This post brought to you by a joint effort of the Department of Odd Raffles, The TV Shows We Dimly Recall Administration and the Bureau of People We Didn't Know Lived in Houston:
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An Irish charity is offering up a strange prize. A donation of ten Euros to the Western Alzheimer's Foundation buys you a crack at ten days in Houston as the guest of James Drury, the actor who played the title role in TV's The Virginian from 1962 to 1971.
According to The Mayo News, reruns of the show have made Drury wildly popular on the Emerald Isle, even today. The actor visited Ireland last year, and to hear people tell it, you'd think St. Patrick himself had returned to his old stomping grounds. "It was like the visit of President John F Kennedy to Wexford in the 1960s," intoned Mayo-area resident Eamon Finnerty. (You can practically see the tear in his eye.) "People queued for hours just to meet The Virginian. He is an extraordinarily generous person who gives his time freely to anyone who wants to talk about the program."
Noel Higgins, a spokesman for Western Alzheimer's, also spoke of the western hero in awed tones. "The chance to be buddies with The Virginian himself for ten days, and join him on a trip to the biggest rodeo in the world in Houston, Texas, has sparked enormous interest," he said. So much so, the Mayo News says, that they had to take the raffle online! They couldn't handle all the entries the old-fashioned way!
The winner will be lodged in the same Houston hotel the 74-year-old Drury calls home year-round. The actor moved here in the mid-'70s at the behest of his locally-raised wife Carl Ann. When not enthralling the Irish populace with his mere presence, Drury dabbles in oil and gas.