A Visit To William and Grace Boyd's Winter Home in Palm Desert, California
In lieu of the fact I thought he’d been forgotten by most, and no one but myself and maybe a few others who remembered him would show up, Hopalong Cassidy fans, of which I am definitely one, were given quite a welcome on Saturday, November 12, 2005, when the Palm Desert Historical Society held a Special Open House at 73-498 Joshua Tree, in Palm Desert, California.
Mario Hernandez – the present owner of the world-famous movie cowboy’s winter lodging – recently put the single-family, mid-century dwelling on the market, and he and members of the Historical Society wanted to show off the property in what they figured might just be the last time it would resemble what it looked like way back in the 1950s when William Boyd – the man who made the name Hoppy famous – and his wife, Grace, called the residence their home.
Hernandez, a local Coachella Valley contractor, purchased the property in late February and spent a small fortune refurbishing the Western-movie legend’s one-time desert lair. Hernandez re-painted both the interior and exterior in Hopalong Cassidy’s celebrated black and white trademark colors, as well as re-tiling – and believe me, there was tile everywhere – the walkway up to the front door; both rear patios; the pool; plus every single room inside, including Grace and Bill’s personal bathroom, with an entrance off the pool, mind you; and the guest bath, which looks out onto an enclosed atrium.
The black and white pool has a finger off the deep end which passes under an outside patio wall and into the Boyd’s personal, covered patio, located off the master bedroom and bath – making drying off and showering a private affair if guests happened to be present.
Those guests that Bill and Grace entertained, as well as the guests from yesterday’s event, were privilege to the black and white pool-side bar, with Western saddles for stools; each saddle designated with other famous cowboy stars’ names. For those visiting yesterday, we were entertained by two of the Coachella Valleys top Western musicians.
My wife, Beth, and I were pleasantly surprised when we arrived and found we had to park more than a quarter of a mile away. Like I said before, I figured some of us old-timers, Hoppy aficionados from way back, would be there, but to see the entire street, as well as the cross streets, lined with cars from one end to the other, and both with arriving vehicles cruising bumper to bumper in both directions in search of a parking spot, made me feel real good inside.
A throng of Hoppy devotees, with quite a few dressed in cowboy hats and black and white outfits, were lined up from curbside to front door, ready to tour the house. In the driveway, as we exited, even more Hoppy enthusiasts were enjoying the tasty beverages and snacks offered by our gracious hosts.
Hopaling Cassidy had not been forgotten after all – William Boyd, the man we all knew affectionately as Hoppy, is still alive and well, thank you.