In the Big Valley of California, home of the Barkley clan (Nick, Heath, Jarrod, there's a fire in the barn!), fantasyland known as Pollardville, consisting of the Chicken Kitchen Restaurant, Ghost Town and Palace Showboat Theater. This institution, near and dear to many a heart including this one, will soon be no more. The Ville is going to that great roadside attraction home in the sky and, by this time next year, will exist only as a sweet memory. Since this is indeed the grand finally, a big reunion is in the works for next year, which I will be attending in case anyone had any doubt. Tracking down folks that have graced the Showboat stage, Ghost Town streets or worked at the Ville in any capacity has been quite an education in itself. (It's amazing what Google will turn up) I am humbled by the amount of my fellow performers that have continued in this business I call show. In the past, I've mentioned my friends Grant-Lee Phillips and Bill Humphreys. Here are some more:
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Artis "A.J." Joyce, the man who schooled me in the joys of the bass guitar, has been tearing it up for years playing with blues artists like Ron Hacker and the Hacksaws and on Charlie Musselwhite's Grammy nominated "Ace of Harps".
Kim Docter Luke , front-woman of what has been described as the "psycho country combo" Moonshine Willie, is another Palace Showboat player who shared the stage with...
Matt Kenney, he of The Matt Kenney Band down in SoCal aka Southern California. It's true....it's true! The one and only Matt Chismo has his own band.
Along with his numerous radio gigs and voice-over work, my old pal Charlee Simons also has his own improv group down Fresno way called the Comedy Commandos.
D.W.Landingham has been adding more film roles to his resume and is fulfilling a lifelong dream appearing in the western End of the Trail. (that's his picture above. I could be wrong, but I think his character's name is Winky)
Then of course there's Tom Amo, a published author (Silence, available from Amazon, see the link to your right) and playwright (Bob's Your Auntie, among many others) AND ran his own theater company. Geez!
This is but an inkling of the talent that passed through the Pollardville portal. There are innumerable others that have performed in one form or another since their stay at the Ville and have had their own triumphs that are equally well-deserved. Some of them were spawned on the Showboat stage, orchestra pit or Ghost Town streets and honed their skills over time. Others merely made a short pit stop, making an undeniable impression before they moved on. Regardless of how long they stayed, they were all essential elements in the legacy of Pollardville. The buildings will soon be gone, but the legend will remain as long as the memories survive.