(Courtesy of J. P. Sloane)
Above - J. P. and Lash, early 1950s. Lash had J. P.'s outfit custom made by N. Turk.
Nudie Cohn, N. Turk, and a few other Hollywood area costume designers and creators had shops that specialized in cowboy/western shirts, jackets, hats, boots, etc.
J. P. Sloane remembers his Godfather, Lash LaRue
I have fond memories of growing up on Stern Avenue in our Sherman Oaks, California home.
One beloved family member was my father's best friend and my Godfather, Lash LaRue. When Uncle Lash was not filming, he was usually on tour. Because Uncle Lash was on tour most of the time, he never owned a home so when he was not on tour, he would usually stay with us. Lash was married to my Godmother, Barbara Fuller (she played opposite Charles Boyer and others as well as a 14 year running part in the forties radio soap "One Man's Family").
Christmas was a very special time and for over seventeen years, it was a family tradition that Uncle Lash would always spend Christmas at our house. One year, on Christmas Eve, Uncle Lash was wearing a very expensive, custom tailored suit with an equally expensive white tailored shirt. My father, who was known professionally as radio and television's Jimmie Jackson, had bought me a two-wheel bicycle as a Christmas gift, which was not assembled. My dad and Uncle Lash spent the whole evening and the early hours of Christmas morning putting it together. Uncle Lash was covered with grease from head to toe all over his expensive new white shirt and suit.
On another Christmas, Uncle Bud (Abbott) had given me a gasoline powered toy plane. In order to start the engine, you had to take your finger and spin the five-inch propeller. Uncle Lash, not being one to quit a project once it was started, spun and spun that stubborn propeller for over an hour and a half until his finger was blistered and bleeding. We never did get that plane to start! He was always giving unselfishly of himself, not only to me, but to many other children as well. Uncle Lash was not just generous at Christmas. Many times during the year he would come loaded with neat Lash LaRue toys that he would personally give away to all the kids in our neighborhood, many of whom I did not even know. That is the kind of man Uncle Lash was.
To me, he will always be a very special person. His passing has left a great void in my life and a very empty place in my heart. While growing up, I told Uncle Lash on many occasions that I loved him. Just before he died I was able, one last time, to tell him again. He responded, "I love you too, boy." Whenever I hear the song by Bette Midler, "Wind Beneath My Wings," I get a little teary eyed. I just wish I had thought to say to Uncle Lash on the night we had our last phone conversation, something I had always felt but somehow had failed to express to him ... "Uncle Lash, did you know you were my hero?"
J. P. Sloane
Want more info on performer/entertainer J. P. Sloane? As a youngster, Sloane appeared as "Billy Kettle" in the Ma and Pa Kettle film series. And he was also on many of the Lash comic book covers. You can read more at J. P.'s website at: http://www.jpsloane.com/