Larry Wayne Danehower (Dec. 5, 1950 - July 3, 1970)
The authors of this website are Steven E. Mitchell and Ralph Slatton. We have created this site to remember our friend, Larry Wayne Danehower. We were his best friends while he lived in Trumann, Arkansas. Written below are our individual accounts, covering the years 1966 through 1970. For those who have known Larry or his family, we encourage you to email us with additional stories or photos. (send email)
Remembering Larry by Steven E. Mitchell
In the fall of 1966, Ralph and I began the ninth grade at Trumann High School. Early in the school year, I noticed a kid in my algebra class drawing a copy of a Jack Kirby cover for—I think—a Thor comic. About the same time, Ralph asked if I had seen this new kid who drew copies of comic book covers. I think Ralph introduced Larry to me soon after, and we, along with Bobby Parnell, became friends.
Larry Danehower attended high school in Trumann from 1966 to 1969. The four of us didn’t share many classes during those three years, but we met at lunch, and Ralph, Larry, and I often got together after school, soon visiting each other’s homes. Ralph’s family owned their own house, a four-room farm house with a hipped roof, a type common in the southern factory town. My family lived in a house trailer parked on the back of a lot owned by Mrs. Mollie Ingram, an ancient widow. Larry’s family, which at that time included his father; his step-mother; his younger brother, Gene; and his sister, Bonnie, lived at 604 Walnut Street, in a federal housing project east of the railroad tracks and the federal compress. Although Bobby had lived in Trumann, at about that time his family moved north of the Central community between Trumann and Harrisburg, so we saw less of him outside of school.
I think from the beginning our friendship meant a lot to Larry. That first Christmas we knew him, he came over unexpectedly with presents for Ralph and me. He gave me the fourteenth Bantam Books Doc Savage adventure, The Fantastic Island, and I believe he also gave Ralph a book. I certainly wasn’t expecting a present from him, so I didn’t have one for him (and, to my regret, I don’t believe I ever gave him one). While the book cost only fifty cents, it was a wonderful gesture, showing both his acceptance of us as his friends and probably seeking our acceptance of him as a friend. The book remains one of my prized possessions and, although it was several years before I read it, was the beginning of my interest in Doc Savage that continues today. (more...)
More Reflections by Ralph Slatton
Most persons aquainted with Larry Danehower would describe him as mild mannered, quiet, and very talented. Those were my first impressions, as well. He didn't say much around others, but was very talkative with his friends. Larry had black wavy hair, tanned complexion, and dark eyes that always held a determined expression. Some said he resembled the actor, Tony Curtis. Larry was about 5'8", somewhat thin, but could be described as athletic. When Larry spoke, one could almost detect a slight Northern accent, with his clear and fast cadence. I think he was part Native American, at least he sometimes made references to this.
The day I first met Larry was in the 9th grade, in the fall of 1966. A group of students were gathered around watching a classmate draw from the cover of a Marvel comic book, Avengers #4. Larry had rendered an exceptional duplication of Jack Kirby's artwork, showing Captain America crouching with his shield. Larry was not afraid to use a full range of pencil tones, with exteme dark areas that simulated the inks in comic books. Because of my own interest in comic books, I decided to strike up a conversation. I soon learned that Larry was working on several drawings; one was the cover of Journey into Mystery #124, featuring a battle between Thor and Hercules. After our conversations, Larry wanted to come over to see my comic collection. From that time forward, Larry, Steve, and I became good friends, sharing common interests in comic books and drawing.
Larry loved illustrating science fiction and monster movies. One I particularly remember was from the 1953 movie War of the Worlds. Larry sketched a group of greenish Martian spacecraft as they hovered through the smoke of burning landscape. This drawing was particularly popular with the teachers and students, who made comments that the colors were just like what was shown on TV. Another movie which he had spoken of often was The Incredible Shrinking Man, 1957. Some of Larry's favorite professional illustrators were Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Steve Ditko, Frank Frazetta, and Wally Wood. He emulated their style fairly well. Despite the somewhat stiff qualities to his images, his attention to detail and value range were quite good. (more...)