Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Day Late and A Dollar Short

Last summer, when the Halls were visiting California, they took a little detour through Victorville and Apple Valley, with the express purpose of looking for the old Roy Rogers museum. They did see Sunset Chapel, where Roy and Dale are interred, but when they pulled up to the coordinates to which the GPS had directed them, the handmade sign affixed to the old wire fence told them that the ranch had been sold and the auction for the goods had taken place about two months earlier. It was a disappointment, but not a setback. While investigating in town, they learned that the museum had been moved, lock, stock and barrel to Branson, MO. The fellow at the Route 66 museum gave them Roy's old address in town, and the Halls did a fly by, just to check it out.
While relaying the story to some friends of theirs back in New York, the friends told them they had seen the show in Branson and it was a real corker; and if they should ever find themselves in Missouri, they shouldn't miss the chance to see it.
So the atmosphere in the rental was fairly bubbly by the time the Halls rolled into Branson, MO. Their handy dandy Rand McNally showed they were just blocks from the museum, so freshening up a bit after checking in, they popped up at the front desk and asked for tickets to the show. The blank expressions that met their request was not comforting. "I think that show closed. I think there's a exhibit all about Princess Diana in that old building right now, but you can walk down and look. Here's how to get there." explained the clerk. They were dismayed to find he was right. All that remained of the great Roy Rogers museum were the embedded horseshoes in the concrete, leading to the doors to a show that no longer existed. A little computer research revealed the family had closed the show for lack of interest and income just a few short months ago, and given everything over to be sold. In fact, Mrs. Hall noted, that shortly after they would be returning to New York, Christie's auction house in the city was going to be putting the museum goods on the block. The Halls were completely dejected.
One of the clerks downstairs felt sorry for them- "You know, his son Roy Rogers, Jr. and his family rents the old Mickey Gilley theater in the mornings and they put on a little show at 10:00 am if you want to go see that. It's about all that's left of the group." It was a ray of hope after having come so far, so they went.
Roy Rogers, Jr. and his family had pledged to do what they could to preserve the memory of their father and mother's act, but what remained was pretty sad. In a theater meant to hold probably 300 or more,only about 60 chairs were full, and the Halls had their choice of any of the front rows. Family members worked the lights, Roy, Jr. did some lively cowboy tunes and then the grandson came on stage and sang a half-hearted ballad. "What a shame," said Mr. Hall. It was fun to hear the music, he admitted, but they both knew it was unlikely the show would last the year. As a last gesture, Mr. and Mrs. Hall went up and had their pictures taken with Roy, Jr. and he signed the CD they purchased. Over a cocktail later that evening, Mr. Hall made a toast: "Looks like all we have left are the memories and the movies. Here's hoping those will last a long time."
Next episode: Scary sidewalks and smoke on the water. Stay tuned!

No comments:

Tell your friends!