Saturday, May 28, 2011

Jack Kelly: Hoppin' Along With Bart Maverick 2011, Pt II

Howdy Everyone!

Continuing with my visit to the Hopalong Cassidy Festival...

After paying the admission fee, I entered the dealers room, where mountains of western memorabilia were for sale. I didn't see much Maverick merchandise this year, though. In fact, the only thing I ended up buying in the dealers room was a commemorative mug with lovely color portraits of William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy and Boyd's widow, Grace Bradley. Ms. Bradley passed away in 2010 at the age of 97, and this year's Festival was dedicated to her memory.

Of course, the big attraction at the Festival is the guest stars, who were seated at tables on the far end of the room. I didn't arrive at the Civic Center until after 3:00 pm, so I missed seeing "Grizzly Adams" (Dan Haggerty). And, Beckey Burgoyne, the author of a biography about actress Amanda Blake titled Perfectly Amanda - 'Gunsmoke''s Miss Kitty - To Dodge and Beyond, wasn't able to be there until the next day, Saturday.

But, I did get a glimpse of Julie Ream, who wrote the introduction to Ms. Burgoyne's book, and who has some amazing connections to Hollywood western history. And, seated next to Ms. Ream was Jeff Connors, the son of Chuck Connors, TV's legendary Rifleman. Mr. Connors brought along the rifle his father used on the show.

At the next table sat Chuck Connors' other 'son', actor/singer/musician Johnny Crawford. The little boy who played "Mark McCain" is now a mature man, and he still charms the female fans. I heard one lady whisper breathlessly into her cell phone, "I shook hands with Johnny Crawford!"

I didn't get that close to him, however. There were lots of people hovering around the tables, and I think I've finally learned the secret to these things. You can't just stand off to the side, pretending to seriously consider whether or not to buy the LP Festus Sings and Talks About Dodge City! (okay, I like to hear Festus sing and talk, but not for $50), while waiting for a lull in the crowd. There is never a lull in the crowd, so if you want to talk to one of the guest stars, you have to be bold about it. You're just going to have to hover around them like everyone else. Then, after the guy finishes telling the story about meeting the Rifleman at the state fair, or the lady finishes shaking Johnny Crawford's hand, you can say "Howdy" to him, too.

It never fails that when there are a couple of events I want to attend, they're usually scheduled at the same time. I had another commitment all day on Saturday, and I couldn't stay for the Friday night or Saturday festivities at the Hopalong Cassidy Festival. So, I bid the Festival "Adios" and happily drove home with my mug and my autographed portrait of JK.

Coming soon in TDS: JK putters around! :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jack Kelly: Hoppin' Along With Bart Maverick 2011! :)

Howdy All!

Before I start, I just wanted to say "Welcome" to our newest follower, and to say "Thanks" for all the cool comments and kind words for this blog.

Now, finally, I have a moment to tell you about my recent visit to the "Hopalong Cassidy Festival" in Cambridge, OH. This is the same western festival I visited last year. However, this year, instead of unseasonal heat and sunny skies, the temperature was about 20 degrees cooler and gray clouds continually threatened rain. And, instead of zooming down the freeway to Cambridge, I decided to meander down historic Route 40.

It's a good thing I did, too, or I would have missed this:

There was no "sign" of Bart or Bret at this car lot, unfortunately! ;-)

After I blogged about my visit to last year's Hoppy Fest, I received an e-mail chiding me for not visiting the 10th Street Antiques Mall, which also houses the Hopalong Cassidy Museum in Cambridge. So, I wanted to make sure it was on the itinerary this year. First, I had to find it. I stopped for lunch at a burger place and asked the cashier if she could direct me to the antiques mall.
"Sure! Just go back out on the main road here and turn left at the post office," she helpfully replied.

After finishing my burger, I set out for the antiques mall. Okay, drive back out this way, and turn left at the post office.

Oops! Apparently, the kindly cashier wasn't aware that you can't turn left at the post office, or at least, I couldn't that day. The street was closed due to road construction. (In fact, it seemed like most of downtown Cambridge was under construction.) But, luckily, I was able to turn down a side street to reach the antiques mall.
The mall is set up within a rambling old building, with room after room jammed with western and other movie and TV-related artifacts. It's a kollector's paradise.

What first caught my eye was a photo on the wall, right inside the front door. I instantly knew I had to have it. First, though, I made a quick circuit around the rooms, looking for anything else of interest. Quite a few other fans were on the hunt, as well. Honestly, I could have spent the entire afternoon immersed in memorabilia. But, I was eager to purchase my pic and visit the rest of the fest.

As I'm somewhat vertically challenged, I asked a tall gentleman if he could reach the pic and hand it down to me. He gladly obliged, and I paid for my prized purchase:

Yes, this wonderful autographed early 1950's portrait of "Smilin' Jack" had been welcoming customers to the mall for some time! And, besides the fact that it shows JK, the other great thing about this pic is that it was 50% off the marked price! :-)

With carefully-wrapped portrait in hand, it was now time to travel to the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center, where the main festivities of the festival were taking place. This year, they didn't stamp my hand after I paid the admission fee. They handed me a little Hopalong Cassidy fan club card (dated 2004) instead.

More about the Hoppy Fest next time! :-)

UPDATE: It's a good thing I bought the autographed JK portrait when I did. The Hopalong Cassidy Festival was held for the final time in 2015, and the Hoppy museum/antique mall was destroyed by fire in 2016... :(