Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Laura Bates’

Hopalong Cassidy Statue Dedicated

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Laura Bates, Hopalong Cassidy Fan Club founder, stands beside the newly dedicated bronze statue of Hopalong Cassidy with the sculptor, Alan Cottrill.

The legend of Hopalong Cassidy lives on in Cambridge, Ohio where he grew up as William Boyd. In June, 2016, a bronze statue was placed at the Guernsey County Senior Center to honor this local hero. June was a fitting month for this to happen as June 5 was both the birthday of William Boyd and the date of his marriage to Grace.

Laura Bates had a vision and a dream to have this memorial statue built for her hero. Through the efforts of Laura and her dedicated Hoppy Fan Club members, money was raised for a life size statue of Hopalong Cassidy. Laura has been the organizer for Hopalong Cassidy Festivals in the Cambridge area for 25 years, and has printed a monthly newsletter that she shares with Hoppy’s Fan Club.

Guests appeared from all over the United States for the dedication, which Laura emceed in a western turquoise and purple outfit – the favorite colors of Hoppy’s wife, Grace. Why, the courthouse in downtown Cambridge was even lit in turquoise and purple to honor this special dedication.

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John Gilliland was the cowboy, who posed for Alan Cottrill when he designed the statue. He was kind enough to imitate that pose again at the dedication ceremony..

This celebration recalled those special values that Hopalong displayed and taught. He was a good man doing the right thing…the kind of cowboy who was clean living and never shot to kill anyone in his movies or television shows. Hoppy never smoked or drank and supported his home county even when he was in Hollywood. During WWI and WWII, when Hoppy bought savings bonds, he always gave the bond credit to Guernsey County.

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Laura Bates watches as the Hopalong Cassidy statue is unveiled.

The bronze statue made by Alan Cottrill, international sculptor, was brought to Cambridge a couple days earlier to be set on its foundation. Laura said this was not an easy thing to watch as they had a rope around Hoppy’s neck and were swinging him around so much that she feared he would be broken. No harm was done but it still was a very traumatic experience for her.

Hoppy Grace

A picture of Grace Boyd was presented to the Senior Center and can be found in the entrance hall.

Having this statue placed at our Senior Center makes it the only Senior Center in Ohio with a bronze statue by the talented Alan Cottrill. His work is detailed and outstanding with a couple of his popular creations being the Thomas Edison bronze statue on display in Washington D.C and one of Woody Hayes on the Ohio State campus.

Hoppy Plaque

This plaque beside the statue acknowledges all those who contributed to keeping alive the memory of William Boyd, best known as Hopalong Cassidy.

Many dignitaries were in attendance to give words of praise for this legendary cowboy. Several mentioned that his words should continue to resonate throughout America. He stood for those values that we long to see come back. He always reminded children at the end of his programs to be mindful of how we treat each other.

Hoppy DirtAt the conclusion of the dedication ceremony, several honored guests placed special soil around the bottom of the statue. This soil came from near the cabin where the Boyds stayed when films were being made in California.

The program ended with the reading of Hoppy’s Creed. The final words were:

Be glad and proud to be an American.

 

 

 

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WILE: The Early Days of Cambridge, Ohio Radio

WILE Beatty Ave

WILE moved into this beautiful old home on Beatty Avenue in 1948.

You’re listening to WILE, 1270 on your radio dial.

Thus a radio station began broadcasting in the hills of southeastern Ohio in Cambridge on April 9, 1948 after playing “Beautiful Ohio” as their sign-on song. Located at 917  Beatty Avenue in the old Orme home, this daytime-only radio station operated on 1000 watts.

Enthusiastic young locals began working at the station in various capacities. Several young ladies were continuity writers, who wrote those much needed commercials, while young men became announcers.  They also had to keep things on schedule. Since everything was live at this time, that often became a difficult task.

WILE Sesqui - Square Studio

WILE placed a temporary station on the courthouse lawn to get people interested in their new venture.

WILE Donahoe - Sesqui Court

Howard Donahoe, founder, managing director, and co-owner, appears at the Sesquicentennial Court facing penalties for not having a beard.

1948 provided big excitement in downtown Cambridge as it celebrated the Sesquicentennial of Guernsey County. In order that area residents could learn more about this new radio station, WILE placed a temporary studio on the courthouse square for broadcasting. This perhaps began their popular remotes.

WILE Musical Farmers

“Dallas Bond and the Musical Farmers” had a regular Saturday program.

Early programs featured locals in everything from music to ministry. Groups came to the station for live performances. A popular musical show, “Dallas Bond and the Musical Farmers”, combined several small groups of local performers in Studio A.

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Ray and John Hosfelt, known as Oak and Ash, brightened everyone’s day.

Another of those local groups contained two young men from Indian Camp, Ray and John Hosfelt, better known as Oak & Ash, “The Forest Rangers”. They sang their way into the hearts of many listeners throughout the county.

On Saturday morning, boys and girls gathered around the radio to listen to “Story Time for Children”. In the afternoon, “Junior Talent Time” gave youngsters a chance to shine by singing or playing a musical instrument. A couple friends practiced singing with me “You Are My Sunshine”, in hopes that someday we would get the courage to go to the radio station. But we never did.

WILE Beatty Ave Studio

Announcers had a grand piano for backup in the studio.

Donna Lake Shafer, who started working as a continuity writer at WILE in the summer after she graduated from Cambridge High School in 1948, remembers Election Night being a very important event at the radio station. Election results came over the station’s Teletype machine, which printed messages from news wire services. Only a few local places received up-to-the-minute reports of the Truman – Dewey presidential election.

Even though the radio station was off the air, people crowded inside the Beatty Avenue headquarters to hear results coming in on the Teletype machine. Donna stayed busy that night keeping hot coffee and cookies ready at this big election party, which was attended by owners of the radio station, local officials and curious citizens. Remember, television sets in homes didn’t exist at this time.

These were not high paying jobs, according to Laura Bates, an early employee of WILE. When she started in 1952, her salary was $140 a month. But Laura recalls, “I loved to write and use my imagination. Working at WILE was enjoyable. You felt like you were a family.”

WILE Velvetones B

VelvetonesB  were part of the WILE scene. Edgar Fisher on the right was later one of our city councilmen.

In those early days, the station manager banned certain music from the air. Sometimes it was too loud, or occasionally the lyrics might be offensive. The radio served as the voice of the community.

Many changes have been made over the years. The station is now located on College Hill, where its transmitter  stood years ago. Almost everything is recorded these days and the station airs around the clock. From Land ‘O Lakes Broadcasting Corporation in 1948 to AVC Communications today, their community spirit still gets broadcast over the hills of Southeastern Ohio.

 

Hopalong Cassidy Festival in Cambridge Comes to an End

Vendors from all over the United States displayed their western wares.

Vendors from all over the United States displayed their western wares.

Hoppy and his horse greeted visitors to the 25th Hopalong Cassidy Festival.

Hoppy and his horse greeted visitors to the 25th Hopalong Cassidy Festival.

“Have a Hoppy Day!”

Old friends and familiar faces congregated May 1-3, 2015  to honor the last Hopalong Cassidy Festival. Started in 1991, this year marked the 25th Anniversary and the final year for the festival. But the enthusiasm did not end even though participants knew the end was in sight.

William “Hopalong Cassidy” Boyd grew up in the Cambridge area where he attended Park School and the Second Presbyterian Church. The Silver Anniversary of the festival celebration took place at Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center near Cambridge, Ohio.

This little cowgirl enjoyed the day.

This little cowgirl enjoyed the day.

Laura Bates, founder, has been the driving force of the Hopalong Cassidy Festival all 25 years. Laura became good friends with Grace, Hoppy’s wife, and Laura’s knowledge and collection of Hoppy memorabilia grew and grew. When Laura speaks of those dedicated followers who attended year after year, she fondly calls them “faithful buckaroos”.

Getting a festival together requires lots of hard work. Making the connections with nearly a hundred vendors in itself would take a lot of time. Add to that the necessity to connect with old western stars and you can see how overwhelming the task would be. Besides, the general public today does not have the intense interest about those old westerns as those who grew up watching them.

Look-a-likes John Wayne, enjoy visiting with the crowd.

Look-a-likes John Wayne, Lash LaRue, and Bob Steele enjoy visiting with the crowd.

Old friends, who dressed as look-a-likes, enjoyed posing together. John Wayne, Lash LaRue, and Bob Steele definitely looked their part. Most people were selling pictures, but some were giving them away. Vendors set up tables selling all kinds of Western and cowboy items.

LaRue and his wife got married in the same church where Hoppy used to attend in Cambridge.

Francis Reeves and his wife got married in the same church Hoppy attended in Cambridge.

Most participants come across as common ordinary folks, who enjoyed talking about their life and connection to Hopalong Cassidy. One interesting gentleman, Francis Reeves, had won six Hoppy look-alike contests over the years. His initial contact came through Fred Scott, who sent a card to him telling him about the festival.

Twenty years ago Francis married his wife in Cambridge at the Second Presbyterian Church, the same church Hoppy attended. At 85 years old, Francis is still muscle bound and full of energy. When asked about the end of the festival, Francis remarked, “Everything comes to an end.” He looks forward to better things ahead.

Scruffy and Laura Bates give a final farewell.

Fuzzy and Laura Bates, founder, give a final farewell.

25th Anniversary tee shirt designed to honor Laura Bates.

25th Anniversary tee shirt designed to honor Laura Bates.

Fuzzy of American Westerns designed the logo for the festival. This year he designed a special tee shirt for the 25th anniversary. He included a picture of Laura Bates on that tee, as a special surprise to her. But like many, Fuzzy travels around the country with his acts and displays, covering seventeen different states.

Hoppy plans for the future include a bronze statue of Hopalong Cassidy in Cambridge, Ohio. The Hopalong Cassidy Museum will still contain Laura’s collection and she will probably stop by and charm visitors with her stories.

Everyone remained in good spirits even when the festival came to a close. One cowgirl said she would continue at other festivals in this part of the country.”I’ve been horsing around all my life,” she quipped, “and not ready to stop.”

Rootin’ Tootin’ Western Fun Hopalong Cassidy Festival

Pritchard Laughlin Civic CenterMore fun than a pig in mud !  That description summed up the feeling of those participating in the 23rd Annual Hopalong Cassidy Festival held at Pritchard-Laughlin Civic Center during the first weekend of May near Cambridge, Ohio. Everyone there seemed to be having fun in this beautiful springtime setting!

From the moment of arrival, you were greeted outside the center with some good old-fashioned BBQ by Smokin’ C BBQ from nearby Old Washington. This provided a break from the action anytime hunger appeared during the day. Their pulled pork sandwiches and BBQ baked potatoes are always favorites.

Festival LobbyInside was where the legend of Hopalong Cassidy was being kept alive. The lobby contained Western actors from days gone by. They autographed pictures, posed with fans, and answered questions in a friendly manner.

The large banquet room had hundreds of items for sale from days of Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Daniel Boone and other favorite Western stars. Fans and dealers from all over the nation come to explore over one hundred tables of collectibles to see if they can find a treasure.

Panel of Stars

Julie Ream narrated a Panel of Stars including: Darby Hinton, Johnny Crawford, and Don Quine.

Cowboys from the past seemed to be one of the main drawing cards.  Meet the Stars drew a large crowd in the Bar 20 Annex.  These stars were all from California, but enjoying the small town greeting. Western history expert Julie Ream, who remembered the days of attending Charm School, informed the audience that her cousin, Cactus Mack McPeters was the first to make a Western with Republic Pictures, while her Uncle Rex Allen, The Arizona Cowboy, made the last Western for them.

Representing The Virginia was Don Quine, who played the role of the grandson, Stacey. Today he spends his free time writing a book, but he would not give any inside information as to what that book was about. Perhaps it is his memoirs.

An actual descendant of Daniel Boone, Darby Hinton accidentally fell into a role in the Daniel Boone TV series when his mother, running late as usual, dropped him off in front of the studio while she went to park the car. Here he was to try out for the part of a von Trapp lad in Sound of Music. So when Darby went inside, he fell right in line with the rest of the youngsters. He charmed those interviewing and got the part easily. However, when his mother arrived, she discovered he had gone to the wrong floor and instead of interviewing for Sound of Music, had accepted a role in Daniel Boone as his son. Today he is working on a PBS documentary of the life and times of the real Daniel Boone.

A sense of humor seemed to be the strong point for Johnny Crawford, who appeared on Rifleman for five years in the role of a son. When asked what he did when he became an adult, Johnny said, “I never grew up.” Music seemed to be his avocation these days and he sang Sweet Sue to the group…well, as much of it as remembered. Johnny said he could do the beginning of most songs.

Look Alike ContestAnother highlight was the Look-Alike Contests for young and old alike, which was judged by audience clapping. Youngsters dressed in Western gear competed for trophies, but just being there was the most fun for all of them.

In the adult division, Johnny Crawford served as moderator and put the competitors through their paces. While he sang, he had them perform in various ways such as dancing, cracking the whip, doing tricks with their guns, and testing their beards to see if they were real.  Gabby Hayes quipped, “My teeth aren’t real, but my beard is.”

Johnny noted, “Being a cowboy is a hard life.”

To which Gabby responded, “Durn tootin’.”

The Roy Rogers Look-Alike was a real estate broker, who wore his Roy Rogers hat to work every day. His rendition of Happy Trails to You brought a round of applause.

However, John Wayne’s Look-Alike was the overall winner of the contest. This big, strong fellow looked and sounded like The Duke. His dance steps were even quite smooth for a cowboy of his size.

Laura Bates, founder and chairmanLaura Bates, the founder of the Hopalong Cassidy Festival, paid tribute to Grace Boyd, Hopalong’s wife. Laura and Grace had become good friends over the years with Laura visiting their California home on the Pacific Ocean frequently. Laura dressed in a shirt of Hoppy’s that Grace had given her, and had the table covered in a scarf from their home. While the festival was to honor hometown cowboy hero, Hopalong Cassidy, his wife actually was a guest there for several years and became a real favorite of those attending. Grace went to the corral where cowboys and their families go after they leave this old world at the age of 97.

Many of the attendees come year after year to the Festival. One couple from Jacksonville FL said they had been there for 17 years. Seeing old friends, who are fans of Hoppy, is one of the best reasons for coming back year after year. See y’all next year!

The Hopalong Cassidy Festival is held annually at Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center near Cambridge Ohio.  It is easily reached from I-70 at Exit  176. Turn right coming off the exit onto Glenn Highway Road, and in about half a mile the civic center is on the left side of the road.

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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