Meeting Lash at festivals

by Mike Newton
(Hamilton, Ohio)

I recall the first time I met Lash LaRue. A movie dealer friend of mine always had a small collector's show at a local hotel. He would bring posters and pictures from his shop to sell and also had dealers there. I called him to find out what weekend he was having the show and what type of materials were being bought as I had some movie material myself to sell. He gave me the information on where it was being held, the days, etc. and then as a closing comment, he said, "Oh yeah, and Lash LaRue's coming." I had been trying to contact Lash Larue for an autographed photo, but could never find a good address. He moved around a lot. Surprised, I said "No way!.." My friend laughed and said, yes Lash was coming. I went to the show and sitting at a table, signing autographs was a white haired gentlemen. Since there was a crowd around him, I wanted to wait until I had a photo for him to sign. Walking into the dealer's room, I found a table with photos of Lash from his movies. Picking up one to examine, I heard someone behind me comment "Why, there's Lash LaRue. I used to watch him when I was a kid." I turned around and showed him the photo. " Why don't you get one and take it out in the lobby for him to sign." The guy gave me a funny look as if he didn't believe me. "I'm not kidding. That old man out there is Lash LaRue." Apparently not too much advertsing was done to promote Lash's appearance. I gave Lash my photo to sign and then asked about his horse. Wasn't it named Rush, I asked. No, Lash replied, it was Black Diamond. Lash never referred to his horse by name in the movies, but he did in the comic books. There the horse was called Rush. He would tell people to stand on his right side as he had no hearing on his left side. I also learned that Reno Browne, who had been his chief rival's leading lady in films (Whip Wilson) had been married to him for a time. I met Lash several times at different conventions. He was a good storyteller..liked to tell jokes but could get a little peevish with the fans. Once at the Roy Rogers convention, a lady gave him a photo to sign. Although Lash had photos at his table, she had gotten hers from a dealer across the way. "Did you buy this from me, Lash asked. "No, the lady answered, I bought it from the dealer over there." "Then why don't you take it over there and let him sign it." Lash was not asked back the folloowing year. Although his personal life got a little tarnished after his career waned, the fans still enjoyed seeing him. He was a most colorful character.

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