Rediscovered: The Famous Don Herrons, Dropping Like Flies

Long ago on this blog I did a post titled “The Famous Don Herrons” — one guy said it sounded like the name of a Motown group. Looks like when I revamped the site circa 2011 it didn’t get moved up, but who knows, perhaps it exists on one of those sites that archive the web. . . .

Point was, I noticed that there were other Don Herrons out there, and about five of us accounted for most of the hits on Google. From when I was a teenager I knew about the Don Herron — or, officially, Harron — who appeared as the newscaster on Hee Haw. A Canadian comedian, he did several books, usually writing as Charlie Farquharson. I guess he would be the first Famous Don Herron.

In San Francisco, just before I began doing the Hammett Tour, another Don Herron popped up — a photog who soon became famous for his series of “Tub Shots.”

Then I began to make the name known.

Another Don Herron made the scene, a musician, who plays with BR549 and has sat in with Bob Dylan and more.

And out of Texas, yet another Don Herron had a lot of hits — a famous potter, no less.

Those five seemed to account for the bulk of the web hits, though I see occasional local politicians and ministers and salesmen trying to muscle in. Punks.

And there was another one with far fewer hits, an artist in Texas back in the 1960s, who wrote and did the illos for books such as The Sarim and Winged Beings. Every now and then someone would email out of the blue to inquire if I happened to be that guy. Nope.

A couple of weeks ago I finally tumbled to the info that the Don Herron of The Sarim was the same guy as the Don Herron of “Tub Shots.” Obviously, I hadn’t made it a priority investigation — I seldom do.

Poking around on ABEbooks I read the blurb in re: a copy of Winged Beings offered by Whitledge Books in Texas. They copied in all kinds of dope: “Born in Brenham, Texas to Johanna and Lawrence Herron on September 8, 1941. Don graduated from Brenham High in 1959 and served four years in the U.S. Air Force. He received a B.A. and an M.F.A. in 1972 from the University of Texas at Austin where he later taught studio courses. He also taught at Castle Hill Art Center in Truro, Massachusetts. Moving to San Francisco later that year, Don began photographing people in their bath tubs, having been inspired by medieval sculptures set in niches.”

Yep, the 1960s artist and Mr. Tub Shots were the same guy. The blurb mentions he moved to New York City in 1978, leaving the San Francisco angle to me.

They also mention he died in 2013, which was news to me.

But that nudged me enough to check into the case of The Famouses a bit more and I discovered that Don Harron died on January 17, 2015. I hadn’t heard. At least once or twice a year for many years now someone has checked to see if I was him, but I realize I haven’t had an inquiry lately.

And now I know why.

I guess I now stand as the Last of the First of The Famous Don Herrons, if you know what I mean.

To those who went before, I salute you.

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