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Greene County Performers Headline Wild West Shows at 2019 Annie Oakley Festival

In Business, Children and Family, Dayton Ohio News, Education, history, Local News, Music, National News, State News, Theatre, Uncategorized on July 4, 2019 at 7:48 am

Greenville, OH – Entrepreneur and professional whip artist Gery L. Deer and Xenia thrown weapons expert, Kirk Bass, will lead a full troupe of Wild West arts experts during the 2019 American Western Arts Showcase at the Annie Oakley Festival, July 26 and 27 at the Darke County Fairground in Greenville, Ohio. The event is free and open to the public.

Presented in the spirit of the stage-style Wild West shows of the late 19th Century, each production will include some detailed history about how these arts came to be and who still practices them today. In addition to performing, Gery Deer is also the show’s producer and chief backer.

“This is a one-of-a-kind show in this region,” Deer says. “We have some of the best Wild West arts entertainment anywhere in the Midwest with real practitioners of each skill,” says Deer, who started the event in Jamestown, Ohio, in 2002. “These are talented performers with genuine ability, no fakery, no tricks. Everything you see in our show is real and all of our shows are in 3-D and high definition!”

Champion knife thrower Kirk Bass, of Xenia, Ohio, is co-producer of the event. He and his daring wife Melodee are among the performers to take the open-air stage for a series of western arts perform the suspenseful Bass Blades impalement show, and much more.

Whip marksmanship competitions headline the afternoon show beginning with the Whip Speed and Accuracy Exhibition Competition, the world’s first Bullwhip Fast Draw contest. Plus, there is a brand new contest taken straight from the big screen.

The Masked Man will make an appearance on Saturday during the contest events from Noon – 2 PM!

In the spirit of Dr. Jones’ proficiency, this year’s Showcase competition will include a special “blind fast draw,” where whip artists must mimic the move used in the film to turn, draw their holstered whip and shoot at a target with speed and accuracy. In 1981, a fedora-wearing, leather-clad archaeologist threw the crack heard round the world when he “whipped” a pistol from the hand of a jungle guide. At the beginning of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Indiana Jones demonstrated his skills with the holstered fast-draw of a 10-foot bullwhip, all while having to spin around to take aim first. Watch a video clip!

“With the popularity of Indiana Jones among western performers, particularly whip artists, it’s odd this hasn’t been done before,” says Deer, who holds multiple, national whip speed and accuracy titles and is the director of The Whip Artistry Studio, the only permanent whip training facility in America. Contests begin at 1 p.m., followed immediately by a matinee performance at 2PM and evening show at 5PM.

The event is sponsored by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd., The Whip Artistry Studio and the Annie Oakley Festival Committee. All performances are family friendly and presented on the grounds of the Annie Oakley Festival. For links to the festival and sneak previews of the performers plus more information go online to ohiowesternarts.org.

Production video from a few years ago showing some of the event.


Those thrilling days of yesteryear

In Children and Family, Entertainment, Media, Movies, National News, Opinion, sociology, television, Uncategorized on July 9, 2013 at 8:39 am

DIH LOGOThe Lone Ranger first debuted in 1933 from the studios of WXYZ radio in Detroit, Michigan. Created by station owner George W. Trendle and writer Fran Striker, the character is said to have been based on the exploits of Bass Reeves, a real life federal peace officer who worked in Indian Territory during the late 1870s. Accompanied by his trusty Indian sidekick, Tonto, and themed by the thrilling rhythm of Gioachino Rossini’s operatic William Tell Overture, The Lone Ranger became an immediate success.

By the time that last surviving ranger hit the airways Wild West lore had been incredibly popular for more than two decades, particularly in dime novels, on the radio and in traveling shows. Originally aimed at children, it is estimated that more than half the audience for the program were adults, many of whom had grown up with stories about western legends like Billy the Kid, Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp.

Unlike his historical counterparts who clearly had bad sides to their character, The Lone Ranger would be the ultimate good guy, with a mask to both maintain his anonymity and help confound corrupt government officials as to his true nature. In order to keep continuity for the character, the original writers created a set of guidelines that established who and what The Lone Ranger is meant to be. Some of the guidelines were a little silly, but others far ahead of their time.

For example, one of the rules stated that the Ranger would never be pitted against an adversary who was not American so as to avoid criticism from minority groups. In other words, it was already practicing political correctness. Another said that he could never drink or smoke and any “saloon” scenes had to be portrayed as cafes with waiters serving food instead of bartenders pouring drinks. One of the most interesting was a rule that stated he would always use perfect grammar and diction, devoid of slang and colloquialisms.

Many people who remember those days believe that actor William Conrad, star of the 1970s P.I. show, “Cannon,” was the original voice of The Lone Ranger on radio, but that is not so. In fact, Conrad voiced another famous western lawman, Gunsmoke’s Marshall Matt Dillon.

In 1949, the show made the ultimate leap from radio to the fledgling technology known as television, with Clayton Moore donning the famous mask and Native American actor Jay Silverheels as Tonto. After eight seasons on ABC, two of which with a different actor in the lead role, the show was cancelled in 1957. A year later, a theatrical feature was released starring the TV actors in a new adventure but the demand for the masked man never quite returned to its former pitch, though a couple of other failed attempts were made to return him to both the theatre and the small screen.

In 1981, a big screen version of The Lone Ranger was met with the harshest of criticism and dismal box office receipts. The movie failed partly because it was just a bad film, but mostly because the producers sued former star, Clayton Moore, to forbid him from wearing the signature mask in public appearances. Who says there’s no such thing as bad press?

The most recent incarnation of the Masked Man hit the silver screen this summer as a tongue-in-cheek Disney flick featuring Armie Hammer as Ranger John Reid (The Lone Ranger) and Johnny Depp as his trusted Indian partner. Unfortunately the campy tone that worked so well for Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean series falls flat in this film, detracting from the nature of the characters and overshadowing the story.

Disney had the opportunity here to introduce two beloved characters of Americana to a new generation. But, instead of using the elements that made the show a success originally, they changed the formula and merely created another summer flop from a classic franchise. Hopefully, The Lone Ranger has not forever ridden off into the sunset and will get another chance to let audiences experience, “a cloud of dust and a hardy ‘Hi-Yo Silver!’”