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ABOUT JONNIE KING
HALL OF FAME LEGENDS HEADLINE NEWS !
FIRST TIME VISITORS: IMPORTANT INFO !
COUNTRIES LOGGED-ONTO THE HOF LEGENDS SERIES !
LEGENDS CD CATALOG
HOT OFF THE PRESS: THE LEGENDS IN PRINT !
THE LEGENDS VIDEO GALLERY
VISIT SOME OF OUR FRIENDS
CONTACT US
CANDY CLARK: HER
DARRYL STARBIRD'S '57 CADDY BROUGHAM CONCEPT:
DARRYL STARBIRD: NEW BUILDERS & THE ENGLISH WHEEL !
DARRYL STARBIRD:
DARRYL STARBIRD: THE HALL OF FAME MUSEUM !
DARRYL STARBIRD:
DARRYL STARBIRD: A FAMILY AFFAIR & THE BUBBLE TOP BOOK !
DARRYL STARBIRD ON: HIS GIFT, OKLAHOMA, AND, THE LEGENDS !
DARRYL STARBIRD: DRIVING THE PREDICTA !
DARRYL STARBIRD: PRODUCING CAR SHOWS !
DARRYL STARBIRD/JEFF MYERS:
DARRYL STARBIRD: THE EARLY
GEORGE BARRIS:
GEORGE BARRIS: STREET RACING, BULLET HOLES, MOVIES & TV !
GEORGE BARRIS: THE BUGARIN MERC !
GEORGE  BARRIS:
GEORGE BARRIS: THE DECEMBER, 1957 SHOP FIRE
GEORGE BARRIS: THE ALA KART STORY !
GEORGE BARRIS: THE SAM BARRIS MERC !
GEORGE BARRIS: THE
GEORGE BARRIS: THE STORY OF
GEORGE BARRIS/JOHN D'AGOSTINO: OLD SCHOOL/NEW SCHOOL !
GEORGE BARRIS & JOHN D'AGOSTINO IN SWEDEN !
GEORGE BARRIS:LARRY ERNST BELAIR/SHOP FIRE !
GENE WINFIELD: SECTIONING THE
GENE WINFIELD AND THE STORY OF THE
GENE WINFIELD: PAINTING MANUEL ARTECHE'S RADICAL '41 FORD CUSTOM !
GENE WINFIELD: TRAVELING & PAINTING WORLDWIDE !
GENE WINFIELD: LIFE IN THE FASTLANE !
GENE WINFIELD'S FAVORITE CARS !
GENE WINFIELD: THE AMT S&C DIVISION, AND, THE
GENE WINFIELD: FADEAWAY PAINT JOBS
GENE WINFIELD: ORIGINS/FIRST SHOP !
JOE BAILON: CREATING
JOE BAILON: THE EARLY YEARS
MIKE ALEXANDER'S STORY:
MIKE ALEXANDER:
SPENCE MURRAY: BEGINNINGS OF A CAREER !
BLACKIE GEJEIAN: EARLY HISTORY, NASCAR, AND, THE GNRS !
BLACKIE GEJEIAN: THE
DICK
DICK
DICK MAGOO: HIS PERSONAL RIDES & THE  CHOPPED '49 MERC !
DICK
POSIE:  NEW DESIGNS & SCOTT KILLEEN PHOTOGRAPHY !
POSIE ON RODS, CUSTOMS & SAWING  A CAR IN HALF !
POSIES: TEAMWORK, TECHNOLOGY, & EARLY INFLUENCES !
POSIES
POSIES DRIVEN DIRTY TOUR: HOW IT BEGAN !
NORM GRABOWSKI: BEGINNINGS/FIRST CAR !
POSIES: EARLY CARS & SUPER SLIDE SPRINGS
HOW POSIES CREATED THE FLEETLINER !
NORM GRABOWSKI:
NORM GRABOWSKI: THE
NORM GRABOWSKI: THE ORIGIN OF THE KOOKIE CAR !
NORM GRABOWSKI:
FRANK LIVINGSTON:
FRANK LIVINGSTON'S
JIM
JOHN D'AGOSTINO: WORLDWIDE TRAVEL & 2013 WINNERS !
JOHN D'AGOSTINO & GEORGE BARRIS: THE 1940 CADILLAC !
JOHN D'AGOSTINO BUILDS:
JOHN D'AGOSTINO: GETTING CARS FROM THE USA TO EUROPE !
JOHN D'AGOSTINO & GEORGE BARRIS: DESIGNING KUSTOM CARS !
JOHN D'AGOSTINO CREATES
JOHN D'AGOSTINO: ORIGINS & FAVORITES
FRANK LIVINGSTON '49 CHEVY: CLOSE TO A CLONE !
BO HUFF'S '56 CHEVY:
BO HUFF'S '36 FORD 2DR...
BO HUFF:
BO HUFF: HOF INDUCTIONS & BO'S BOOK !
BO HUFF CREATES THE
BO HUFF TALKS ABOUT HIS HEALTH...
BO HUFF: ON UTAH, HIS MUSEUM, AND 60'S CARS !
BO HUFF: THE SAM BARRIS CLONE !
BO HUFF: NEW PROJECTS & GENO'S '49 MERC !
 MURPHY'S  RADICAL '54 FORD PICK-UP !
KEITH DEAN WITH STORIES OF HIS DAD, AND, THE BRICKLIN !
KEITH DEAN: EARLY YEARS & FAVORITE CARS !
STEVE STANFORD: BEGINNINGS & THE EARLY YEARS
STEVE STANFORD: NEW IDEAS & WORKING WITH THE CLIENT !
STEVE STANFORD: CREATING A STYLE, HEROES, & THE HOF !
STEVE STANFORD: DOUBLE-PLAY !
STEVE STANFOR CREATES THE NEW AMC !
STEVE STANFORD: BILLY GIBBONS'
CHUCK MILLER'S AWARD-WINNING '32 FORD ROADSTER !
CHUCK MILLLER:
CHUCK MILLER'S CARS: THE FUTURE & THE PAST !
CHUCK MILLER CREATES THE HURST OLDS !
CHUCK MILLER: MODEL KITS & HOF INDUCTION !
STEVE FRISBIE MEETS
CHUCK MILLER: THE LINDA VAUGHAN STORY !
CHUCK MILLER: FAVORITES !
STEVE FRISBIE: RESTORATIONS & NEW CUSTOMERS !
STEVE FRISBIE: BUILDING THE
STEVE FRISBIE: FROM THE EARLY YEARS TO SUPER RODS !
CHUCK MILLER: WINNING THE
JIMMIE VAUGHAN ON: HIS '63 RIVIERA & WINNING GRAMMIES !
JIMMIE VAUGHAN: ON NORWAY, GARY HOWARD &  HIS '51 CHEVY !
JIMMIE VAUGHAN: ON GARY HOWARD & HIS '61 CADDY !
GARY HOWARD: MIKE YOUNG'S IMPALA & CARS WITH SOUL !
GARY HOWARD: BUILDING THE HOT ROD CADDY !
GARY HOWARD: BUILDING JIMMIE VAUGHAN'S '54 VICKIE !
LEE PRATT: THE LONG, LONG LeSABRE !
LEE PRATT'S FABULOUS '41 BUICK !
LEE PRATT: THAT FANTASTIC '49 FORD, PT. 1
LEE PRATT: THAT FANTASTIC '49 FORD, Pt.2
M. K. JOHN: PUBLISHED ART & MOTORCYCLES !
M.K. JOHN: BEGINNINGS/MAG.FEATURES !
ELDEN & JERRY TITUS: EARLY YEARS AT STARBIRD'S & THE VOODOO SPIDER !

M.K. JOHN: MAKING GREAT ART !
ELDEN TITUS: THE ROCKET CAR !
ELDEN TITUS:
MARK MORIARITY & THE CAR CRAFT
MARK MORIARITY: SAVING SAVELESKY'S '55 BEL AIR !
MARK MORIARITY BUILDS THE
MARK MORIARITY: EARLY DAYS/ROTAR !
MARK MORIARITY: BUILDING BUBBLE TOPS !
JOHN KOUW: BUILDING DRIVERS/THE FUTURE IS NOW !
JOHN KOUW: THE
JOHN KOUW: THAT FABULOUS '51 FORD !
LOU CALASIBETTA: KKOA HALL OF FAME INDUCTION, 2010 !
LOU CALASIBETTA: THE A BROTHERS & THE GOLDEN INDIAN !
LOU CALASIBETTA: THE EARLY YEARS, AND THAT HISTORIC GARAGE !
LOU CALASIBETTA: THE
LOU CALASIBETTA: THE
DENNIS McPHAIL: THE EARLY YEARS
DENNIS McPHAIL: DOING DESIGNS FOR ED
JEFF MYERS:  THE BEATNIKS CLUB & ITS MEMBERS !
JEFF MYERS: THE SUPER SEVILLE !
VOODOO LARRY:
VOODOO LARRY:
VOODOO LARRY: FROM THE BEGINNING...
DINO & THUNDERFLITE !
BRAD MASTERSON ON BILL HINES & SLINGIN' LEAD !
BRAD MASTERSON: CKD RIVIERA PROJECT CAR !
BRAD MASTERSON: HIS SHOP AT A  LEGENDARY ADDRESS !
BRAD MASTERSON: THE BARRIS-HINES CONNECTION
FRITZ SCHENCK: EARLY YEARS, EARLY CARS !
FRITZ SCHENCK'S COOL CARS !
JERRY TITUS: FAMILY VALUES & KUSTOMS !
JERRY WEESNER/JONNIE KING: CRUSIN' !
WEESNER  & THE MOVIE STAR !
JERRY WEESNER & NORM GRABOWSKI: CRUSIN' HOLLYWOOD, 1957 !
JERRY WEESNER'S PHOTO-OP TIPS !
ALAN MAYES:
ALAN MAYES: PUBLISHING CKD/OSR
Paul Le Mat On: VIETNAM, BOXING, AND SWEDEN !
Paul Le Mat: NEW MOVIE-NEW BOOK !
Paul Le Mat: HIS FAVORITE FILMS !
FROM
ROCK & ROLL RADIO HISTORY: THE DAY ELVIS DIED...
FROM
ROCK & ROLL RADIO HISTORY: THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED
THE RICK NELSON TRIBUTE PAGE
THE RICK NELSON INTERVIEW: Pt. 2
THE MANUEL ARTECHE TRIBUTE PAGE

THE JOHN BUTTERA TRIBUTE PAGE
BOYD CODDINGTON TRIBUTE PAGE
THE DON FERRARA TRIBUTE PAGE
THE DICK DEAN TRIBUTE PAGE
THE ELDEN TITUS TRIBUTE PAGE
THE LARRY WATSON TRIBUTE PAGE
THE BETTIE PAGE TRIBUTE
ORIGINS: THE KUSTOM KEMPS OF AMERICA
THE ORIGIN OF ROD & CUSTOM MAGAZINE
ORIGINS: OL' SKOOL RODZ & CAR KULTURE DeLUXE !
MURPHY'S
MURPHY'S
THE
ORIGINS: BUILDING THE R & C DREAM TRUCK !
THE ROD & CUSTOM DREAM TRUCK SAGA, Pt.1 !
THE ROD & CUSTOM DREAM TRUCK SAGA, PT.2
SPECIAL:
SPECIAL:
SPECIAL: THE BATMOBILE !
SPECIAL:
SPECIAL: THE HIROHATA MERC !
SPECIAL: GENE AUTRY'S '57 SEVILLE !
THE LEGENDARY CKD
HEAR OUR EXCLUSIVE DEMO !
CORPORATE AIR TRAVEL
PHOTO/IMAGE INFO

THE LARRY WATSON TRIBUTE PAGE


The Clock Drive In_Watson Cars_Steve Stanford.jpg

A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE KKOA 30th Anniversary Lead Sled Spectacular in Salina, Kansas, R&C Hall of Famer LARRY WATSON passed away.  Although Larry had been ill for a number of months it still hit all of us attending the Anniversary get-together very hard, myself included. 

As the owner of Manuel Arteche's INVICTA,  I knew that the car Manuel did after the INVICTA was a perfect clone of  Watson's  first version of the "GRAPEVINE" Chevy...which Watson had seen and heartily approved.  This was Manuel's last car as he was very ill as the car was being built, and he was so very proud of it when it was finished...so was Larry who said that Manuel had done a spot-on job of the build.  Sadly, shortly after finishing & showing his "Grapevine" Manuel passed away.

So, I had always wanted to make the trek to California to Interview Larry for this Site as there was a true connection between us with Manuel as the solid link, and my old friend Steve Stanford urged me to do it also as he and Larry have been friends for years.  Of course, I never had the time to travel to get that Interview, BUT in Salina I knew my friends GEORGE BARRIS & JOHN D'AGOSTINO would have some great memories of  Larry.

Larry worked for George on many occasions back in the early days and, in fact, Larry had taken his soon-to-be ground-breaking '58 Thunderbird to the Barris Shop shortly after he got it for some mild modifications which were done by Bill Hines & Bill DeCarr, before  Larry painted & panelled it.

In addition to  that, John D'Agostino had met and become friends with Larry back in the mid-70's, and two of his cars the "CARIBBEAN" & "EMERALD MIST" had won Awards from Larry at Paso Robles in 2001-2002.  And John told me he wanted to dedicate this Interview and his participation at the KKOA 30th Anniversary Celebration to Larry.

Armed with all of the above  information, I set out to record  the memories of  George & John on this legendary pioneer who had been Inducted into the KKOA Hall Of Fame, Darryl Starbird's National Rod & Custom Hall of Fame,  the West Coast Kustoms Hall of Fame, and many others.

George & John's words will bring Larry to life for many who've never had the opportunity to meet him, and I personally hope you enjoy this Tribute that I've worked hard at putting together to honor & respect one of the longest-running, ultimate best in the Rod & Custom Industry:  LARRY WATSON.    JK

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"THE BELLFLOWER CLOCK DRIVE-IN" POSTER:

THE SUPERB ARTWORK ON "The Clock Drive-In" poster at the top of this page is by STEVE STANFORD.  Steve told me a humorous story about the poster:

The poster itself is extremely intricate and depicts many of Larry Watson's personal cars, plus a multitude of those that he painted & worked on back in the 50's & 60's. Steve said that while he was doing the artwork on it Larry would call him and say: "Steve, we need to add ____________ to the poster!", or, "Steve, there's one more car I'd like to put in there."   Steve said he thought he'd finished the poster a number of times, BUT would have to re-do a part of it to put in the other cars that Larry wanted to add.   Steve finally had to tell Larry he was running out of room !  Whatever the case, with Steve Stanford working on the project, it came out perfectly.

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LARRY WATSON WAS BORN JULY 21, 1938, AND DIED JULY 20, 2010, just one day shy of his 72nd birthday.   But, in those years of  life that he had, he packed more talent & creativity into them than many half his age will ever acquire...no matter what their lifespan.

Larry  was a born-and-raised-Californian,  and for him it was  truly a matter of being at "the right place, at the right time".  California was a hotbed of Hot Rods & Customs after World War II with George & Sam Barris,  Gene Winfield,  Neil Emory & Clay Jensen,  the Ayala Brothers,  George Cerny,  Joe Bailon, and others, having shops and building great cars.  Then to add to the mix, Von Dutch, and, Dean Jefferies came along with striping, scalloping, and other ways to add to the painting & overall schemes of those  finished machines.

Enter a young Larry Watson, still in high school, 16 years old, hanging out at the Barris' Lynwood shop watching Von Dutch & Jefferies work their magic.  He asks Jefferies where he gets his brushes.  Dean won't tell Larry anything 'cause he says Larry might want to "take his job", SO Larry finds out where to buy brushes on his own,  figures out how to do some cool striping on his own car, on a dare does a fantastic job on a friends car, AND, the rest, as they say is history !

Many others have paid Tribute to Larry on WebSites all over the world, so I won't duplcate much of what has already been said.  What I WILL say is that the Rod & Custom Industry has lost one of its true innovator's.  I was personally blown away by Larry's work when I was still in High School and followed his career through the years. 

One of my earliest memories is seeing the work that Larry did on Duane Steck's "Moonglow",  then of course the "Grapevine", and, the panel-painted '58 T-Bird was just a knock-out !    I still have my original issue of the Custom Cars 1959 Annual which is one the favorite pieces in my Archive.   IN FACT,  I loved those '58 Thunderbird's so much that I ended up buying one as my first car in the Summer of 1960 ! (See photo's of it at bottom of this page.)

Larry could do it all:  striping, scallops, panel-painting, flames, cobwebbing...if it could be painted, Watson could paint it.  And, with paneling, he started a trend of the "No Custom-Custom" which  proved that you could customize a brand new car and make it look rare & individual without major body mods !   He let the painting of the car do "most of the work" and owners flocked to his shop to get the "Watson Look" !

Larry Watson was a friend to many, a man who later successfully changed careers and went into acting in film & tv, and,  like many other pioneers in the R&C Industry, had enjoyed a richly-deserved resurgence of popularity over the last 15-20 years.  Going along with that renewed interest, a few years back, Larry and the super-legendary GENE WINFIELD, began a Fall Classic dubbed the "Winfield-Watson Gathering", a Rod & Custom get-together held at Gene's shop in the Mojave which turned out to be a much-anticipated yearly event.

 Larry Watson will be missed by all whose lives he touched...all over the World.    

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(Above left: Larry's ground-breaking, panel-painted 1958 T-Bird featured on the cover of the 1959 Custom Cars Annual; Above right: The 'Bird  named Custom Of The Year ! )

 

(Above left: Manuel Arteche's "Grapevine" clone featured in Custom Rodder; Above right:  Watson's original version of the "Grapevine" . )

 

(Above left: Watson's "House Of Style" Shop; Above right: Larry's personal worked-over '59 Caddy. )

  

(Above left: Watson giving the thumbs-up to Alan Mayes' '61 Ventura done Watson-Style (Photo Courtesy of Anna Marco); Above right:  Thom Taylor's "Kustomland" book which features a great section on Watson, his shop, and the cars he did through the years.  See the "HOT OFF THE PRESS" Section of this WebSite for my complete Review of "Kustomland". )

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THIS IS A GREAT BOOK published book by Thom Taylor & Larry Watson.  It's a personal book that covers Larry's cars, his life, and his loves. The book was finished, ironically, the night that Larry died, and the initial press-run was limited to 1,000 copies.  I have a Review of this superb volume on the "Hot Off The Press" Section of the WebSite, and you can get much more info there on this amazing book.  Just go to this link:   Hot Off The Press

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(Above left & right:   John D'Agostino's  '56 Packard Caribbean & '58 Eldorado Brougham (Emerald Mist)...Both Won Awards From Larry Watson At Paso Robles)

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(Above left:  My first car, a '58 Thunderbird Hardtop that I bought in the Summer of 1960; Above right: My buddies Jim D. & Jack R. checking-it out with me shortly after I got it.  Talk about "Stylin' " !  An early "Watson Inspired" T-Bird Buy ?   Maybe ! )

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NOTE: Pictures used on this Tribute Page Courtesy of  Rik Hoving, Kustomrama, John D'Agostino,  Car Kulture DeLuxe, Street Rodder Magazine, and various other respective owners.