Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Hoppy Talk’

Have a Hoppy Day on the Hopalong Cassidy Trail

Hoppy's Hendrysburg Home

The Boyds’ old home in Hendrysburg is still standing today.

William Boyd began his life in 1895 in the small town of Hendrysburg at the edge of Belmont County. His parents moved to Cambridge when he was but a youngster.

Hopalong East End School

William Boyd attended East Side School in Cambridge until he was twelve.

   Their home was on Steubenville Avenue and he walked to school at East Side School. William Boyd always referred to Cambridge as his “home”.

Second Presbyterian Church

His family attended Second Presbyterian Church in Cambridge.

   The Boyd family attended the Second Presbyterian Church on West 8th Street in Cambridge. Today that church is the Southern Hills Baptist Fellowship.

   As a teenager, the family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where his father worked as a day laborer. When his father died in 1913, William moved to California where he did everything from an orange picker to a surveyor and auto salesman.

   Because of his stunning good looks, charm and charisma, he soon became an extra in Hollywood movies. Cecil B. DeMille, who became his lifelong friend, arranged for Boyd’s first leading role in a silent film in 1918 at $25 per week.

Hopalong on Topper

Hopalong Cassidy, cowboy legend, appeared with his horse, Topper, in 52 television episodes

   His role as Hopalong Cassidy appeared in 1935 with the film “Hop-Along Cassidy” based on a character created by Clarence Mulford in a 1912 novel. Throughout the rest of his life, he was best known for his cowboy role as Hopalong Cassidy of Bar 20 ranch and called “Pride of the West”. In his black cowboy hat riding on his white horse, Topper, William Boyd starred as Hopalong Cassidy in 66 movies.

Laura with Hoppy cut out

Laura stands alongside a life-size cutout of Hopalong in a room filled with his memorabilia.

   For 25 years, Laura Bates, the best friend that Hoppy ever had, organized a Hoppy Festival each May to honor this hometown cowboy, who went on to be a movie and television star. She also displayed her vast collection of memorabilia at the Hopalong Cassidy Museum, which is no longer in existence.

Laura at Country Bits

Laura Bates checks the display of her memorabilia in the window of Country Bits.

   Today some of that memorabilia is on display in a window at Country Bits in downtown Cambridge on the corner of Wheeling Avenue and 7th Street and in a couple of other stores downtown. Look carefully in store windows and on building walls to find memories of Hoppy.

Laura Full Mural

This mural by Sue Dodd captures Hoppy’s life from “Hendrysburg to Hollywood”.

   As you enter Downtown Cambridge on Southgate Parkway, take a glance to the left to see a beautiful mural done by local artist, Sue Dodd. This depicts the life of William Boyd entitled “Hendrysburg to Hollywood” with accurate information and detailed pictures.

hoppy-talk

Laura shared this copy of the first edition of “Hoppy Talk”, which she wrote and distributed.

   A great place to start your Hoppy Adventure would be the Guernsey County Senior Center where there is a bronze statue of Hopalong Cassidy. When the festival ended, Laura wanted to be sure his memory lived on in the area so with the help of many Hoppy friends, she raised funds to have a statue created.

Hoppy and Alan

Alan Cottrill, the sculptor, stands beside the bronze statue he created of Hopalong Cassidy.

   Wanting only the best, she contacted Alan Cottrill of Zanesville, whose statues appear around the world. Funds were raised and dedication of the statue took place in June 2016. Fans stop by often and if you’re lucky, you might find Laura Bates there to tell some Hoppy stories.

Hoppy Monument

Hoppy look-alikes from Alabama, Ohio, California, and North Carolina proudly stand by a monument to Hopalong Cassidy on the grounds of his former elementary school.

   At the corner of Wheeling Avenue and Highland Avenue, there is a monument dedicated in 1992 at the site of the school William Boyd attended. In the early 1900s, it was called East Side School, which later became Park School. When a new school was built there in 1956, William Boyd donated money for playground equipment. He always kept in touch with his hometown.

Hoppy Grace

A picture of Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, can be found at the Guernsey County Senior Center.

   When Grace Boyd, Hoppy’s wife, came to the festival, she always made a stop at Park School. Children looked forward to her visit as the beautiful, charming lady had great stories to share. Her picture can still be found at the Guernsey County Senior Center.

   If you look closely, you’ll also see little bits of Hoppy’s history in unexpected places. At the Christ Our Light Parish, there is an engraved brick on the patio in his memory. In Northwood Cemetery, there is a monument to his brother, Frances Marion Boyd, who was born in Cambridge June 13, 1906, and died December 29, 1906.

hopalong-cassidy and Topper   William Boyd didn’t sing, dance, or play sports. He simply became Hopalong Cassidy, the Gentleman of the Bar 20, who smiled, waved and shook hands. Hoppy was everyone’s Mr. Good Guy and his favorite drink was nonalcoholic sarsaparilla.

   Thanks to Laura Bates and the Friends of Hoppy, the memory of William Boyd, best known as Hopalong Cassidy, will live on for generations in Cambridge.

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Hopalong Cassidy Museum Where the Wild West Lives Again

Hopalong Cassidy Hopalong Cassidy, “Pride of the West”, is also “Pride of Cambridge, Ohio”,  the boyhood home to Hopalong Cassidy and the Hopalong Cassidy Museum. William Boyd, aka Hopalong Cassidy, was born close by in Hendrysburg, Ohio in Belmont County back in 1895. While he only resided in Cambridge twelve years, they are still proud to call him a home-town boy. The family moved West at that time to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and at about the age of 20, William ended up in California where his good looks and winning manner were noticed by the film industry.

None other than Cecil B DeMille, who became a long time friend, took William Boyd under his wing, and got him his first acting contract at $25 a week back in 1918 as leading man in the silent film industry. When the role of fictional cowboy, Hopalong Cassidy, came up, director Harry Sherman felt William Boyd was a natural. In his black cowboy hat riding Topper, his white horse, Boyd soon became a national hero known for his gallantry and fair play. After 66 movies portraying Hopalong Cassidy, William Boyd became better known as Hoppy to his friends.

The story of his nickname began with Cassidy getting shot in the leg during a gun fight. When recovering from his gun wound, someone asked how he was feeling, to which he replied, “I’ll manage to hop along.”  Thus the name Hop-along Cassidy. After its success at the movie theaters, it was decided to have a Hopalong Cassidy TV series…also a big success. In 1950, Hopalong Cassidy became the first network Western television series.

Laura Bates and Hopalong CassidyForty years later, in the town of Cambridge, Ohio, Laura Bates was host of a show called “Talk of the Town” on their local television station. One particular day she was interviewing someone from New York doing research at the local library regarding Hopalong Cassidy. They commented, “It’s a shame no one in Cambridge ever did anything about Hopalong Cassidy, since he grew up here.”

Laura said, “That was like a slap in the face from the Big Apple.” After that, she began pursuing the idea and in 1990 it was decided to use Hopalong Cassidy for the theme of their Spring Festival.  Today, that Hopalong Cassidy Festival still is enjoyed by people from all over the world and is now held annually in May at the Pritchard-Laughlin Civic Center just outside the city.

Many movie stars attend the Festival to pay homage to Hoppy, one of those great cowboy legends. Hugh O’Brien from Wyatt Earp has attended as well as several stars of Gunsmoke: Bo Hopkins, Ben Costello, and Becky Burgoyne. Even William Boyd’s wife, Grace, has been in attendance.  Fans are still eager to catch a glimpse of these celebrities and perhaps obtain their autographs.

Hopalong Cassidy MuseumToday there is a museum in Cambridge, Ohio which houses a giant assortment of cowboy collectibles. Located at Scott’s 10th St. Antique Mall, this is a hot spot during the annual Hopalong Cassidy Festival. Three rooms are packed with Hoppy memorabilia, all part of a personal collection owned by Laura Bates, local Hoppy organizer and enthusiast. Here fans have purchased an old tin lunch bucket and thermos for the price of $395.00 or an Easter card signed by Hoppy for $195.00. There are many memorabilia available…for the right price.

Hoppy TalkIn his hey-day, Hoppy received around 15,000 fan mail letters a week. Today there is still a meeting of the Hoppy  Fan Club during the annual Hopalong Cassidy Festival in Cambridge, Ohio.  Laura Bates is president of the fan club, which was formed back in 1991 and publishes quarterly a newsletter, “Hoppy Talk”, which is distributed to members of Friends of Hoppy. Membership was around 500 in the beginning, but has dropped to about 300 members today as younger adults have little memory of those great cowboy heroes. “Hoppy Talk” is celebrating its 24th year of publication in 2013.

William Boyd and Hopalong Cassidy are synonymous…Hopalong Cassidy, his alter ego. When he finally retired, he turned over his entire crew and cast to a new Western just coming on the scene…Gunsmoke. Boyd didn’t sing, dance, play sports, or race cars, he was simply Hopalong Cassidy.  He smiled, waved and shook hands.  He was everybody’s Mr. Good Guy and his favorite drink was a nonalcoholic sarsaparilla!

The Hopalong Cassidy Museum is located in the South Tenth Street Antique Mall in downtown Cambridge. There is easy access as Cambridge is at the intersection of I-70 and I-77. Wheeling Avenue is their main street and the museum is just a half block south of Wheeling Avenue on 10th Street.

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