Archive for May, 2010

Marty Robbins Museum

May 17, 2010

Arizona Museums: A Journey Into Arizona’s Memory celebrates Arizona’s Centennial with a diversity of music. Some of its most beautiful music was written and sung by its beloved musician, Marty Robbins. The Friends of Marty Robbins Museum in Willcox displays the private collection of Juanita Buckley and her son Shawn P. Ring. Rex Allen Jr., whose father is featured in the museum next door, invited Juanita to move her extensive collection of Marty Robbins memorabilia to Willcox. Here the visitor can listen and purchase music CD’s and DVD’s in the gift shop and learn about Marty Robbins. The photograph exhibits lining the walls document Marty Robbins’ family and professional life. Don’t miss the museum’s wonderful exhibit of Man Walks Among Us. This song, written and performed by Marty Robbins, is from the from the 1963 Columbia film Return of the Gunfighter. Bob Nolan described this song as ‘one of the great nature songs.’ This is high praise from a man who wrote Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds.  

Marty Robbins was born in Glendale, Arizona on September 26, 1925, to John G. and Emma Heckle Robinson. His father played a harmonica, his grandfather Texas Bob Heckle was a story teller and a Texas Ranger.  Marty chose to join the Navy at the age of seventeen instead of graduating from high school. When World War II broke out, he saw action in the South Pacific. It was while he was in the Navy that he taught himself to play the guitar and before long he was composing music and entertaining the troops. He could always sing and most of the time he made up songs as he went.

After his discharge from the Navy, Marty returned to Glendale where he married Marizona Baldwin on September 28, 1948 in Parker, Arizona. Their first child, Ronald Carson Robinson, was born July 16, 1949. After his discharge from the Navy, he played at local venues in Phoenix, before moving on to host his own radio station show on KTYL. He eventually hosted his own television show on KPHO in Phoenix. After Little Jimmy Dickens made a guest appearance on Robbins’ TV show, he got Robbins a record deal with Columbia. Marty’s beautiful voice made him a natural for the plaintive ballads that he wrote about Arizona. He had an amazing vocal range, which went from deep, brooding lows to the lilting tenor.     He became the first country entertainer to receive a Grammy and he went on to win two Grammys: one for El Paso, one for My Woman My Woman My Wife. He joined the Grand Ole Opry show in 1951 and moved to Nashville a year later. Marty was the last to play at the Ryman Opry House and the first to play at the new Opry House. He was the first to receive a Golden Guitar Award and the Decade Award. Robbins’s 1957 recording of A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation sold over one million copies, and he was awarded a gold disc. He received the Country Music Hall Of Fame Award in October 1982, less than two months before he died.

Because of his beautiful voice, people don’t realize that he also starred in both English and Spanish movies. His movies include: The Badge of Marshal Brennan (1957),  Ballad of a Gunfighter (1964), Buffalo Gun (1961), Country Music (1972),  El Aventurero de Medianoche (1982), El Sueño de Mi Vida (1982), Guns of a Stranger (1973), Hell on Wheels (1967),

The Friends of Marty Robbins Museum, 156 N. Railroad Avenue, Willcox AZ 85643 Tel: 520-766-1404

The Franklin Auto Museum

May 1, 2010

Get ready to take another trip down memory lane by traveling into Arizona Museums: A Journey into Arizona’s Memory. We are going to get into one of those new fangled contraptions the automobile and visit the Franklin museum. Mr.

 Hubbard wanted to preserve “a small but delightful window into our past one that excites the imagination, especially of younger viewers, and helps people understand how things change and how things that may no longer be practical for today’s conditions, yet can be worth preserving for their beauty. Few things do this as well as the automobile.”   — Thomas H. Hubbard, April 12, 1992

Hubbard, who died on January 2, 1993, left Tucson a legacy of Franklin cars and automobile history. Born January 3, 1925, in Worcester, Massachusetts, he graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute in 1943, and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in 1947. He worked for the Magma Copper Company until 1952. Two years later he restored his first car, a 1909 Reo. He restored several cars for the late William Harrah, founder of Harrah’s casinos and developed a sizable Franklin collection of his own. At present the Franklin Auto Museum houses the 1909 Reo, twenty-three Franklins and a 1957 Porsche coupe. Work is proceeding on restoring his home and will eventually display Hubbard’s vast collection of Native American Archaeological artifacts and his splendid collection of Arizona paintings and furniture, which he inherited from his aunt.

The H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company built the most successful American direct air-cooled cars from 1902 to 1934. These cars engendered a loyal following and many owners preserved them long after production ceased. While restoring classic-era Franklins, Hubbard obtained and preserved the original factory Franklin blueprint collection so he could assure the authenticity of his restorations and also create a Franklin car which never saw production. The 1932 Series 16 V-12 was to have represented the crowning achievement of the Franklin automobile but just before production was scheduled the company fell into receivership and the production of the V-12, which Hubbard considered the ultimate Franklin, was altered. The V-12 Phaeton in the museum which Hubbard created from the drawings is one of a kind.

The Franklin automobile fell on hard times during the Great Depression of the 1930s, along with many other fine luxury car manufacturers. The emphasis for the Tucson collection of Franklin cars is on the finest classic automotive styling. All the major body types are represented from the exclusive “Town Car,” in which a liveried chauffeur sat outside, to the sporty “boat tail,” coupe, and including a 7-passenger open touring car with “jump seats,” a convertible coupe with a rumble seat, a sporty model called a “Speedster,” which is styled to look like a convertible sedan, a “Club Brougham” in the V-12 series which is the most handsome of these V-12 cars and of which only 200 were built in all body types. Five of the Franklins are open 4-door body types with dual windshields, that is, windshields for both front and rear seats, but with four completely different arrangements for the rear windshields.

The museum includes Hubbard’s entire Franklin automobile collection; an extensive library of Franklin Company research materials; the Alice Carpenter Collection of Native American artifacts; an historical adobe home, museum and other buildings along with an endowment to preserve the facility in Tucson. The museum has published a handsome book documenting every Franklin automobile. Today, the Franklin Auto Museum is working with high school students who are involved in vocational education. A group of these students oversaw the moving of a Franklin automobile from the museum to the Tucson Airport where it is on display.

The Franklin Auto Museum is located at 3420 N. Vine Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719

Telephone: 520-326-8038 Web Site: www.franklinmuseum.org