A work in progress...
George still entertains fans. In 2000, the local Wolcott Historical Society invited
George to perform a free concert as a 'thank you' to the local towns people for their
support of the organization. The concert by George on the Wolctott Green included
him performing the music of the 1950s and 1960s, including the tunes he sang
on the WSM Grand Ole Opry.
When he was just 24 years old, he was running a 'frontier town' that was
called Cowboy Valley in Killingworth. He played the role of 'sheriff' back
then and as part of the fun, he deputized all of the children who attended
the shows. He also worked at other western-themed 'towns' such as the one he had
during his career.
He appeared on the Opry in 1973 wiht Dolly Parton and Barbara Mandrell. A copy
of the Friday Night Opry program from November 16, 1973 shows him appearing
on Tex Ritter's Shoney's segment along with Penny DeHaven.
One might notice the picture of him dressed as a gunslinger. That was no publicity
picture photo. He was the real deal. In fact, Colt Manufacturning Co. once named
him the "...fastest gun alive."
Since the Colt Manufacturing Co. was based in Hartford, CT, it hired him for a time
as a gun demonstrator.
During his career, he was recording for the famed Starday label in Nashville. His
hit song back then was "I Love You All Over The World."
He later developed a tumor on his larynx, which after having it remoed,
forced him to make a change in his career.
He moved back to his native Connecticut and started a gift manufacturing company
that specialized in gifts that featured butterflies in some form or another.
The liner notes on his K-Ark Records album talks of this achievement. His fast draw
was timed at 1/8th (yes, that's one-eighth) of a second! And that's faster than
you can blink your eye.
But in the next paragraph, it asks how fast can you lose that speed? And the answer
is "...as long as it takes to open a glass jar and have it break, severing all leaders
in the wrist." Even after that, he maintained his lightning fast speed.
Hollywood took advantage of his talents as well. Remember the old western television
shows such as Paladin, Cheyenne, Maverick or Wyatt Earp? Remember how good some
of those cowboys and lawmen and bad guys were with the gun? Chances are George Avak
trained them over many hours or perhaps you may have seen his handiwork and not the
George also had other interests. The 2000 article by Ms. Rubinsky notes that
he was known in Wolcott for his exotic butterfly collection that he would display
at the local libraries.
A 2004 article notes that George was opening a museum to let others
view his buterfly collection. George noted in the article that it would cater
to children and adults and he felt it would 'capture an audience' as he
knew the public and their tastes.
The museum sounds like it would be a picturesque setting. He planned to have not
one but two greenhouses that would enable him to showcase his live butterfly
collection. It would also present his mounted butterfly collection, totaling
George was also going to mix his past career with the museum a bit as well. He
would again deputize the youngsters. And then he was also going to put together
a band and entertain the folks that visited.
Credits & Sources
- Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to express its appreciation to
the George Avak himself for contacting us and providing us with articles, photos and clippings
to help us document his career.
- "Native Son to Perform for Historians"; undated article from 2000; Republican-American;
(byline Cara Rubinsky) Wolcott, CT (copy courtesy of George Avak)
- WSM Friday Night Opry Program; November 16, 1973;
(copy courtesy of George Avak)
- "Passion For Butterflies Morphed Into Museum"; The
Hartford Courant; January 12, 2004 (byline Paul Cavaliere); Hartford, CT
(copy courtesy of George Avak)