Back when Brandon celebrated its 125th birthday, my curiosity about the city’s founder got the best of me. And I took to the internet to see if there were any living relatives of Thomas Rosser alive, so he or she could come to our city and celebrate. I also thought it would be rather interesting to speak with a descendant of the Confederate general who helped to start not only Brandon, but a handful of cities across the west. It only took a weekend of searching and chatting on civil war chat rooms until I found Thomas Rosser’s great-grandson in North Carolina. Alive and well, the descendant even shared the namesake of our city’s founder.
After some arrangement were made with help from the City of Brandon, we arranged for a special week for Rosser and his daughter to tour the city, meet with its citizens and to check out our Daly House Museum, among other notable stops.
In the end, it was a very cool experience, meeting someone with a direct connection to our city’s founder, and at times it felt like we were touring around with "royalty." Some consider movie stars a form of royalty, and if that is the case, we apparently had our fair share of visits from Hollywood back in the late 1970s, right here in Brandon.
It was February of 1982 when legendary Hollywood couple Farah Fawcett and Lee Majors called it quits after nearly a decade together. For those too young to remember the couple, it was the ’70s version of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. They were a Hollywood super couple. Farah was not only a fellow cast member with Lee on the super successful 6 Million Dollar Man, but in 1976 a swimsuit poster she did became one of the biggest-selling images in history.
Later that year she would star as Jill Monroe in the original Charlie's Angels TV series. In the ’70s she was one of the most famous women in the world. As for Lee Majors, he was the Six Million Dollar Man after a mediocre rise to stardom from doing some western series.
My generation remembers the show Fall Guy, which would later give rise to another pinup girl, Heather Thomas. But that show was cancelled in 1986 after a run that was just as long as the Six Million Dollar Man.
Why should you care?
What does the story of two ’70s superstars have to do with Westman?
Well according to an urban legend the two secretly snuck into little old Brandon back in the ’70s to escape the glare of the Hollywood spotlight, and get a little rest and relaxation. All this happened at the height of their success. Meaning the two superstars would be hard not to notice. So on the anniversary of the couple’s breakup in 1982, we asked listeners if the legend were true.
Here are some of the comments we received (none of which can be independently verified):
Gillian Perlette: Yes it's true. My dad met them while they were staying in their friend's house (the old white house on Victoria that looked like a castle that was torn down recently to build apartments or condos).
Val Leronowich: Yes its true they stayed at Terry Hudson’s house.
Shaun Cameron: The house was owned by Terry Hudson. My family knew Terry when I was a kid as I cut the grass at his house. I did see a photo of him with Lee Majors at his cottage at Sandy Lake, it would be assumed he would have come to Hudson’s house in Brandon as well. He had mentioned they met while he was on vacation at a resort in Mexico. Terry then lived up on the North Hill West of the Husky up until his passing.
Anonymous caller: This did happen and I was invited to Terry’s house to meet the couple. The story is quite interesting. Terry met the couple while vacationing in Mexico and extended the invitation to come to the area if they ever needed to "get away." In fact they did call Terry and a vacation was planned for Brandon that included Sandy Lake and Clear Lake. They had such a great time, they asked Terry to visit them at their vacation home in the Bahamas, and as from what I can remember, he took them up on the invite and went down to see them too.
When I asked the caller if he had any pictures he said he did, but would have to "go digging up into the attic" to find them.
I’m thinking after a few thousand people read this column, I’m hoping we can do a spread of pictures from their visit, and nail down the actual dates they came to Brandon. I’ve also written a letter to Lee Major’s agent in Los Angeles, explaining how I’ve been "poking around" to get information about their time here.
After all, it was allegedly something the couple rather enjoyed. Maybe he would like to come back?
Farah and Lee didn’t speak much after the divorce in 1982, but reconciled a few weeks before her passing in 2009.
As for Lee, he most recently helped his neighbour and friend Larry Hagman with the new version of the TV show Dallas, but other than that, hasn’t seen the red hot glare of the spotlight like he did back in the ’70s and ’80s, when he apparently took a trip to a small prairie city in Canada to get away from it all. Maybe it’s time for another vacation. It think it might be nice to welcome him back. It might be fun. I’ve got a lunchbox I need him to sign.
JOKE (Thanks, Grant)
Doug Smith is on his deathbed, knows the end is near
His nurse, his wife, his daughter and two sons, are with him.
So, he says to them:
"Bernie, I want you to take the Mayfair houses."
"Sybil, take the apartments over in Pall Mall."
"Jamie, I want you to take the offices over in the City Centre."
"Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings on the banks of the Thames."
The nurse is just blown away by all this, and as Doug slips away, she says ,
"Mrs. Smith, your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property".
Sarah replies, "Property? .... the dork had a paper route!"
Miss Tam Ann Manson
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 22, 2014