SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Sippin' Booze With Tex Ritter Along The Elk, Outlaw Buddy Al Jennings Once Lived In Calhoun


"I do not know what fate awaits me
I only know I must be brave
For I must face a man who hates me
Or die a coward, a craven coward
Or die a coward in my grave." - High Noon

"Oh, the wayward wind is a restless wind
A restless wind that yearns to wander
And I was born the next of kin
The next of kin to the wayward wind." - Wayward Wind

By Bob Weaver

Years ago I wrote in a ledger that I got drunk with country music and cowboy movie star Tex Ritter at Clay's Golden Delicious Apple Festival in 1973, slugging down some beer and sippin' from a jug.

I was working as a mortician for Carl Wilson Funeral Home when Tex was brought to Clay to be the Parade Marshal for the very first Golden Delicious Festival, where the "world's largest apple pie" was baked.

More recently I was questioned regarding my note about drinking with Tex, my friends certainly validating that I got drunk, but I think Tex did too.

Fascinatingly, some of Tex's first cowboy movies were written by former outlaw and judge Al Jennings and featured in his 1936 films, he once living in Calhoun on Crummies Creek, Arnoldsburg.

See   OUTLAW FAMILY GRACED CALHOUN HILLS - Al Jennings Was Cowboy, Lawyer, Gunslinger, Train Robber, Jailbird, Evangelist, Politician, Author And Movie Man

Gettin' drunk with Tex out back of the ole funeral home, along the banks of the Mighty Elk. Sounds like a line for a country drinkin' song.

Tex was a real gentleman, willing to talk about our favorite old-time cowboy movie stars, and my personal appreciation for his down-to-earth renditions of songs that put him on the charts.

Rita Hayworth appeared with him in her first movie role in 1937.

A short time after spinning tales with Tex along the Elk, he died of a heart attack in 1974 at age 68.

Later, I got sober with the help of a lot of people, not a day too soon, and changed paths by starting and administrating drug and alcohol treatment centers for about 20 years.

Tex, who was a highly educated man, starred in 85 cowboy movies and recorded some of country musics most memorable songs.

Some of his hits include "Rye Whiskey" (1931), "Boll Weevil" (1945), "Wayward Wind," "Hillbilly Heaven," "You Are My Sunshine" (1946), and "High Noon" (1952), he did the theme for the film, one of the best westerns ever made. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. My favorite was his version of "The Wayward Wind."

Today's generation will recall Tex's son John Ritter, his TV comedy career and untimely death.