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VIP visitors come calling

Local lore draws comic, rock star

POSTED: May 5, 2010 4:00 a.m.
Frank Reddy Dawson Community News/

Larry the Cable Guy makes a phone call to Hayley Garrett's daughter, Sandy Dempsey, to prove she's not lying about his visit to the Dawsonville Pool Room last week.

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It was a star-studded week for the city of Dawsonville.

  

It began Thursday when Larry the Cable Guy showed up at the Dawsonville Pool Room after a long day in the woods filming a TV show.

  

Dawsonville’s Gordon Pirkle acted as sort of a tour guide for the camera crew and the Blue Comedy Tour star, taking them to a makeshift model of a moonshine still and later to his well-known eatery.

  

Pirkle will co-star in the episode of “Only in America,” a History Channel documentary series.

  

Pirkle said the piece, which is set to air in early fall, will have a “whole lot of Dawsonville history ... all the good stuff.”

  

Larry the Cable Guy is the host of “Only in America.” According to the History Channel’s Web site, the show covers “the different lifestyles, jobs and hobbies that celebrate the American experience.”

  

As word of the celebrity’s visit spread, a crowd gathered at the Pool Room.

  

Brandon Harkness, 13, of Dawsonville waited inside, watching Larry the Cable Guy get out of a car. He ran out the door, pen and paper in hand.

  

“I got his autograph,” said Harkness, a longtime fan. “When I saw him, I was like, ‘It’s really him!’ Yeah, I was pretty excited.”

  

Larry the Cable Guy, whose real name is Daniel Whitney, said meeting local residents was a good experience.

  

“I love Dawsonville,” he said, while signing autographs inside the Pool Room. “I feel right at home here. These people are good. It’s a good place.

  

“I wouldn’t mind coming back sometime for a longer visit.”

  

And he wasn’t the only celebrity enamored with the town’s charm.

  

AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson showed up Monday at Thunder Road USA.

  

Johnson is a big fan of NASCAR and a part-time race car driver as well. He had just finished a race at Road Atlanta in Braselton before coming to town.

  

“We heard about this museum here,” he said Monday. “I just had to come see it.”

  

A television crew tagged along with Johnson and got footage of him chatting with Pirkle about local history.

  

Johnson called the racing museum “the Vatican in the valley.”

  

“It’s like almost religious for me, being here and seeing all this. It’s just glorious,” he said. “Incredible what you guys have here in your backyard.”

  

AC/DC is known for 1980s hits such as “Back in Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

  

Pirkle said it all started when he got a phone call from England last week.

  

Johnson’s manager told Pirkle about the singer’s enthusiasm for racing and his desire to visit the museum while in north Georgia.

  

Last month, Pirkle got a phone call from an employee of the History Channel, explaining the details of Larry the Cable Guy’s visit and when he’d be in town.

  

They then asked if Pirkle wouldn’t mind spending a little time in front of the camera.

  

“Of course, Dawsonville’s known for racing, so they wanted to show its history from moonshine days to present,” Pirkle said.

  

He said he enjoyed working with Larry the Cable Guy.

  

“He was great. Real nice guy,” Pirkle said.

  

He added that at one point during a film shoot off Hwy. 136, a school bus was letting kids out.

  

“Larry the Cable Guy goes and gets on the school bus and started talking to the kids, joking with them,” Pirkle said. “Boy, I bet they were thrilled about that.”

  

Pirkle spent nearly 15 hours following the film crew Thursday.

  

“By the end of it, I was whooped. I’m still whooped,” he said. “That was a long day, but I’ll never forget it. It was something else.”

 

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