But April means that Richard and Judy Young begin their longest performing gig of the year as storytellers/entertainers. They are booked every year from about April 15th to about October 31st at Silver Dollar City, the Branson, Missouri, theme park voted Best Theme Park in the World for 1999 by the International Attractions and Amusement Parks Association, headquartered in Sweden.
Judy will begin her 24th season at Silver Dollar City, performing as a family member, crafter and storyteller at The Homestead, a (half-way) working Ozark farm place with gardens, animals, log outbuildings and barn, all centered around a 158-year-old log cabin that was moved to the park in 1959!
Richard starts his 22nd season at Silver Dollar City, Missouri, returning to the crowd controller's job at the Riverfront Playhouse, where he last performed in the summer of 1993. The opening act in the Playhouse for World Fest April 6th will be a visiting dance troupe from Spain. Later, the Haygood Family will perform for their last year at Silver Dollar City; eight talented brothers-and-a-sister singing, dancing, playing a variety of instruments, and in general burn up more energy onstage than a short-run freight train.
New at Silver Dollar City this year is a whooping, swooping new roller coaster called Wildfire! The new ride has 360's, cobra rolls, and 60 m.p.h. thrills. Ride in the front for race-car rolling; ride in the last car of the coaster and you go zero-G as the rails drop out from under you. This is the highest, fastest, wildest coaster at a park with three other coasters: Fire in the Hole (a dark coaster ride,) Thunderation (50 m.p.h. down a hillside with the climb at the end instead of the beginning,) and Buzzsaw Falls (a water ride that climbs out of the trough onto a track, roars down into a spray-filled log jam, and splashes down in a swirling millrace.)
Come on down to Silver Dollar City, just west of Branson, Missouri, the country music theater capital of America, with a heavy dose of easy listening (Andy Williams, Glen Campbell selected dates, and the Osmond Brothers) and Big Band (Bobby Vinton and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Lawrence Welk Champagne Theatre) and even a little rock-n-roll (selected shows at the Grand Palace!)
We know Branson has "arrived" since we got mocked by the Simpsons!
At the Battle of Prairie Grove in Arkansas, re-enactors who get "shot" scream, fall to the ground (or off their horse!!!), some even pretend to bleed (just a bit of stage blood on a piece of cloth, which they wrap around the "wound.") At the Battle of the Alamo, staged along a narrow street with the audience just a few feet away on either side, canons roar, muskets bellow, and the Mexican Army has a brass band (high school band members from the Thomas Jefferson Magnet School.) The Mexicans march slowly in on the Texians from both sides. (Yes, Texian is apparently the term the Texans used in the 1830's.) When the Mexicans pass each Texian, the Texian stands his rifle in front of him and bows his head, standing perfectly still until the end of the event. This is more in keeping with the narrow confines of the re-enacting area, and in keeping with the Alamo...a few yards behind the re-enactment...as the Shrine of Texas, and a place of reflection and rememberance.
The Battle is re-enacted twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday, the weekend closest to and before March 6th (the day of the Fall of the Alamo.) Between battles, living historians from San Antonio, all across Texas, and even far away give demonstrations of life in the 1830's, and weapons tactics, marching drills, and other activities that would have been seen at the mission or on the streets of San Antonio in March of 1836. (At the 2000 event the Youngs met a group from Michigan who had come down to re-enact.)
On Sunday, (pouring rain cancelled Saturday's events), Richard stood in the center of the street and told stories to the kids (and the crowd of several hundred behind the kids.) In the first ten-minute segment he told the Spanish folktale "Bees" (from "Stories from the Days of Christopher Columbus".) In the second session he told "Wylie and the Hairy Man," (an African-American tale from "Favorite Scary Stories of American Children.")
The Youngs were in San Antonio working on their 2002 video release of "Texas History Ghost Stories." Several members of the San Antonio Living History Association are participating as actors.
The Youngs are in negotiations now for an even larger participation in the 2002 Alamo Week-end events. If you live near San Antonio, mark your calendars for March 2 and 3, 2002, and visit the S.A.L.H.A. website at: www.artco.org/sa/salha/salha.html
Remember the Alamo Weekend!
For this month's news announcement, we offer a personal note from Richard:
The festival film written by Ken Teutsch and Mike Prince, and filmed by Ken Teutsch and Connie High, called "Spooklight," is about to have its premiere in Little Rock, Arkansas, where much of it was filmed.
Yes, filmed. "Spooklight" was shot on 16mm film, which gives a much deeper, richer image than straight video. The movie was made by Little Egg at Easter, a production company in Salt Lake City, Utah, but most of it was filmed in southern and central Arkansas, with brief shooting in Louisiana. Post-production was done in Utah, where music was composed and added, editing, redubbing of some sound and voices, and the addition of some special effects was done. The film was in "post" for a year!
But faithful web-readers of this site already know that! Keep logged on monthly to this site to find out where the film is showing in festivals.
But, best of all, the film will have a modest premiere in Little Rock on Saturday, May 12, 2001. Come back in April to learn more!
And we wish we could tell you what we've heard through the grapevine...but we can't, not until the official news releases come out in the respective cities! But trust us, the news is big!
And speaking of big, Little Egg at Easter has a new website up and running about the film at www.spooklight.net
Stop by and get a visual, sonic preview (Flash and non-Flash capability, but you get the neat stuff with Flash) of the film.
revised 1 April 2001
This is a genuine MOM (Mother of Michael) site