Date News Posted: December 17, 2000
Another one of the good guys has checked out, George Montgomery said goodbye this week, they say George made some eighty seven films over a period of sixty years, a lot of them good ol' westerns and some musicals and romantic comedies.
His friend Patrick Curtis who was there when George died said, George just turned and looked out the window and was gone.
I was lucky I guess, a few years ago we had Eddie Dean up to one of their festivals in Lone Pine and George was there, what a nice guy he was, he grabbed old Eddie and pulled him up beside him and said "hey, Eddie's sidekick, how about taking our picture" then after I took a couple said, "give that camera to someone else and come over here" which I did and they did and we did and so I have a few nice pictures to remember good ol' George Montgomery.
Later he was sitting in kind of a town hall room there in Lone Pine signing pictures and just talking, Iron Eyes Cody was sitting beside him, there were all kind of cowboys there that week end but it was George that day that they put a nice picture of on the front page of the Lone Pine paper riding a horse out there in the Alabama Hills just a few miles down the road. We saw the picture in the paper and after getting Eddie settled in talking to one of his fans went over to George and said, "George, who do you think is covering the front page of todays paper" he said "I don't know, probably you" I said "Nope, it's you, if I get a copy will you sign it for me"? he said, "Sure, bring a copy for me" so I did and he did so now we have a paper, in fact while we had the box open so nobody would steal any, we took them all.
For ninteen years George was married to the late Dinah Shore, and cause for that seperation they say was George was just so busy and spent so much time away from home that it just took it's toll on their marriage, ninteen years is a nice life together and I guess they parted friends which is a far cry from today's seperations where when you get tired of your spouse you just shoot um, or worse.
Like our old friend Eddie Dean that not only was an actor as we have mentioned several times before, but a singer (that some say was one of the best) and a man that could take a stick or a board and carve a treasure out of it or a piece of canvas and paint you a piece of art worthy of being hung in the finest of homes. So were the talents of George Montgomery.
George not only was a "fine" carpenter but a very skilled metal working man of the arts, his furniture so they say is some of the finest any where and we know for sure his sculptures are just out standing, he has (or did have the last time we were there) a gallery sit up at the Gene Autry Museum and what we saw there was just hard to believe that one man could do something so massive and other things so small with the same touch of perfection that George did them. Those that own some of George's work are amoung the lucky as others are that can still see George from time to time on the Westerns chanell and other TV shows.
So with a smile never to be forgotten we say goodbye to George Montgomery and we hope you grab Eddie tonight and pull him up close for another picture, but if you don't mind George, for this time anyway, let some one else take the picture.
In the "It's About Time" column for the week, It's about time Merle Haggard made the cover of something and this past week it was the "Parade" cover in newspapers (we hope goes all over the country)
Merle Haggard, he ain't no dime store cowboy and if he never did it, I doubt if he would waste the time to write about it, he's been in, he's been out, he's been up and he's been down so if that ain't fodder for your horse, I don't know what is.
Most people that write or sing about trains only know what they see doing ninty mile an hour going down the track, or reading about a choo choo in a book or hobo stories from Grandpa or maybe even something they dreamed but Merle Haggard was born in a train car, and you can't get much closer to a "California Stream liner" then that, he was only born once but he has been divorced a few times and them divorce's make good writtin' also, good or bad it's not something you learn out of a book, you only learn that from The Hard Lines Of Life.
Looking at some of the songs on other peoples albums today you see four or five names, it is understandable that a couple good old boys would sit down and write a few songs together or one to come up with an idea and the other to help finish it but when you see five names on a song, there is a moose in the wood shed, there ain't no five people think like me and I would bet my aspirn there ain't more then two that think like Haggard, in most cases, no body thinks like Haggard but him. If you don't believe it, just listen to his songs and the way he sings them and few can tell a story like Merle Haggard.
Merle's Dad James could play about anything with strings, Merle called him a full-rounded musician but in 1946 when Merle was nine his father passed away. I don't have to stay up late to know that Merle must have wished many times that his Dad could be here to hear his son's music, my own Mother died when I was just a kid and many's the time I have wished she could be here to see something I had done or just to have met my kids, but it wasn't to be. Merle though has been able to put those feelings in song about those early years and hard times, and stories about his own Mother.
So somewhere up there with the mountains surrounding him, a lake out there in his front yard and old fish jumping around out there some place he ain't caught yet, a beautiful wife and two little kids to call him Daddy, he may be runnin' out of sad things to write about. Well you could go out and steal a goat, ah heck, that boy down in Texas already did that.
Another year has come and gone and if "I Make It Through December" (sorry Merle) I to will have made it through another year unlike a few old friends we will always miss like Bill Woods and Tommy Collins and my best friend and partner Eddie Dean, old Gene, Rex, Roy. and our rail road friend Henry Young, it was Henry that started and finished the job of getting the Jimmie Rodger's stamp and who wrote the book about his friend called "The Big Rock Candy Mountain".
Sometimes memories can make you smile, sometimes they can make you shed a tear and sometimes It's Just Best To Let Old Memories Die.
Last week was the time to have our drivers license renewed, so we took the little test and while the lady was typing up the paper work she ask if I would like to be an oregon donner, since we had been talking about music I said "No, I don't think so, most I could give you would be a used piano"
It's time now to say goodbye for another year and as we always say, we'll see ye later but just in case we don't, take care of your self.