To salute Joanne Walpole, the Almanack is pleased to present a few never-before- published second-hand memories of her favorite TV cowboy, Pete "Hannibal Hayes" Duel. The poop comes from my old friend Drew Bentley. Back in our high school days, he and I were each half (no, that's not a typo) of a rock band called The Strychnine Five (hear us here). Drew's now a member of the Nebraska Radio Personalities Hall of Fame. Back in the early 70s he was in a lounge band called The Entourage with Pete Duel's sister Pam. That's Drew in the upper right of the photo below, with the groovy muttonchops. I'll let you guess which is Pam. (If you click on the photo to bring up the big version, you'll see the family resemblence.) The band was touring Las Vegas and California while Alias Smith and Jones was on the air, and Pete would join them now and then to party.
On one occasion they went horseback riding. After the others had saddled up and ridden ahead, Pete was still getting Pam's young daughter Jennifer settled on a paint pony. Hearing a clatter of hoofs, Drew looked back to see Jennifer come riding into sight on the paint, her legs flopping every whichaway. After her galloped Pete, attempting a TV-style rescue. But he was too late. She fell, and the pony ran over her. Pete was frantic, thinking she was dead, but she escaped with a few bruises.
Another time they'd gone to a buffet. Pete was unshaven, wearing blue jeans and John Lennon-style granny glasses, probably thinking no one would recognize him. But a little girl wandered over to the table and said, "Are you Hannibal Hayes?" "Why, yes I am," said Pete, and signed an autograph. "That's what it's all about," he told the band. Within minutes the whole restaurant knew what was up, and a long line of admirers had formed.
The maitre'd at a snooty restaurant once turned up his nose at Pete, finding him too scruffy to seat. Pete proved he had the proper credentials by yanking out a thick wad of hundred-dollar bills.
My favorite tale involves Pete and The Entourage partying it up in a bar. Drew lost sight of him for a time, and finally discovered him up on a table in another part of the bar, roaring drunk and reciting the soliloquy from Hamlet.