Dallas Turner Cowboy Poetry Collection
Dallas Turner Cowboy Poetry Collection, 2001
Location: 0142, Box 1, Folder 15
Accession #: 2002.079
Known to radio listeners as Nevada Slim, singer, yodeler, and guitarist Dallas Turner is a native of Yakima, Washington. This collection has publicity materials.
Dallas Turner, a native of Yakima, Washington, is known to radio listeners also as Nevada Slim. His other professional radio names are Yodeling Slim Dallas and Cowboy Dallas Turner. He was an orphan as a child and was adopted by Jim and Liz Turner. He grew up as a cowboy on a 5,000 acre cattle ranch. He started singing, yodeling and picking the guitar as soon as he could walk. As a youngster, he learned to play the guitar from Gene Autry and Jimmie Rodgers phonograph records. Other singers the young Dallas Turner enjoyed listening to included Bradley Kincaid, Vernon Dalhart, Tex Owens, Powder River Jack and Kitty Lee and Tex Fletcher.
But his idol was a man he heard on the Mexican border stations. This man—Cowboy Slim Rinehart—was the greatest singer, yodeler, and guitarist the youngster had ever heard. It was this very man that would become his best friend and put the young cowboy on border radio.
Dallas made his first public appearance with Powder River Jack and Kitty Lee in Pendleton, Oregon. He was only 6 or 7 years old. The Turners were at the Pendleton Roundup. Jack and Kitty were entertaining and selling song books. Little Dallas stood on a table and sang “Tying a Knot in the Devil’s Tail” while Kitty Lee played her guitar and backed his singing and yodeling. The crowd went wild. Nevada Slim was on his way!
During his career, he had some unusual milestones one might say. He once gave a private command performance for Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt. The great Burl Ives shook his hand and said “Dallas Turner, you sing one hell of a folk song!”
Dallas Turner left the ranch in his teens to try his hand at a career in radio. He won a network program over 12 other folk singers. Nat Vincent, a famous songwriter, became his manager. Vincent got him a recording contract with United Artists records, and a songwriting contract with Ralph S. Peer at Southern Music Publishing Co. He also got him a screen test at Monogram Pictures. He made an impression with the folks at the Monogram studio and was offered the singing lead role in the Whip Wilson series. This role, if successful in 3 years, could lead to his own starring roles. But the studio demanded that he travel with the pictures and make a minimum of 120 one nighters each year in small town theatres. But Dallas turned down the offer. He was making too much money in radio to even consider such a proposition. The record company, in the meantime, had folded. Dallas and Nat Vincent parted but kept in touch as long lasting friends.
Dallas Turner’s next manager was George C. Biggar, director of the WLS National Barn Dance in Chicago. Dallas auditioned for WLS. He was accepted for a daily morning show on WLS, a stint on the famous Saturday Night barn dance program and bookings through the famed WLS Artists Bureau. But the contract with WLS had its own nuances. It stipulated that he had to stop broadcasting on the Mexican border stations. But Dallas, again, turned down the offer.
He has appeared with many of the great Country and Western Stars of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. He has never been a disc jockey but when he worked on radio, he always worked with just his guitar. He has appeared at leading Nevada Hotels, Casinos, Festivals, Theatres, Nightclubs, Colleges – even the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
During his more than 50 successful years in radio, Dallas Turner was heard on many great USA stations in addition to his nightly broadcasts from old Mexico.
This collection consists of a single series, Publicity Materials, which includes four items: an envelope, a photographic postcard, and two advertising sheets.
This collection was accessioned in 2002 and filed along with other small cowboy poetry collections. Archivist Laura Anne Heller created the current finding aid on July 15, 2009.
The Dallas Turner Cowboy Poetry Collection is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.
Dallas Turner Cowboy Poetry Collection, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.