Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘William Boyd’

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.

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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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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.”

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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