Love for the cowboy life
ENID, Okla. (AP)--Rick and Larry Simpson have created the Old Time Museum and the future looks bright for both the museum and their movie production company, Skeleton Creek Productions.
The museum displays a wide variety of items of different topics and interests.
"Our old mercantile is turning into a museum. It is about 85 percent done. We were going to call it a Western museum but there is so much more from Western to military to mom's doll collection," said Rick Simpson. "We have such a wide variety of interests. We like old things."
The brothers said the museum is just a lot of fun for them.
"It is just a big playhouse for old guys," said Larry Simpson.
In the last year the museum has had visitors from 41 states and 18 foreign counties.
The Simpsons were born in Enid and were raised on a ranch east of town. Their love for the cowboy life started when they were a young boys riding horses and working cattle.
Rick Simpson has written and directed four feature films and Larry Simpson has produced them for Skeleton Creek Productions.
"Rick writes the movies and I get shot in every one," said Larry Simpson.
Their credits include, "The Trail to Abilene," "Guns Along the Bravo," "Showdown at Devil's Butte" and "Curse of the Sacred Mountain." In each of these films, Rick Simpson plays one of the lead characters, Stormy Lane, and Larry Simpson plays another leading character, Texas Clap-saddle.
"We do tons of action and tons of beautiful scenery but in all of our movies we have never said one cuss word, we have never shown anything you couldn't watch with your little granddaughter," said Larry Simpson.
The Simpsons are going to being shooting another movie this summer.
"We are going to shoot a new movie in the museum this summer. It is an open set all the time; anyone who wants to come watch can," said Rick Simpson.
The pair also plan to go to New Mexico and Colorado to shoot some of their movie this summer.
The first movie set for Skeleton Creek Productions was built in 2003. Since then, they have increased the number of sets.
Sets include an 1800s saloon, school house, general store, livery stable, jail, chapel, hotel lobby and room and line shack. The 1800s saloon is equipped with a dancing stage and the 1800s hotel room has a hallway and a completely decorated room area.
"The kids really like the jail. The doors don't lock and they don't have ceilings. One doesn't even have one wall but they really like it," said Larry.
The movie sets and museum are available for people to rent for their own events.
"We do everything from weddings to baby showers to funerals. Any nonalcoholic event is welcome," said Larry Simpson.
"We've had birthday parties for people 4 to 94," said Rick Simpson.
In January 2005, a group of parents and grandparents approached the Simpsons about starting a fan club based on the movie characters. They told the pair their children and grandchildren had watched the films 20 to 30 times. They also said their children had started playing Stormy, Texas and Cimarron around the house, much the way the brothers used to imitate their heroes, Hoppy, Gene and Roy. After much consideration The Stormy Lane Fan Club was born.
Starting with a certificate of membership, each club member receives something from the fan club each month. The certificate is followed by Stormy Lane's Code of the West. This is a list of 10 rules for the children to live their lives by.
These are followed by 8-by-10 color pictures of Stormy, Texas, Cimarron and Diablo. Some months they receive arrowheads, fake bullets and interesting facts about the Old West, and each member receives a birthday card and Christmas card signed by Stormy, Texas and Cimarron.
The Stormy Lane Fan Club has spread across the United States and even into other countries.
"It is in 80 towns and cities in Oklahoma and is in 39 other states and two foreign countries," said Rick Simpson.
The pair are happy to take visitors around their museum and movie sets, but Larry Simpson warns you better be ready to joke around.
"If you can't take a joke you probably shouldn't come in."