Ray "Crash" Corrigan
Dreamer, Planner, and Doer
By Will "Cherokee Slim" Lacey
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An astute businessman in diversified interests, struggling to make his mark
As stuntman, actor, and fortune-seeker, plus the owner of an amusement park.
He trained as a fencer, boxer, wrestler and swimmer, was a physical culturist on the side,
Sold real estate and built swimming pools. What a one man E-ticket ride!
That was Ray "Crash" Corrigan, Esquire, Incorporated, and super human it seems.
The only grass growing underneath his feet was covering his field of dreams.
He ran a western movie location empire for almost a thirty year span.
In the meantime he was raising kids and Cain, and a few eyebrows across the land.
He was born Ray Bennetts, but for marquee purposes he changed it to Ray Benard,
And it finally ended up as Ray "Crash" Corrigan on his stuntman union card.
Coming rightly by that name, he surely earned it, for time after nervous time,
He'd be crashing through some saloon door or window and landing on a dime.
In Tarzan of the Apes, when Johnny Weismuller was swinging on those jungle vines,
It was actually Ray in a tigerskin loincloth, doing all them monkey shines.
And Corrigan wrestled alligators in the underwater scenes and fought a few lions to boot.
In film after film he'd be doubling or stunting or wearing some gorilla suit.
Then it was on to national recognition with all those Saturday wide-eyed buckaroos,
Who packed in to see their favorite heroes win, and the dirty, rotten miscreants lose.
Teaming up with various straight shooters in "Range Busters" and The "Three Mesquiteers,"
He was riding and slinging lead and rounding up infidels for quite a number of years.
In the meantime, he bought a picturesque, boulder-strewn dumpsite in the Simi Vally Hills
And cleaned out the trash and built sets and roads and dubbed it Corriganville.
Then for nigh on three decades, at a frantic pace, the studios moved right in,
And near four thousand action-packed, wonder-filled stories were brought before the lens.
Yes, the TV screen and the movie houses all profited from Corrigan's ideas.
And if stunts and acting didn't include the man, then the movie location was his.
For many years of that amazing park's existence the public was invited
To picnic, sightsee and watch movies being made, and generally feel delighted.
"Crash" would also tour the matinee circuit to promote his latest zinger.
Usually, after the cartoons, and before his feature started, he'd perform with western singers.
Yes, many a time he and Eddie Dean, or some crooner of the day,
Would have those crackerjack juggler's undvided attention, from Pittsburgh to Santa Fe.
Oh, yes! Wheaties picked him out to promote their cereal. He was the first star on their box.
Plus Coca-Cola and Iris coffee and candy bars were more of his commercial hawks.
Twenty one electrical patents are his to add some fringe to his busy quilt,
Including one much-used hospital blood pump that Corrigan had built.
So, busy isn't quite the word I need to describe this entrepreneur.
The epitome of perpetual movement is more like it. He was a dreamer, planner, and doer.
Getting scads accomplished in one lifetime, and nobody had more fun.
Here's to Ray "Crash" Corrigan, a time-proven winner and an absolute phenomenon.
By Will "Cherokee Slim" Lacey - March 9, 1994