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Western Film Fair rides again in Winston-Salem

by Jordan Green

Western Film Fair rides again in Winston-Salem

It’s time once again to saddle up for the Western Film Fair, opening next week in Winston- Salem — and at a new venue: the Hawthorne Inn & Conference Center at 420 High St., located just off Exit 5C on Business I-40.

In attendance will be dozens of dealers and vendors, peddling any and all kinds of Western movie memorabilia and collectibles, including DVDs, posters, photos, autographs, CDs and records, books, toys, magazines, Western costumes and props, and much more.

Also in attendance will be an all-star lineup of celebrity guests:

Julie Adams, fondly remembered for the sci-fi classic The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) as well as such Westerns as Anthony Mann’s Bend of the River (1952) opposite James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy and Rock Hudson, and Raoul Walsh’s The Lawless Breed (1953) again with Hudson.

Roy Thinnes, star of the classic TV series “The Invaders” and the short-lived primetime 1991 revival of Dan Curtis’ “Dark Shadows,” as well as such films as Robert Wise’s The Hindenburg (1975) opposite George C. Scott and Anne Bancroft, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (1969) with Herbert Lom, the all-star Airport 1975 (1974) with Charlton Heston and Karen Black, and Don Chaffey’s 1973 Western Charley One-Eye co-starring Richard Roundtree and Nigel Davenport.

Connie Stevens, who attended last year’s festival, co-starred with Jerry Lewis in Rock- A-Bye Baby (1958), spent a Palm Springs Weekend (1963) with Troy Donahue, Robert Conrad and Stefanie Powers, and came to a very bad end in Robert Aldrich’s 1971 gangster saga The Grissom Gang.

Ed Nelson, also encoring at this year’s festival, played the handsome Dr. Michael Rossi on ABC’s hit primetime soap opera “Peyton Place,” engaged in a bit of dog-napping and international smuggling in the 1977 family favorite For the Love of Benji, was also in Airport 1975 with Roy Thinnes (both came to a bad end in that one), made several appearances on “Gunsmoke” and “Wagon Train,” and even co-starred with Jackie Chan in Who Am I? (1998). His last feature film to date is Runaway Jury (2004) which starred the God of Cinema himself, Gene Hackman.

The multi-talented Lainie Kazan parried with Frank Sinatra in Lady in Cement (1968), dallied with Yul Brynner and Eli Wallach in Romance of a Horsethief (1971), was rescued by Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin from the clutches of Arab terrorist Robert Forster in The Delta Force (1986), and delivered a delightful turn as Mark Linn-Baker’s mother in My Favorite Year (1982).

Nancy Stafford was a regular cast member (in different roles, no less) on the long-running NBC courtroom drama “Matlock” with Andy Griffith, was also a regular cast member on NBC’s Emmy-winning medical drama “St. Elsewhere,” and earned her Western stripes (or spurs) on the NBC pilot “Lone Star” with Chuck Connors and John McIntire.

Roger Mobley appeared on “The Dakotas,” “Death Valley Days,” “Wagon Train” and “Cheyenne,” as well appearing in several Disney productions including “The Mickey Mouse Club” and the feature film Emil and the Detectives (1964).

Tom Reese appeared on “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza,” as well as the feature films Murderers’ Row (1966) opposite Dean Martin’s super-spy Matt Helm, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967) opposite Jason Robards as Al Capone, and as a lawman pursuing Barry Newman in the cult classic Vanishing Point (1971).

Jimmy Lydon starred in an entire series of “Henry Aldrich” films for Paramount in the 1940s, played the title role in Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1939), and co-starred with William Powell, Irene Dunne and Elizabeth Taylor in Michael Curtiz’ classic 1947 comedy Life With Father. His small-screen credits include the Westerns “Gunsmoke” and “Cade’s County,” the latter with Glenn Ford.

Live entertainment will be provided by champion yodeler and performer Randy Erwin and by long-time Western Film Fair favorite Johnny Meeks. There will also be panel discussions and seminars featuring the celebrity guest stars throughout the event, as well as ongoing screenings of vintage 16mm Westerns – the kind they really don’t make anymore. Oh sure, they make Westerns these days, but not the kind where the heroes were just as as apt to haul out a guitar and start crooning as they were to haul out a six-shooter and start firing, or the kind of Western where the hero’s horse sometimes got second (or even first!) billing.

The Western Film Fair will open Wednesday, July 11 and run through Saturday, July 14.

Admission is $20 each day ($5 after 5 p.m.). A single three-day pass is $60, a “couples’” three-day pass is $75.

For more information, mosey on over to the Western Film Fair’s official site: www.westernfilmfair.com.

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