Pearson had show biz in his blood

Concordia native, Robert E Pearson, died in Clay Center on the 4th of July, a day Bob would have picked as the perfect day of departure. According to an Internet site, Bob was involved in making more than 100 movies and television programs.
At the age of 12, Bob grew bored with Concordia and hopped a freight train to Hollywood. After several days traveling back and forth across the country in a boxcar – supposedly on his way to California – Bob’s train slowed and came to a stop. Unbelievably, he was back in Concordia.
This is but one of Bob’s fantastic tales of a daring youth and his determination to make a mark in show business. According to a <i>Lawrence Journal World<i> article, Bob made the decision to go to Hollywood after “witnessing a band concert at Concordia High School when he was ten years old.” This inspiring concert took place around l928, so it would be interesting to go back and try to find the event listed in an old Blade.
The Brown Grand Theatre showed movies during Bob’s early youth and he remembered telling his mother, Dorothy, “someday I am going to be a movie star just like them.”
Bob finally made it to California. Even though his first try landed him back in Concordia, Bob once again climbed aboard a westbound freight train. Using a combination of hitch hiking and riding the rails, Bob finally arrived in Hollywood.  After a string of door-to-door sales jobs, Bob joined the Army at 15, but a knee injury led to his discharge a year later.
It was then that Bob started getting bit parts in movies and stage shows. TV was gaining in popularity about that time, so Bob made a number of appearances on popular shows like “Bob Hope Chrysler Theatre,” “Perry Mason,” “Day in Court,” and numerous others.
Bob claimed in later life that he had given producers the idea for “Ironsides,” about a wheelchair-bound detective. Raymond Burr was trying to make a comeback but was no longer the slim actor audiences remembered from “Perry Mason.” Bob told producers to put Burr in a wheelchair and his added weight wouldn’t be noticed. Thanks or not to Pearson, “Ironsides” became a big hit for its star, Raymond Burr.
Hollywood was a small company town back in the l950’s, and Bob claimed knowing all the big stars of the day. He helped Ronald Reagan with landscaping at his new Bel Aire home. One day at the famous Schwab’s Drug Store, Frank Sinatra drove into Bob’s new car parked in front and gave him a handful of cash to pay for the damage. While his car was being repaired, Marilyn Monroe gave Bob a ride to the studio. And on and on. He had a thousand stories.
Later on, Bob started writing his own scripts, directing and appearing in his own films. One was, “The Devil and Leroy Bassett,” the last film shown at the Brown Grand Theatre before it was closed for restoration. Bob finally made it onto the screen that had inspired him to make movies.
 
~ Susan Sutton, friend

PEOPLE

Student luminary

Hannah L. Haist, Concordia, has been named to the fall semester Dean's Honor Roll at Washburn University. To be named to the list, a student must be enrolled in at least 12 graded semester credit hours and attain a semester grade point average between 3.4 and 3.99.

In the Mean Time

 A taste of “Pickles.”  In this episode, Grandpa is giving some advice to his daughter,”Sylvia, maybe you should try being a little less critical of Dan.  You know what they say. . . before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their... [More]

Police Department to present 'How the Grinch stole Christmas'

 Concordia Police Department will present "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" at 3:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 15, at the Brown Grand Theatre.  This will be a live version of one of the most beloved of Christmas stories. Admission is free.

More People

NEWS

Winners announced in lighting contest

 Winners of the Concordia Christmas Lighting Contest were decided earlier this week with Leroy Dickinson and Dan Wheatley, 719 W. 6th street winning the first place award of a $100 Chamber gift certificate.  Second place of a $75 Chamber gift certificate went to Rickey... [More]

Courthouse 12-19-14

District Court District Court CRIMINAL  Jared W. Shuler appeared Dec. 17 and was found Guilty and convicted of Big Game Permit Violation. He was sentenced to 30 days in the Cloud County Jail and ordered to pay a reduced fine of $250, costs of the action, $108 by Jan. 28,... [More]

Commission approves bond sale for dam projects

By Jessica LeDuc Blade Staff Writer  The Concordia City Commission approved the sale of $1.2 million in general obligation bonds to fund construction of the Plum Road and 21st Street dams Wednesday night. Chuck Boully with George K. Baum & Co., Wichita, told the Commission... [More]

More News

SPORTS

Bulldogs pin loss on Panthers in league dual

thumb

 The Concordia High School wrestling team was beaten 46-36 by Marysville in a North Central Kansas League dual Thursday night in the Concordia Junior-Senior High School gymnasium. Concordia got out to an 18-0 lead by winning the first three matches.  Zach Strait, 106... [More]

Four Panthers receive state recognition

 Four members of the Concordia High School football team have received all-state recognition.  Running back Drake Hake was named first team Class 4A-Division II All-State by the VarsityKansas.com and first team Class 4A All-State by the Topeka Capital Journal. A 5-7,... [More]

More Sports

Buy Photos