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  THE CRIMSON CORRAL: Western Memories
 
COLONEL TIM McCOY
Timothy John Fitzgerald McCoy
Born: April 10, 1891 - Died: Jan. 29, 1978

By Ron McKnight 

My Memories of Colonel Tim McCoy

During the summer months of 1965 there were posters up all over town that Tommy Scott's Traveling Wild West Show was coming to my home town of Acton, Ontario, Canada.  Acton was a small town of about 4,500 people located approximately 45 miles northwest of Toronto, our provincial capital.

The main drawing card on the poster was a picture of Col. Tim McCoy.  I spoke with the arena manager who was a close family friend and he confirmed that yes indeed Tim McCoy was coming to Acton.  I was elated, I was finally going to see one of my sagebrush heroes live and in person.
I could hardly wait.

Wednesday arrived and a neighbor I chummed around with pushed me down to the Acton arena in my wheelchair where the show was going to take place.  The arena manager let us in early so we could get a good seat location and beat the rush.

It was show time.  Tommy Scott came out introduced himself and the various acts that followed which was a menagerie of everything from soup to nuts.  Musical groups (no big name stars) animal acts, the "Masked Marvel" (a sharpshooter act)  Finally Col. Tim McCoy stepped out on stage in his traditional black outfit, looking slim and trim. I believe he was about 78 at the time.  He stepped to the front of the stage and spoke about his movie career, pioneer days, his military career etc.  He seemed very sincere and appreciative as to what had happened to him during his career and he always appreciated his fans.

He did some fancy gun twirling and sharp shooting and various tricks with his bull whip and his part of the performance was over and he left the stage.  There were some other minor acts and the show was over.

I was hoping to meet Tim but he left in his own Winnebago after the show and drove to the Mohawk Inn in the village of Campbellville where he was staying the night.  The other performers were staying in the park where the arena was located in their Winnebago's and going to the next stop on the tour in the morning.

My friend and I went over to the Winnebago's and we spoke to the gentleman who was the Masked Marvel and he invited us into his Winnebago to chat.  He and my friend helped me in, we sat and talked for at least 2 hours after the show.  He had a couple of beers and he offered us a bottle of pop which we accepted.  I cannot remember his name for the life of me but he was a supporting player in many B westerns.  He worked with them all.  Roy, Gene, Hoppy, Bob Steele, Bob Livingston, Buster Crabbe, Lash LaRue.  he spoke very fondly of Al "Fuzzy" St. John.

I mentioned to him about being disappointed not having the opportunity to meet Col. Tim McCoy and he told me that Tim was suffering from a flu bug.  He really shouldn't have appeared on stage but he didn't want to disappoint his fans.

Time flies when you're having fun, we checked the time and it was after 11:00 p.m.  We thanked the gentleman for his kindness and courtesy.  He helped my friend get me out of his Winnebago and my friend pushed me home.

There it is in a nut shell saddle pals.  My almost moment of greatness with one of my "Sagebrush Heroes" as close as I'll likely ever get.  Geez, I wish I could remember that gentleman's (Masked Marvel) name.  I think of him and that night often.  A wealth of B western knowledge, a very kind and courteous man.  If indeed he is no longer with us, I'm sure he's watching me from "The Big Corral'  in the sky. 

Ron McKnight
ironside18@sympatico.ca


Click HERE for more info and a Filmography on Tim McCoy

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