SHOW - JANUARY 17th, 2004
memories of my childhood are those evenings spent sitting in front of my small
black & white television with my Father, watching westerns.
My Father loves everything to do with the Wild West and hence I was
hooked from a very early age. If a
show had cowboys, Dad and I would be there, watching.
My Mother, on the other hand, thought we were both a little nuts. She
often said that my Father was living out his childhood dream of being a cowboy
and, did he really have to drag his daughter along?
Believe you me, I needed no dragging.
I loved horses and rode several times every week and dreamed of life on
the range, riding along with my childhood heroes.
childhood dream began on Saturday September 15th, 1959 when a certain
unknown dark-haired actor rode across my television screen on his way into
Laramie and into the hearts of the thousands who saw him for the first time that
His name –
Robert Fuller. From that night, I
never missed an episode, not a single one in the four years that the show ran.
I collected anything and everything that I could about him and followed
his career from Jess Harper to Cooper Smith to Return of the Seven and so on and
so forth. If Bob Fuller was in it,
I was watching and taking notes on the performance and the program.
It didn’t matter to me what part he was portraying, his performance was
poetry in motion and magical to watch. He
is an actor of such outstanding quality and accomplishment that no other could
compare to him, not then or even today… in my humble opinion, anyway.
When and how
did my childhood dream come true, you may ask.
January 17th, 2004 will be a day that I will never forget.
I had flown to L.A. to stay with my friend Sandra Martinez who has known
Bob and many other TV western celebrities for over 10 years. On this fateful
day, we were going to attend the Hollywood Collector’s Show, which Bob would
dawned bright and clear and we had an uneventful drive to the Beverly Garland
Hotel in Burbank where the show is held four times each year. While standing in line outside the hotel waiting for the
doors to open, what should we hear but “Morning gals,” as the man himself
walked right past us and smiled at Sandra as he strolled on into the Ballroom
where the show is held. Well, I
stood there open mouthed and all Sandra could do was laugh.
happened again. There was a hedge
separating us from the Hotel Restaurant Patio where several celebrities and
hotel guests were having coffee. We
were chatting with a friend of Sandra’s who knows many of the western
celebrities and lo and behold, Bob came sauntering across the patio, gave
Sandra’s friend a kiss on the cheek, and said, “Hi ladies,” then went to
get a coffee. Needless to say, if I had been nervous when I arrived, I
certainly wasn’t anymore. What an
icebreaker! He was so polite and
friendly, such a gentleman and I knew that I wouldn’t be nervous when I
finally got the chance to properly meet him.
the show and spent the morning meeting other celebrities. Sandra has a large memorabilia business and needed to attend
to customer orders. With my own business being in its infancy, I only had a few
things that I needed to do. Besides
Bob Fuller, there were three celebrities attending the show that I simply had to
meet as they had all worked with Bob. One
was Barbara Luna, who starred with him in The Gatling Gun.
She actually had a picture from the movie for sale on her table and while
she signed it for me, she said that I should get Bob to sign it too. Of course,
I told her that the real reason I was there was to finally meet him after 44
years as an ardent fan and admirer of him and his work.
was Jacqueline Scott. She played in many episodes of Laramie but her most
memorable performance was in Shadows of the Past, where she plays
Jess’ sister, Francie. Jacqueline and I had a wonderful conversation. As we
had planned our day so that we would do all of our “business” in the
morning, leaving the most momentous and best for after lunch, I asked her if I
could take her picture with Bob later in the day. Jacqueline said she would be
thrilled - she didn’t realize that Bob was there so she asked me where he was
sitting. I told her that he was
just up behind her on the other side of the table arrangement.
While we were talking to Michael Dante, who was seated behind Bob, Jacqueline came up to me and asked where Bob was. I pointed across to him and said, “Turn around, Jacqueline, he’s right behind you.” She turned and tapped him on the shoulder and the reunion was lovely to behold. I don’t know what they were conversing about but Bob suddenly shouted, “My sister!” and gave her a big hug. He obviously asked her who had pointed him out to her and she turned around and pointed at me. “Why, that lady right over there in the red.” Bob gave me a huge smile and waved. Suddenly all nerves dissipated for good and I knew it would be a marvelous meeting.
Bob with Jacqueline Scott - (Jess and
little sister Francie)
Click on picture for full size
Click on picture for full size
Sandra had a few pictures that I had asked her to get Bob to sign for me.
But with everything that happened in his life last year, he took time
away from events and festivals to spend time with his family.
So we planned it that she would get Bob to sign those pictures as well as
a few others that another person had asked for and then she would introduce me.
his table and he greeted her warmly and she told him what she needed.
Then she said, “Now I bet you are wondering about this Moira person
that you have signed all these pictures for.”
“Well, yes” he said “Unusual name,” or something like that; I
can’t quite remember his exact words. Sandra
turned around, “Well, here she is, Bob,” and she pulled me to her side.
Being polite, I put out my hand and he took it eagerly with a wonderful
smile and squeezed it.
“Taken me 44 years to get here, Bob and it was well worth the wait,” I said. His smile broadened and he stood up and said, “I’ve got to come around there,” as he was on the other side of the table. He seemed so eager that I think he would have climbed right over the table if it hadn’t been covered with his pictures. Typical impulsive Jess. Anyhow, he walked around the table and managed to push his way through the crowd till he got to us. There I was - standing in disbelief that I was actually going to be standing next to the man I had so long admired. He finally reached us and put his arm around me and we started to chat. I told him all about the Robert Fuller Fan Club Group (Yahoo!) and what is planned for Festival of the West. He is thrilled to be getting the award and that so many fans will be there to see it. Then I asked him about his appearance at Williamsburg and he confirmed that he was going, so I told him that I would be attending as well.
Moira and Bob. Click on picture for full size
I asked him
if he ever looked at the website and he said he often did and that it was
‘superb’. We chatted about Tony
and the site and how Tony has so many things planned that it is going to be even
bigger and better. Then we talked about the fan fiction, which he admitted he
hadn’t read. I told him that I
wrote fan fiction and that he was such an inspiration to us writers.
He laughed at this. “Me,
an inspiration? Go on with you.” “No,”
I said. “You really are an inspiration to us.” He merely shook his head. He
is a very modest person. Of course,
I told him he should read the fan fiction if he could, as the stories were very
good, not that I’m biased or anything!
Then he said that we should get some pictures so I handed my camera to Joan, a friend of Sandra’s who was with us. Bob laughed and said, “Come on, Joan, you’re the designated photographer.” I hope the pictures speak for themselves. Our dear Yahoo Group member Neebeeshabookway had sent me a gift to give to Bob at the end of last year and I was so honored to be the one to present it to him. From the picture, he looks quite touched. He didn’t open it there and then, the place was too busy, but I can tell you that it is a wonderful, handmade ‘Dream catcher’ made specifically with his likes in mind. No doubt Tony will be able to give us some feedback on how Bob liked it. If not, I will be finding out in Williamsburg.
Moira and Bob - With Neebee's Dream catcher. Click on picture for full size
After picture taking, I told him that I had some more things I wanted him to sign and he returned to the table and happily signed away. Gregory Walcott was also at the show and the third person I wanted to talk to. He was seated next to Bob and we got chatting while Bob worked away at my pictures. Of course, you will remember Greg as ‘Stack’ in Trigger Point and he was also in Sunday Shoot, among many others. He always seemed to play the bad guy, but he did it so well. He was amazed at my knowledge of the show and asked Bob how he thought I knew so much. Bob just smiled and said, “She’s a connoisseur when it comes to the show,” or words to that effect, the noise level at these shows is very high and it is hard to hear. I told Bob that I had arranged with Jacqueline earlier to take a picture of them together and he said, “Great, you go on down and make sure she’s ready and I’ll follow you.” A wonderful ‘brother/sister’ shot, which has inspired me for yet another new fan fiction story.
Bob with Gregory Walcott. Click on picture for full size
to his table and as we continued our chat, he asked if I was in regular contact
with Tony. He wanted to know if I would say Hi and whether the pictures we had
taken would be posted on the site. I said I thought so.
We chatted about Williamsburg a little more and somehow got onto the
subject of what we liked to drink. Bob likes Tequila and I prefer Scotch.
Almost as a joke, I said, “Okay, the first round’s on me at
Williamsburg.” He gave me a big
grin and stuck out his hand and said, “It’s a date.”
As I walked away, he offered me a wonderful smile and waved goodbye.
only a few words that can describe Robert Fuller – gentleman and gentle
All I can say
is that Bob is everything that I expected him to be and more and I can’t wait
to talk with him further and do the write-up for the Williamsburg Festival.
dreams do come true, so never give up on them.
to Moira Purnell (The Calgary Cowgirl)
for her great report
for her great report
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