Monday, June 17, 2013

Let me look at your chest.

Such were the words of Johnny Crawford, also known as Mark McCain from the Rifleman TV series in the 1960s, directed at Ella as she stood in line for his autograph at the Memphis Film Festival in Tunica, MS, last week.

To be fair, Ella was wearing a snazzy Grizzly Adams t-shirt (co-designed by me and Ella), but the innocent inappropriateness of the comment amused me.

I do that all the time, I quipped.  My purposely suggestive retort went over the "star's" head, but it cracked up his younger assistant.

Rifleman's "Mark McCain" would have been taken
to the woodshed for his comment about Ella's chest
Johnny Crawford, on the other hand, enjoyed interacting
with the fans
The 67-year-old Crawford was just one of many former TV cowboys in attendance at the three-day festival, which also featured Dan Haggarty (Grizzly Adams), Duncan Regehr (Zorro), and Tim Considine and David Stollery (Spin and Marty).  The daughter of Clayton Moore (The Long Ranger) and the son of Guy Williams Jr. (Zorro, Lost in Space) also showed up to talk about their famous parents.

Ella and I last attended the annual event in 2011, and I wasn’t real keen on returning because, frankly, to me, the trip was boring.  It was a long drive to the Memphis, TN, area and there really wasn’t much to do after you got the stars’ autographs.  This year, though, organizers moved the festival to Sam’s Town casino in Tunica, MS, which at least promised the lure of losing my money on video poker and getting plied with free drinks in the process.  Speaking of drinks, Ella usually has one drink per year, but this year, she had two Sex on the Beach cocktails while playing the slot machines.  Unfortunately, while the drinks might have loosened Ella up, the machines held tight to our money.

Before we left home, Ella had compiled a list of thrift shops along the way, so we turned the trip into sort of a working vacation.  It made the long trip even longer, but I managed to snag a few sellables along the way.

I also decided to pay close attention to the dealer room at the festival.  During our last visit, I snagged a CD signed by two of the stars for $20, and sold it for $200.  This year, I didn’t have any such luck, although I am pressuring Ella to let me sell the Bonanza/Ponderosa collectible toy (est. value: $150) that she found.  She is resisting.

While in the dealer room, I also shifted gears from potential buyer to potential seller, and I tried to talk shop with as many of the sellers as I could.  Many travel from festival to festival, apparently making a decent living from overpriced (my humble opinion) western collectibles, books, DVDs, CDs, photos, curios, etc. One dealer spoke freely about buying her items wholesale, even going as far as giving me the name of the company, and that she did so well during her first festival that she decided to go whole hog, so to speak, and to attend as many as she could.

Of course, this set my entrepreneurial wheels in motion, and Ella and I discussed renting vendor space next year if we can accumulate enough western and/or cowboy stuff.  Vendors pay $120 per table, so it’s not an expensive proposition, and with a room full of excited buyers freely spending their money, it could be a nice little one-time money maker, or even a ticket to a new ongoing revenue stream.

On the home front, sales were almost non-existent because I put all my listings, including Ebay, on vacation.  However, I did accept two best offers while still on vacation, so it wasn’t a total financial washout.

This week, Ella will continue categorizing the kids books, and I need to get all my auction collectibles from two weeks ago listed.  As usual, too little to do and too much time.

Wait a minute, reverse that.

Have a productive week.


  1. What thrift stores did you visit in Memphis?

    1. We never made it up to Memphis, unfortunately. The stores were between Georgia and Tunica, MS.