The Obinsville Cowboys

From Harry Foy's Book  'Growing up in Portadown in the Thirties and Forties'

During the Thirties variety concerts were all the rage. In local halls up and down the country people paraded their talent. There were singers, dancers and musicians galore. There were sketches and singing groups.

One such group was the Obinsville Cowboy Troupe which consisted of five boys and a melodeon player. They were dressed in dungarees, check shirts and old battered soft hats. The setting was always the same - a ranch house - and coconut shells heralded the arrival of the cowboys on their horses. They would walk on stage, singing in unison. The songs they sang were those made popular by Roy Rogers and Gene Autry in the movies. To add spice to the act there were parodies on local places and characters and now and again there would be a novelty item.

I recall one show which was held in the Curran Street Hall. They decide to have a donkey on stage. Two planks were placed at the side of the stage and a donkey was brought in via the stage door. It had to stand on the planks and then a local character, Dozer McKee, who weighed in at 18 stone, was put on its back. Six strong men lifted the planks up forcing the donkey to walk onto the stage. Enter Dozer astride the donkey as "Black Jake the Horse thief". The hall erupted and an excited donkey left its calling card on the stage. The curtain was pulled while someone fetched a bucket and spade. The rest of the show continued amid shouts of "Bring back the donkey!".
Market Day in Portadown.

Street gangs and fogging orchards.

The wee shops.

Colourful vendors.

The Canon's trip.

The Butterfly.

Greenaway's ghost.

Summer on the Bann.

The Great Lemonade Robbery.

My first day at school.

The packman.

Even the dog understood the language.


Our House.

A long throw since skittles game was born.

The Gas Man Cometh.

In tune with the band.

Clubs and tickmen.

Donald Campbell Had nothing on us.

Singing in the streets.

Such good sports.

The days of the sand quays.

The magic of Christmas.

Bombs - not sandwiches.

Skipping, football and cigarette cards.

Escape to the movies.

My first taste of plays.

Smuggling knew no borders.

The tale of the pigs.

Three brass balls.

Thanks for the memories.

First class show!.

Who could forget Mary Ann!.

Health remedies.

Fondly Remembered.

Going To The Dogs.


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