One was Lee Van Cleef. He passed away in 1989. He came up because I occasionally take a break from writing and research and watch an old western on tv. He was in an early episode of "The Rifleman" playing a very young bad guy. I judged that it was early because of how young Johnny Crawford was.
That brought up Chuck Connors who I knew had passed because I had read how much Johnny Crawford had thought of him. Chuck Connors died in 1992.
My sister, Betty, loved anything to do with horses and the West. Being ten years older she kind of ruled the television so I grew up on westerns. I think my first big movie star crush was Johnny Crawford so it was a real treat when I finally got to meet him a few years ago. He's a very nice person.
When my husband and I were involved in a lot of events in Wilcox and Tombstone we met a lot of the western stars like Robert Fuller, Robert Horton, Hugh O'Brien, Bill Smith, Buck Taylor, Dirk London, Jan Shepherd, and Peter Brown.
How many do you remember?
I'm never sure if I should post photos I've had signed although I see others doing it. I have collected a lot of autographs in a book, "TV Western Round-Up."
It has publicity photos from all the westerns and I've been so lucky to have many of them signed. I've also been able to talk to some of the people at length. If I met someone who wasn't in the book I asked them sign the front pages.
Peter Brown, Betty, Robert Horton
I was thinking I really got off the subject through this post, but maybe not. My sister is gone now too. She died a couple of years after this event. She never quit talking about it.
An era ended when those old westerns were taken off the air. None of the new westerns have the honesty and integrity of those shows. Perhaps they weren't true to history or clothing or how things were really done, but they gave us a basis for being good people. I miss them.