Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
AGadfly 45
Published in the Warrensburg Gazette for June 1, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

The cat is out of the bag. Old Drum is a movie star. When the spotlights diminish over the Warrensburg skies on premier night of the movie eulogizing Old Drum as a golden retriever, what will tourists think? Will the Old Drum T-shirts appearing in the Warrensburg area's tourism headquarters depict Old Drum as the original or the golden retriever version? Will a gourmet carry-out dog biscuit shoppe bring dog-loving tourists to downtown?

Premiere night is June 8, 6:00 PM with refreshments, at the Country Club, a dance hall at 822 S. Maguire, where the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce has proclaimed a community-wide promotion of Discovery cable network's Animal Planet newest feature, "The Trial of Old Drum."

The opportunity to attend the first public showing of the new Old Drum might provide a sniff of what may come of tourism in this town. If the hype of the movie doesn't fade into oblivion as did the nationally promoted premium Old Drum dogfood, the white washed Old Drum monument on Big Creek, or the Old Drum coffee mugs, maybe there is premonition of what may come.

Will throngs of tourists will be directed to the Old Drum statue? Will the Historical Society provide hourly renditions of Sen. Vest's speech immortalizing a dog as man's best friend at the 1842 Courthouse, where the Old Drum trial took place. Will visitors shop for Old Drum dog biscuits at one of the many possible downtown doggie shoppes licking up profit on the boots of the movie?

As the Chamber's director recently stated, the concern from the community was for a positive promotion of Warrensburg's historical fame of a dog representing "man's best friend." So, how does the community keep the chain on the dog's collar? Will the Chamber attempt to control all entrepreneurship of the movie's tourism spin-offs, or will it be possible to welcome anyone who comes into town to set up an Old Drum gourmet dog biscuit shoppe complete with Old Drum 'paw-tographed' photos and poodle collars for little Old Drums?

Let the dog have his day in the sun and attend the Chamber sponsored event. A scratch behind the ear and a pat of goodwill unites this community and buries any bones of contention about who can promote the Old Drum story. It's our dog, and we must be faithful to Old Drum even when a tourist is disappointed because he expected a golden retriever.

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