Texas Monthly Talks

Bud Shrake

Bud Shrake


Notes from Evan Smith

"If the assemblage of undeniably talented outlaws, renegades, malcontents, and misfits who emerged from the iron triangle of Paschal High School, Texas Christian University, and the Metroplex newspaper business amounts to a Fort Worth mafia, this week’s guest is surely the don: the most talented outlaw, renegade, malcontent, and misfit of the bunch — the one with the longest life in the world of writing at various levels and in various media, and the one whose work, more than that of any other, continues to surprise and delight. Bud Shrake was born in Fort Worth 76 years ago, graduated from Paschal High, where, along with the legendary sportswriter Dan Jenkins, he wrote for the school paper, and earned a degree in English and philosophy at TCU, working in the sports department at the Fort Worth Press while finishing school. In 1958 he moved to the Dallas Times Herald, and three years later switched over the Morning News — during that time forming a posse of sorts with, among others, the equally legendary writers Gary Cartwright and Blackie Sherrod. In 1964 he was off to New York to write for Sports Illustrated, but he returned to Texas four years later, and here he has remained for the last forty years, writing the majority of his ten novels, including Blessed McGill, Strange Peaches, Billy Boy, and his latest, Custer’s Brother’s Horse, along with biographies of Willie Nelson and Barry Switzer and a zen oddity for golfers called Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, which only happens to be the best-selling sports book in American publishing history. He is also an active playwright and enough of a highly regarded screenwriter, with credits including Kid Blue, Tom Horn, and Songwriter, that he was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2004. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment, however, is that he has remained the same person all these years: irresistibly charismatic and yet clearly shy, wry and wise and curious, one of the great story-tellers of all time, a loyal friend, a decent man, a true Texan. Can’t ask for more than that." - Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 1.24.08