This blog entry was made possible by Doug Parsley and Larry Mullins, Zeke's son.
Many do not realize the prominant place local radio celebrity Zeke Mullins holds in the seminal roots of American country music. Zeke has been a popular disc jockey in Portsmouth, Ohio, since 1956, and he has been performing country music since I don't know when. While others have given way to modern influences in this form of music, Zeke has remained true to his hillbilly roots. A beloved member of the community, Zeke Mullins has captured the hearts of listeners with his honest style and unique country humor.
To the younger citizens of our area, Zeke's brush with Hollywood stardom is a lesser-known tale.
Route 66 was a CBS television series that aired weekly from 1960 to 1964 starring George Maharis (Buz) and Martin Milner (Tod). "Black November," the first episode of the series, was filmed in Concord, Kentucky, and some people from the area got parts in the film.
Zeke Mullins had a speaking part in "Black November," playing one of the thugs in a lumber camp town with a deep dark secret where the stars were stranded when their car broke down.
Because of a snow storm on location, the crew had to fly Zeke to Hollywood to finish the film.
Here's a brief summary of the episode for those who remember the series thanks to tv.com:
Tod's wealthy father dies, leaving the Yale grad penniless but for his 1960 blue Chevrolet Corvette. He meets Buz, who worked for Tod's father, and the two decide to start driving across the country. The Corvette breaks down in a small Mississippi town with some very nasty residents. The boys discover that the town hosted a POW camp during WW II and that the town boss had an escaped prisoner lynched when his son was killed in action. The boss plans to lynch Tod and Buz to keep the town's secret.
Here is a little trivia about the episode that may interest local readers. Author Jack Kerouac contemplated suing the show's producers claiming the show was taken from his book On The Road. He also didn't like the fist fights that Buz and Tod got into.
Zeke's television career may have been short lived, but, hopefully, this remembrance will help endear him as a local celebrity. Zeke, we love you!