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March 12th, 2012

What’s Hopi For “Comedic Gold Mine?”

Mom, Dad, while you were out I redecorated your living room!

Don’t you love it? Dad, I’m sorry about your Steinway, but the decorator said that an upright with a mural on the front would really “draw forth the positive energies offered by the space.” And I mean, he’s the professional.


That photo was ACTUALLY taken at the Autry Western Heritage Museum, which I recently had the pleasure of visiting.

The Autry is home to many dusty, leather horse things as well as lots of props from old Westerns. It is also where this horrifying mini-cowboy is stationed:

He knows your every thought. And he’s very skilled with a bone saw.

So, anyway.

Once I exited the room that contained the evil toys and things, and stopped crying, I looked around and realized that aside from replicas of the cast of Bonanza and a whole crapload of baskets made by Washoe Indians, there were also a TON of kids around. Since they were wandering freely, and not behind glass, I surmised that they were visiting the museum, probably to check out one of many hands-on, kid-friendly areas.

My suspicion was confirmed when I found the “Imagination Gallery,” a glorified guest book where children were encouraged to write (or draw) their thoughts on their day at the Autry.



Yes, semi-literate child. This IS asome.

What a great idea for kids! Plus, it gives everyone else a kind of overview as to what the museum is all about.

For example, the Autry really seems to be interested in teaching the kids about all the classic cowboy “legends.” And, you’d be surprised at what the children retain.

This kid was obviously quite taken with Davy Crockett and his trusty rifle, “Gun.”

And way to go on the googly eyes, to represent Fess Parker’s later career as a vintner. If this child doesn’t grow up to be a 1700’s political cartoonist, I’ll eat my hat.

Another story represented at the museum, apparently, is Mathilda The Cowgirl & Her Polar Bear, Clompy.

And who could forget the famous gunfight scene from The Legend of Cowboy Smiley Vs. Sheriff Frowny?

Or when “Cow giru” and “Cowd boy” finally reunite in that lukewarm tale of romance, “Star Boots?”

Just thinking about how he says, “Oh.” when she announces her return gives me a single goose bump.

Let’s pause for a moment to reflect on the Autry’s more charitable side:

This kid obviously doesn’t have a lot going for her. From the desperate, poorly-spelled scrawl, it appears this girl sleeps outside on her parents’ porch every night, even when it’s raining. I’m sure she’s a sight in the mornings, clawing at the back door, her hair full of sticks and leaves, dirt smeared across her face. So, yeah, it was nice of the people at the Autry Western Heritage Museum to let her in there when she showed up begging for water at 7:45.

Thanks, Museum!

Moving on:

Some of the kids, mostly younger, who visit the museum, aren’t as skilled at depicting exactly what they saw. They more just want the world to know they’re super jazzed about cowboys. Like this fellow:


You can tell by the insane expression of joy on the cowboy’s face that the artist is going to start begging his parents for a gun and some of those “spike things that you put on your shoes” as soon as they get to the car.

And then this kid became enamored with the exhibit on…


Ugh. No. Michael Jackson’s sequined outfit really isn’t what this museum is all about.

Let’s try this again.

Sorry, friend. I know it’s hard to discern cowboys (horses, pistols, dusty prairies) from pirates (ships, swords, the freaking ocean). So maybe do another lap around the museum, and really pay attention this time? You may even run into this girl’s favorite exhibit:

The Grove of Circumcised Penises!

Wait, WHAT?

I was there for like three hours and didn’t notice any upright wieners. And trust me, I was looking. (I mean…?)

How about– what?

The Autry Booger Ghost exhibit, I guess? I suppose that would make quite an impression on me, too.

The point I’m trying to make is, for all the folksy wonder that the Autry has to offer, you should probably just high-tail it past the mini-cowboy and go straight to the Imagination Gallery.

Because kids are weird.

4 comments to What’s Hopi For “Comedic Gold Mine?”

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