For some of us who got an occasional Saturday afternoon at the movie house watching cowboy shows, this is a real treat.
I’m sure you will recognize most of these “heroes” – at least the ones who were only on television years later. Some names of the co-stars I didn’t remember (not sure I ever knew them, tho’ the credits didn’t fly by so fast in those days), and it was fun to see the few “perennial” bad guys!
The Romers, original builders of this Molesworth/Grigware/Lloyd Wright Lodge, had Hollywood connections, and consequently they entertained many movie stars and producers here, from 1938 until 1953. Some guests names we recognized IMMEDIATELY, like Gary Cooper and Myrna Loy, because both were born in Montana, so it was natural that they’d have been seen visiting here.
The number of them visiting here seems large considering that Lloyd Pressey (whose hand and cowboy boot prints are side by side with Mrs. Romers’ in the concrete pathway around the skeet range – perhaps once the site of a Medicine Wheel) does not appear to have been a leading or well-known producer. Apparently he and Mrs. Romer enjoyed these actors’ company, and many actors appreciated the “Pow Wows” the Romers and Lloyd Pressey arranged for their guests; sometimes they paid local Tribal Members to perform here. Perhaps the Original People were more accurately represented in some of the old time movies thanks to the contacts the actors had with them here?
Mrs. Ruth Romer graciously provided us with a reel of her old movie film, which we had converted onto VHS cassette format, and we were able to present copies to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Cultural Committee. Many of the Elders seen dancing in full regalia were still recognizable in the film 50 years later.
Yet, with all these old cowboy western stars that were here, we were told the biggest name of all, John Wayne, probably never came here because he had his own ranch in Arizona’s White Mountains. He liked the dusty, dry places. Too bad he never settled down in Montana; he might have helped some of Montana’s projects advance!
And, there’s western music with this, so un-mute & turn up your volume!
Tony O. 9/13/08