Hollywood is a strange place where major studios and stars rake in billions from glamorizing violence on the screen, but then some of the same people will turn around and decry guns off screen.
Charleton Heston realized this a few years back and organized a series of celebrity shooting sports events to put a positive spotlight on the safety, using actors as positive role models.
After the Heston shoots concluded, T.J. Johnston, former producer of "General Hospital," and his wife Cathy, and Baltimore, MD, firearms dealer Sandy Abrams, who had worked with Heston's shoots, started up a new program The Hollywood Celebrity Shoot that they hoped would carry on the spirit of the Heston shoots, and make the program available to the general public. The event has grown every year to become the largest celebrity shooting sports event in the U.S., perhaps the world.
With veteran TV and film actor John Laughlin ("The White Shadow", "China Beach" and 30 movies) coming on board to replace the Johnstons last year, the 5th Hollywood Celebrity Shoot had 102 celebrity actors, writers, directors and producers, and 100 patron shooters vying for prizes in cluster flush, trap and sporting clays, while another 150 spectator guests watched.
Sandy and John have been very busy preparing for this year's shoot, and their efforts have paid off. Expanding to two days of shooting competitions, August 2 and 3, plus an evening cocktail party and auction, this years' shoot at the Triple B Shooting Sports Park in South El Monte, CA, will have at least three times that many patron shooters. And it will add a new handgun event.
Aside from supporting a very deserving charity, St. Jude Children's Hospital, what draws people to this event are celebrities.
Each year one or two are given special recognition for their contributions to the shooting sports. In past years the honorees have included Roy Rogers, Joe Mantegna, Robert Stack, Leslie Easterbrook, Erin Gray, Ron Masak, Anne Lockhart and Lou Ferrigno.
Sandy and John expect over 100 celebrities to be there this year to pay tribute to two entertainment industry figures who have made enormous contributions to the shooting sports: producer/director/ writer John Milius, and country musician/actress/writer Louise Mandrell.
Details on this year' honorees
An avid hunter and shooter since childhood and a Life member and Board of Directors member of the NRA, John Miius is one of the premier writer/directors in Hollywood.
John has written and/or directed 32 films including Dillinger, Jeremiah Johnson, Dirty Harry Magnum Force, Apocalypse Now, Conan, Flight of the Intruder and Red Dawn.
His TV production, The Rough Riders, was instrumental in causing President Theodore Roosevelt to be posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for acts of conspicuous gallantry on San Juan Hill.
The middle sister of the famous Mandrell sisters Barabara, Louise and Irlene Louise Mandrell is adept at playing fiddle, bass, piano, guitar, banjo, synthesizer and clarinet, as well as having a powerful country voice.
Louise is an expert marksman as well. She enjoys trap, skeet and clay shooting and has taken high honors in many shooting competitions.
In l996 she was Honorary Chairwoman of National Hunting and Fishing Day. One of her many charitable actions is an Annual Celebrity Shoot, which raises monies for the Boy Scouts of America, an organization Louise firmly supports.
In a town where careers can be made or broken in a day, and shooting sports are not politically-correct, (as Tom Selleck learned on the "Rosie O'Donnell Show") the celebrities who come out to this event all deserve a "Giraffe Award" for sticking their necks out on behalf of shooting sports.
Regardless, some of the players who plan to be at this year's shoot include: Patrick Kilpatrick (currently starring in "Minority Report), Michael Gregory ("Total Recall" and "Robocop,") and Marshall Teague ("Armageddon," "Crossfire Trail"), as well as Olympic Gold medalist Kim Rhode.
Quotes from Charter Members of the Giraffe Society
"The Hollywood Celebrity Shoot is the best tool we have, here in the film capitol of the world, to help change the negative image of the shooting sports that's held by many leaders of the entertainment and news media. It's safe, fun, competitive, and charitable. How can you beat it?"
Leslie Easterbrook ("LaVerne and Shirley," "Police Academy")
"As an avid sportsman, I am a strong supporter of the Hollywood Celebrity Shoot, and the safe, sane and fun exposure to the shooting sports its promotes."
Joe Mantegna ("First Monday", "House of Games")
"The really cool thing about this whole event is that when I pull the trigger, real bullets come out. Usually, that's not the case."
Michael Dudikoff ("American Ninja," "Avenging Angel")
"A good shot is a good man. You meet the nicest people at shooting sports events."
Robert Stack ("The Untouchables", "Unsolved Mysteries")
"This is the only kind of thing you can do where everyone is essentially equal. It doesn't matter if you are 250 pounds or 105 pounds, you're equal when you pick up the gun and shoot at the target."
Ron Masak ("Murder She Wrote," and over 3000 commercials)
"There are some things that are best described by doing them, and shooting sports is one of them. This is a family event where I bring my kids and we have a blast."
Anne Lockhart (Battlestar Gallactica," "Kung Fu")
"The Hollywood Celebrity Shoot is the most fun you can have with your clothes on."
Michael Gregory ("Robocop," "Total Recall")
Money raised at the event comes from registration fees and auction and raffle items. You can attend this year's Hollywood Celebrity Shoot as a patron shooter, or as guest, or spectator.
For more details see: www.hollywoodcelebrityshoot.com or contact: John Laughlin, executive prroducer, Hollywood Celebrity Shoot P.O. Box 6061-652 Sherman Oaks, CA 91413; phone: (818) 995-7456; fax: (818) 995-6984; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.