The Rojo Family Trip
to the Gene Autry Friends Fan Club Convention
in Los Angeles, August 2007

Aug 4th, 2007
Opening Dinner
Aug 5th, 2007
Melody Ranch
Aug 5th, 2007
Pool Party
Aug 6th, 2007
Aug 7th, 2007
Open Day
Aug 8th, 2007
Autry's House
Aug 8th, 2007
Gene's Office

Aug.-6-Museum Day:

Started the day with the Days Inn's coffee and rolls with a bit of chatting with Billy, Doug and Jimmy and others that were staying there while waiting for the bus. We loaded up my van with our group that included Billy Holcomb and followed the bus to the museum.

Into the museum entrance there was Boyd Magers and Johnny Western talking about something on microphones that we missed but seemed like they were patting each other on the backs for something. Maxine took over and steered the gang over to the Autry statue in the court yard. She talked about the tile program Jackie set up (tiles with names special to Gene) then did a dedication to Rose Addison talking about Rose and Ray and the fan club and telling where Rose's tile was in front of the statue. Johnny Western then did a tribute song for Rose and after that Gene came over the loudspeaker talking then singing a song that was really nice. Have that all on Video.

Remember the museum is closed on Mondays but Jackie had it opened just for us fans and depending on who you talk to the members ran all the way from 130 to 180 of us there that day. In the museum Maxine tried to give out the rules of the day but it seemed the gang was already plowing into the 5 hall display area. Maxine gave a holler to say no pictures till KTLA finished doing something in the halls but that didn't last long and the flashes started. We were to tour in the same way as Melody Ranch in groups of 3 and we followed our guide hearing him talk about all the halls and why they were set up the way they were. An interesting note here that Jerry found out from this guy later and he was thinking of trying to set up a road show of the display to some major cities around the country after it ended at the museum. The 5 different display halls were in line with Gene's life and was done really well seeing lots of Gene's personal items and personal times. Gene's Champion trailer was the center piece of the display and the story about its restoration was quite interesting. It being painted all white when they first got it then removing different coats revealing Flying A Ranch and Melody Ranch so they showed both time frames and their different colors. KTLA (Gene's old TV station) then came in and did interviews with different fans and had a big sing-a-long with Johnny Western doing .Back in the saddle.. A short 30 second clip was on TV the next morning. I got my mug shot in there along with Susan.

Lunch of cold-cuts, fruits and soft drinks was then being served. To the surprise of all Joanne and Monte Hale were there with Joanne doing a talk on how the museum got its start by Jackie. Then a short talk from two museum staffers. Monte's leading lady Adrian Booth did a few stories about Monte but got cut short by Karla saying she would talk more at the star panel at the Wells Fargo Theater later. The fans then started mobbing Monte for pictures and he sure was beaming the whole time. He looked very frail but am sure the fans did his health an up-lifting.

Karla then gave us a time 1:30 PM to be in front of Gene's statue for a group picture and before the whole gang Maxine made an announcement that $300 of the fan's fees would be used for the museum's school kids bus program to help pay for the busing of kids from their schools to the museum. Maxine had a large poster board of the check to show all. Then the picture got taken.

The next event was the Star panel in the Wells Fargo Theater with Boyd Magers hosting it and asking the panel questions about their life with Gene and others. He had Billy get up to tell a story first and at that time his cell phone went off and all getting a big laugh out of that. The panel left to right was House Peters Jr., Marilyn Tuttle, Cheryl Rogers, Tommy Cook, Boyd Magers, Dick Jones, Gloria Henry, Adrian Booth, Johnny Western and Tommy Hawkins. Billy Holcomb did the star name layout for me. After the talk the fans mobbed the group for pictures and autographs and upon leaving the Theater a big surprise was all the fans were given a one year subscription to the museum.

We did some pictures in the statue area with a few friends and Jerry got Holly to do a book signing with me snapping away then took a few pictures of the big banner they had on the building outside the main entrance. You can see Karla running to catch the bus. The buses were loading and we packed up our gang and followed the bus back to the Sportsman.

The night's dinner was set up for a USO type of 1940's show that we didn't go to and opted to have dinner at the Sportsman. With Billy in tow we found Gene's and Monte's booth was taken but had a nice meal with Billy. It being his last day with us since he was flying back to Texas at 7am the next day. Again his story telling and one liners had us all laughing the whole evening. We bid Billy farewell and walked back to the motel calling it a day and what a day it was!

Museum banner outside museum

Autry National Center

Boyd and Johnny Western saying a few words

Maxine talking about Rose Addison dedication tile

Johnny singing a song about Rose

Rose's Tile

Elvin and Flo checking Rose's tile

Gene's Tile

Marker on the Museum wall

Museum gift store

Neila getting Holly to sign some books

Dick Jones sign a book for Holly

Champs trailer restored

The other side

Main Hall poster

Display poster large one

Display poster small

Gene's angle shirt

Gene's logo for his TV station

Display Gene on the cover of Forbes

Herbert Yates painting very large

Billy checking out a Theater picture

Jerry taking in the curator of the museum

Me by a nice display

Jerry by the same display

Telling Jerry that saddle is a brother to mine

Billy touching Champ

Nice display

Army display

Another view of the Army display

Baseball display

Permanent display

Grand old Martin guitar

The whole display

Gene's wardrobe

More shirts

Toy display

Leather goods

Gene's watch

Madison Square Garden saddle

Record display

rodeo display

Movie set display

Gene with his tux on

Main Hall Times Square picture very large

A permanent western display

Permanent Silver saddle display

Permanent Western display

Permanent Western display

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Gene's statue getting a cleaning

Maxine trying to get the gang quite

Maxine displaying check for the bus program

Group photo being taken

Monte's leading lady talking about Monte at lunch

Monte all smiles with all the attention

Me getting a hand shake from Monte

Monte's table getting swamped

Elvin getting a hand shake from Monte

Monte signing books Dick Jones and Joanne in back

Dinning area wall painting

Dinning area wall painting

Faye and Jimmy Glover with Karla

KTLA interviewing John Bray-Warner

Jimmy watching John and Linda Warner get interviewed

Maxine watching John Buttram do his thing

KTLA's Gale Anderson

The Wells Fargo panel of stars

Billy Holcomb telling a story

Neila with Dick Jone after the gig

Neila with Cherly Rogers

Panel getting overrun with fans

Kevin having a chat with Horse Peters Jr.

A shot of the whole gang there

Me resting with Holly's book

Holly signing books for Susan and Jerry

Ray Addison with Jerry and Neila

Billy holding up Gene in the court

My gang getting ready to leave

The banner on the museum

The buses packed and heading out

The Days Inn gang after the museum gig