August 13, 2020
I am insane. Yes, I know. People have accused me of such for years but I never really believed them. Until I started to analize my obsession with a certain outlaw.
So, I asked some of my friends to share their early Kid Krazy stores and I got this one from Marshall Trimble, remembering a sordid event, when he was ten-years-old.
The first movie I saw with Billy the Kid was in 1949 at the Yavapai Theater in Ash Fork. Other than the comic book stand at the Harvey House we were pretty isolated from popular culture. The theater was our only connection with the outside world as television was still ten years away. Word spread quickly around town "The Outlaw" was going to play next Sunday. Jack Beutel played Billy and the voluptuous Jane Russell played Rio McDonald. There was a risqué scene in the film where the Kid and Rio tumble in a haystack that delayed the Howard Hughes film's release for several years. The movie was the talk of the town. The Baptist and Methodist preachers and the priest used their bully pulpits to warn their parishioners to boycott it. I asked Brother Luther why and he replied, "Because you'll see something you're not supposed to see."
That made me even more determined to see what Billy and Rio were up to in that hay barn. My little brother Danny, who shadowed me everywhere, also wanted to partake of this forbidden fruit. My mother, who was a waitress at the 66 Cafe just up the street said she'd kill me if I went and took Danny to see that piece of pornography.
There was no way she was going to fork over 28 cents for two theater tickets, so we headed down Route 66 looking for pop bottles. The grocery store was paying two cents a bottle. We picked up a few extra for popcorn money and headed for the Sunday afternoon matinee. We both sat focused on that silver screen anxiously awaiting that magic moment. Then it happened. Billy threw Rio down on the hay and slowly walked towards her...... we held our breath. Horrors! The screen suddenly went dark and when it lit up again Billy was on his horse, loping off to some new adventure. Danny looked at me and said, "We got gypped."
And I replied, "Yeah, and I risked my life!"
I decided we should escape the theater through the side door just in case our mother was waiting at the entrance. Then, we saw something we weren't supposed to see. Brother Luther was also slipping out the side exit. I wouldn't be surprised if Father O'Brian and the Methodist preacher were somewhere in that dark theater too.