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KANSAS CELEBRITY HALL OF FAME
2013 IN REVIEW
On March 26th representative of the KCHOF traveled to the State Capital to commemorate an
autographed guitar to Senator Jeff King’s office wall courtesy of the KCHOF. Our home town
celebrity Jim Halsey received a resolution from the Kansas Senate recognizing his contributions to
our state. This trip proved to be very valuable in promoting the KCHOF to the state of Kansas.
Also in March we conducted the first “Open Talent Night” with the band Outlaw Souls performing on
the new stage. A new exhibit
room was constructed to better display current and future celebrities.
In April a new Bill Kurtis exhibit was constructed showing the career of one of the most famous
television journalists in television history. Bill continues to be seen and heard on many TV
programs each day.
The KCHOF assisted the Independence Convention & Visitors Bureau by helping to sponsor the Flyover
States Vocal Music Competition on April 12 at Historic Memorial Hall in Independence. The
nationally known band Confederate Railroad toured the KCHOF. The KCHOF also sponsored live
entertainment on the street as part of this activity.
May was bustling with activity including the opening of the new William Inge exhibit along with the
100th birthday of William Inge during the William Inge Theatre Festival. Over 150 people attended
the special events including live scenes of the Inge play “Dark at the Top of the Stairs”
performed by students of Labette County High School on the stage. It was really great to see those
bus loads of people. VIPs including famous playwrights, directors and actors were also interviewed
using the Inge exhibit as the backdrop. Shirley Knight, a famous actress from Kansas, was
July was the first collaboration with another museum by working with the Cherryvale Museum on the
“Remembering Vivian” event on Saturday, July 27th. This was the birthday of Kansas celebrity,
Vivian Vance, the Emmy award winning costar of the I Love Lucy Show. Vivian’s youngest sister, Lou
Ann Graham was flown in for this event. During July we hosted one of many local
business events. The KCHOF has been the site of events such as Chamber of Commerce Business After
Hours, Muffins with Main Street & Leadership Independence.
On September 28th we celebrated the first anniversary of the KCHOF. It seems like only yesterday!
October was a great month with two fabulous events during the NEEWOLLAH Celebration. “The Rodneys
in Concert” featured Rodney Lay and his son Rodney Lay, Kr. Performing on the KCHOF stage to the
largest audience to date. Over 100 people packed the hall for a splendid performance. A screening
of the HBO concert taped during the 1980 NEEWOLLAH was fun and brought back many memories of those
On October 29th we all were saddened by the unexpected death of our friend and celebrity Sherman
Halsey. The Celebration of Life was held at Memorial Hall on November 5th with members of the KCHOF
being involved with coordination of the event and the exhibit of Sherman’s career. Sherman’s most
famous client, Tim McGraw, was in attendance. Later in the month of November a new Sherman Halsey
Exhibit was constructed making his exhibit the second largest in the hall next to his famous
father, Jim Halsey.
On December 19th the final event of the year “Christmas Cheer” was conducted. We certainly had a
great year to cheer about. We now have twenty celebrities represented and over 500 artifacts. The
KCHOF is positioned well for the coming year with growth in the future. The Advisory Board is
active with fundraising, inclusion criteria, building, exhibit development and planning events. It
is currently being planned to have the first induction to the Kansas Celebrity Hall of Fame during
2014. We are very excited about the future of the KCHOF and the impact it could have in downtown
and the community. Stay tuned & have a very Happy New Year.
Happy New Year.