Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Billy Beeman, tours, Anaheim flood, watercolors

Knott's Berry Farm personality Billy Beeman passed away a little after 1:00 p.m. this afternoon. Beeman began playing Western music in Knott's Ghost Town in 1940 with Shirley and the Beeman Brothers. In 1954 he helped found Ghost Town's signature band, The Wagonmasters. He later led the band, from 1959 to 1968. He became a well-known fiddle player and also played in the Lobo Rangers. For more information about Billy Beeman, or to purchase CDs of his work, visit the Wagonmasters website. Fellow Wagonmaster Dave Bourne will plan a memorial service soon, but details have not yet been announced.

The photo below shows The Wagonmasters, along with some friends, on stage at Knott's Wagon Camp in the 1950s. Today, that theater is used for a stunt show. On April 9th, historical tours will be held at Crystal Cove, at the Red Car Museum in Seal Beach, and by the Orange Community Historical Society. Check their respective websites for details..

Anaheim historian Steve Faessel recently wrote a good article about the big 1938 flood. It appeared on page 6 in the March 31st issue of the Anaheim Bulletin. See it on the Bulletin's website.

Huge thanks to Diane Ryan, E. Gene Crain, and Janet Blake for arranging a tour of Mr. Crain's amazing art collection. I only wish I could have spent a few weeks with the collection instead of a couple hours. For someone who's loved the California School for 20 years, this was sensory overload. I would have paid money to see any four of these paintings, let alone hundreds of them. Again, THANK YOU!


Anonymous said...

Sad that no one has commented on Billy Beeman's long association with Knott's and his legacy as the first musical performer (along w/his brothers and sister) to ever play Main Street back in '39.

Chris Jepsen said...

I'm often baffled by what people do and don't comment on here. If it's any comfort to you, I'll point out that a LOT more people read this blog than comment on it. I sometimes get 6,000 unique readers in a week, and I'm doing really well if I get five comments.

On a Beeman-related note: I think the Wagonmasters' usual closing number, "I'm Coming Home," is my favorite of their recorded work. (I have most, if not all of their albums.) If I had an ounce of musical talent myself (which I do not), that's one of the first songs I'd want to learn how to play.