Today’s question-answer theme is all about connections.

1.Name a local actor who had a leading role in the Broadway musical “Mr. President.”

2.What is Baytown’s connection with the state Public Utility Commission?

3.What is movie star Jennifer Garner’s local connection?

4.What’s Lyle Lovett’s link with Wallisville Road?

5.What was Elvis Presley’s connection with Magnolia Gardens?

6.Glena Pfennig, former Sun Lifestyle editor, had a connection with concert pianist Van Cliburn. Can you guess?

7.Doc Severinsen, the famous trumpeter and leader of  Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show orchestra, bonded with Robert E. Lee High School. Remember?

8.Explain Baytown’s connection with two newspaper men who won Pulitzer Prizes.

9.Name two off-Broadway musicals with local-area links – one to Baytown and the other, to Crosby.

10.What’s the Baytown connection with the Washington Post?   


1. Jerry Strickler, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Strickler, played the role of the President’s son in “Mr. President” on Broadway while the President and First Lady were portrayed by Robert Ryan and Nanette Fabray. Joshua Logan directed and Irving Berlin composed the music. The real-life President and First Lady – Jack and Jackie Kennedy – were in the audience for the play’s opening.

 2.Two REL graduates, Alan Erwin and Julie Caruthers Parsley, served on the board of the Public Utility Commission, and Alan served a term as its chairman.

 3.Jennifer Garner’s dad is REL graduate Bill Garner, and just for fun, he appeared with his daughter in one of the “What’s in your wallet?” TV commercials. Jennifer came to Baytown a few years ago to attend the funeral of her grandmother Exie Garner at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church.

 4. Lyle Lovett wrote and sang a song about Wallisville Road. Many people in Baytown knew Lyle’s dad Bill “Sonny” Lovett, who grew up in Highlands and worked at Exxon.

5. A number of Baytonians saw Elvis Presley perform at Magnolia Gardens Park in the early years of his career.

6. For one thing, journalist Glena Pfennig and pianist Van Cliburn had the hometown connection. Both were from Kilgore. Their main connection, however, was his mom. She was Glena’s piano teacher.

7. Doc Severinsen was a guest performer so many times with the REL Band that his appearances became a popular tradition. He had great rapport with the kids in the band, then directed by Charles Forque. 

8. Jim Hale, former general manager of The Sun, collected three Pulitzer Prizes as publisher of the Kansas City Star.  Joe Murray, who was editor of the Lufkin Daily News when it won a Pulitzer, lived in Baytown when he was a young boy and attended Anson Jones Elementary School. His dad, at that time, worked in the composing room of The Sun.

9. Margo Sappington danced in the off-Broadway production “O! Calcutta” and has since become one of the most sought-after choreographers in show business. The daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Harry Sappington, Margo grew up in Lakewood. The piano-playing Crosby kid who grew up to compose the longest-running musical in history – “The Fantasticks” – was Harvey Schmidt. The musical opened off-Broadway, and as we speak, it’s likely still playing somewhere.

10.Molly Bowers, REL graduate, and Patrick Tyler, RSS graduate, both worked at the Washington Post. Molly’s first newspaper job was at The Sun when she was in high school.   


Wanda Orton is a retired managing editor of The Sun. She can be reached at viewpoints@baytownsun.com, Attention: Wanda Orton.

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