Christopher Creek’s crystal, cold waters must have been quite enticing to one Bob Kiser, local entrepreneur. Having recently been kicked out of the state of Washington, he made his way to Rim Country and settled on the See Canyon ranch. He soon became very popular with folks in the area and was invited to all the dances and get-togethers. You see, Bob was quite the accomplished bootlegger and he liked to share with his friends. That way they might be inclined to warn him should they learn of a visit from the Pro-Hi’s (Feds). The bulk of his product he packed by mules up over the Rim to the railroad at Winslow, to be shipped to the big city in Southern California. We mention Bob this week, as January marks the 100th anniversary of the start of Prohibition. The government banned the production, shipment, and sale of beer, wine, and spirits for 10 years from 1920 to 1930. We think ol’ Bob would have appreciated the recognition.
It was the big night. We started to town early. Karen Thornton drove and Judy rode with us. Judy had been to town shortly after noon and had secured the tickets. The plan was to meet up at Macky’s for dinner. Mike and Junior Levac joined us there. Larry and Patti Boeschling surprised us and joined in. In the restaurant, we ran into Tom and Linda James with a friend from Colcord. Later on, we would see the Price sisters, Mary and Joannie from Colcord Estates. No doubt we missed others from around here in the crowd.
“Eminence Hill” was a sellout. The box office at the Sawmill Theatres had to turn people away.
It was my first movie premiere. Mind you, there were no searchlights and there was no red carpet. There were no slinky, revealing gowns from big-name designers and there were no tuxedos. Payson doesn’t do Hollywood. In their stead, we had ladies in their finest long-sleeved, floor-length, full dresses, with tight bodices and ruffles at the neck. Their accessories included large hats of the period, gloves, and elegant parasols. Among the gentlemen, were those in their black, period suits, some donning top hats. Others were in their chaps, dusty long-sleeved shirts with kerchiefs around their neck, and sweat-stained, dirty cowboy hats on their heads. On their feet were boots and spurs and all were packing sidearms. Those two-dozen costumed greeters at the door were not your regular red carpet types. Wholly believable they were, as if these folks had just stepped off a 1880s Arizona stagecoach. They were the re-enactors from Payson Petticoats and the Oxbow Outfit. Many of them had parts in the movie.
As they were meeting and greeting the theater patrons, one of the movie headliners arrived. There was no limo, but to be fair there wasn’t a horse and carriage either. It might have been a small sports car we saw. It was Charley Motley with Jo Ann Long on his arm. They, too, arrived in costume. They joined with the meet and greet, posed with the others for photos, and we did see some autograph signing.
We spoke with them and Charley mentioned that he enjoyed the last write-up from a month ago, especially the dig about his prominent mid-section. He told us to look for Jo Ann in the cantina scene and to pay attention to which characters remained at the end.
The film did not disappoint, from the Arizona scenery to the fine casting of the various actors.
To be sure there was ample flowery dialog befitting the characters in an 1880s setting. You can be equally sure the antithesis was there, as well, the vilest of language coming from the mouths of characters you wouldn’t expect. There was plenty of gunplay to say the least. Two of the actors had many parts in the film (literally). There were your scantily clad wayward women and there was Charley in a tub, featuring his prominent mid-section. It was all unbeknownst to me.
Charley and Jo Ann told us of what is next. He is currently involved in a film being shot in Santa Clarita, Calif. with the working title of “Killer Twins.” And the door is open for a sequel.
My takeaways were that Charley did a fine job singing the title song he wrote, he had a much bigger role than we anticipated and he had a bit of John Wayne in him. My first premiere was highly enjoyable.
Even after the late start of the inaugural season of the Firebelles’ Can Trailer, the result was tremendous. Don Farmer, the godfather of the recycling project, reported the sale of the load of aluminum. Get back to saving those cans and we’ll tell you all about it next time ... and that’s another week in the Creek.