Bob Wills's "Play Boy Flour" Promotional Fan

The King of Western Swing advertises flour

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"Bob Wills is Still the King" may have been a huge hit for Waylon Jennings, but would you believe Wills and his band had to leave Texas to become successful?

Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys were among the most influential musicians ever to emerge from the Texas music scene. In a combination of big band and country music known as Western Swing, they scored enormous popularity with dance tunes like "San Antonio Rose" and "Faded Love." Wills and his band, then called the Light Crust Doughboys, had gained popularity in the early 1930s on their own radio show advertising Light Crust Flour. But Wills could not get along with W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel, the program's host (and future governor of Texas).

He renamed the band, relocated to Oklahoma City, and started a new show on KVOO, a so-called "flamethrower" station that broadcast at 50,000 watts, then the maximum allowed by law. Broadcasting daily from 12:30-1:15 pm, Wills reached a huge portion of Texas and the Southwest during the lunch hour. He also negotiated with Red Star Milling Company of Kansas to produce Play Boy Flour and become the show's sponsor. Wills promoted the flour through gimmicks such as this promotional fan. He received a royalty on every barrel of flour sold and also sold franchise rights to bakeries in Kansas and Oklahoma to make Play Boy bread.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Bob Wills's "Play Boy Flour" Promotional Fan Artifact from Kosse, Limestone County
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