For those who are fans of the B Western movies, a Film Festival is a real treat. Enthusiasts from far and wide gather together for a weekend of good ol' fashioned fun, comradity and reminiscing. Cowboy heroes and heroines are admired not only in the movies that are shown in the viewing rooms, but in person as well. The highlight of these festivals is the opportunity to meet the stars up close and in person, and hear their fascinating stories of the making of these great B Westerns.
Carolina Cotton was a guest star at several of these Film Festivals back in the 1980s and 1990s. She was always greeted warmly by many fans and friends. And there were a few reunions, with some of her former comrades: Gail Davis, Patsy Montana, Arkansas "Slim" Andrews, Gloria Henry and Sunset Carson were just a few of them. Carolina really enjoyed these festivals and looked forward to each and every one she attended. For those who "were there", it's easy to remember her lively perfomances onstage at the Banquets, or her enthusiasm to sign autographs at the vending tables.
Below is a collection of photos from the many Film Festivals that Carolina attended. Most were sent to her by friends and fans. Unfortunately, not all were labeled with background info, or identifying the people pictured. If anyone can recognize who is featured, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. And if any of the photographers should recognize the photos they've taken, by all means tell us and we'll credit properly (of course, if you do not wish to have your photo featured, let us know so it can be removed).
Special thanks to Bobby Copeland, Grady Franklin and Boyd Magers for their assistance in identifying these photos.
1984 Western Film Caravan--Atlanta, GA
Location: Holiday Inn Airport
Guest Stars: Carolina Cotton, Kirk Alyn, Nate "The Old Prospector" Booth, Reno Browne, Sunset Carson, Jimmy Ellison, Evelyn Finley, John Hart, Pierce Lyden, Richard Martin, Elaine Riley, Peggy Stewart, and the original Sunshine Boys. (Gail Davis and Jock Mahoney were scheduled but unable to attend. A shame, since Carolina has been in films with both of them and it would have been a fantastic reunion).
Carolina's appearances at Film Festivals began when Harold Smith had invited her to attend a festival he was coordinating in 1983. Unfortunately, because of schedule conflicts, she was unable to attend. So Harold made sure that there was the chance to book her for the 1984 Festival--the Western Film Caravan in Atlanta, GA.
(NOTE: Just click on the thumbnail photos below for the larger version)
ROW 1, #s 1 & 2: Flyer ads announcing the 1984 Western Film Caravan. #3: Souvenir program guide
ROW 2, #4: Another flyer ad. #5: Carolina with Bob Lastinger in one of the film viewing rooms. #6: Tonto (Sammy Fulp) and the Lone Ranger (James Howard) join in for this shot.
ROW 3, #7: Carolina poses with a few of the many Western Film fans: Nick Williams (middle back row, with beard); David Godwin, second from right, Sidney Hart (?) far right.
#8: With Zulu Smith. #9: Carolina and Mike DeBerry.
ROW 4, #10: Time for some refreshments! Drawing for prizes is Sherry Smith. #11: Award from the 1984 Atlanta Western Film Caravan.
ROW 1, #1: Carolina gets a hug from Prospector Nate Booth, #2: Look, it's a Blue Canadian Rockies lobby card!, #3: Guest stars at the 1984 Western Film Caravan. Back row: Peggy Stewart, Sunset Carson, Pierce Lyden, Kirk Alyn, John Hart; Center row: Reno Browne, Evelyn Finley, Carolina Cotton; Front: Elaine Riley.
ROW 2, #1: The Gals (Reno Browne, Carolina and Evelyn Finley) get in a group shot, #2: Carolina and friend at the vendor tables, #3: Carolina and Fred Fussell
ROW 3, #1: "Hey, I remember Apache Country!", #2: With "Number 1 Carolina Cotton Fan", Nick Williams, #3: With Sammy Fulp
ROW #4: "Calling all Western Film Fans....!" Carolina with Oliver Tucker
Row 1, #1: Guest stars' discussion panel (L-R: Elaine Riley, festival promoter Mike Marx, panel moderator Jim Shoenberger, and Carolina) ; #2: A view of the audience, from the panel's perspective (photo restored by George Sweatt); #3: Time for a song--Carolina performing her duet of "Three Miles South of Cash" with Jim Shoenberger
Row 2, #1: Greeting Terry Swindol and his son Tommy, one of the younger fans. Terry's wife, Karen, is to the right; #2: Carolina and Bob Carman, author of Sunset Carson biography; #3: Evelyn Finley with fan
Row 3, #1: Pierce Lyden with fan; #2: Carolina chatting with Festival goers; #3: With a friendly Western Film admirer
Row 4, #1: "Look, I've found another lobby card--Blue Canadian Rockies"; #2: Autographs from some of the guests appearing at the Festival, signed for Ms. Cotton's students at Mt. Vernon School.
Here are Carolina and Sunset Carson at the Atlanta Festival, sharing good times during a taping at the Hollywood Nostalgia Theater Show. Special thanks to Jleepixprod Productions for posting. (and kudos to Bakosphere.com, for alerting us to this wonderful video). You can watch all of the Sunset Carson interviews by clicking on this link (kudos to Jerry Whittington / Jleepixprod Productions, for sharing): http://www.b-westerns.com/interviews.htm
l-R: Bob Allen, Patsy Montana, Pierce Lyden, Carolina Cotton, Rusty Cramer, Eddie Dean, Cal Shrum, and Alta Lee
1985 Western Film Fair--Charlotte, NC
Location: Radisson Plaza Hotel
Guest Stars: Carolina Cotton, Nate Booth (Old Prospector), Rusty Cramer, Eddie Dean, Evelyn Finley, Frontier Cowboys (Ernie, Mike, Don, Dusty), Pee Wee King, Lash LaRue, Alta Lee, Pierce Lyden, Patsy Montana, House Peters Jr, John Russell, Cal Shrum, Claude Casey and The Tennessee Ramblers
(A few guest stars were scheduled but unable to attend. Michael Ansara had conflicting schedules, and Shirley Patterson cancelled due to illness. Sadly, Names Craig died just one week prior to the Festival. He was remembered in Charlotte by his many fans and friends).
After her successful appearance at the 1984 Western Film Caravan in Atlanta, Carolina was soon contacted by Wayne and Shirley Short, to guest star at their Western Film Fair. She happily accepted, and attended the 1985 Festival alongside some old friends, like Pee Wee King and Eddie Dean.
(NOTE: With exception of photos # 1 and 2 in Row 1, all black and white photos courtesy of Grady Franklin)
ROW 1, #1: Ad for the 1985 Film Festival, #2: Souvenir program guide, #3: Carolina and Eddie Dean pay a visit to one of the local radio stations
ROW 2, #4: Gunfight at the ol' Hoosegow: The Frontier Cowboys put on a show in the hotel courtyard. The gunmen are James Howard (L) and Don Burress (R). #5: Carolina and friends in the courtyard. #6: "Hmm...should I autograph Leonard Kelly's arm, or the 8x10 glossy photo?" (That's Kelly's friend, Tommy Hildreth, looking on, far right).
ROW 3, #7: "Okay, Leonard, no tattoos...I'll just sign the photo!" Sherman Pippin, center, catches a glance. #8: With a friend from the Jimmy Wakely Fan Club, #9: Pee Wee King (L) and Eddie Dean (Cntr) greet a friend...Claude Casey, of the Tennessee Ramblers.
ROW 4, #10: It's all smiles at the Charlotte Film Festival! Pee Wee King and Eddie Dean are having a good time, #11: Carolina and Jimmie Currie, #12: You never know when you'll come across a guest star at the Festival...Carolina stops by Bob Lastinger's suite for a snapshot
ROW 1, #1: One of the many autograph sessions, #2: One of Carolina's adoring fans, #3: Even Cabbage Patch dolls are fans of Western films!
ROW 2, #4: At the Discussion Panel: Lash LaRue and John Russell recall the heydays of B Westerns, #5: Pierce Lyden and Carolina join in the discussion. #6: Audience members are more than welcome to ask questions to the Panel.
ROW 3, #7: Pierce Lyden and Carolina: "Hey there, Lash, what's your opinion on this question?" #8: "Okay, if you insist..." Lash LaRue always had great stories to tell about the golden age of B Westerns. And he was quite a poet, often sharing one of the poems he wrote. #9: Carolina with a couple of Festival goers.
ROW 4, #10: "Howdy, folks...from Charlotte!", #11: Carolina, a fan and Evelyn Finley, #12: Guess who? Lash and Carolina pause for a pose
ROW 1, #1: Enthusiastic fans in the audience, enjoying the entertainment, #2: John Russell and a "reasonable fascimilie" of Clint Eastwood, #3: Celebrities and fans come together
ROW 2, #4: Carolina and another fan (possibly Juanita Carroll), #5: Eddie Dean, joined by the Tennessee Ramblers. The bike was later given away in a raffle. #6: The Ramblers jamming on some good ol' fashioned cowboy tunes.
ROW 3, #7: The Yodeling Blonde Bombshell, doing what she's best known for--yodeling! #8: The crowd gives a standing ovation to the guest stars of the '85 Charlotte Film Festival, #9: Carolina with Evelyn Finley, and a couple of friends.
ROW 4, #10: The performers onstage, after a wonderful performance, #11: After the Grand Finale...the stars still stick around to chat with the audience, #12: Carolina takes a few more photos with fans and friends
1986 Western Film Fair--Charlotte, NC
Location: Radisson Plaza Hotel
Stars: Carolina Cotton, "Arkansas" Slim Andrews, Rand Brooks, Eddie
Dean, Oliver Drake, Ann Jeffreys, Lash LaRue, Alta Lee, Shirley
Patterson, Wayde Preston, Cal Shrum, Tennessee Ramblers. (Gail Davis
and Myron Healy were scheduled but could not attend. This
Festival had lost one of its own, as VP Bobby Thompson had passed
away. A special Tribute honored him.).
went so well at the previous 1985 Charlotte Film Fair, that Carolina
was asked back for the 1986 Festival. Once again, she shared the
stage with Eddie Dean, Cal Shrum and the Tennessee Ramblers.
Fellow Arkansas native, Slim Andrews, joined Carolina for a fun,
after-hours jam session on "one of those new little Casio
keyboards"! Many fans from the previous Film Fair attended this
(NOTE: With exception of the Program booklet, all black and white photos courtesy of Grady Franklin)
1, #1: Ad insert for the 1986 Film Festival (crossed-out celebrity pics
were those who could not attend), #2: Souvenir program guide, #3:
Carolina drops by the local radio station
2, #4: Posing with a fan, #5: And yet another pose with a friend #6: Poster signings are always a highlight.
ROW 3, #7: "Cabbage Patch dolls are still popular!",
#8: Carolina with Boyd and Donna Magers, and another friend (far
right), #9: A friendly pose with a fan.
4, #10: A discussion over Classic Images, with producer / director
Oliver Drake. #11: Author David Rothel at a book signing...one of
many at these Festivals, #12: Carolina and a an enthusiast 'neath the
tree and the Jimmy Wakely sign.
ROW 5, #13: "Just the 3 of us", #14: "Remember this beauty?" Claude
Casey reminisces, #15: Carolina and lil' buckaroo Brian Park.
ROW 6, #16: "Okay kids, here is your handwriting lesson for today...",
#17: "Oh goodie...Miss Cotton just signed our note to our teacher to
miss class!", #18: Here's another Festival-goer in the lobby.
ROW 7, #19: "We're all in this together!", #20: Carolina and friend by
one of the Film-viewing rooms, #21: "Look, I found 2 more cowboy
pals"--Claude Casey shares with viewers
8, #22: Panel Discussion time, and someone's taping this one! Arkansas
Slim leans back from the table, as Carolina answers a question. #23:
"...And someday, you may grow up to be a cowboy hero just like Gene
Autry...!", #24: The gals with the smiles--Carolina, and Juanita Carroll
9, #25: With Ray Thigpen, #26: At panel discussions, many a photo is
shared #27: And then there were three: Florence Austill, Miss
Cotton, and Mildred Gray
ROW 10, #28: Who else? Carolina and the great Lash LaRue,
#29: The Tennessee Ramblers back Carolina in her well-known "Three Miles
South of Cash, inviting Bill Cline (the "designated yodeler) to join
in, #30: "I've got a feeling called the Blues..." The Yodeling
Blonde Bombshell woos the crowd with Lovesick Blues
11, #31: "Yodel-lee-da-ladee..." Bill Cline does a mighty fine job of
yodelin'! #32: Signing a photo for Gary Kramer, #33: B Western
fans come in all age groups.
ROW 12, #34: Carolina shares a Kodak moment with Oliver Tucker. #35: Award from the 1986 Charlotte Western Film Fair.
We'll continue to add more info on the many Film Festivals Carolina attended. A complete list of the Festivals and plenty of photos will be added in the near future. Check back soon!
In the meantime, enjoy these other photos from a few of the Festivals.
FILM FESTIVAL BOOK BY TERRY SWINDOL A Western Film Festival is more than a gathering of stars & fans It is for many a personal experience. "Better than a family reunion - no fights", as Carolina once said!. And few can describe these events better than documentary producer-author Terry Swindol.
As a videographer for the Memphis Film Festival, Terry has attended and worked many of these get-togethers over the years, plus working for Access Hollywood. For the first time, he brings the reader first-hand accounts of what your favorite heroes from Golden Age of Westerns were like in person. And that includes
If you've never been to a Western Film Festival, this book will give you a glimpse into how much fun they were (and still are). And if you were there,this will bring back some great memories. In addition, Terry recalls some encounters outside of the Festivals. Lots of photos, too!
Film Festival in Little Rock, AR, 1990
(From top left) – Luster Bayless, John Pickard, Gene Evans, Gregg Palmer, "Arkansas" Slim Andrews, Michael Wayne and Gordie Peer. (Seated) - Gloria Henry, Carolina, Ann Rutherford and Alvy Moore.