Thursday, January 28, 2021

A KLVL Gallery

Morales Radio Hall - toward the rear of the parking lot for the funeral home at 2901 Canal on the east side.  Built in 1970 to house the radio station, this structure replaced an earlier building right on the street in front of it that housed the radio station before.  The older building has been demolished to make room for more parking for the funeral home.  This building has been remodeled to be used as a community meeting hall.  The studios themselves were not restored.

The walls of the meeting room are lined with photos depicting some of the history of the station over the years, a small sample, I am told, of the hundreds of pictures that have been preserved.  The pennants in the background identify this photo as the 6th anniversary of the station which would have been in 1956 (May 5th, Cinco de Mayo),  They also wish Happy Birthday to Felix Morales, owner.  Mr. Morales wife, Angie, celebrated her birthday on May 5th, Morales himself was born on May 27.

The announcer Carlos Conde is on the left, with the cane (and apparently extending a hand held mic in from of the person in the center).  The person adjusting the microphone stand is Joe (Jose) Morales, I believe, son of Felix and longtime announcer and manager of KLVL. Felix Morales is on the right with his arms folded.  

Any help in identifying other participants will be appreciated.  Please refer to Picture # 2.

Felix Hessbrook Morales - 1907-1988

Morales and his wife, Angeline "Angie" Vera Morales

Joe Morales, son of the owner.

Felix Morales played guitar and used his talent to entertain listeners to his radio programs in San Antonio and Houston before he got his own station, filling time when a scheduled guest failed to show or was late or ran short.  He also loved to join musical guests on air and afterwards, in sessions conducted both at the station and at his home as I understand.  Recordings were made of many of these sessions and thousands are said to have survived.  A large collection has been given to the (Harris County) Heritage Society, along with many photographs, and others are still held by the family, which has done a good job over the years of documenting and preserving the history of their enterprises.  This is one of the photos on the wall of the Radio Hall showing Morales, his wife I believe, and possibly a visiting film or musical star on the right.  The microphone boom and clock on the wall suggest this was in a studio at the station although the decor (lamp, seating, curtains) may indicate a private residence.  The sleeved discs on the table might be samples of the recordings released by the guest or recordings made during his visit.  Any help in identifying the man and the occasion will be appreciated.  Please refer to Picture # 6.

A group picture with the same gentleman pictured above.  The others may be part of the celebrity's entourage or KLVL staff.  Whether the picture was taken in a studio or at the Morales home I don't know.  Any help in identifying those pictured or the occasion will be appreciated.  Please refer to Picture # 7.

Any help in identifying those pictured with Felix Morales will be appreciated.  Please refer to Picture # 8.

The two seated gentlemen have familiar faces but I cannot come up with names.  The one on the right may be Felix Tijerina, the well-known Houston restauranteur, but I have not been able to locate a good  likeness for comparison.  Any help will be appreciated.  Please refer to Picture # 9.

The Morales Funeral Home was established almost 20 years before the radio station was launched.  This 1938 LaSalle Carved Panel hearse was used by the funeral home for years and is currently garaged elsewhere.  It was brought to the parking lot for the Heritage Society tour to see.  It still runs and appears to be in very good shape.  The tires look practically new and from what I could make out through the very dirty windows, the upholstery is in good shape.  In addition to the Radio Hall, the Funeral Home has been completely restored in recent years and plans were spoken of to fully restore this vehicle to be shown off at community events and used in parades.

The above photos were snapped by me during a Heritage Society See Interesting Places tour in March of 2017 when we also listened to a presentation by Christina Morales, granddaughter of Felix and current head of the Morales operations, on her family's history and achievements.  She currently serves as Representative to the Texas House of Representatives from District 145.  I neglected to take a recorder or note pad but have consulted other sources in writing this post.  Any corrections to any of the above information will be appreciated.

This story from the Houston Chronicle in 2015 tells of the grand opening of Morales Hall. Pictured is Christina Morales in the Hall looking over a large scrapbook which includes may newspaper clippings and photographs of the history of the station.  Excerpts from the scrapbook may be found online by searching for images of the Morales Radio Hall or KLVL.

Maria del Carmen Garcia, nee Aleman, first female radio announcer on KLVLObituary.  There are several other pictures of her in the studio in the Tribute Video, most of them in the first few minutes, and the stills are in the From the Family section (scroll down through all the Memories).

This post from the East Aldine Management District deals with Houston Press columnist and novelist Sig Byrd, Felix Morales, a $20 funeral, cold beer, warm tortillas and butter, and listening to Maria Del Carmen Aleman, 'glamorous girl disc jockey' who reportedly received a thousand pieces of fan mail a week, and how Byrd wound up being buried in Morales Cemetery.

I sure hope to uncover an air check of Maria someday.

Photos and comments are welcome from other readers of this blog.