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Oregon State University
Special Collections and Archives
Research Center

Barney Keep Papers, 1918-2000View associated digital content.

Predominant Dates: 1949-1990

The Barney Keep Papers document the life, career and celebrity of Barney Keep, a popular Portland radio broadcaster and Oregon State alum. The Keep Papers include scrapbooks, various audio formats and other materials that reflect Keep's broadcasting style, rise to fame and persistent success over thirty-five years on the air at KEX-FM.

Several audio recordings held in the collection have been digitized and are available online through links included in this guide. Other items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

ID: MSS Keep
Extent: 5.8 cubic feet
More Extent Information
Scope and Content Notes
Biographical / Historical Notes
Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.
Preferred Citation: Barney Keep Papers (MSS Keep), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.
Languages of Materials

Container List

Series 1: Audio, Video and Film Recordings, 1949-2000 Add to Shelf
The audio formats held in Series I include reel-to-reel tapes, eight-track cartridges, standard audiocassettes and vinyl record albums. The series also includes 8mm film reels and a VHS videotape. The bulk of the audio and video content held in the series has been updated to a digital format and the resulting DVDs created by this process are physically held adjacent to the original formats. Likewise, most of the series' digitized content has been made available online, as indicated below.
Extent: 55 items
Box-Item 1.1: Air Check, August 17, 1954 Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.2: Air Check, February 19, 1962 Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 2.1: "Barney Keep Remembered", 2000 Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online: Side 1; Side 2.
Box-Item 1.3: "Bye Bye Williams", June 1949 Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.4: Comedy Bits From 5-Inch Reel, undated Add to Shelf
Bits include "Sog Breakfast Cereal" and "Shorty." Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.5: Comedy Bits From Carts, undated Add to Shelf
Reel includes "Four Yard Ferguson" and "Baby Eleanor" bits, among others. Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.6: Comedy Bits Reel #1, undated Add to Shelf
Includes bits titled "License Bureau," "Beeper," "Dayside (Multiselection - 4 bits)," "Dayside - Library," "Dayside - Jazz," "Dayside - Vents of our Time," "Col. Ralph #1 - Airwatch," "Col. Ralph - #2 Buldock," "Col. Ralph - #3 No Place" and "4 yds F. Ferguson" (four bits). Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.7: Comedy Bits Reel #2, undated Add to Shelf
Includes bits titled "Shorty Pretenstein" (four bits), "Dayside Meter Maid," "Col. Ralph" (3 bits), "Dunbar Donnegan," "Russian Dancer," "4 Million Words," "Russian TV" and "Cereal Interview." Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.8: Comedy Bits Reel #3, circa 1961 Add to Shelf
Includes several "Keep Time Reporter" and "Poetry Patio" bits. Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.9: Comedy Bits Reel #4, 1962 Add to Shelf
Includes bits titled "What Kruschev [sic] Says About Ted R. Show," "Small Children," "Medium," "Casey Stengel," "Frank Costello," "Big Bad John," "Santa Claus," "Winnie Churchill," "Tam O' Shanter Golf Sneeze," "Yellow Pages," "Drugstores" and several "Nutly Hinckley" and "Keep Time Reporter" segments. Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.10: Corvallis Jantzen Jamboree Spots, August 13, 1960 Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.11: "Dan McGrew", undated Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Folder 1.12: Eight-Track Cartridges, undated Add to Shelf
Cartridges include two recordings of "Four Yard Frank Ferguson," as well as "Dan McGrew." Also included is a cartridge titled "Groucho Marx. 'Oh How That Woman Could Cook.' (applause fade)."
Box-Item 1.13: "Evening," KGW-TV Portland, February 14, 1979 Add to Shelf
Television feature marking Keep's final radio show at the Civic Theatre and his retirement from daily broadcasting. Hosted by Paul Linnman and Cheryl Hansen.
Box-Item 1.14: "Four Yard Ferguson" - four cuts, undated Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.15: "Four Yard Ferguson", December 31, 1965 Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.16: "Four Yard Ferguson", September 28, 1979 Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.17: "Freddie Feelgood", undated Add to Shelf
Box-Item 1.18: "Great Steamboat Race", 1952 Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.19: "Hawaiian War Chant", undated Add to Shelf
Box-Item 1.20: "Keep Time Reporter", undated Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.21: "Keep Time Reporter," Reel #2, October 11, 1961 Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.22: "Keep Time Reporter," Reel #3, October 18, 1961 Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.23: "Laughing Song", undated Add to Shelf
Tape is annotated, "Ash Flick Sound Effect" and container is annotated, "Sound used as background for ash flicking."
Box-Item 1.24: "Little Orphan Barney," Reel #1, circa 1969 Add to Shelf
Includes bits titled "Punjib," "Gossip," "Horny," "Spats," "New Puss," "Hippies," "Tramp," "Wife for Daddy," "Writer," "Secretary" and "Money Advisor." Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.25: "Little Orphan Barney," Reel #2, undated Add to Shelf
Includes bits titled "Politician," "Life Story," "Daddy," "Muddle Head," "Melvin Jet Jaw," "Fate Raymond," "Social Worker," "Town Failure," "Drunk" and "Arlan Bazoo."
Box-Item 1.26: "Little Orphan Barney," Reel #3, undated Add to Shelf
Includes bits titled "TV Special," "Inflation," "IRS," "Nutsy," "Swanson Dog," "Joel Baniste," "Fifi," "Christmas Loan" and "Housekeeper." Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.27: "Lucia Di Lammermoor", January 21, 1964 Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 3.1: Non-Keep Comedy Recording, undated Add to Shelf
Contains performances by George Burns and Art Linkletter.
Box-Item 3.2: Non-Keep Music Recordings, undated Add to Shelf
Includes music by Don Ho, Eddie Lawrence, the Ramsey Lewis Trio, Lou Rawls, Nancy Sinatra and The Weavers. Also includes the soundtrack to "A Fistful of Dollars" and performances of "Rhapsody in Blue," "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini" and "The 1812 Overture."
Box-Item 2.2: Non-Keep Recording, undated Add to Shelf
Cassette is labeled: "Virginia Lee and Burt Johnson, Radio Station W.O.P.I. 'Watch Our Population Increase.' Bristol, Tenn.-VA."
Box-Item 1.28: Norm Van Brocklin Promos, undated Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.29: "Ol' Barn Christmas", undated Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.30: Song Parody Promos, undated Add to Shelf
Song titles include: "Yes, Yes Barney Keep," "Like-A Barney Keep," "Ya, Dis Ist Ein Barney Keep." Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.31: Train Interview, undated Add to Shelf
Interview with a train conductor recorded while the train was in transit. Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 3.3: Unidentified audio recordings, undated Add to Shelf
Box-Item 3.4: Vacation films, 1962-1966 Add to Shelf
"Home movie"-style films of Keep family vacations. Includes footage of travels in the United States (including to Eleanor Keep's hometown, Fairbury, Nebraska), Mexico and Europe.
Box-Item 1.32: "Wolfgang Helpinfinger", undated Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Box-Item 1.33: "You Picked A Fine Time To Leave, Eleanor", undated Add to Shelf
Digitized and available online.
Series 2: Scrapbooks, 1924-1989 Add to Shelf
The scrapbooks held in Series II are the collection's primary resource for study of Keep's life and career. Of particular note are the "Barney Scrapbook" and "Barney's Book," both of which provide detailed insight into Keep's work in radio broadcasting and promotion, and the growth of his regional celebrity in the 1950s-1970s. Additional scrapbooks are devoted to the exploits of the Washington High School football teams of which Keep was a member in the mid-1930s, and his later travels with his wife Eleanor to Hawaii, Europe and elsewhere.
Extent: 6 items containing 416 photographs
Box-Item 4.1: "Scrap Book", 1934-1935 Add to Shelf
This scrapbook is devoted almost entirely to newspaper clippings documenting the 1934 and 1935 Washington High School football seasons. Keep, who then went by his given first name Byron, played quarterback and left guard for the WHS Colonials, winners of the Portland Interscholastic League championship in both years chronicled by the scrapbook. A single article also records Keep's participation on the WHS track team as a javelin thrower. Additional clippings reveal Keep to have been an active and successful high school student - he was president of the WHS senior class, received the Senior Activity Cup for outstanding work over his career, participated in the senior class play "Double Door" and served as sergeant-at-arms for the WHS Lettermen Club.
Box-Item 4.2: "Barney Scrapbook", 1945-1954 Add to Shelf
The "Barney Scrapbook" is comprised primarily of newspaper clippings, but also photographs (5), promotional items and keepsakes. The volume documents Keep's first job at KGW, his move to KEX in 1945, and his gradual rise to prominence in the Portland media market. Abundant throughout the scrapbook are clippings of the Oregon Journal's "What's on the Air?" column, which noted early Keep stunts including his "Hey Mr. Motorist" impromptu interviews with passing drivers and "Try and Find Me" promotion, in which KEX listeners were invited to spot Keep walking on Broadway Street while wearing shoes of mismatched colors. The variety of programs that Keep led in his early years is chronicled throughout the book: Keep was variously the host of morning shows including "The Bugler X" (his first solo show) and "Keep Smiling," as well as afternoon slots "Sunny Side Up," "Keep-ing Up with Sports," and the "Barney Keep Show." Keep frequently did both morning and afternoon shows on the same days. The scrapbook likewise records the birth of "Keep Time" in 1954, just shy of Keep's tenth anniversary at KEX. Also included are clippings that document Keep's community involvement and individual pursuits, including his winning a city league handball championship in 1953.
Box-Item 4.3: "Barney's Book", 1927-1987 Add to Shelf

"Barney's Book," bound with wooden covers decorated by a hammered copper likeness of Barney Keep, uses newspaper clippings, promotional materials, photographs (208), correspondence and ephemera to richly document Keep's career as a regional media star and cultural figure. Most abundant among the scrapbook's 100+ pages are newspaper clippings detailing Keep's emergence as a Portland-area celebrity, well-known for his "Keep Time" program which dominated the airwaves from 6:00-10:00 AM each weekday morning. The scrapbook reveals how Keep maintained his popularity for over three decades, in part through a vigorous promotional schedule. Various stunts including his participation in a hot air balloon race and an "ash flicking contest," the hanging and subsequent theft of a nude painting by Keep at a Portland bar, Christmas-time appearances as Santa Claus and a faux wrestling match with a tiger are all recorded in the volume. So too are several of Keep's personal exploits, including his participation in two civic theatre plays, his successes as an amateur bowler and his regular gig commentating on professional wrestling matches held in Portland.

The scrapbook is filled with Keep's celebrity endorsements of products and people, and is clear indication of his huge popularity in the Portland metro area: he was once voted "Mayor for a Day" by listeners participating in an Easter Seals contest and also served as Merrykhana King of Fun during the Portland Rose Festival. His regular engagement with community interests are reflected throughout the volume as is his long-lived relationship with OSU, which honored him at Barney Keep Day during a 1970 football game. Keep's major anniversaries at KEX and his retirement are also thoroughly documented through greeting cards, retrospective articles, the broadcast schedule for his final show and contact sheets of photographs taken at the event.

Box-Folder 6.1: Loose materials from "Barney's Book", 1924-1989 Add to Shelf
A folder of loose items from "Barney's Book" contains additional promotional and biographical materials, including Keep's grade school health report, program descriptions for "Hey, Mr. Motorist!" and "The Bugler 'X'," assorted flyers and blank copies of "Keep Show" stationary.
Box-Item 5.1: "Scrap Book", 1962-1966 Add to Shelf
This scrapbook is devoted in near totality to Barney and Eleanor Keep's travels. Of particular note are materials documenting two trips to Hawaii that were sponsored by KEX in 1964 and 1965. The radio station made these trips available to listeners who would pay a lump sum fee to tour Oahu with Keep acting as an informal host. Keep would also broadcast during the Hawaii trips, sometimes from the side of a swimming pool. Other vacation trips recorded in the scrapbook, which was likely created by Eleanor Keep, include visits to Palm Springs and San Francisco, California, and a 1966 tour of France, Germany, Belgium and England. The scrapbook's material types include brochures, playbills, correspondence, photographs (104) and various mementos. The book also contains photographs and pedigree information for the Keep family dogs, Beau and Dinky.
Box-Item 4.4: "Yugoslavia", 1987 Add to Shelf
This scrapbook serves as record of Barney and Eleanor Keep's trip to the Balkan Peninsula in September and October 1987. The Keeps traveled through what was then Yugoslavia and took a cruise of the Aegean, Ionian and Adriatic seas, visiting locations in Greece, Turkey, Italy and Yugoslavia along the way. The couple's travels are documented in the scrapbook through a combination of photographs (99), postcards, itineraries, brochures, daily cruise programs and assorted keepsakes.
Series 3: Photographs, Correspondence and Memorabilia, 1918-1990 Add to Shelf
Series III includes a wide array of materials including photographs, artistic renderings, correspondence, newspaper clippings and promotional publications. Also included are Keep's "Goodie Gong" bells as well as a selection of novelty trick props and reference books. A portion of the series' images have been digitized and are available online.
Extent: 10 folders including 34 photographs, 4 three-dimensional objects and 2 books.
Box-Folder 6.2: Photographs of Barney Keep and family, undated Add to Shelf
A collection of black and white as well as color images documenting Keep from his college days to his retirement years. Included are photographs of Keep in studio, promotional images and candid shots of Keep golfing and posing with his wife, Eleanor. Several images from this folder have been digitized and are available online.
Box-Folder 7.3: Oversize photograph of Barney Keep, circa 1958 Add to Shelf
Black and white promotional image of Keep posing next to a Jaguar convertible holding pints of Sunshine ice cream.
Box-Folder 6.3: Artistic renderings of Barney and Eleanor Keep, undated Add to Shelf
Includes two caricatures of Barney and Eleanor Keep drawn onto transparencies by Caricatures Hawaii as well as a pencil drawing of Barney Keep by Gene Senter.
Box-Item 9.1: Oversize caricature of Barney Keep, ca. 1950s Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 6.4: Photographs of actresses and boxers, 1947-1948 Add to Shelf
Folder contains undated autographed black and white promotional prints of Gail Davis (digitized and available online) and Connie Francis. Folder also contains black and white print of Ike Williams circulated in advance of a World Lightweight Championship Bout, August 4, 1947; as well as Jersey Joe Walcott and Joe Louis promoting their World Heavyweight Championship Bout on June 23, 1948.
Box-Folder 6.5: Correspondence, 1950-1979 Add to Shelf
Correspondence primarily concerns station management, communications with advertisers and letters of appreciation from civic groups and individual fans.
Box-Folder 6.6: Newspaper Clippings, 1945-1990 Add to Shelf
Newspaper clippings include two articles written by Keep on his travels in Costa Rica, 1980.
Box-Folder 6.7: Promotional Publications, 1949-1960 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 7.2: Poems, 1979 Add to Shelf
Folder contains four poems written in honor of Barney Keep, three of them in connection with his retirement from KEX. Titles and authors are as follows: "Beaver's Lament #2," author unknown; "Barney Keep it Up," by David R. Ekstedt; "Barney dear Barney, my S.L.O.B.," by Bill and Marilyn Robb; and "Ode to a Broken Heart. Or, I've Given You the Best Years of My Life," by Betty Bateman.
Box-Folder 6.8: Radio Broadcast Transcript - "Chesterfield's ABC's of Music", September 20, 1950 Add to Shelf
Box-Item 9.2: "Goodie Gong" bells, undated Add to Shelf
During his show, Keep would ring one of these bells, which he called the "Goodie Gong," prior to reading the Portland Public Schools lunch menu for the day.
Box-Item 9.3: Novelty trick props, undated Add to Shelf
Props for novelty tricks titled "Stop-Light-Trix" and "Comedy Paper Panties Trick."
Box-Item 6.9: Rumford Complete Cookbook, by Lily Haxworth Wallace. Providence, Rhode Island: The Rumford Chemical Works, 1918 Add to Shelf
Box-Item 6.10: Stories Behind Everyday Things, Jane Polley, ed. Pleasantville, New York: The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., 1980 Add to Shelf
Map-Folder 1: Barney Broadcasting; 3 oversize photographs, 1945-1950 Add to Shelf
Series 4: Awards, 1951-1990 Add to Shelf
The numerous awards that Keep received over the course of his career are arranged into this series and include certificates, trophies, plaques and ribbons.
Extent: 21 items
Box-Folder 6.11: Assorted Certificates, 1951-1990 Add to Shelf
Certificates include a declaration of "Barney Keep Day" in Oregon issued by Governor Tom McCall in 1974 and again by Governor Vic Atiyeh in 1979.
Box-Folder 7.1: Oversize Certificates, 1965 Add to Shelf
Box-Item 8.1: Trophy - Rosy Award for the Best Radio Disc Jockey, TV Radio Prevue, 1956 Add to Shelf
Box-Item 8.2: Trophy - Best Disc Jockey, Radio Prevue, 1960 Add to Shelf
Box-Item 8.3: Plaque - Top Flight Tour Organizer, Northwest Orient Airlines, 1964 Add to Shelf
Award honoring Keep's outstanding sales performance in developing group travel to Honolulu.
Box-Item 8.4: Plaque - 25th Anniversary with KEX Radio, 1970 Add to Shelf
Mounted on the plaque is the switch once used to turn on the KEX 50,000 watt transmitter.
Box-Item 9.4: Ribbon - King of Fun. Merrykhana Parade, Portland Rose Festival, 1970 Add to Shelf
Box-Item 8.5: Plaque - Champion of the Pacific Northwest, Phoenix Inaugural DJ Golf Tournament, January 1971 Add to Shelf
Box-Item 9.5: Ribbon - Grand Marshal. Annual Parade, Milwaukie Festival Daze, undated Add to Shelf
Box-Item 8.6: Trophy - Personality of the Month, Sterling Magazines, undated Add to Shelf
Box-Item 8.7: Plaque - "Our" S.L.O.B., undated Add to Shelf
Plaque is inscribed: "'Our' S.L.O.B. Life's Pleasure - To wake each morning with a friend who brightens the day. Clarence Ramseth Family, Hillsboro, OR."
Series 5: Retirement Keepsakes, 1979 Add to Shelf
Keep's final broadcast from the Portland Civic Theatre on February 14, 1979, and the outpouring of affection that it generated, are documented in this series. In addition to the mementos held in Series V, audio and video records of the final airing of "Keep Time" are held in Series I.
Extent: 10 items
Box-Item 4.5: Metal Newspaper Printing Plate, February 13, 1979 Add to Shelf
Metal plate used in offset printing of the Oregonian. Plate was used to print a full page ad reading "Thanks Barn'...for 35 years of LOVE on KEX." Back of plate is annotated: "Good luck Barn: Dan Tucker, Platemaking Dept., Oregonian."
Box-Item 8.8: Mounted Newspaper Articles re: Barney Keep retirement, February-March 1979 Add to Shelf
Three articles mounted onto wood placards: "Barney Keep's finale sentimental air affair," The Oregonian; "Ol' Barn hangs it up," Oregon Journal; "Big last show for Keep," Oregon Stater.
Box-Item 7.4: Oversize Mounted Newspaper Articles re: Barney Keep retirement, February 14, 1979 Add to Shelf
Article mounted onto wood placards: "Crowd overflows when ol' Barn' rings last gong," The Oregonian.
Box-Item 7.6: Oversize Mounted Newspaper Articles re: Barney Keep retirement, February 14, 1979 Add to Shelf
Article mounted onto wood placards: "Barney's 'beautiful people' keep faith to end 35 years," Oregon Journal.
Box-Item 7.5: Plaque re: Barney Keep retirement, February 1979 Add to Shelf
Plaque contains a portrait of Keep in the broadcast studio and reads: "Barney Keep - in appreciation for 35 years of service to the Portland community, we salute an 'uncommonly common' man."
Box-Item 9.6: Framed vinyl record album, 1979 Add to Shelf
Album is annotated as follows. Front: "Barney Keep. Old disc jockeys never die, they just go off the record." Back: "From Rockey-Marsh, 1979."
Box-Item 9.7: Orange Oregon State Beanie, ca. 1979 Add to Shelf
Keep wore this beanie during his last broadcast on February 14, 1979.
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