! ….

Our act’s called Turk-n-Stein!

…. What’s yours?

 

Turk-n-Stein Singing in harmony:

 

Let us …. Entertain you!

Let us …. Pitch our style!

 

Let us pitch a few tricks!

Some old and then …. Some new tricks!

We’re very versatile!

 

And if we pitch good

You’ll feel good …. Sure should!

We want your spirits to climb

 

So LET US …. Do our DAMN THING!

And we’ll put the NL …. On its ear!

And YOU’LL have a good time too …. Colt fans

 

We said …. You’ll …. Have …. A real good …. Time!

 

(Turk-n-Stein tap dance off stage right to an up tempo beat orchestration of “Shuffle Off to Buffalo”!)

Thank you, Darrell Pittman for this contribution.

Legible Re-Print of the Farrell-Owens Article

Transcribed by Darrell Pittman

Victoria Advocate, July 3, 1965:

 

Astros’ Farrell and Owens Run Lively Act in Houston

By TOM TIEDE

Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

 

NEW YORK (NEA) – If ever a member of the Houston Astros baseball team becomes the first man to go into orbit without a space ship, Dick Farrell and Jim Owens can take credit for the launching.

 

The daffy duo of the Texas pitching staff once owned a nine-foot boa constrictor and one of the places they kept it was on the couch of their, uh, pad.

 

“The snake and the couch matched perfectly,” chortles Farrell. “So we invited guys in to sit down. A few people went flying out of the room, believe me.”

 

The Farrell & Owens act has been an almost continuously running feature in major league cities since the turn of the decade. Performances have been largely after dark, in pubs and ball parks.

 

Reviews have been mixed. Had they played in the American League, Boston might have banned it.

 

The Throwing Thespians are no strangers to bottle or battle. Once, in an attempt to divide and conquer, Philadelphia’s Gene Mauch assigned the two to different rooms on the road.

 

Farrell & Owens would have none of it. They kept their television sets blasting until 5 a.m. every night for a week. At the end of the sleep strike, many members of the bleary-eyed Phillies threatened to quit baseball. Mauch relented and tossed them back together.

 

Other clubs took firmer action. When Farrell completed what the Los Angeles Dodgers considered a “half-hearted” season (8-7) in 1961, the Bums’ brass was hedging on whether or not to keep him.

 

Farrell made up their minds for them. He pushed teammate Norm Larker into a motel swimming pool – fully clothed – and was promptly unloaded to Houston.

 

In Texas the Farrell-Owens routine is the best on the bill. Without them the Astro home bookings, even in the new theater, would be unspeakably dull.

 

For example, Farrell livens things up by admitting he throws spitters. It’s illegal as marijuana, of course, but he bluntly confessed a few years back that he served a wet one to Stan Musial.

 

“Everyone loads them up once in a while,” he pointed out.

 

Now 29 apiece, Farrell & Owens claim they’re rounding the corners off their act. “I don’t want to spoil my chances of making more money,” says the former. “You’ve got to grow up some time,” says the latter.

 

But the high spirits are still there.

 

Drop around their pad some time for a lift.

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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One Response to “Farrell and Owens: The Vaudeville Act”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Turk: a great character and Houston’s first All Star.

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