Friday, June 22, 2007

Gene Autry & Smiley Burnette "Uncle Noah's Ark" (1935)

It's June 22nd and that means that the start of the Gene Autry and the Twentieth Century West exhibit opens at The Autry... Here's the scoop:

Gene Autry and the Twentieth-Century West:
The Centennial Exhibition 1907-2007
Autry National Center, Griffith Park Campus
in Los Angeles, California
June 22, 2007 through January 13, 2008

Gene Autry achieved fame as America's Favorite Singing Cowboy, but he was so much more than that. Come learn about this multifaceted man who was the first and only entertainer to earn five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recording, radio, motion picture, television, and live performance. Gene Autry and the Twentieth-Century West: The Centennial Exhibition, 1907-2007 provides a comprehensive window into Gene Autry as a celebrity, innovative media maverick, sports team owner, businessman, and humanitarian.

On display in the George Montgomery Gallery from June 22, 2007, through January 13, 2008, the exhibition spotlights Gene's contributions during the significant events of his lifetime, including his military service during World War II, friendships formed with U.S. presidents, and his involvement in Major League Baseball. At every critical point throughout the twentieth century, Gene Autry was there-as a patriot, celebrity, visionary, and everyday hero who helped shape and influence our culture.

As you tour the five-gallery exhibition, you'll engage with fun, interactive, multimedia displays that allow you to sample early recordings and film clips. You'll also experience the more personal side of Gene as you peruse his closet full of brilliantly embroidered Western shirts, handsome, hand-tooled leather boots, and spotless cowboy hats, not to mention his famous Martin D-45 guitar. Additional displays round out the other dimensions of Gene, effectively bringing this legend to life for all to experience anew.

To celebrate here's a clip from my favorite Gene Autry movie/serial, "The Phantom Empire". Here's the plot summary...

When the ancient continent of Mu sank beneath the ocean, some of its inhabitant survived in caverns beneath the sea. Cowboy singer Gene Autry stumbles upon the civilization, now buried beneath his own Radio Ranch. The Muranians have developed technology and weaponry such as television and ray guns. Their rich supply of radium draws unscrupulous speculators from the surface. The peaceful civilization of the Muranians is corrupted by the greed from above, and it becomes Autry's task to prevent all-out war, ideally without disrupting his regular radio show.

This is an incredible film. Visit for more Gene goodness.

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The Hoosier Hot Shots - Etiquette Blues (1946)

Here's another YouTube clip I ripped from Pappy Stuckey's page. I'll even rip-off his text....

Along with Freddie Fisher and the Korn Kobblers, the Hot Shots were the precursor to Spike Jones, albeit with a rural bent... they were highly successful, making at least 22 movies throughout the 40's & 50's -- this one from the 1946 feature Lone Star Moonlight -- and featured the greatest musical washboard of all time, walloped by the great Hezzie! Dig in!

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