The names of the stars who appeared on stage Sunday at the Palomino Club are not nearly as well known as the country music greats who traditionally have attracted crowds to the North Hollywood nightspot.
But their faces are familiar enough to have attracted hundreds of noisy, cheering fans who donned cowboy boots, hats and jeans and paid $5 each for an afternoon and evening of celebrity watching, beer drinking and toe tapping.
The featured performers of the day were old-time Western movie actors, singers and stunt men, many of them in their 70s and 80s. They showed up to help one of their own who is down on his luck.
"These guys deserve some recognition," said Marge Weems of Northridge, organizer of the event she billed as a cowboy reunion. "If it weren't for them, none of the others would be stars today."
Weems said proceeds of the reunion will help the family of country singer Del Smart, who was stricken with cancer last month.
"He was out dancing one night and the next day he woke up paralyzed," she said. "The family is now deeply in debt. One operation cost $85,000, and they have no insurance."
"Del is a special guy," said actor John Russell, seen as a villain in many early Western movies.
Del Smart, 57, and his wife, Sue, who sing together as a country music duo, were the "first people I met when I came to California," said singer Patsy Montana, who gained fame as the first female country artist to have a million-selling record. "They're nice, down-to-earth people."
Montana came to the Palomino from her Lakewood home to perform her rendition of "Old Shep."
Australian-born actor Edward Ashley, 70, was prepared to sing a medley from the musical "My Fair Lady." But the band didn't know the music, so Ashley said a few words, most of which were lost in the roar of the crowd.
"I've always played the jilted fiance," Ashley said. "Jeannette MacDonald jilted me for Nelson Eddy in 'Bittersweet.' Maureen O'Hara jilted me for Tyrone Power in 'The Black Swan'. But, then, who could blame her?"
Also on the program were Cliffie Stone, who hosted "Hometown Jamboree," a popular television show in the '50s and '60s; singer-songwriter Stuart Hamblen, known for his religious records; Bob Strong, an actor who once did stunts for the late Tom Mix; Hank Worden, 84, who said he is best known as the character Old Mose Harper in the John Wayne movie "The Searchers," and stunt man Joseph Denny.
Mike Smart, Del's son, said his dad will be pleased that so many of his old friends showed up for the benefit.
"Mother and dad grew up in Bakersfield with Merle Haggard and Buck Owens," said Mike, who has his own country band. "They sang on the Grand Ole Opry a few times and had a few hit records. They almost made it big, but they just missed."