Other early arrivals included past Silver Spur recipients, the beautiful Stella Stevens, television's WYATT EARP, Hugh O'Brien, and infamous Western villain (and WYATT EARP co-star) Morgan Woodward. Near the silent auction I spotted one of the night’s recipients-to-be, Andrew J. Fenady, and I asked him about the importance of the occasion. He grinned. “Well, I read the obituaries. They’re pretty damned depressing. But if I see my name’s not there – any day’s an important day. But seriously, there’s a lot of old friends here who I haven’t seen in quite a few years, people that I’ve worked together with during the things that we did: THE REBEL and BRANDED and HONDO, and unfortunately your paths don’t cross as often as you would like them to. So it’s a great opportunity to see some of us survivors. It’s a happy occasion – it beats the Hell out of funerals.”
While eating our steak and salmon we were serenaded with a Western medley by Lloyd Reading, whose voice is as full and melodic at 92 as it was when he was singing with the Rocky Mountain Cowboys in the 1940s. Later, Johnny Western would delight us with a medley of his own and others’ Western TV themes. We were welcomed by Reel Cowboys President Robert Lanthier, introduced to several 911 First Responders who were honored guests, and heard from event producer Cyndi Tracy, Autry National Center President Daniel M. Finley, and were treated to a brief auction by Sam Neely, who sold, among other items, a sailing trip on the late Spencer Tracy’s yacht!
All too soon the evening was over, and folks started making their way home. But the good news is that, while The Silver Spurs are given out only once a year, the Reel Cowboys are accessible all year round. Robert Lanthier explained, “Saturday mornings we meet at Big Jim’s Restaurant in Sunland – at the corner of
And speaking of TCM (okay, nobody was), have I mentioned that the segment I was interviewed for is now viewable here?
THE AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER
Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.
HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE MUSEUM
Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, this building, once the headquarters of Lasky-Famous Players (later Paramount Pictures) was the original DeMille Barn, where Cecil B. DeMille made the first Hollywood western, The Squaw Man. They have a permanent display of movie props, documents and other items related to early, especially silent, film production. They also have occasional special programs. 2100 Highland Ave., L.A. CA 323-874-2276. Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for senior, $1 for children.
WELLS FARGO HISTORY MUSEUM
This small but entertaining museum gives a detailed history of Wells Fargo when the name suggested stage-coaches rather than ATMS. There’s a historically accurate reproduction of an agent’s office, an original Concord Coach, and other historical displays. Open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Admission is free. 213-253-7166. 333 S. Grand Street, L.A. CA.
FREE WESTERNS ON YOUR COMPUTER AT HULU
A staggering number of western TV episodes and movies are available, entirely free, for viewing on your computer at HULU. You do have to sit through the commercials, but that seems like a small price to pay. The series available -- often several entire seasons to choose from -- include THE RIFLEMAN, THE CISCO KID, THE LONE RANGER, BAT MASTERSON, THE BIG VALLEY, ALIAS SMITH AND JONES, and one I missed from 2003 called PEACEMAKERS starring Tom Berenger. Because they are linked up with the TV LAND website, you can also see BONANZA and GUNSMOKE episodes, but only the ones that are running on the network that week.
The features include a dozen Zane Grey adaptations, and many or most of the others are public domain features. To visit HULU on their western page, CLICK HERE.
BONANZA, GUNSMOKE and BIG VALLEY
Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They run a GUNSMOKE Monday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m., and on Friday they show two, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. They're not currently running either series on weekends, but that could change at any time. INSP is showing THE BIG VALLEY every weekday at noon, one p.m. and nine p.m., and Saturdays at 6 p.m.. They'll soon be adding DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN to the mix.
NEED YOUR BLACK & WHITE TV FIX?
Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run DANIEL BOONE at 1:00 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.
AMC has been airing a block of THE RIFLEMAN episodes early Saturday mornings, usually followed by Western features.
And RFD-TV is currently showing THE ROY ROGERS SHOW at 9:30 Sunday morning, repeated several times a week, and a Roy feature as well -- check your local listings.
That’s all for now!
All original content copyright October 2011 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved