On Saturday, we gathered at two in the Green Room, behind the main stage at Festival of the West. It was a pretty stellar group back there with Bruce Dern and his statuesque female partner, Rex Allen, Jr., Johnny Western and Jessie Colter (the widow of Waylon Jennings and a performer in her own right). The new mayor of Scottsdale and the Police Chief were also there.
Bruce Dern's partner pulled a power move on Mary (founder of the festival) and more or less demanded to be moved up in the lineup, because as she later told someone standing near me, "We are both working." This stunt came off as major snotty and pretentious, since it clearly implied that we weren't working and had no where else to be. Needless to say, as beautiful as she was, she lost major points with me. Mary had to quickly rejuggle the entire lineup to cater to her wishes, and Bruce went on first.
While we were waiting to go on, I went over to introduce myself to Rex Allen, Jr. (I knew his father) but he gave me the brush off. He was clearly irritated at something. Turns out a musician out on the stage was playing an instrumental version of Rex's hit "I Love You Arizona" and he said with some disgust, "What am I supposed to do when I go out?" I told him I knew exactly what he should do. He asked what that was, and I said, "Play 'Louie Louie'".
He didn't think that was funny. I'm guessing he also doesn't think it's funny that a guy who lives in Nashville is famous for singing a song called "I Love You Arizona." On that, he and I would agree. I don't think it's funny either. Irritating. But not funny.
Back at our booth, Sheri Riley wanted to meet Hugh O'Brian, so I took her over to where Hugh and his wife Virginia were seated, selling publicity photos, and to be a good sport I bought a picture of Hugh as Kusac:
He signed it and I paid him $20, then Sheri wanted a photo, so he invited her back around to kneel by him and I took a phone photo. Then Hugh wanted a photo of me and him (he said to Clint Walker, "Have you met my son?" pointing at me). He's such a character. When Sheri stepped back and took a photo, he barked, "Closer!" So she came in close and took this shot:
Robert Fuller came by our booth asking for Henry Cabot Beck, our Westerns editor. Fuller wanted us to pass along the message that Beck's interview with the star of Laramie, Wagon Train, Emergency and Walker, Texas Ranger was the best interview he has had in the last 15 years. The interview is in our April Travel issue of True West.
"You play the hand you're dealt. I think the game's worthwhile."