other things, his ranch in Somervell County. In fact it was some time before I realized that I was in the county where John Graves lives. “I didn’t realize John Graves lives in Somervell County” I finally remarked to a local. “Yes, John Graves lives here, and Bob Summers lives here too,” she said. Graves wrote about Glen Rose’s first tourism boom in his book Hard Scrabble. The Scotch-Irish farmers who settled in the county were so discouraged by the land’s poor yield that many either left or took up bootlegging, and in the twenties the town became “a sort of spa… with some fine malodorous sulfur springs and a pretty location on the little Paluxy [River] between the dark hills and a good many chiropractors and `rubbing doctors: some with a reputed magical healing touch.” The town’s whiff-of-scandal history has now become a selling point: For Glen Rose’s seventy-fifth anniversary Mayor Kirk had mason jar-style commemorative drinking glasses made. Other local selling points include the state park with the dinosaur tracks, an endangered and exotic animal ranch, the Expo Center, an 18-hole golf course, the pretty downtown square, and of course The Promise. The selling itself has lately become quite pronounced, as the mission to transform Glen Rose from a quaint town into a Travel Hub is pursued on several fronts. One morning, I paid a visit to the brand new location of the Glen Rose Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, on Highway 67 in a new commercial building to be shared by the Bureau, a travel store and a Texaco station. Donna Schott, the Bureau’s sweet-voiced and enthusiastic director, was just in the process of moving her office from a little downtown house to the new site, where she was joined by Ted Oliver, former marketing director for The Promise and now the head of Paluxy Tours and Marketing, which arranges local travel packages, and is also stationed in the Texaco-station strip. “Glen Rose has so much to offer, it’s easy to promote,” said Schott, who moved to the town three years ago. “And we’re working with a new concept of inbound travel packages. If you want to visit Glen Rose and Granbury we can put that package together at a better price than if you bought it all individually.” \(Granbury is a nearby hamlet of the Ye Olde Touriste Trappe variety, whose Disneyfied core boasts two live theaters as well as the standard opportunities to purchase antiques, stick candy, scented candles, unusual flavors of marmelade, mediocre art, etc. I found it very difficult to cross the street in Granbury due to the number of cars circling, “The concept we’re working on is: What is your dream?” said Oliver, a snowy-haired former sheet metal equipment salesman in short sleeves and shiny caramel-colored boots, who commutes some 70 miles to Glen Rose from his home in Mineral Wells. “We can fulfill that dream, whether it’s the B and B concept, events, theater, activity in Granbury as well as here. Tourism is a real major, moving industry. It has not even begun to see its peak yet. Every little community has 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7/6/01 something of history and heritage to offer if they just could understand how to utilize them.” I was suddenly dismayed by the unpleasant thought that the Glen Rose town square might one day look like the Granbury town square. Business has been good for Paluxy Tours and Marketing. “I just booked two contracts, one for $12,000, one for $8,000,” said Oliver. “Oh Ted, that’s wonderful!” exclaimed Schott. “We’re patterning what we’re doing after what Branson has done very successfully. We can add so much value to their trip; I just put this together for $210 per person for 3 days.” “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, that’s wonderful!” said Schott, “In Dallas the cheapest trip we could package averaged $100 a day. My gosh, Ted, that’s wonderful!” In Granbury, noted Oliver, theaters and hotels have collaborated to offer a Thursday night package. “We’ve thought about the idea of a Thursday night show for The Promise,” he said. “Maybe a Thursday night special?” said Schott. “That’s the whole idea of Thursday nights.” “Oh, Ted.” “It’s on our list.” s elected hazards of performing in The Promise: The Camel. One of about thirty animal actors in the play, the Camel has been known to spit, kick, and go to the bathroom on stage. “Nobody wants to walk behind the camel,” I’m told. “You have to tiptoe through the tulips, as they say” Wigs and Beards. Uncomfortable and hot, which is why so many men in the show grow out their hair. Also, one year Jesus’ wig came off in the River Jordan while he was being baptized. Pyros.Various pyrotechnic devices shoot smoke and sharks during Satan’s scenes. Actors should not stray too. close to the pyros. Already this year, one costume was seriously damaged in a pyro incident.
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