Garé and Carl Barks were a well-known married couple when they lived in the hamlet of Hemet, California, from 1954 to 1969. The focus was on Garé who participated in multiple artistic events such as gallery shows, theatre plays, and diverse promotional activities for the town, and it was not generally known that Carl was drawing the immensely popular Disney duck stories (see more about some of his community activities HERE)!
Hemet's greatest annual and social event was - and still is -
The Ramona Pageant* and the couple attended every year for both pleasure and business. Here are a few accounts of the event as such and the Barks couple's activities in connection with it.

* Generally, a Pageant is defined as an elaborate public presentation depicting a historical or traditional event. It is mostly held outdoor and involves shows, processions, and displays.






Although its official title is The Ramona Outdoor Play it is commonly known as The Ramona Pageant. It dates back to 1923 and is held over three weekends in April and May based in a natural amphitheatre called The Ramona Bowl in the foothills above Hemet. All cast members are volunteers from the residential areas and features about 400 citizens making the pageant the largest - as well as the longest-running - outdoor play in the USA.
Hemet is situated in an area which was populated by many ethnic groups some of which were Indian tribes and Spanish settlers, and this fact is also reflected in the pageant's vast program as both intriguing and colourful events, but local artists also have a platform where they can present their work.

This is the front cover of the couple's own program for the 1967 Ramona Pageant. Notice the names of the Chairmen...




This is a selection of Garé's pictures from the pageant (year unknown). The photos show some of the elaborate historic events that sprung from Ramona's and Alessandro's love story. All of the residents from the Hemet area as well as many of the guests are dressed in costumes from the end of the 19th century to make the pageant as true to life as possible.




Helen Hunt Jackson
Ramona, first edition

In 1884 Helen Hunt Jackson's (1830-1885) historical romance novel Ramona was published. In the story Ramona, the child of a white father and an Indian mother, falls in love with an Indian sheepherder named Alessandro. Jackson's story has never been out of print, it inspired popular songs as well as 4 films, and it became the pivotal point for the annual pageant - and the inspiration for Carl's 1951 story In Old California!...



Road sign to the Bowl
Panchita and Rolando

Carl only made one romantic story, FC0328 In Old California! from 1951, and it became one of his favourites because of its sentimental qualities: The one I always liked best for sentimental value was In Old California! I created an atmosphere and then kept that atmosphere through the whole story.
In fact, we are treated to an all-embracing story that has all the ingredients of a traditional and romantic Wild West film; a dashing hero, a beautiful heroine, shady characters, gold diggers, settlers, cowboys, and campfire songs as well as love, heroes, villains, history, nature, gold rush, atmosphere and nostalgia. And for once, Carl did not need to consult his beloved National Geographic Magazines for backgrounds in order to draw this epic story. He lived right in the area next to the Soboba Indian Reservation, the Estudillo Mansion, and the Ramona Pageant Bowl...
This fact also enticed him to fill the story with real locations and numerous in-jokes. He later stated when referring to the story as 'partly as an introductory prop to establish the locale and historical period of the main plot, and partly to amaze my San Jacinto neighbors, few of whom knew that the duck comic books they saw on the newsstands originated in their little town. You can see a few examples of Carl's 'insider' information

See more of Carl's comments on this particular story HERE.



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Garé was never afraid of promoting herself with the confidence that comes natural when you know your own professional worth. At the pageant she would hand out folders like this one.



Carl and Ramona
Garé and 'Earl'

At the 1968 pageant Carl presented one of his already numerous paintings. It was made shortly before and called Ramona's Decision, evidently a tribute to the pageant. It depicts a Spanish donna who obviously has difficulties choosing her jewelry for the evening.
Carl was published in the local newspaper holding his new art (left), and he later grumbled: Even my wife says I don't look like myself in this photo. In another newspaper the other day my photo came out looking like Chief Justice Earl Warren (the famous judge who presided in the first committee investigating President John F. Kennedy's death - Editor's remark). I burned the paper...
Maybe he did, but the newspaper photo still exists (right) and it shows the couple at the Chiswood Gallery in Hemet. Garé is pointing to one of her own paintings, while 'Earl' looks interested.