River guides at Owen’s Theater – near the end of the era

Jim Owen leans jauntily on the truck (front row, right), with artist Steve Miller and Owen’s float-fishing guides in front of his Hillbilly Theater, 1940.

At the height of the float trip era, Jim Owen and his team gathered for a photo on Owen Company truck, in front of the Owen Hillbilly Theater, venue for early moving pictures.

Table Rock Dam would ultimately kill the famed Galena to Branson float, but floating is still alive and well on interior Ozark rivers. 

Canoes and kayaks have replaced wooden john boats and lighter, more functional gear has made camp set-up easier.

James Mason Owen was many things – twelve-time mayor of Branson, bank president, car dealer, restaurateur, movie theater owner, dairyman, fishing columnist, breeder of fox hounds, manufacturer of dog food, and publicity genius. 

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