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Ila Loetscher Turtle LadyTexans You Should Know is a series highlighting overlooked figures and events from Texas history. When Ila Loetscher walked onto the set of the Late Show With David Letterman in 1985, the studio audience erupted in laughter. A petite woman in her eighties, her face wrinkled from decades spent in the sun, she held a live sea turtle that was dressed in a red dress and a tiny brown wig. Its flippers stuck straight out, unmoving, as if it were a puppet. Loetscher offered the reptile to Letterman.“No, I don’t want it!” he said. As the laughter died down, Loetscher took a seat and began to tell Letterman about the turtle. “This is an Atlantic green, and its name is Gerry.” The rest of the segment…

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