Bob’s Picks: Watch 16 ‘Classic’ episodes of ‘Texas Country Reporter’ on RFD-TV Now!
Like a greatest hits album, “TCR Classics: Bob’s Picks” is filled with some of TCR host Bob Phillips’ most cherished memories reporting on The Lone Star State with his wife, Kelli, for nearly three decades. Plus, the 16-episode series is available to stream for FREE on RFD-TV Now!
How do you narrow down the best-of-the-best “Texas Country Reporter” episodes across 50 seasons and hundreds of episodes? We didn’t know where to start!
Instead, we turned to the expert—TCR host Bob Phillips himself—for help with this special collection of episodes, “TCR Classics: Bob’s Picks,” which is available to stream for FREE on RFD-TV Now!
All 16 of the episodes Bob selected correspond with a post on Bob’s blog for Texas Monthly, where he shares more cherished memories and insights about each classic episode.
Here’s a look at the individual episodes that make up our special collection, “TCR Classic: Bob’s Picks!”
The Blind Sculptor From Beaumont Who Broke the Mold
Originally Aired: Feb. 25, 1995
Michael Gregory is a blind sculptor. He sculpts what he sees in his mind’s eye.
On Michael, Bob Phillips wrote: “Many of the stories we tell on Texas Country Reporter fall into certain categories. While each tale is unique (because all people are unique), there are commonalities between them. One of my favorite kind of story is how people overcome obstacles in life.”
“Michael Gregory of Beaumont occupies a space toward the top of the list of amazing people I have met who lived with a physical disability and serious hardships, and whose story is both regular and remarkable,” Phillips continues on his blog for Texas Monthly. “He just went about life like most other people, while leaving his unique, creative stamp on the world.”
Mineola Was Home to the Oldest Female Barber in Texas
Originally Aired: Nov. 8, 2007
“Getting a haircut in a small town used to be a story-finding strategy for Texas Country Reporter, but the tale of Blanche Harris is one of my favorites,” Bob recounts in his Texas Monthly blog.
At the time this episode aired, Blanche Harris held the distinction of “oldest practicing female barber in Texas.” At 89 years old, she still ran a one-chair barbershop out of her garage in Mineola, TX.
“Her haircuts were below being reasonably priced, and her advice on how to properly live your life was free. And Blanche didn’t mind giving out plenty of that free advice,” Bob said.
The Tiniest Bank in Texas Didn’t Deal in Change
Originally Aired: Nov. 17, 2007
“For decades, Roddy Wiley ran the only bank in the small town of Oakwood, which happily resisted modern technology well into the twenty-first century,” Phillips writes in Texas Monthly.
“At Oakwood State Bank, you did not need to know your account number because they didn’t use them,” Phillips recalls. “Each depositor was assigned an account number, but that was only because the federal government required them. At Oakwood, every customer was known solely by their name, usually their first name. And the records for the eight-hundred-plus customers were kept in old-fashioned ledgers that were stored all over the bank.”
The Legend of Old Rip Was Pretty Unbelievable
Originally Aired: Feb. 3, 2008
Legend says a horny toad (a.k.a. horned lizard) named Old Rip survived for decades trapped inside a brick of the courthouse in Eastland, Texas.
When he was found alive, Old Rip became an instant celebrity.
“After fifty years of doing what I do, I think I’ve heard ’em all. But I have never heard a more outrageous Texas tale than the Legend of Old Rip.,” Phillips wrote in Texas Monthly.
A Group of Veterans in Port Arthur Honors Those Who Served
Originally Aired: May 17, 2008
“When I first met Buddy Blake decades later in Port Arthur, all those memories of the convoys came rushing back. Buddy was a Lutheran pastor and, more important to him, he was a veteran of the United States Army.” Bob writes. “And he told me nothing could bring a lump to his throat and a pain to his heart as much as the thought of the death of a fellow military veteran.”
Meeting Buddy sparked childhood memories for Bob — bringing to mind the tears of his mother and aunt whenever they would see a passing military convoy honoring the life of a fallen veteran. Tears he didn’t quite understand until he was an adult.
“Like Buddy, I’m sure they had lumps in their throats and pain in their hearts when they saw those familiar signs of war,” he continued. “And I imagine those feelings are magnified many times over for veterans like Buddy Blake when they are called to provide final services for their comrades in arms.”
The Crazy Kolache Lady of Calvert
Originally Aired: Feb. 21, 2009
“We hear it all the time from people who are suggesting we check out a certain story they have discovered,” Phillips writes. According to Bob, people would often say: “This person is a little bit crazy. It will make a good story.”
“So, imagine our delight when we first heard about a woman so passionate that the word ‘crazy’ had worked its way into her commonly known name, " he explains. “Jody Powers was known in Calvert as ‘the Crazy Kolache Lady.’ We found her in her little bakery on the main street, mixing up her kolache dough at one o’clock in the morning. That, we thought, must be why they call her crazy. Who would do this at 1 a.m.?”
But, he says, that’s not the reason for the nickname.
Watch the full episode and read Bob’s blog to find out more!