Monday, August 16, 2010

Charley Sherwood Cryer, musical movie hero?

When considering musical movies, you have both the people in front of the camera, singing and playing, and those behind the camera, doing what needs to be done to get the movie out and get people singing the tunes.

Until recently, I had never heard of Charley Sherwood Cryer, but learned about him via The Music's Over, as supplemented by a comment from Cryer's daughter.

Charley Sherwood Cryer, born in 1926, was known professionally as Sherwood Cryer. A welder at Shell, he opened up a club named Shelly's in Pasadena, Texas. But things began changing when he ran into a musician named Mickey Gilley, who at the time was not as well known as his more famous cousin Jerry Lee - and perhaps Jimmy was better known at the time also. They teamed up, the club was renamed Gilley's, and Cryer added an attraction:

Gilley's didn't really begin to take off until after Cryer installed a mechanical bull for all the pipe-fitters and glass-cutters to work out some of their aggression somewhere besides each other. Gilley and most of the club's other performers hated it, but it was making too much money for Cryer to shut down....

Eventually the club caught the attention of some people who wanted to make a movie about urban cowboys. The Music's Over:

When the Urban Cowboy filmmakers wanted to recreate the bar on a sound stage, it was Cryer who convinced them to film the now-famous scenes right there in the club.

But massive success spelled the end of Gilley's as the partners split up and the building burned to the ground in 1989. Cryer subsequently owned an establishment in Deer Park called G's Ice House, as documented in this aggravated assault case that occurred on the premises.

Cryer died in August, 2009, age 81.
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