Gems from the Gent
The People Behind the
Victorian Gentleman and Lady
Visitors to Falcon Rest and the buyers we meet at tourism shows associate this 1896 mansion with the costumed couple best known as the Victorian Gentleman and Lady. In real life, we're George and Charlien McGlothin.
Since people often ask about our backgrounds, this seems like a good time to tell our friends a little more about the people behind the costumes and how we got there.
Attraction that "was meant to be"
If anybody had told me 20 years ago -- before I "accidentally" bought this mansion at an auction -- that I would be a member of NTA and ABA promoting it as a nationally acclaimed historic attraction, I'd have figured their crystal ball was cracked.
It would have been more likely to think I'd be lucky to live this long, considering I bought the run-down mansion-turned-hospital-then-derelict without my wife having seen it.
Not long after we finished our 4-1/2-year, do-it-yourself restoration, Charlien's mother declared, "This had to have been meant to be, or you would never have gotten this far."
Now I hear that all the time from visitors who seem to enjoy my on-stage characters as much as touring the mansion. One senior tourist recently told me, "You know you were born to do this." "Well, maybe so," I modestly concurred. She retorted, "There's no maybe about it!"
Tennessee boy most unlikely to succeed
I was born in Chattanooga but grew up here in McMinnville -- the most unlikely guy to end up as either a restorationist or a performer. My dad always said I wasn't good with my hands, but Falcon Rest won a first-prize National Trust restoration award.
My fourth-grade teacher held me back because she thought I was too dumb to learn, but I made up the time by graduating from high school in three years, then finished my Master's Degree with honors.
I was the only nine-year-old I know of to be thrown out of a church play for incompetence. In fact, when I was a teenager, a minister's wife told me I was the worst speaker she ever heard. Now folks roll in the motorcoach aisles with laughter as I spin local history stories as their step-on tour guide.
Miracles really do happen.
Louisiana girl who knows her food
When I was 18, our family moved to Denham Springs, La. Our pastor's son there asked me to speak at a local high school chapel meeting. Even then, I was a storyteller. I rared back at the teacher's desk and started weaving tales about my "old" high school days. Once heard, I'm remembered. When a pretty young lady spoke to me later at the food store where I worked, it took a while to realize she was the high-school freshman who'd led singing at the chapel service. (If you've heard the Victorian Lady sing during Murder at the Mansion, you'll know they were pretty desperate.)
Desperation comes in many forms. The minister's son bet me he could bring a prettier girl to the church Sweetheart Banquet than I could, so in desperation I invited Charlien. I won the bet, and three years later I won her heart.
One thing South Louisiana is
famous for is its food. Charlien's dad shared cooking duties at the American
Legion with another local veteran, Justin Wilson. In my opinion, her dad
was the better cook. People rave about the food at Falcon Rest. They expect
the entertainment and the mansion to be very good, but the food is a delightful
surprise. Considering that Charlien grew up surrounded by the best of
Louisiana cooking, it's not that surprising after all. She develops the
recipes and supervises our dedicated staff to make sure the food is always
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