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The Global Film Village: Back in the saddle, at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum by Marla Lewin

Sunday there was an open house sponsored by LA magazine at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum.  The George Montgomery room was currently filled with elaborate stage outfits worn by Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and other notable country western stars mostly designed by Nudie Cohn.  There was a long coat worn by Bob Dylan and original hand written lyrics of classic songs and photos also on display. Video is used at multiple locations to enhance the experience and place the viewer within the context of when these performances took place and their significance.


There are displays dedicated to Wild Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, and Roy Rodgers, once named Leonard Sly, who was the number one singing cowboy in the history of cowboy music.  The arrival of Gene Autry on the scene and his transformation of the traditional cowboy film into a new sensation is explained. Gene was a radio performer who kept his real name when was hired to sing in some cowboy movies. He became an instant star and helped revitalize the cowboy genre.  He sold more recordings of his music during this period than anyone except for Bing Crosby and his recording of “White Christmas.”


Collectables and exhibits include film clips of John Ford movies, John Wayne, Alan Ladd, Dale Evan, Howard Keel, as well as reproductions of western city centers.

Wagons, stage coaches and an early fire wagon along with an extensive period gun collection are also on display. Two examples of gatling guns are on exhibit one mounted on a wagon for mobility. A sign points out how these are still in use today by the military but mounted on helicopters. A full scale replica of the Gunfight at the OK Corral with the Earps and Doc Holiday facing off against outlaws is also presented.


There is a childrens room complete with kitchens and costumes where children can make believe they are apart of the era. The Autry is a good place to bring the family and adults can enjoy it as well for its focus on the myths and reality of the west. Exhibits are constantly rotated and there is currently an exhibit concerning extreme rock climbing in Yosemite also on display.


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About MarlaLewinGFV

Lewin Marla
(Global Film Village)

Marla is a producer, playwright, screenwriter, publicist and now a journalist. She attends 12 to 20 film festivals per year. She has spoken on filmmaking at many festivals including Cannes and SXSW.


Los Angeles

United States

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