March 15, 2008:
The Death Valley 49ers recently donated the guitar of musician Max H. “Doc” Dennings to the Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History. It is now on display at the entrance of the Museum next to the Gift Shop.
The guitar was donated to the 49ers by Steven and Cecilia Orcutt. Nan Gering formally donated it to Rob Barron, General Manager of the Museum, at the annual Installation dinner of the Lone Pine Chamber held at Boulder Creek RV Park in January.
The artwork on the guitar, nicknamed “Old Dinah” was painted by Artist William Rushing. The leather strap, also on display, was created by artist R.P. Kidd.
“Doc” began his music career after serving in WWII in 1946 when he was under contract with 4-Star records in Hollywood making about a dozen sides on 78 rpm records.
Doc met and played with “The Reinsmen” from 1977 to 1993, except for a few months in 1981 when he took a leave-of-absence from that group and toured with the “Sons of the Peioneers.” While a member of these musical groups, he performed and made friends with stars like Rex Allen, Sr., Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Eddie Dean, Tex Williams, Ken “Festus” Curtis, and other western movie and music stars, including songwriter Bob Nolan and fiddler Hugh Farr, originally with the “Sons of the Pioneers.”
His musical talents include vocalist, singing any part in trio or quartets, the guitar, fiddle and bass on 25 albums and numerous singles on various record labels. These include Sierra, Warner Bros., 4-Star, Superior, Comstock, and on a recent taper made in 2005.
As a “Reinsmen” and as a solo act, Doc Denning happily shared his talents for 28 years with the Death Valley 49ers. A representative commented, “We enjoyed his song writing, melodious voice, ‘Painted Lady’, poems and music.”
Doc retired in 2004. He recently wrote “It’s Been a GREAT LIFE.”