the tape confirms it 

By John Greiner, 1993 Inductee

In Governor David Hall’s second year in office, he launched an ambitious road program called “Freeway 77” aimed at building and repairing highways and bridges in all 77 counties.  

The media pressed Hall on which roads and how much money would be spent in each county. 

Hall told Chester Brooks, the state highway director, to produce the information. But Brooks told me when I was at The Oklahoman that the Highway Department was not ready.  

The media continued to push—as did the governor—and the highway program was delivered later in the week to the press room. 

But there were flaws pointed out by The Oklahoman’s Paul English, The Oklahoman’s Jim Standard, and the Tulsa World’s Chuck Ervin.  

English was the only reporter who used a tape recorder in those days. With his tape running, he told Brooks what was wrong. 

 “I guess I’ve got egg on my face,” Brooks said.  

That phrase inflamed Hall and in less than a week, Hall had Brooks before a news conference to denounce what he said. 

 Hall asked Brooks if he ever said, “I have egg on my face.” Brooks empathetically said, “No Sir!” 

English left the news conference and ran up the stairs to the press room. 

He returned, sat in his usual chair and asked Hall to listen to the tape. 

With the governor listening, English rolled the tape and it clearly said, “…I’ve got egg on my face.” 

The governor then responded to his audience of reporters: “See, he didn’t say it!”