Arlene is the driving force behind Howard Days. She keeps us all in line when we show up in June! Thanks, Arlene!
Arlene Stephenson was recently a guest of Rick Austin at the Cross Plains Kiwanis meeting. She delivered an informative talk on Project Pride and its involvemen...t in community service. Of particular note was how the Robert E. Howard House Museum brings in visitors from all over the world, especially during REH Days in June.
Rusty Burke does a fine write-up here as he commemorates Novalyne Price Ellis.
Today is the 110th anniversary of the birth of Novalyne Price Ellis, author of One Who Walked Alone: Robert E. Howard, The Final Years (Donald M. Grant, 1986), ...the memoir upon which the movie The Whole Wide World (1996) was based. If you haven’t seen that movie, with Vincent D’Onofrio as Robert E. Howard and Renee Zellwegger as Novalyne Price, you really should. Even people who aren’t especially interested in Howard’s work have enjoyed this indy film about two young people striving to realize their dreams in Depression-era Texas, whose relationship steers toward romance but is tossed about on the seas of two strong wills. It was appropriate, I think, that the movie basically was willed into existence by one of Novalyne’s former students, Michael Scott Myers.
I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Novalyne after the book came out, and found that none of the “Texas spitfire” had dimmed: she was a lady who knew her mind and figured you oughta know it, too. She had a long and illustrious career teaching speech and debate, crowned by her election to the National Forensic League’s Hall of Fame in 1981. I was an old high-school debater, so this was another thing that cemented our friendship. I transcribed a lengthy interview with her that became part of the chapbook, Day of the Stranger: Further Memories of Robert E. Howard (Necronomicon Press, 1989). The book also included the titular radio play she had written in the ‘40s, featuring characters based on herself and Howard (the play was performed and released on a CD by Mark Finn, Cathy Day, and the Violet Crown Radio Players in 2004), and the text of the speech she gave at a banquet at the 1988 World Science Fiction Convention in New Orleans.
The photo here was taken the day after that speech, when Novalyne graciously met with a number of fans in the hotel lobby for a question-and-answer chat. On the left is Charles Hoffman, one of our most gifted essayists on Howard. Just behind him is Bill Cavalier: you can’t see anything but a piece of his forehead, but he’d never forgive me if I didn’t include him. I am, of course, the hairy gent in the middle. Next to me is Steve Ghilardi, of Zurich, who joined us for the first Howard Days trip back in 1986 and had so much fun he decided to come back in ’88 for the Worldcon: he came to Houston a week early and stayed with me, and between a comics convention and record stores we nearly bankrupted ourselves before we ever got to New Orleans. Next to him is my old buddy and roommate back in Knoxville at Roach Acres, Steve Trout. Over my left shoulder is Bill Ellis, Novalyne’s husband, and over my right shoulder their daughter-in-law, whose name eludes me. You can barely make out a little face behind my chair to my right, which would be Novalyne’s grandson, Brandon. I don’t know who the mustached fellow behind Novalyne was, nor whose head of hair is in the foreground.
She was a marvelous lady, and a real joy to converse with on a wide range of topics. Whenever I was with her I never wanted the visit to end. Happy birthday, Mrs. Ellis!
We'll be putting up a lot more information about this year's event in the coming days. In the meantime, here's some info about the 2018 Guest of Honor.
While his Indiana Jones fedora may be the first recognizable feature about "Indy" Bill Cavalier, the Robert E. Howard Fandom hats he wears are many: artist, essayist, scholar, historian, enthusiast, collector, promoter, editor. But above all, he is a Howard FAN.
Indy has been a fan of Robert E. Howard since 1966, when the Lanc...er paperback CONAN THE ADVENTURER leaped off the paperback rack and into his hands. Thus began a lasting and satisfying relationship with not only REH but the whole wide world.
2018 finds Bill as a 33 year member of REHupa, the Robert E. Howard United Press Association, 25 of which he has been the Official Editor (or O.E.) of the bi-monthly apa (amateur press association). He is one of seven who sits on the Board of Directors of The Robert E. Howard Foundation, a 2010 recipient of the Foundation's Black Circle Award for 25 years of service to Howard Fandom, a Cimmerian award winning essayist, and artist and writer for numerous REH related publications (including a 1981 op-ed in the legendary fanzine AMRA). Additionally, Indy was one of the four principles featured in the 2010 award-winning documentary about Howard Days, "Barbarian Days". Most recently, Bill is the cover artist for the REH Foundation Press book, "Pictures in the Fire".
But of all these accomplishments, Bill is most proud of the fact that he was one of the "Original Ten" to attend the very first Howard Days in 1986. Along with Rusty Burke, Bill is the only other attendee of that first gathering who today remains active in promoting the life, works and legacy of Robert E. Howard. Ten years ago, he took on the pleasurable task of helping Project Pride organize the yearly event.
Indy's daily life as a retiree finds him teaching watercolor painting, contributing a monthly cartoon panel to Knights of the Dinner Table magazine and playing some harmonica, among many other activities. This all happens when he's not pursuing other interests like Andrew Wyeth, the Beatles, Indiana Jones, the Marx Brothers, the Chicago White Sox, Dungeons & Dragons, Lewis and Clark or collecting pencils from all over the world. And: reading, drawing and researching Robert E. Howard, of course. He also finds time to tell any Howard fan he meets why the Conan tale "The Black Stranger" is Howard's absolute worst Conan story ever!
This year finds Indy celebrating 25 years of marriage to his lovely bride, Cheryl - so when you see them in Cross Plains, be sure to offer Cheryl your condolences while shaking your head in amazement at how Indy could ever have scored such a wonderful woman!
And no, he does not still have those shorts.
With Howard Days a little over three months away, here's a look at all the activities we have planned. Well, "most" of the activities, because there are always some surprises!
2018 HOWARD DAYS SCHEDULE
“Celebrating REH Fans”
We would like to dedicate Howard Days 2018 to four of our fallen Cross Plains friends: Tom Stephenson, Kennith Beeler, Don Clark and Tommy Rone. We miss you and will carry on your fine spirit and honor your legacy.
Looks like the Howard Days excitement will start early this year! We'll keep you posted on what treasures they find!
Jeff Shanks, archeologist for the National Park Service, will soon be heading up a team that will excavate the storm/root cellar on the property of the Howard M...useum. The goal is to have this project completed before the REH Days in June. Many things have been tossed into that underground room over time, so there’s no telling what they will discover. It’s been said that Dr. Howard’s shingle is down there! What do you think they will find?
Happy Birthday, Robert E. Howard!
January 22nd is the 112th anniversary of Ol' Two-Gun Bob Howard. Tradition around here demands we celebrate by reading some REH while enjoying a libation of choice. There's a lot of Howard and there's a lot of libation, so enjoy the day!
Howard Days happens June 8th and 9th this year. You can get a jump on your donation to the Howard Museum by sending along a little bit now! Send more than the minimum and you will feel warm all over, just the thing for these cold winter days!
Primary activities that Project Pride conducts yearly include owning and maintaining the Robert E. Howard Museum, providing numerous tours each month, and hosti...ng the Howard Days in June that attracts visitors from places all over the world. Membership is the lifeblood of any organization. You can do your part to help support the continuing legacy of Robert E. Howard by becoming a member of Project Pride. Family memberships are $5, while individuals can join for $3. Please make checks payable to Project Pride and mail to PO Box 534, Cross Plains, TX 76443. Or you can pay through PayPal at:
While the big gathering is in June, you can visit the Howard Museum any time! Well, during the day, that is! Hope you guys can come back!
Jason Germany, a retired army infantryman from Waxahachie, Texas, recently made his third visit to the REH Museum. He did so to introduce his friend James McHen...ry, from Beaverton, Oregon, to the many works of Howard. He encouraged McHenry to explore the Conan books as a way to really get into the real stories rather than the comic book and paperback versions. A Robert E. Howard fan in the making, perhaps?
New to Robert E. Howard Days? Check this out!
Thanks to the Cross Plains Chamber of Commerce.
Project Pride gave us a brief tour of the Robert E. Howard House. Thank you Era Lee Hanke for the hospitality! Call them today to set up a full tour!
P.O. Box 5...34
Cross Plains, TX 76443
Here's a nice little article about a place near and dear to our hearts.
Cross Plains, Texas
Cross Plains, at the junction of State highways 36 and 206 in southeastern Callahan County, was established as a post office in 1877. The se...ttlement had previously been known as Turkey Creek and Schleicher. In 1880 Cross Plains had twenty-five residents, a cotton gin, a gristmill, a wagonmaker, and a store; by 1885 it had a population of 175. In 1902 the short-lived Cross Plains Herald was published and edited by J. D. Grains. The Cross Plains Review, first published and edited by Belmont L. Shields, began publication in 1909 and was still being published in 2009. By 1910, the year the town incorporated, the population had grown to 600. The Texas Central Railroad reached Cross Plains in 1912, and the town became a trading center for cotton and other crops. The discovery of oil in 1925 at Pioneer and adjacent fields set off a boom. The population in Cross Plains reached 1,229 in 1940 and remained relatively stable into the 1980s. Robert E. Howard lived in Cross Plains during his most productive writing period. In 1980 the town had a new high school and post office, two motels, four restaurants, and eight churches. The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, which absorbed the Texas Central, had abandoned its track in Cross Plains by this time. In 1990 the population was 1,063, and in 2000 the population was 1,068.
Here's a nice mention of Howard Days in Roy Thomas' ALTER EGO #150 for January of 2018. Thanks, Roy - and congratulations on your initiation to The Black Circle. We'll teach you the secret high sign next time we meet up.
A New Year brings us a new Howard Days!
The 2018 version of Robert E. Howard Days takes place on Friday and Saturday, June 8th and 9th, at the Robert E. Howard Museum in Cross Plains, Texas. Once again, fans from all over the world will gather to celebrate the life and legacy of the incomparable Robert E. Howard!
Project Pride of Cross Plains, along with the Robert E. Howard Foundation and REHupa, the Robert E. Howard United Press Association will be your sponsors and hosts o...nce again. This year, we will celebrate members of all three of these organizations, along with the hundreds of REH fans from all over the U.S. and the world with our Howard Days theme of CELEBRATING REH FANS. Our Guest of Honor for 2018 is one of the mainstays of Howard Fandom, "Indiana Bill" Cavalier.
Again this year, Howard Days attendees will enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie felt by REH fans from all over the world! The Robert E. Howard Museum and adjoining Alla Ray Morris Pavilion are the gathering points and will be open to all (at absolutely no cost)! All of our regular activities will be in place: Tours of the REH Museum and grounds are ongoing; a Bus Tour of Cross Plains and environs takes place Friday morning; a Hot Dog Lunch, the Celebration Banquet and a honest to Texas Barbeque feast will keep you fed; numerous panels, seminars and demonstrations will feed your fannish and intellectual curiosities; you can marvel at Original Howard Manuscripts on display at the Cross Plains Public Library, you can acquire REH books, comics, magazines, t-shirts, hats and souvenirs in the Museum Gift Shop; the Robert E. Howard Foundation Press will be set up to sell true text Howard books; there will be a special REH Days postal cancellation stamp at the Cross Plains Post Office; and, we will have a small Dealers Area adjacent to the Pavilion this year. Plus, we promise to have a surprise or two to make things interesting!
We are in the process of getting our panels. scheduling & registration and logistics lined up to give you another great experience at Howard Days, so please stay tuned to this page as well as our Howard Days and REH Foundation Facebook pages.
It's never too early to start planning to join in all the fun and fellowship that Howard Days can provide for you, as we Celebrate the Fans of Robert E. Howard! Y'all come!
And we promise that Cross Plains will be thawed out come June!
Michael Chabon, from Berkeley, California, stopped to visit the REH Museum while on a business trip to address the Arts & Letters Series at the Dallas Museum of... Art. A talent in his own right, Chabon is not only a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay), but also a screenwriter (Spider Man 2), columnist, and short story writer. His diversity as an author is what piqued his interest in Howard, who also wrote in multiple genres.