Actor/singer Johnny Crawford has been a welcome guest in millions of American homes ever since 1955 when he was featured as one of Walt Disney’s original Mouseketeers. Best known as young Mark McCain, Chuck Connors’ son in the hit series The Rifleman, Crawford appeared regularly in such television classics as The Lone Ranger, Wagon Train, Zane Grey Theater, The Donna Reed Show, Hawaii Five-O and Murder She Wrote. And, of course, he had the honor of being shot dead by John Wayne in Howard Hawks’ El Dorado (1967).
Mr. Crawford has also enjoyed a successful musical career, first as a Billboard Top-40 teen pop star and, since 1992, as the leader of the Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra featuring classic American music from the 1920s and 1930s by such hit makers as Duke Ellington, Cole Porter and Cab Calloway.
We could not be more pleased to announce that Mr. Crawford will be our guest of honor at our 10th Anniversary John Wayne Birthday Celebration where he’ll perform at our benefit dinner on May 27th and share Hollywood stories and sign autographs at events to be announced.
Welcome, Johnny, Crawford!
It’s Auction Time
From the beginning, a popular feature of our John Wayne Birthday Celebration benefit dinners has been the action-packed auctions of John Wayne collectibles and memorabilia. We never know what might turn up but past auctions have included autographed photos, vintage movie posters, John Wayne bourbon and brandy, original artworks, commemorative firearms and screen-worn movie wardrobe. Returning this year as celebrity auction host will be Duke’s daughter Aissa Wayne who will join champion auctioneers Jon & Chuck Garrison in what always promises to be an exciting event. Sure to generate lively bidding is an original 16″ x 20″ oil painting of our hero in his prime by Artist of the Legends, Jerry Harris. www.theartistoflegends.com. See the “Click to Purchase Tickets” link near the top of this page for dinner reservations, or call toll free (877) 462-1044.
The Return of the Wells Fargo Stagecoach
The 10th Anniversary John Wayne Birthday Celebration proudly welcomes back the world-renowned Wells Fargo Stagecoach. This crowd pleaser will be a featured attraction of the all-horse parade which will wind through the streets of historic Winterset, Iowa on Saturday, May 27th. Nothing symbolizes the Old West better than the overland stage, especially since John Wayne rode to movie stardom in the 1939 film classic Stagecoach. The parade will also include riders and rolling stock from throughout the Midwest and interested participants may contact Frank Santana for details (520) 241-6442.
The Return of the Iowa Theater
When Winterset’s venerable Iowa Theater closed without notice in May of 2015 it seemed the end of an era. For nearly a century the vintage movie house had offered the finest in Hollywood entertainment including John Wayne’s most classic films. Thanks to preservationists Marianne and Rebecca Fons, the theater will return to life in time for the 10th Anniversary John Wayne Birthday Celebration (May 26 & 27) when it will present Stagecoach, Fort Apache and El Dorado on the big screen where John Wayne belongs. Discussing the films will be Joseph Malham, author of John Ford: Poet in the Desert. Tickets can now be ordered online at https://www.the-iowa.com/john-wayne-weekend/.
John Wayne Birthday Celebration 5K Run/Walk
It’s time again to lace up those running shoes for this year’s John Wayne Birthday Celebration 5K Run/Walk. Beginning and ending at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum at 9am on May 27th, the popular event benefits Community Resources in Service to People (C.R.I.S.P), the Winterset Rotary Scholarship Fund and the Winterset Skate Park. Click here to register. For more information, contact Robert Kaldenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 515-462-4731.
Country Barn Dance at the Madison County Fairgrounds
Another enjoyable kickoff to the John Wayne Birthday Celebration will be the Country Barn Dance at the Madison County Fairgrounds. Last year’s wingding was a huge hit and revelers stayed way past closing to enjoy music, dancing and the camaraderie of John Wayne fans from across the country. Come early and admire the horses which will be participating in Saturday’s parade. Music and dancing will be from 7-11pm on Friday, May 26. Admission at the door is $8. Refreshments will be available.
Meet the Author
Author John Farkis will be signing copies of his latest book, Alamo Village: How a Texas Cattleman Brought Hollywood to the Old West at the John Wayne Birthplace on Saturday, May 27th. Updated from his 2005 edition, Alamo Village has been greatly expanded with detailed information, fascinating insights, interesting interviews and numerous photographs about the important Texas film site.
Breakfast at the Firehouse
The Winterset Volunteer Fire Department invites one and all to Breakfast at the Firehouse on Saturday, May 27 from 6am-11am. A John Wayne Birthday Celebration tradition. this popular event has been satisfying hungry visitors and home towners alike since 2007. Featuring pancakes, eggs, sausage and beverages, the food is great, the service superb and it’s a real bargain at $6 per person (children 3 and under are free.) The firehouse is one block east of the courthouse square on Court Avenue.
Just when we didn’t think it could get any better, we learned this week that actor Robert Carradine will be joining us for our 10th Anniversary John Wayne Birthday Celebration. Carradine, of course, starred as one of the young waddies who went up the trail with John Wayne in The Cowboys (1972). Among his countless other screen roles, he also appeared with his brothers David and Keith in The Long Riders, alongside Lee Marvin in The Big Red One and, so memorably, as geeky Lewis in Revenge of the Nerds. Robert’s father, John Carradine (pictured here with his son and John Wayne on the set of The Cowboys) famously shared the screen with Wayne in such classics as Stagecoach, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and The Shootist.