THERE is an old joke: What was the Welsh’s greatest contribution to world history? They discovered America – and they kept quiet about it.
The legend of Madoc ap Owain Gwynedd and the Welsh speaking Native Americans aside, there is a large and lively Welsh diaspora in the United States and the Left Coast Eisteddfod is hosting some wonderful Welsh events this month – they even have a Tom Jones impersonators group, which is a lot of chest hair to be dealing with, even in the World’s only superpower.
One of the most interesting is Kelvin Guy’s film: Desert Padre, the search for Gareth Hughes.
Guy’s film is already an award winner and tells the story of his search for the story of his extraordinary ancestor Gareth Hughes – Llanelli-born stage and silent screen star and latterly a Christian missionary among Native Americans. Like so many Welsh emigrants, he satisfied his hiraeth by returning home to Llanelli in his dotage.
Guy’s ultimate aim is to see Hughes honoured with a star on Hollywood boulevard. It’s an extraordinary tale and while, unless you’re leaving on a jet plane to Oregon, you’re not going to see it yet, do check out the websites and if you run a film festival or television channel in Wales – why not book or schedule it? You know it makes sense.
Here’s Kelvin’s preview clip.
And you can see Gareth Hughes at 4:13 in this clip about a notorious Hollywood murder.