Thursday, July 09, 2020

Mexico In The Crosshairs

July 9, 2020
   My son, Thomas Charles Bell, loves Mexico as much as I do and, unlike me, he speaks fluent Spanish. But like his father, the boy has always had an appreciation for those big Mexican brims.

Thomas Charles Bell at Cholla Bay, Mexico
mid-eighties.

   Now it turns out the boy can write. What does he write about? Well, grandmothers with shotguns of course.




Daily Whip Out: "Mamacita Luisa Escopita"

   Shotgun in Spanish is "escopita".

   And, of course, there are a few brujas in the boy's stories.

Daily Whip Out: "Bruja In Dust"

Witch in Spanish is "bruja."

   And, of course, we encounter mucho macho Mexicanos, the armed riders of the apocalypse.

Daily Whip Out: "Rifles at The Ready"

   I know, what's not to like? So, what else does he like to write about?

Daily Whip Out: "Changing Woman 2.0"

   Okay, this last one is totally mine, but you never know, she may show up in one of his zany stories yet.

   I have sent him several tomes for inspiration, but in my estimation, no one has topped John Reed for Mexican Revolution authenticity.

"Fierro rode by, cruelly roweling his horse with the bloody mouth—Fierro, the handsome, cruel and insolent—The Butcher they called him, because he killed defenseless prisoners with his revolver, and shot down his own men without provocation."
—John Reed, "Insurgent Mexico," 1914

"

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Virgil Earp In Prescott & Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke

July 8, 2020
  Got a cool scene in my head that I'm trying to get down on paper.




Daily Whip Out: "Virgil In Prescott #3"

   This is for our October issue. We've got a fine piece by Bradley G. Courtney on Virgil and Allie Earp landing in Prescott, two different times, with brothers Wyatt and Morgan and friend Doc Holliday trailing behind, and I want to do it justice.

Daily Whip Out: "Virgil In Prescott #4"

   Not there yet, but I'm not worried. Whenever I get discouraged I simply think of something Abe Hayes once told me about one of my heroes: Abe told me that Maynard Dixon sometimes did as many as 85 sketches and drawings before he got it to his satisfaction.

   So I've got eighty more to go and I certainly have the scrap to get it right.


Daily Whip Outs: "Virgil Array"

Speaking of legendary lawmen.

"Victor French directed this [episode of 'Gunsmoke'] and thought it'd be great for me to be sitting in a rocking chair watching Matt Dillon dig his own grave. . .and the dialogue was that I said, 'Alright Dillon that's deep enough. You got any last words?' And Matt was supposed to say, 'You'll never get away with this. The law will track you down. You'll live to regret it.' So, I watch Dillon dig for awhile and I say, "Alright Dillon that's deep enough. You got any last words to say/' And Jim [Arness] takes off his hat and looks skyward, and he says, 'The lord giveth and the lord taketh away. And if that ain't a square deal I'll kiss your ass.' We didn't get back to filming for a half hour."
—Morgan Woodward reminiscing with Jeff Hildebrandt, from Jeff's new book "Gunsmoke Memories"

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Ringo and Curly Bill By Fly?

July 7, 2020
   Richard Starkey—Ringo Star—is eighty today? Holy Ludwig floor tom, how could that be?




  It was twenty years ago today, well, okay, it's more like fifty-six years ago, now, if you know what I mean. The Liverpool Lad was a tad inspirational to me.



The Exits, Girl's Gym, Kingman, Arizona,
9 P.M. December 31, 1964. L to R: Charlie Waters, BBB and Wayne Rutschman

    I bought that three-piece Beatles suit at Central Commercial in Kingman for $17 because no one wanted it. I still have the jacket. In fact, my son Thomas wore it to his prom. That's how cool it was. Here's me wearing it today.


 Just don't ask me
to button it.


   This is a scratchboard done from a Fly photo of an unidentified Cochise County cowboy. Could it be the notorious Galeyville leader of the Cowboys?


Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"The Galeyville Cowboy"

   If it isn't Curly Bill, you can damn sure know it is a cowboy who knew Brocius.


"I see by your outfit you are from Galeyville."

—Old Cochise County Saying

"I

Monday, July 06, 2020

How Blessings Brighten As They Take Their Flight

July 6, 2020
   Not so long ago, this was the view out our driveway towards a certain ridge.


Looking Towards Ratcliff Ridge,
February 22, 2019

   Fast forward to May 30 of this year and here is the same view.

Flames Advance On Ratcliff Ridge,
May 30, 2020 at 12:47 P.M.

   And here's the view now.


"How blessings brighten as they take their flight."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Mexico Reaps The Whirlwind

July 5, 2020
   While living through one calamity, it's calming, or, at least distracting, to read about another human catastrophe in a not-so-distant land.


Daily Whip Out:
"Mexico Reaps The Whirlwind"

I am fascinated by this time period because the entire world was going off the rails, with revolutions and a world war. And it was a time, not unlike now.
A True West Moment, June 2015

   The Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920 killed 1.5 million citizens of Mexico. That is more than all the casualties of all the wars the U.S. has fought. And, in the end, what was proved from all this mayhem? 

"Equality does not exist and cannot exist. It is a lie that we can all be equal."
—Pancho Villa, disillusioned after fighting for more than a decade


Saturday, July 04, 2020

Droning On About The Shot of A lifetime

July 4, 2020
   This has been a Fourth of July I will not soon forget. At least twenty five years ago I dreamed up a saguaro shot sequence that I was dying to utilize in a Western story. In my mind's eye, the camera is floating high above a desert studded with monarch saguaros. You know, like this:


Ratcliff Ridge, 2014

   I envisioned the camera gliding along the tops of these saguaros and even navigating between the arms—especially between the arms. Down below we see a blond in a convertable and we are following her, through the arms of a series of saguaros. I thought it would be a very organic style shot that would just be dang cool to open a story or a movie. 

   This was just prior to the drone era so I knew the shot would be tough to do, perhaps it could be done with a crane, and I was hoping if I cheated with angles—pushing the crane arm through the opening and then stopping to pick it up on the other side and then matching the two, somehow I could splice it together a get a sequence that made it work. Anyway, that was the theory, but what did I know? I needed someone technically proficient enough to make this dream shot sequence a reality.

   Three days before the Ocotillo Fire, videographer Bill Watters was at my house to shoot a history tidbit for the Cave Creek Museum. When he got out his drone, I mentioned my dream saguaro sequence and he casually mentioned he could easily do that shot. 

Bill Watters with his drone controls
attempting the dream shot three days ago.

   Turns out it was not so easy because the drone has a safety application beeper-deal that will not allow the drone to fly in a space as tight as the prickly arms of a giant saguaro. He made several runs at it, but we didn't get the shot.

Bill and Amy returned today
to give it another shot.


   Bill and Amy showed up this morning to take a second run at it. We went over to Ratcliff Ridge before sunrise and I told him we weren't leaving until we got the shot of his drone gliding through the arms of a saguaro.

   It was hairy, but Bill finally got the shot. Here's a small taste of the sequence.

That's me in the turquoise shirt waiting
patiently for the drone to slide thru the gap.

   This is for the opening sequence of "Honkytonk Sue: Last Fandango at The Heatwave Cafe"

"That's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again."
—Walt Disney









Friday, July 03, 2020

Rearing Pendejo And Other Pendejos In Progress

July 3, 2020
   Yes, I have pendejos on the brain.


Daily Whip Out: "Rearing Pendejo"

   Although, I have been thinking quite bit about a certain, local landscape.


Daily Whip Out:
"Ratcliff Ridge Before The Fire"

   Then there's this retweak of a retweak.


Daily Whip Out: "Fireside Chat"

   And a couple random scratchboards.



Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Lone Star Amigo"


Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Cactus Spines Galore"

"Pick your battles. Pick fewer battles than that. Put some battles back. That's too many."
—Mort Mortensen