ROY ROGERS AND ANDY DEVINE
"For my 11th birthday my stepmother who I loved dearly, had arranged for me to meet one of my then favorite childhood heros, the cowboy-western movie star, Roy Rogers. Prior to the death of my grandfather, my grandmother and grandfather lived in the small California mountain community of Big Bear Lake. The two knew Andy Devine, legendary movie sidekick, who owned a sort of locals travern on the road from Big Bear Village to Big Bear City. Through that connection my stepmother put together the plan for me to meet Rogers."(source)
ONCE ANDY DEVINE'S OLD SPORTSMAN'S TAVERN IN
BIG BEAR LAKE. TODAY THE CAPTAINS ANCHORAGE.
HOMAGE TO ANDY AND OTHERS INSIDE THE TAVERN
The reason for all the extra effort on everybody's part for me to meet Rogers on my birthday, especially so my stepmother, was because, like so many young boys growing up during my era I loved cowboy-western movies and the actors that showed up in them. As well, right up there with westerns were Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies, especially Tarzan and the Huntress, Warner Brothers cartoons, Leonardo Da Vinci, astronomy, the cosmos, rockets to the Moon and Mars, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, along with a myriad superheroes, especially the 'mortal' type such as the Spirit and Captain Midnight. But still it remained, the cowboy western movie stars and heroes such as the Durango Kid, Lash LaRue, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers, their horses Champion and Trigger, and their sidekicks Smiley Burnette, Gabby Hayes, and Andy Devine were the ones that in the end interacted in my life in real life.
The "sort of locals travern" on the road from Big Bear Village to Big Bear City mentioned in the quote at the top of the page that allowed my grandparents to know Andy Devine was built in 1946, opening a year later by Devine as the Sportsman's Tavern. With no offense intended toward the on-screen persona or personal integrity of the actor, but more or less taking a cue by harkening back to the old days of the wild and wooly western saloon, the place gained a well earned reputation as Big Bear's den of inequity. It had 35 slot machines upstairs, not to mention a bevy of always-willing call girls. When word came down that the county sheriff and his deputies had crossed over the dam or on their way up up the back grade, word spread quickly. The taveren, located on the main road about halfway between the only two valley entrances available in those days, which were miles apart, always seemed to have time to shove the machines into a hidden backroom while the prostitutes quickly disappeared down the back stairs into the woods.
Construction of the Sportsman's Tavern began in the late 40s by two men with ties to the aerospace industry. The restaurant-tavern, built in two stories, sported kitchens on both floors with a dumbwaiter between them, a bar, a dance floor, large stone fireplaces and cabins out back for --- well, lets just say extra curricular activities. The slot machines were upstairs on rails and wheels that allowed them to conveniently and quickly disappear by sliding them backwards into compartments hidden by secret panels in the walls. So elaborate were their plans that the two men ran out money before they were able to complete it, and that is when it is thought Andy Devine stepped in.
In an interesting tid-bit of information, it should be noted that the slot machines were eventually removed from the Sportsman's Tavern after word got out they were going to be confiscated, ending up unbeknownst except to a few, being a hidden in a secret storage room located in a lumber yard in Big Bear City. A few years later my stepmother's ranch foreman Leo and another man, with me tagging along, took a big old truck, actually an old canvas covered four wheel drive World War II army truck, up the back grade into Big Bear and with the help of a couple of other men already there, loaded the machines into the back of the truck after which they were eventually installed in a secret hidden room on her ranch.(see)
For more on the slot machines and what happened to them including my eventual connection to them and ties to the mob after my stepmother's ranch mysteriously burned to the ground please see:
SLOT MACHINES, ROSELLI, AND THE FBI
Presently in operation under the name Captainís Anchorage, the establishment had been closed for awhile in the 1960s. From 1946-1952 it was known as the Sportsmanís Tavern with the ownership title listed under the name Sportsmanís Village, Inc. Title was transferred into Devine's name in May of 1952 when a deed was prepared albeit left unrecorded until 1959. Devine held title until August of 1966. Most people pretty much agree that although listed under Sportsmanís Village, Inc. from the beginning, Devine was a "silent partner" in all of the goings on of the tavern up until 1959, with an initial financial interest in it from 1947. Devine died in 1977.
As for my meeting with Roy Rogers, which was actually the first of three, occurred on the occasion of he and his horse Trigger having their footprints set into cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater. Three years later I had graduated to meeting Albert Einstein.
COWBOY CODE OF THE WEST
GAMBLING IN BIG BEAR AND THE SPORTSMAN'S TAVERN
AND NOW, FROM ROY TO BUCK:
1946 BUCK ROGERS U-235 ATOMIC PISTOL. ONE OF THE FEW THINGS FROM
MY CHILDHOOD. TEN YEARS LATER IT WAS D. T. SUZUKI'S ZEN BUDDHISM.
(for ray gun info click image)
SHIP IN THE DESERT FROM MY FAVORITE GENE AUTRY COMIC, #52, JUNE 1951
(please click image)
HOW HE BECAME A MOUNTIE
THE- ONLY OTHER THINGS- FROM- MY CHILDHOOD
A COLLECTION OF CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT DECODERS
THE ROSWELL RAY GUN
1847 COLT WALKER
RETURN TO EITHER:
THE WANDERLING, CONTINUED
UFO OVER L.A.
THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES
ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL
Both Roy Rogers and Gene Autry made a number of movies using the mountain property where my two first cousins lived for background scenes and atmosphere. My girl cousin even had a bit part or two in a couple of their films. As the young boy that I was at the time, and as an avowed cowboy-western movie fan, meeting Rogers was something way up there on my list. Since both of my cousins had met them an knew them on a personal basis, when we crossed paths I never heard the end of it. Even though my grandmother detested my stepmother, who I was living with at the time --- albeit under the auspices of my Uncle --- she still loved me, so she arranged, through Devine, for me to meet Rogers --- then informed my stepmother who followed through on the arrangements.
The funny part of it all was that my stepmother already knew Devine and even had a business dealings with him, or at least his proxy. When she caught wind of my desire to meet Rogers she could have set it up, and especially so through Devine, but she never thought of it. She did make sure my grandmother got credit for putting it all into place, however.
As it was, publicity wise, Rogers would never have allowed any meeting between he and I IF it was known my Stepmother was behind it or if she was involved. Going through Devine as set up by my grandmother was the perfect way to go. I realize I am being a little cryptic here, but if you go to the (see) link at the end of this paragraph you will get where I am coming from --- I will tell you that it had more to do with the 35 slot machines and bevy of always-willing call girls at Devine's Sportsman's Tavern than nearly anything else.
What is quoted below is from a page associated with the link shown just beneath the quote. The quote should help make some of what I have presented above including Footnote  seem less cryptic. The "she" referred to in 'what she called a ranch' in the first sentence refers to my stepmother. Again, please be assured there is no offense intended toward the on-screen persona or personal integrity of Andy Devine, an ardent exemplar and defendant of the Cowboy Code of the West, but more or less takes a cue by harkening back to the old days of the wild and wooly western saloons:
"(D)uring my first full summer there, what she called a 'ranch' --- even though as a ranch it was a little on the sparse side in what I would call standard ranch fare --- had been completely rebuilt and refurbished with a rather long fully stocked bar, food service facilities, swimming pool, dance hall, live entertainment, along with rodeos and boxing matches on the weekends. It also had at least two dozen one-armed-bandit slot machines in a secret hidden room, plus like I like to say, a flock of ever present hostesses --- several of whom took me under their wing and one or two that may have been slightly more friendly than they should have been considering my young age, the youngest at the time at the very least being six years older than me."
THE CODE MAKER, THE ZEN MAKER
SHANGRI-LA, SHAMBHALA, GYANGANJ, BUDDHISM AND ZEN