December 15th, 2014
There is a small town, very close to Hollywood. In the evening you will hear guitar music, and the scent of Mexican cuisine fills the air. The town is called Spanish Town – it is a great amusement park for travellers, hippies and tireless movie stars. On this and the following pages Mark Slade and Henry Darrow will tell you what they experienced during a visit to Spanish Town. BRAVO accompanied the two “High Chaparral” stars as they strolled over the Mexican fairground.
The autograph hunters were out of control
A Sombrero does not make a Mexican
“I’m ravenous!” moans Billy Blue. Manolito hides his hunger behind his famous grin.
“Does this look Greek (in German: Spanish) to you?” Manolito and Blue look like players in a Mariachi band.
It is always noisy in Spanish Town. Vendors and mobile traders seem to have shouting ompetitions. Loud music sounds from the booths and pubs. Children squeal with delight. Dogs bark. Spanish Town can be heard before it can be seen.
It stirs the blood. Mark Slade and Henry Darrow storm into the town like boisterous little boys. They want to explore every booth.
The two “High Chaparral” cowboys have a filming break until April. Henry, who has used his holidays for a visit to Germany, got cabin fever. He called Mark on a whim. “Will you go with me to the fair at Spanish Town? There’s always something going on there!”
On the way, Henry told us what he knows about Spanish Town. “Actually, the whole place consists of only a single road, it is Los Angeles’ oldest street: Olvera Street. They have pubs there and shops where you can buy everything. Visitors already crowded Spanish Town when Los Angeles passed from Spain to Mexico in 1822 and to the United States in 1848.”
As proud owners of the largest sombreros on sale in Spanish Town the two friends are leaving the first stall. They hope to hide undetectedly under these hats among the tourists who roam the street which is partly laid out with red bricks and partly tiled. But they forgot the Mexican autograph hunters. In no time they are surrounded by girls and boys who squeal with delight. For minutes it is even louder than usual at the fairground…
“What is that on your chin, Billy Blue?” a bold teenager speaks up. Blue laughingly looks up: “I am starring in a cinema Western. I am playing a man who had been in prison for a year. And in that time he has grown a beard.”
The fans have their autographs. Blue and Manolito are exhausted. Manolito knows what helps: “Come with me!” He purposefully heads for a pub, orders some beer and some Mexican specialties.
Billy Blue gets tacos – fried tortillas that are filled with meat, cheese and salad. Manolito eats burritos. These are wraps filled with pork, shredded carrots and onions. He licks his oil-dripping fingers. “That’s how you eat in South America,” he informs the astonished Blue and orders dark Mexican beer: “Salud”.
They continue to stroll from booth to booth. Blue falls in love with some puppets. He wants to buy one of these toys for his son Morgan. Manolito admires candy-filled paper animals at another booth: “That would be a nice present for my wife Lucy.”
Laden with gifts and purchases they leave the hustle and bustle of the fair. And have to give autographs again. This time two policemen ask the stars for their signature. “We have often stopped the traffic when the ‘High Chaparral’ was filming here,” they explain, beaming. “But now we see you for the first time. Our wives and children will be amazed when we tell them about it tonight.”