Collecting Autographs From the Classic Stars
My Collection of Classic Autographs
Special Treasure Collections
Collecting valuable antiques, coins, stamps, sports cards, comics, costume jewelry and celebrities’ autographs are a good example of special treasure collections that start out as hobbies, but may end up as something much more. They end up as one of your favorite things to occupy your time. You find yourself more and more involved in hunting for a special item only you can appreciate. You and your fellow collector, that is.
Of all the hobbies I have pursued over the years writing is still my most held interest, but my second fun hobby has got to be collecting. I have collected many things that ended up being discarded or gave away for lack of storage space. Smaller treasures are much less demanding in taking over your house. So although I still keep plenty of bird houses here and there from a previous hobby I have given up collecting larger items.
Gary Clark and Clu Galugar
Cast Picture signed by James Drury, Roberta Shore & Randy Boone and Diane Roter
Don Quine and Sara Lane
When Collecting Bug Began
While on a road trip to meet one of my favorite childhood heroes, James Drury-The Virginian, I began much more than a love for travel, I developed an overwhelming urge to meet more celebrities and collect more autograph pictures. The classic television stars are among the nicest people you’ll ever meet and as many people are unaware of, they make themselves available for social events.
The first event I was to attend was a charity driven affair. James Drury was to be honorary guest at a Charity Ride for Veteran’s Open Horse Show in Swanton, Ohio on October 1 & 2, 2011. I was so pleased to finally get to meet him. A privilege that was not likely for someone like me, who seldom travels. I was lucky my son Jason and his wife, Amy volunteered to drive me there. I not only got to meet James Drury, but he autographed two pictures for me personally. An extra special event was that my son got a snapshot of me and my childhood hero who I had just shared a much needed hug with. Better late than never is a very true statement. This one memory is embedded deep into my heart and soul.
James Drury and Doug McClure
The Memphis Film Festival
Come spring we went on even a longer journey where I was to meet more classic television stars at The Memphis Film Festival- A Gathering of the Guns 4, it ran from May 30-June 2, 2012 in Olive Branch, Mississippi. More stars, more autographs and more memories which were enough to last a lifetime. It was a special affair with celebrations in place for the fiftieth anniversary of the classic western television show, The Virginian. This time James Drury was accompanied by many cast members of the show. Joining him was Roberta Shore, Randy Boone, Gary Clarke, L. Q. Jones, Sara Lane, Don Quine, and Diane Rotor. Securing an autograph from them with a friendly meeting and joining them for The Virginian 50th Anniversary Posse Roundup Social was like a dream come true.
Other guests and classic shows that were honored at the 2012 Memphis Film Festival included Cheyenne with Clint Walker, The Daniel Boone Show, with Darby Hinton, Veronica Cartwright, and Pedro Collins; The Rifleman with Bobby Crawford and Jeff Connors (son of Chuck Connors), Casey Jones with Bobby Clark, Wyatt Earp with Hugh O’Brian along with many others there to greet their fans. Western shows are still very much desired entertainment today as they were fifty years ago.
Darby Hinton, Veronica Cartwright and Pedro Collins
Hugh O'Brian and Chuck Connors with son Jeff Connors
What I Took Home
I left that festival with a fine collection of autograph pictures as well as a couple of good books. Gary Clarke released his book “How it Happened” by Gary Clarke with pictures and stories of how he got started as an actor. He left me a special thank you note inside the cover. It is a very good book reflecting much on Gary’s fine sense of humor and his well mannered behavior.
The second book I got at the festival is sort of The Virginian’s reference guide, “A History of Television’s The Virginian, 1962-1971” written by Paul Green I got from a vendor there. Paul gives us a behind the scenes look at this third longest running western and some description on each episode of the nine seasons. Both books are excellent and they surely deserve a “thumbs up”.
Clu Galugar (Sheriff Ryker, cast member of The Virginian) was not at the film festival, but he did attend the celebration held at the Autry Museum in California that year. I managed to get an autograph picture of him while he was there through a fan group I belong to called The Virginian Posse. I never got a chance to meet him, but he signed the picture to a beautiful lady. Compliments are always welcome even when given lightly. It was very thoughtful of him to agree to do all these extra autographs for our group and I believe each greeting was unique to the receiver. We all very much adore him and hope he now knows he is very welcome to all the upcoming events just as the rest of the cast are. It took a little coaxing to assure him he still has fans. A special thank you goes out to the whole Virginian cast for giving us your time. It is greatly appreciated.
Doug McClure and Bobby Clark
Other Means to Add to my Collection
Since the time I actually got to meet celebrities of my favorite classic television shows I have searched for other means to add to my collection. Internet finds have helped me get autograph pictures I would not be able to get otherwise. Some of my treasures are autograph pictures of favorites who are no longer with us. Doug McClure played Trampas on The Virginian. He and James Drury were the only two to see the series through all nine seasons. We lost Doug to Cancer back in 1995. I was able to get two nice autograph pictures from online sellers.
David Hartman (Season 7) and a Tim Matheson, (Season 8) autograph pictures are special additions to my collections, too. These pictures are not from the show of The Virginian, but are still a great find.
Recently I acquired an autograph picture of Delores Hart who starred in LOVING YOU with Elvis. The picture is of both of them, but only Hart’s signature appears on the picture. Delores Hart’s last work before joining the sisterhood was as a co-star on The Virginian’s first season episode, Mountain of the Sun. Of all the glamorous ladies to appear on the series, this was the only time the Virginian was to say, “I love you.”
Finding a Treasure
Autograph collecting is not a cheap hobby. Many autographs come with an expensive price tag. Most are affordable when meeting the celebrity in person or visiting their websites. Especially the classic stars, twenty or thirty dollars will buy you memories and a keepsake to be cherished many years to come. I can’t think of a more rewarding hobby than to mingle with the stars you grew up with or introducing them to the next generation of fans.
Autographs from deceased celebrities are extra valuable. The more famous a person becomes the more sought after for their autographs they are. If you manage to obtain such a treasure at a low price consider yourself lucky and certainly hang on to your prize and watch it increase in value. I’ve been lucky to find a couple of Doug McClure autographed pictures online and I have one of Chuck Connors I got from his son Jeff at the Memphis Film Festival in 2012. Jeff's added personal greeting to me makes it extra special. I was so heart broken to hear about Jeff's passing in February 2014. He was a great guy and is missed by many fans. These are my most prized possessions as far as autographs go. The ones of most value to me as a fan are, of course, the ones I got personally on those rare chances to meet my favorite stars.
I know my journeys’ may not take me to another event to obtain autographs from celebrities I get to meet in person. Visiting some of their official websites can be the next best thing. Having friends and family help can be another way to add to your collection. I’m only sharing one of my favorite things to collect. This is one hobby out of many I’ve had over the years and it is fairly new to me. I can see far in advance the rewards will be priceless.
Clint Walker and My son Jason and his wife Amy and I at Graceland
Adding to my Collection
I'm slowly adding to my autograph picture collection of the classic stars. These next treasures were found online from reputable sales people. Finding genuine autographs is challenging if you aren't there to collect them yourselves. There will not be the precious memories of meeting the famous performer in person. You can only guess as to how awesome that would be.
From the character actors/actresses to the extra famous ones, finding and collecting their autographs will be a fun hobby with enough room to spread out over a lifetime and beyond. Perhaps the next generation can expand it even further.
Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton "Where Eagles Dare"
Here is a memorial poem I wrote for my dad with links to television reviews I wrote about.
- MAYBE IT'S THE COWBOYS
Westerns were my dad's favorite shows when it came to entertainment. This is a memorial poem for my dad. His interest is still very much alive in me as I love to watch the old classic westerns, too. I've also added links to reviews I've written about
Auction Bargains can be Affordable Ways to Invest in Autograph Pictures
I keep trying to find authentic autograph pictures of the classic stars. I don’t get a chance to see them in person and some of them have been gone for years, but that doesn’t mean I must stop collecting their autographs. The internet is a great place to look into collections built by other collectors willing to part with them. Auction sites can be helpful in finding an affordable way to invest.
My newest entries were dirt cheap and I know they are worth much more than what I paid for them. This makes autograph collecting that much more exciting.