Sunday, November 6, 2011


From all over the country they came, nearly two-hundred American Indian artists, to display and sell their art.  The artists and their art were in an immense tent beside the Autry.  In the mail courtyard, there was continuous entertainment by story-tellers and dancers.  There were tours of the permanent collection, and of the Art of Native American Basketry -- one of my favorite displays, lectures, play readings, short film screenings, children's activities and, for people who like a little cowboy with their Indian, a double feature of Gene Autry Westerns.

(A Storyteller)

There was art in every medium imaginable.  Among my favorites:

"If you need masks, I'm your man," said Timothy Antonio, a Dine' of New Mexico.

Amos Hasken, a Navajo from Arizona, who specializes in weapons and ceremonial pieces.

Traditional Pueblan jeweler Priscilla Abeyta, of the Kewa/Santo Domingo in New Mexico, is doing the final polish of stone on leather.

Earl Sisto, of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, in Moreno Valley, California, makes  stunning beadwork, moccasins, quilts, dolls, and much more.

Basket-weaver Kelly Church, Ottawa/Ojibe from Michigan, taught me that among the weave styles you are looking at are porcupine point, curlycue and loop (but she didn't teach me how to do them).

 Virginia Yazzie-Ballenger's "Steppin' Out in my One Dollar Dress" won second prize -- the shiny buttons are pennies.  She's Navajo, from New Mexico.

When I left, it was too early to say how well the art was selling, but the fry-bread truck was taking in money hand-over-fist.


(Gloria McMillan and Chuck McCann, Ben Cooper seated)

At the Saturday, November 5th ‘Honorary Members Appreciation Luncheon,’ Old Time Radio veterans and fans were treated to four radio show reenactments.  SPERDVAC stands for the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety And Comedy, and the shows presented at the Grand Ballroom of the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn included MY CLIENT CURLEY, by radio’s Poet Laureate Norman Corwin, who passed away just over a week ago, at the age of 101.  There was an original radio play, I LOVE LUCY: THE UNTOLD STORY, by Gregg Oppenheimer, based on his book.  They also performed Lucille Fletcher’s classic suspense radio play, SORRY, WRONG NUMBER, with Janet Waldo as the bedridden woman who hears her own murder being plotted – the role that made Agnes Moorehead a star.  Said audience member Michael Stern, “It was fabulous!  It was a fun day for a person who’d never heard a radio show before!” 

(original Little Beaver, Tommy Cook)

For Western fans, the highlight was the recreation of the great James Stewart series THE SIX SHOOTER, this episode written and directed by Tim Knofler.  As Chuck McCann explained before the show began, they usually did a dress rehearsal before the performance, but after last year’s show they decided to try doing the show cold, in effect doing the dress rehearsal for the audience.  The result was hysterical, a mix of fine acting combined with ad-libbing when sounds effects were missing, music cues were wrong, or script pages were out of order -- or whenever the cast felt like having fun with it.   

(Stewart's horse, Scar, portrayed by two cocoanuts in a box of gravel)

Many actors took part in several shows – prolific actor Herb Ellis -- who played Officer Frank Smith on DRAGNET – was in three out of four shows.  Tommy Cook, a western favorite since playing the original ‘Little Beaver’ to Don Barry’s RED RYDER, was in two shows, as were Reni Santoni and Gloria McMillan.  Tony Dow, famous as Wally in LEAVE IT TO BEAVER also appeared, as did lovely Terry Moore, Dick Van Patten, Western favorite Ben Cooper, Frank Bank, John Harlan, Ivan Cury, Jan Merlin, Melinda Peterson, Michael C. Gwynne, Nancy Marks, Phil Proctor, Ron Cocking, Stuffy Singer, Gladys Holland, and Sean and Christopher Uminski. 

(Terry Moore)

It’s worth noting that as interest in Old Time Radio is waning nationally – conventions are being cancelled or having their final get-togethers – in California it’s going strong.  The World War II BBC-themed comedy CHAPS just opened on Saturday (for information, read last week's Round-up; for tickets call 818-509-0882), and just this morning author A. J. Fenady told me about a new radio-reading stage production of his play, YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS.  Incidentally, I’ll have an interview with A.J. about his TV series, THE REBEL and BRANDED, and his movie with John Wayne, CHISUM, very soon in the Round-up!

(Reni Santoni)
On Thursday, November 10th, 7:00 pm at the Cinerama Dome/Arclight Hollywood, Wayne’s sons Patrick and Ethan, and co-star Kim Darby will take part in a gala tribute to the Duke, which will include a screening of the picture that won Wayne his Oscar, TRUE GRIT. The event is presented by The Jules Verne Adventure folks, who did such a tremendous with their 40th Anniversary tribute to THE WILD BUNCH.  Tickets are $25 to $50, but you might do even better if you are a Goldstar member, or under 20 years old.  Learn more, and buy tickets HERE. 
 Winner of four Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director – Clint Eastwood, Best Supporting Actor – Gene Hackman, and Best Editing – Joel Cox, UNFORGIVEN (1992) is shown as part of the Autry’s ‘What is a Western?’ series, and will be shown at 1:30 pm in the Wells Fargo Theatre, in 35mm, introduced by curator Jeffrey Richardson.


And speaking of TCM (okay, nobody was), have I mentioned that the segment I was interviewed for is now viewable here?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

I guess thatr'll do it for today.  Next week I'll have in-depth coverage of the YELLOW ROCK premiere at the Red Nation Film Festival!  Don't forget the premiere of HELL ON WHEELS on AMC Sunday night! 

Happy Trails,


All original content copyright November 2011 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved

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