The Original Sensational Showmen

The Original Sensational Showmen
National Guard Armory-Concordia - 1965

Sunday, November 2, 2014

3 Versions of The Sensational Showmen

Just to clarify any confusion of the versions of The Sensational Showmen bands, there were 3 versions. The original group, hosts of this blog, were from Concordia, Clifton & Clyde, Kansas. The other two versions came about after the disbanding of the original group in 1967. The other two versions of the band hailed from Chanute, Parsons and Pittsburg. All the groups were affiliated with Mid-Continent Entertainment, John Brown, out of Lawrence, Kansas.

Mike Fitzsimmons, lead guitarist of The Sensational Showmen (Parsons/Pittsburg) passes

< Michael T. “Mike” Fitzmorris, 61, of Parsons, passed away at 6:39 p.m., Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at his home where he had resided his entire life. He was born March 4, 1953 in Neodesha, Kansas to Dennis and Rosemary (Patchin) Fitzmorris. He grew up in Parsons where he attended school and was a 1971 graduate of St. Patrick’s High School. He then attended Pittsburg State University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in music education and vocal performance. Music was his passion. He worked as a professional musician, gave guitar lessons, taught music at Labette Community College, and entertained during the evening hours at the Parsons Country Club by playing the piano. He also had worked at the M-K-T Railroad, the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center, and Class LTD where he was founder and director of the Class LTD choir. In earlier years, he toured with several bands including The Gang Band, The Sensational Showmen, The Fitz Band, and Trouble Maker. In 2008, he and The Sensational Showmen were honored by being inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. His hobbies included photography, astronomy, and metal detecting. He especially enjoyed spending time with his family and jamming with his friends who fondly called him “Fitz”. In 1990, he and Gretchen Wheelan were married at the Calvary Baptist Church in Joplin. They later divorced. Survivors include two sons, Erin Fitzmorris and Eric Fitzmorris and his wife, Jill, all of Lawrence, KS; three grandchildren, Lily Ann Kaiser, Brenya Rose Fitzmorris, and Ridley Michael Fitzmorris, and one granddaughter, Cambria Kay Fitzmorris, “on the way”; two brothers, Larry Fitzmorris, McPherson, KS, and Dennis Fitzmorris, Owasso, OK; and lifelong friend, Marvin Foreman, Parsons, KS. He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Norman Fitzmorris; and one sister, Lynda Hedgepath. Memorial services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, November 1, 2014 at the Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home in Parsons. The family will receive friends from 6-8:00 p.m., Friday, at the funeral home. Memorials are suggested to the Michael Fitzmorris Memorial Fund. These may be left at or mailed to Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, KS 67357.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2014 Kansas Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

KANSAS MUSIC HALL OF FAME 2014 INDUCTION CEREMONY Saturday, March 1st, 2014 All Ages // 6:00pm Doors // 6:30 Ceremony Start // 7:00pm Show FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE TICKETS: All Tickets Are General Admission $30.00* General Admission All seating is available first come, first served For more information, contact or 2014 Kansas Music Hall of Fame Inductees Beast Bon Ton Soul Accordion Band Clif Major Glow Jimmy Dee & Fabulous Destinations Junior Brown Sanctuary Wichita Linemen Ed Down (Audio House) Director's Award Donnie and Diane Bob Hapgood Award

Sunday, February 23, 2014

King Midas and the Mufflers - late 90's

L to R top: Mike Hill, the late Bob Hapgood, Richard Collins, Ron Foulk bottom: the late Dennis Frans, Ralph Brown

The Innkeepers 1965

Mau Maus - 1965 Abilene, Kansas

Seeds of Friar Tuck and the Monks - Ron Bowell, Ron Fitch, and Richard France, the heart of Friar Tuck and the Monks came out of this 1965 band called the Mau Maus. Shown here at the Abilene, Kansas City Auditorium in the summer of 1965.

Soul Arrangement

Soul Arrangement. 1969? Main Stage at KS State Fair. Left to right Kenny Rice, Jr. Bowen, Bruce Huss, Ron Trelk,Willie Cheeks, Mike Bighart, Mike Lucas, Bill Spece.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Concordia, Kansas hot spots

Played Pop's Pizza many times. DJ's came later. Many excellent concerts at both venues.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Old Vette's, Clifton, Kansas poster from 1963 era

These were the very early stages of our musical venture of playing in public. No recollection of what we sounded like but I am sure it was very simple and amateurish, but at least it was a start. Making handmade posters using Magic Markers and colored construction paper. As you can see, we were not very artistic but were creative. After making the posters, then we had to hand deliver them to places that would gladly display them in their store windows or bulletin boards. After all the expense, we probably made nothing at the gig! Those were the days!!! Phil Pfister and Larry Jackson left the Vette's to launch The Sensational Showmen