Thursday, December 31, 2009

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Several years ago, while I was trying to restore running water to my old farmhouse, I unearthed this "artifact" under the house(CLICK ON THE PHOTO). This deadly weapon once belonged to the "Front Row Kid," and was frequently used to defend such notable cowboys as Don "Red" Berry, The Drango Kid, Wild Bill Elliott, Lash LaRue and Jimmy Wakeley, the "Singing Cowboy." In most instances, my heroes had gotten themselves in serious trouble at the Ritz Theater on Saturday afternoon. They had stumbled into an ambush. When things looked desperate, it was then that the "Front Row Kid" was rise, his cap pistol blazing to assist his friends. My gun was sometimes confiscated by the owner of the Ritz and I was lead away, but I usually got some scattered applause from some other cowboys sitting in the dark.


  1. Oh, such memories! I had a cap gun that I adored! The Lone Ranger was my particular favorite cowboy . . .

  2. Howdy Gary,

    In the late 1940's and early 1950's I was in the Grand Theater in Cartersville every time the feature changed. My all-time favorites were the cowboy stars of the silver screen like Allen "Rocky" Lane, Johnny Mack Brown (re-runs), Lash LaRue, Red Ryder & Little Beaver, Charles Starret (The Durango Kid), Wild Bill Elliot,Gene Autrey (had a set of his double holster cap pistols) and man others.

    A couple of incidents come to mind when I think back on those golden days. Once, when Red Ryder & Little Beaver were on tour they made a stop at The Grand. The local school system truant officer, an aristocratic old lady, saw Little Beaver (Robert Blake) on the street in town and immediately tried to collect him and take him to school. It took a while but she eventually found out who he really was.

    On another occasion, Lash LaRue made a stop in town to promote his latest movie. A local merchant hired him to make an appearance at his department store where he had just installed a new flouroscope machine in the shoe department and wanted to attract new customers. I arrived too late to get one of Lash's autographed photos so the store manager had his son give his to me. Needless to say I treasured it for a long time to come.

    When they finally installed air conditioning in The Grand, I thought I had reached Nirvana. Refrigerated air, great westerns, popcorn and a soft drink, all for about 30 cents. I was there every time the feature changed but the best days were on Saturday when they played a double feature, serial and cartoon.

    Then the day came when we finally got a television and the adventure of those days at the movies came to a close.

    Stay warm,

  3. I often wore both my cap pistols to Miss Peggy's Kindergarten in Lyman, SC. She met us at the door in the mornings to disarm us. Our guns were store in a wooden crate by the front door. I got more proposals for marriage that year than any other. I attribute it to the Dale Evans factor.

  4. Rebel Fan,
    I tried to respond to a recent post you did on your blog about "memory and spells," and failed. I'm fascinated by that topic and even put it in "Prince of Dark Corners" where I have Major Redmond smelling wood smoke and coffee from a campsite 20 years ago.

    Don, you have walked with the great and near great!
    About a decade ago, I ran into Lash LaRue (who was deaf, like me) in Cherokee where he had a job with
    "Unto These Hills." He took care of the animals that are a part of the drama. Did you ever read the story about Charles Starett (sp) being hit by a truck on the interstate and waking up with Bob Steele praying for him? It is in a wonderful book about the old cowboys called "They Went Thataway."
    The author has the gall to refer to himself as "the Front Row Kid." I never saw him at the Ritz.

  5. As a girl growing up in a community devoted to gender stereotyping and expectations, I was never privy to guns as toys. But that didn't keep me from peeling the bark off smaller fallen tree sticks and boughs and using them for shotguns or pistols depending on the size. I was Dale Evans with a gun.

  6. I remember Dale and Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers singing "Blue Shadows on the Trail." I even remember a book Dale Evans wrote called "Angel Unaware." Maybe I made that up. Does anybody remember it?

  7. Gary,

    Dale Evans did write a book entitled Angel Unaware in the early 1950's. I seem to remember that it was about a child that she and Roy Rogers had adopted who died at a very tender age and the impact the tragedy had on them.

    By the way, my brother Mike and I were such great fans of Roy Rogers that we named our dog after Bullet, his faithful canine companion.

    My favorite Sons of the Pioneers song was "Cool, Cool Water".


  8. Keep a-moving, Dan,
    Don't you listen to him, Dan,
    He's a devil, not a man,
    And he spreads the burning sand
    With, clear water.

  9. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh lovely! I have that on an old Norman Luboff choir longplay 33rpm. Gonna get it digitalized soon and onto CD so I can play it again. What lovely memories this discussion conjures up.


    I just got this YouTube addsress from Don. This is Randy Travis singing "Cool Water" with Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers. Cut and paste into your browser!

  11. Thanks, I'll do that. Wow. I wonder if there's something that YouTube DOESN'T have?

  12. They even have me! "Prince of Dark Corners" and "Nance Dude" and "An Evening With Gary Carden" and even "Mountain Talk" are all on YouTube. I just heard from Neal Hutcheson, the filmmaker, and he is going to send me a collection of clips from "The Outlaw, Redmond" that I can put on this blog as well as my website.