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.