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  THE CRIMSON CORRAL: Western Memories
 
HOPALONG CASSIDY
William Boyd 
Born: June 5, 1895 - Died: Sept. 12, 1972

By Tom Mason 

My first really strong memories of Hoppy started in the fifties with the screenings of his old movies on Los Angeles TV Station KTLA.  His films were showcased on Sunday nights in prime time, hosted by local celebrity Dick Garten and sponsored by Barbara Ann Bread.  Hoppy's movies were almost required viewing in our area and especially at my house.  Next to Space Patrol, he was my favorite.

Hoppy merchandise was everywhere.  I bought six-guns and holsters, hot chocolate cups, milk glasses, lots of Barbara Ann Bread, comic books, and even a Hoppy pocket knife. It was great fun.

Once, my 80 year old Italian grandfather and I took the bus to the Long Beach Pike oceanfront amusement center and found a theater showcasing 6 back to back Hoppy Westerns and the admission was a dollar. We went in and spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon watching him up on the big screen. My grandfather enjoyed them as much as I did.

Hoppy made personal appearances all over the southland and I tried to make everyone of them.  He was especially impressive in the Pasadena Rose Bowl parade astride Topper.  The smile and laugh were all there as I remembered them and he was gracious to all those that called out his name.  He was my hero.

I listened faithfully to his radio show, and watched his new made-for-tv show..... I bemoaned the loss of California Carlson (Andy Clyde) and did not much care for his new overweight sidekick, but it was still Hoppy.

When he became ill and would not appear in public, due to his appearance, I realized that he might not be with us much longer, even though he had always appeared ageless.  When word came of his death, (Boyd passed away in Laguna Beach, CA in 1972 of parkinsons disease & heart failure) I mourned him like a family member.  The actor William Boyd had transformed a scruffy mean spirited cowboy that Clarence Mulford had written about in many novels,  into a cowboy legend and he had become that black-clad hero in his personal life.  Just as Hopalong Cassidy had a profound influence on the lives of many of the youth of America, so Hopalong had done the same to William Boyd.

Today, I have come to realize that Hopalong Cassidy will never really die, he is with us in cherished memories and the miracle of modern day video and audio recordings and the Encore Western Channel.

Tom Mason
aka The Crimson Collector

Click HERE for more info and a Filmography on William 'Hoppy' Boyd

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