Friday, September 26, 2003

September 26, 2003
Carole got an E-mail at the office from a fan from Pennsylvania who wrote:

“The staff at TW appears to be a very sincere and dedicated group of individuals. Having purchased a pocket watch from the shop in Red Wing, Minnesota tells me a lot about your devotion to Mr. Bell. A gesture that rarely takes place these days.”

Yes, the staff bought me a custom pocket watch for my birthday last year. Unfortunately, Kathy and I were playing volleyball with it and it broke (this is Melrose’s joke; it was sitting on the nightstand and Kathy knocked it off by accident). It is a very cool thing, and Jim is correct. My staff is quite devoted to quality first, then me.

Case in point: we're running a full page ad for the Classic Gunfights book and we whipped up a real nice, clean ad with plenty of white space, etc. Well, Bob Brink hated it, didn’t think it asked for the order, thought it looked like it was designed by a high school newspaper (if I could only get him to come out of his shell). We took another shot at it, then Mike Melrose gave the second design a scathing review, thought it should feature the iconic gunfighters, not the towns or locations of the fights. So we re-attacked it and came up with a third version. We are currently, as of last night, on the fifth version of this ad, and I appreciate it that everyone cares. In many companies it would be: “We’ve spent enough time on this, give it up, it’s done, I’ve got other things to do.”

The Roscoe Gunfight, which we are calling “Chalk Level Shoot-out” has taken a third turn. Gus discovered the coroner’s report online and it is at odds with several things in the Zink version. I have been E-mailing Wilbur and he admits that some of his quotes and versions of the fight come from oldtimers in the area who he interviewed long before this report re-surfaced. I spent most of yesterday re-writing the narrative to bring it into line with the coroner's report which has a long, juicy narrative from Captain Lull himself. He told exactly what happened before he died. Amazing.

I stayed late at work and drew up about four versions of John Younger in death with a bullet hole in his neck. Also Daniels. I used the famous photographs of the dead Northfield robbers as reference. Also a great shot of Cole Estes lying on a slab, from the Time-Life series.

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."
—Albert Einstein

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