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person draw his six-shooter faster than he thought possible. Not as fast as Arvo, of course, but faster than
anything he had done before. This holster was used by almost every TV show for the next 30 years. Gunsmoke,
Bonanza, Maverick, Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Wyatt Earp, The Lawman, Colt .45, and Have Gun Will Travel, are just a
few of the TV shows that used Arvo’s holster. These shows and more also hired Arvo to be their Gun Coach and
technical advisor. Movies from the 1950’s “River of No Return’, the “Big Country”, and “Rio Bravo”, all the way
through more recent movies like “Rustler’s Rhapsody”, “Silverado”, “Back to the Future III”, and even “The Three
Amigo’s”, all relied on coaching from Arvo, and used his holsters. If you saw in a movie a fast draw or twirling,
you may not have realized it was not the star you were watching. They would zoom in for a close-up, and it was
actually Arvo’s hands doing their thing with the six-gun.
much, they continued to practice what Arvo taught them until they became quite good. Two somewhat unlikely Stars that come to mind are
Sammy Davis Jr. and Jerry Lewis. Each of them demonstrated their gun handling skills on shows like Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.
Another Star that practiced diligently was Kirk Douglass. If you saw the movie “Draw”, you saw Kirk demonstrate some of these skills he
leaned from Arvo, and of course he was wearing an Arvo Ojala Holster.
You would probably have to look long and hard to find anyone in America who has not seen “Gunsmoke”, the longest running series ever
on TV. If you have seen this show, you have also seen Arvo. Remember the opening sequence of every show where Matt Dillon (James
Arness) steps out on the street of Dodge City to face a gunslinger? That gunslinger was Arvo Ojala, and if you watched closely, he actually
beat Matt to the draw.
Arvo’s impact on Movie and TV Westerns is still being felt today. This is true not only in reruns, but if you go to any museum that honors
the West, they probably have more than one of Arvo’s holsters on display. You only need to walk through the Gene Autry’s Western
Heritage Museum in Los Angeles to see evidence of Arvo’s legacy. There is a display from “Bonanza” and “Gunsmoke” that both show
Arvo’s holsters that were used by the stars. Collectors today will pay top dollar for an Arvo Holster in good condition. Topping the list of
these “sought after holsters” are copies of the Black Single Holster with the Silver Knight Chess Piece, made famous in the TV show
“Have Gun Will Travel”, which starred Richard Boone as Wire Paladin. Now you can see many of Arvo Ojala holsters on display at the
Dodge House Hotel located in Dodge City, Kansas.
Sadly, Arvo is no longer with us, but we have news that should make all fans of the American West very happy. Arvo’s daughters Valerie,
Kym Inga and sons Jon and Erikk, all who is a distinguished talent as artist or Engineers
Inga who lives in Oregon, is no stranger to the Firearms industry. She has worked and helped several different firearms related
companies over the years, while she continued to developed her artistic skills.
special thank you to Tim Johnson for his story
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ARVO OJALA HOLSTER COMPANY
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|Arvo Ojala had 6 different stamps