Past Appearances - Scottsdale 2004

Scottsdale 2004 was again packed with people and panel discussions. Since many of our 'group' (whoever watches this website and attends an event) couldn't make it this year, there was no big 'dinner, though I did get to have cocktails with Robert and Marilynn one evening, along with another fan, Virginia, and I was graciously invited to dinner with them the following evening. But the highlights of these events are the panel discussions. For the sake of those of you who can't attend one of these festivals, I wish all these panels were taped, as they had been in Tombstone. Robert and Bob Fuller got into an interesting discussion on some of the best "kissers" among their leading ladies, which would have made a great tape! No, I won't tell you who Robert nominated, you'll just have to come to a festival and ask him yourself! 

Past Appearances - Scottsdale 2003

Robert and Marilynn Robert, Alicia and Marilynn
The "Festival of the West" is an enormous event with something for everyone! I generally helped setup Bob's table each day and helped to 'man' it when Robert and Marilynn were off eating or shopping, and believe me, the shopping was great! Robert did have his CD's available at the table, as well as photos, and they all sold quite well. While I was there, I finalized the details for selling autographed photos and the CD's through the website with Robert, so look for those pages soon. On Friday, Robert was running low on several of his most popular pictures, so with the help of Alinda and Glenn we were finally able to locate a place that could make good copies at reasonable costs. Since I was having photos made, I talked Robert into letting me make copies of the 'beefcake' photo of him from "Picnic" (see the "Theater Page"). Robert didn't think it would sell to anyone outside the 'group,' but was he wrong! I will have that photo available on the website, too.
One of many panel discussions Panel discussion with Will Smith, Diamond Farnsworth, and Peter Brown
One of the highlights of the whole festival was the many panel discussions with the stars. Robert was on five panels, but I'm sorry to say they didn't appear to be taping them. One of the best panel discussions involved only Robert Horton and Robert Fuller on the "Making of Wagon Train." They were both very supportive of one another and told some funny stories. First, as we fans all know, they made it very clear that Fuller did NOT replace Horton when he left Wagon Train. Denny Miller had been brought in during Robert's final year as the 'replacement,' and sometime during the following season, Robert Fuller joined the cast as the new scout. Both Roberts had a story to tell about filming an episode with Rhonda Fleming. Robert Fuller told of the episode he did with her, where she was a 'dance hall girl,' and obviously dressed for the part in a rather low cut gown. When the directors saw the day's film, they called him in and told him they would have to re-shoot one long scene. When Fuller saw the film, the reason was obvious. His eyes never left Rhonda's chest! Robert Horton said that when he married Marilynn and she called her parents to tell them, her father, who was quite taken with Miss Fleming, exclaimed, "But I just saw him kissing Rhonda Fleming!" 
Alinda, Glenn, Virginia, Mel, Fran and Randy, Marilynn's back Randy's back, Marilynn, Mel, Fran and Glenn
Toni, Robert, and Wanda Joyce, Elizabeth and Wanda
Fans traveled from all over the country to attend this event, but the undisputed winner of our "distance award" has to go to Toni and Elizabeth, who traveled all the way from England to meet Robert. I had originally arranged, with the kind help of Joyce, who lives in Arizona, to have all of us 'diehard' fans take Bob and Marilynn to dinner. It turned out that they took us all to dinner, and a more wonderful time I can't imagine! Our gang consisted of: Alinda and her husband, Glenn, Fran and her hubby, Mel, Elizabeth and Toni from England, Joyce, Randy, Virginia, Wanda, and myself; "Horton's Harem" has grown.  Marilynn had 'western style' key chains for us all as 'party favors,' and I brought small bottles of real Vermont Maple Syrup for everyone, as well as t-shirts with Robert's picture on them. The dinner, held at a lovely Mexican restaurant recommended by Joyce, was the highlight of the entire four days. Of course Joyce and Bob had to explain to all us non-southwesterners what half the food on the menu even was, but it was all great! The evening ended with many hugs and kisses all around! 

Sunday, the last day of the festival was rainy and cool. At times the torrential rains actually had small rivers flowing under the tents and we found ourselves walking through a half-inch of water. But it was hard to complain when they need the rain so badly in that part of the country. We all managed to have a good time anyway, and Randy even got Robert to sign the t-shirt I gave her WHILE SHE WAS WEARING IT! 

All good things must end, and so too the Festival of the West finally came to an end on Sunday afternoon. More hugs and kisses and thanks to all who attended for a wonderful time.

Robert signing Randy's t-shirt
Virginia's Scottsdale Comments
The Scottsdale festival was a great holiday, an extended fun-filled party.
  • The first key ingredient of this fun is that Robert and Marilynn were extremely gracious to the fans throughout the festival. One small example is that Robert was very quick to greet me, calling me by my name, the first morning of the festival, even though the only time we had ever met before was in Tombstone last year.
  • Saturday's dinner was the special big event. Robert and Marilynn intentionally changed seats a couple of times to give everyone an opportunity to talk with both of them. As a memento of the dinner, Marilynn gave everyone a cowboy boot key chain.  Alicia brought Vermont maple syrup for everyone and decorated T-shirts. (Anyone who has seen me at one of these festivals knows that I like T-shirts.) The evening ended with much happy hugging.
  • Another joyful aspect is how much the fans treated each other like long-lost friends, even if they had never met before. There was much eating breakfast together, sharing rides, eating supper together, and just hanging around together chatting.  I especially enjoyed being able to visit with Alicia and with new friends Fran and Mel.  The whole gang was as friendly and helpful a group as anyone could ever hope to meet.  More good-bye hugs Sunday and Monday.  (Does this mean that high-quality entertainers attract high-quality fans?)
  • Even the weather was memorable and closely followed the forecast reported by Joyce, our Phoenix area contact.  Thursday was sunny; part of the time I was a little warm wearing a T-shirt and slacks. Friday and Saturday felt cooler; the sky got cloudier and cloudier.  Sunday was colder and rainy, starting with drizzle, but with several episodes of heavy driving rain in the late morning and afternoon.  Several parts of the floor of the big tents became small creeks, with water flowing through them.  According to some sources, Phoenix had more rain Sunday than all of last year.


Fran's Comments on the "Festival of the West"

The Festival of the West was very interesting with many singing groups and soloists, many vendors selling fascinating western items, many riding and shooting events, and even  staged gunfights, but the very best part was meeting some of the stars of yesteryear in the celebrity corner and hearing them talk in the panel discussions. Robert Horton was asked questions in several of them and had interesting memories and incidents to share. I was particularly pleased to see the panel discussion about how Wagon Train was made with both Robert Horton and Robert Fuller answering questions. They are both great guys and very cordial with each other.

Here are some things I learned from these discussions:

1) John Ford's "The Wagon Master" was the concept on which "Wagon Train" was based.

2) Robert Horton was an extra in a 1951 film called "The Tanks are Coming."

3) Frank McGrath, who played Charlie Wooster, the cook, was also a stuntman. He did some of the stunt work for Robert Horton in the films The Pony Soldier and Apache War Smoke, long before Wagon Train.

4) Terry Wilson (Bill Hawks) was also a stuntman, and both he and Frank were the only two characters who were in the series for the entire eight-year run.

5) Denny Miller was a former "Tarzan."

6) At the height of the TV Westerns in the early 1960's, there were 32 westerns in "Prime Time!"

7) Both Robert Horton and Robert Fuller only received residuals for the first 5 reruns of the show, and nothing after that.

Elizabeth and Toni with Robert Alinda and Alicia with Robert
Hi everyone!

It was great to see you all in person at the Festival of the West, 2003.
Elizabeth and I started out from Birmingham Airport in England on
Thursday, the 13th of March at 10.45 AM and after a 6 hour delay at New York
Airport finally arrived in Phoenix about 1.30 A.M. What a long day!

Now to the festival, it was absolutely fantastic!  We were walking around
and suddenly spotted Robert on his own. We went up to him, and he could not
have greeted us better, gave us a hug and was really friendly to us.  The
next three days just seem to go so quickly (too quick!) The meal with you
all was perfect; we really enjoyed it very much, even if I found the chili dip
a bit hot. My tongue is still burning!

Both Elizabeth and I took loads of photos, and every time we look at
them will remember you all and your kindness to the two ladies from England.
  It has been our dream for over 40 years to meet Robert in person, and
special thanks to The Robert Horton Website and Alicia who must spend hours
on the computer. Our dream has come true.

The weather was very good apart from torrential rain on Sunday (it poured
down even by English standards).

Once again many thanks to all of "Horton's Harem" who made us so welcome and
looked after us for the three days we were in Scottsdale. We will never
forget you all.

Loads of hugs,

Report From Elizabeth

Our flight from England was oh, so worth the long distance.  At my arrival at the western festival there Robert stood - just the same as he was 40 years ago when I last met him - except his beautiful auburn hair was grey (as we all are).  That special smile and voice, and sense of humor was just the same.  It was wonderful to see Robert and Marilynn once again after so long. They made Toni and me so very welcome.  The evening meal we had was very, very special - sitting next to Robert for a meal was beyond my wildest dreams.  I shall always remember that special evening for as long as I live.  It was fantastic.
My grateful thanks to everyone who helped us to get to the festival and back to the hotel and for making us so very welcome.  I have never been to a Western Festival before - I found it very fascinating and quite an experience.  I enjoyed every minute and, of course, came home with many "goodies" to keep forever.
My thanks go to Alicia for all her very hard work in all her organization of this event.  I hope to keep in contact with all the friends we made.  Perhaps the next time I see Robert and Marilynn will not be another "40" years.
Grateful thanks to all and my love
Elizabeth Holmes,  Preston, England



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