April 2, in addition to being a welcome day of relief after April Fool's Day, also was the 105th birthday of Buddy Ebsen, a Belleville native perhaps best known as the man who "...was shooting at some food, when up through the ground came a bubblin' crude."
The rest is "Beverly Hillbillies" history. But even with all that renown, it occurred to Lynn Venhaus, an indomitable promoter of the regional arts, that there wasn't anything in Belleville to honor our native who is our most notable entertainer.
So she has launched the Honor Buddy Ebsen Movement on her Facebook page.
"We don't have anything for him," she said. "And I think he is probably the most famous entertainer to come from Belleville."
She suggested a memorial on her Facebook page and asked for response. She said she has gotten a lot.
Most people like the idea. But getting from a vague idea (let's honor Buddy) to a concept (let's put up a statue) to execution is a long process.
Not that she isn't abuzz with thoughts on the issue. No sooner had I talked to her than she was back in my email in-box with more concepts.
She has attracted the attention of Belleville's Tom Calhoun, radio personality and new director of the Communications Department at Lindenwood University-Belleville, who has signed on as a participant.
Buddy lived in Belleville until about the age of 12 when the family moved to Florida. He died in 2003 at the age of 95.
In between he starred on stage, screen and television, wrote books, became an expert sailor and also a painter.
In 1992 he came back to visit his hometown for the first time since leaving 70 years before. Everyone agreed he was a delight to meet.
Venhaus has thrown out ideas such as a weekend celebration around his birthday, with celebrity visitors and much hoopla, a statue, a plaque, a film festival (he was in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," you know,) a Jed Clampett look-alike contest and maybe even some of his artwork on display at Art on the Square.
The next step is gathering interested people and having some meetings to organize a committee to pursue any ideas, or to come up with ideas at all.
"We probably would meet in June sometime and formulate a committee," Venhaus said.
If you are interested in helping, you can call her on her cell phone at 618-917-8175 or send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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