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  1. #31

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    My father left the Ozzie and Harriet show after five years to pursue film roles in "Battle Hymn" with Rock Hudson, "Time to Love, Time to Die" and "Facts of Life" with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball. He also loved live theater the most so was able to pursue that as well...and to be able to have time for the Silver Banjo restaurant in Frontierland.

    Around 1960 was when he started doing the Hazel TV series. There is an October 1961 TV Guide with my father and Shirley Booth on the front - that's when the series was rated number one. My father did that for four years and was holding out for more money before the fifth year...Columbia Pictures called my Dad's bluff and figured they could get rid of him and Whitney Blake (Merideth Baxter Burney's mother, by the way)...and my Dad proved them wrong - you can't just subsitute a family in with Hazel - my Dad was, in fact, an important ingredient to the shows success. The show only lasted one more season with the new family.

    That's when he co-authored a best seller book, "With All My Love," a story about my sister, at age 18 that went to work in an orphanage in Seoul Korea.

    more later,
    Ron
    Don DeFore's Silver Banjo barbecue restaurant
    Frontierland 1957 - 1961

  2. #32

    • Me and Tommy Kirk
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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    That's amazing! Thanks for the info. Your Dad was really a man of many talents! What I remember of his appearances on Ozzie and Harriet were that he acted so naturally. It didn't look at all like he had a script, as if he was making up his lines as he went along. He and Ricky (when Ricky was young and irrepressible) were the two funniest characters on the show.

    I can't believe how many different things he accomplished. What a full life! I'm sorry that he's not still with us.

    How long was the Silver Banjo at Disneyland, and what was the reason that it closed?

  3. #33

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    Wow - I just learned I could upload photos :-) Here's one of my family riding in the Autopia cars up Main Street on opening day:
    Don DeFore's Silver Banjo barbecue restaurant
    Frontierland 1957 - 1961

  4. #34

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    Well, for those that may not know who my father was or what he looked like, here's his Walk of Fame card below and you can also visit my website dedicated to him: www.defore.net
    Don DeFore's Silver Banjo barbecue restaurant
    Frontierland 1957 - 1961

  5. #35

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    I've always heard about Autopia cars on Main Street - but I've never actually seen it! how cool!

    Will trade husband for Disneyland and DCA Pins!

  6. #36

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    Quote Originally Posted by RD4 View Post
    Well, for those that may not know who my father was or what he looked like, here's his Walk of Fame card below and you can also visit my website dedicated to him: www.defore.net
    Handsome devil.

    Ron, are you in one of those Autopia cars??

  7. #37

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    I loved Hazel and your dad was all part of the fun!

  8. #38

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    I am in the car that's hidden! There are six cars, three in front and three in back. Front left is my Dad; front middle is my middle sister, Dawn; front right is my Mom; rear left is my oldest sister Penny; and middle rear is my older brother David; and I'm in the rear right (hidden). However, if you have the DVD or tape of the live broadcast of opening day narrated by Art Linkletter you can clearly see the entire family.
    Last edited by RD4; 09-25-2008 at 08:26 AM.
    Don DeFore's Silver Banjo barbecue restaurant
    Frontierland 1957 - 1961

  9. #39

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    Ron, David was a really close friend of mine! He passed away in 2003 and I miss him terribly.
    Sorry you got shut out of the Autopia picture...
    Last edited by Neverlandtink; 09-25-2008 at 09:20 AM.

  10. #40

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    Thought I'd share another piece of memorabilia from the Silver Banjo - one of the checks signed by my dad:
    Last edited by RD4; 09-25-2008 at 10:24 AM.
    Don DeFore's Silver Banjo barbecue restaurant
    Frontierland 1957 - 1961

  11. #41

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    This is such a great thread! Thanks for sharing your stories!

  12. #42

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    Okay Ron....Still waiting for the rest of the story.... did we lose you?

  13. #43

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    The story is now locked in the archives :-)
    Last edited by RD4; 09-25-2008 at 08:29 AM.
    Don DeFore's Silver Banjo barbecue restaurant
    Frontierland 1957 - 1961

  14. #44

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    Ron, that is the COOLEST story!! So funny. I miss David so much.

    One thing about David, he was not the head of WDI. He was a Show Set Producer/Designer and worked for WDI for about 25 years. I believe Disney Legend Marty Sklar had the head job title at that time. I'm sure David would've loved knowing that somebody thought he was in charge!

    You and your family are brave and nobel people. Right on!!
    Thanks again for sharing ~ more please!

    Lannie
    Last edited by Neverlandtink; 09-25-2008 at 09:37 AM.

  15. #45

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    Re: My father owned restaurant in Frontierland

    Hi Brother Ron, you have shared a wonderful and heartwarming family story about our beloved Silver Banjo and The Plaque. But wait folks, Ron has perhaps the best part of the story comming!

    I was a part-time bus boy at the young age of 12 to 15 working at the Banjo from 1957 to 1961. (Actully, the Banjo Restaurant closed on March 4,1962, eventhough the copy of the Disneyland/ Banjo lease I have has an experation date of June 14,1962). I believe I was the youngest, non-entertainment employee (now called a Cast Member) to ever work in the park, since Disney employees have to be at least 18 and a High School graduate. No one questioned me because I was employeeed by my Dad, Don DeFore and my beloved Uncle Verne DeFore, the Banjo's manager who was well known and well liked throughout the park. One of the Mice Chaters mentioned that a 17 year old High School honer student can be hired at Disneyland (?)

    I met many Mice Chaters at the well orchestrated and exciting Golden Horseshoe reunion and show last month and on Sunday at noon in front of Walt's statue at the not so secret Main Street meeting place. I shareed some stories and really appreciated the hospitality the Mice Chaters showed me. A group of us walked over to the Banjo site and I proceeded to tell The Plaque story and many fond memories of working and playing at the happest place on earth.

    Thank you for your interest in our family memories, David DeFore

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