Talking with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans’ daughter in front of
an audience at the William S. Hart Museum on Friday night was as much a treat
for me as it was for the attentive crowd. Even though I’ve enjoyed a long
friendship with Cheryl Rogers Barnett and her husband Larry, I learn new things
every time we chat. Her memories of growing up with two pop-culture legends are
candid, crystal-clear, and often quite amusing. Did you know that Roy once
appeared on the cover of a hot rod magazine, alongside two professional drivers,
after setting a speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats—in the family’s
station wagon? You can read more in Cheryl’s delightful book Cowboy Princess, available at her
It’s always a treat to visit the Hart Ranch and Museum, as well. The evening event was sponsored by the Friends of Hart Park, which helps fund the historic home and grounds. I never tire of gazing at the artwork on the walls, by such artists as Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, and James Montgomery Flagg, or thinking what it must have been like to live in this mountaintop mansion. Virtually all of the furnishings are original and in amazingly good condition. If you’ve never visited the site in Newhall, California, you really should. You can learn more HERE.
I’ve had an unusually busy week, wrapping up my semester at USC on Thursday night with a screening of the upcoming release The Immigrant (starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner) and interviewing its talented writer-director James Gray. His films tend to be serious, even somber at times, while he is hilariously funny, sprinkling his anecdotes and observations with dead-on impressions of famous colleagues.
On Friday I participated in the Hollywood Arts Council’s annual awards luncheon, held in the historic Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. (It’s always important to remind out-of-towners and newcomers to L.A. that this was the site of the first Academy Awards banquet.) The council does good work all year long and rewards individuals and businesses that share its mandate to keep the community thriving.
I was happy to cheer on Richard Sherman, who picked up yet another award for his mantle after being serenaded with some of his Disney songs by youngsters from the Selma Avenue Elementary School. And I was pleased to present the council’s Media Award to George Pennacchio, the upbeat entertainment reporter for KABC in Los Angeles. For eighteen years, George has been a welcome and familiar face on red carpets, but he also enjoys covering school and community organizations. He’s a Hollywood booster, and the longtime host of this annual luncheon…but most of all, he’s a good guy who loves what he does.
Later this week, my wife and I head to Key Largo, Florida for the second annual Humphrey Bogart Film Festival, where I will introduce a handful of classic films and share the stage with Stephen Bogart, son of Humphrey B. and Lauren Bacall. We had a great time last year, and met a lot of enthusiastic fans; it’s not too late to sign up for this year’s festivities. Just go to bogartfilmfestival.com (You can read my account of the 2013 event HERE.)
From Florida I’ll be flying to New York City where on Monday, May 5, I will be receiving an award from the George Eastman House at its second Light & Motion Gala, Celebrating Preservation and Restoration. I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve this honor but I’m not turning it down…and I’m in exceptionally good company alongside writer-director Alexander Payne, renowned photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and two “emerging icons” in the world of photography, Chris McCaw and Julia Loktev. Awards are nice, but the point of this event is to raise money for the Eastman House’s essential work in the field of film and photo preservation. That’s why I’m proud to take part. You can read more about the event HERE.
With this traveling I’ll miss posting some timely reviews of new movies, but I’ll do my best to catch up when I return home. Thanks for your patience.