Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jack Kelly - Hoppin' Along With Bart Maverick! :)

Hey Everybody!

I'm sorry I haven't blogged much lately. I've been on the go. Last weekend, I visited the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington to watch the exciting cross-country portion of the Rolex 3-Day Event. Beautiful park, beautiful horses. I visited a couple of antiques stores while in KY, too, but found no Kellectibles.

I had better luck this Friday (4/30) at the Hopalong Cassidy Festival in Cambridge, a town nestled in the rolling hills of southeastern Ohio. Hoppy's portrayer, actor William Boyd, was born near Cambridge in 1895.

I'd heard about this two-day festival before, but this was the first time I'd attended. It doesn't seem to be very widely publicized and I wasn't sure if it was still being held. However, I saw it advertised this year and just happened to have an opening in my schedule, so I decided to check it out.

I already had an all-day commitment for Saturday (5/1), so I attended the festival on Friday. The weather was unseasonably warm and brilliantly sunny, so I slapped on the sunscreen and brought along a cowboy hat I'd bought in KY. I thought I'd be spending a lot of time walking around outdoors, because to me, "festival" suggested an event with carnival rides and food booths. Stuff like that.

Well, it turned out I didn't need the sunscreen or the hat. What I saw of the "festival" was contained inside a building, the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center. There was a food stand outside the Civic Center, along with a fellow in cowboy duds performing rope tricks for a small group of spectators.

Inside, I saw a guy dressed like Zorro and a couple of vendors selling western DVDs in the lobby. To the left there was a large room where more vendors were selling western toys and collectibles. To enter the room, however, one had to pay $5.00.

The lady collecting the entrance fee took my fiver and then said, "Now I have to stamp your hand." Whomp! The stamp left a bright blue line portrait of Hopalong Cassidy's head on the back of my hand.

This being the Hopalong Cassidy Festival, naturally there was a ton of Hoppy stuff for sale in the vendor's room, along with a bunch of Roy Rogers and other western star collectibles.

But, of course, I was looking for Kellectibles. In fact, if any other Jack Kelly fans happened to attend the festival after me, you probably didn't see too much Maverick stuff because I bought most of what I saw, including: a jigsaw puzzle with a photo of Bret and Bart; the Maverick Whitman book (which, although it mentions JK on the cover, seems to be only about Bret Maverick), and a Maverick comic book.

The Maverick puzzle

I would have bought more comics (the vendor had several), but the prices were a bit higher than my pocketbook would allow at the time. However, the vendor was extremely nice and we had a pleasant conversation about Maverick and Cheyenne.

A couple of vendors had the Hartland Maverick rider and gunfighter figurines for sale, but these were (a) way too expensive and (b) only Bret (Hartland didn't make any Bart figurines), so they stayed on the shelf. (Trivia: The Maverick figurines wear white cowboy hats, when everyone knows that Bret usually wore a black hat.) However, I did find a rare Hartland woodgrain-patterned mustang figurine for a very good price, and it joined my stash of souvenirs.

A few authors were hawking western-themed books and a singing cowboy did a spot-on impression of Kermit the Frog crooning "The Rainbow Connection".

The memorabilia, books and cowboy Kermit impersonators were not the biggest attractions in the room, though, because surviving cast members of The Virginian (
James Drury, Gary Clarke, Roberta Shore and Randy Boone) were also there. They were seated at a table, with Virginian DVDs playing on a TV in the background. The show is currently being rerun on the Encore Westerns channel.

I have fond memories of watching The Virginian with my older sister. Along with the title character, for some reason I particularly remember vivacious Betsy (played by Ms. Shore). I think I wanted to be like Betsy and ride a horse around the ranch all day. Of course, Ms. Shore also co-starred in an episode of Maverick with JK
("The Royal Four Flush"), so I should have gone up and at least said, "Hello". But, there were a lot of people hovering around the table, and signs saying it would cost $20 to have a photo taken with the actors or to get an autograph.

Maybe I should have waited until the crowd thinned out. But, I knew I had a long drive ahead of me, so I didn't want to linger too long. I did get a glimpse of 76 year-old James Drury (who appeared with JK in Forbidden Planet)--he looked kind of tired--and 67 year-old Ms. Shore is as vivacious as ever.

I'm sure there was more to the festival in Cambridge proper (the Civic Center is on the highway leading into town), but, unfortunately I wasn't able to check it out due to time constraints. Maybe next year. :)