Tuesday, March 30, 2004

March 30, 2004
Well, the Custer stunners keep on coming. I found out yesterday from Mike Donahue that Custer was shot in the left side under the heart and that he had a temple wound on the left side (which plays against our suicide theory since Custer was right-handed). And, this is the jaw dropper—Yellow Hair had an arrow in his penis. When I went out in the production area to tell the crew of this incredible piece of history, Robert Ray quipped, “Nice shot.” The impression being that two warriors were standing below Last Stand Hill and one of them had just fired his bow. All of this was conveyed in the line and was quite funny. In fact, I laughed til I cried.

Last night I was reading a benchmark book, Archeology, History, and Custer’s Last Battle by Richard Allan Fox, Jr. and discovered several amazing tidbits. There is a battle phenomenon theory advanced by a guy named du Picq in 1870: “firepower on the battle lines does not equate with manpower; not every soldier will fight.” Supporting stats include this stunner: “World War II battle studies concluded that up to 85 percent, but more commonly 70 percent, of men in a company dispersed along a battle line will not fire.” Yikes! I read this to Kathy and the flaming pacifist said, “Maybe there’s hope for mankind after all.”

Got this insight from artist Jim Hetzel of Montana:

“When you are doing your illustrations keep in mind that of the five
companies that rode with Custer at the end, C troop rode light sorrels and the men all had gray hats. I troop rode bay horses and wore mostly black hats. L troop rode bays with gray hats. This battalion of three companies was commanded by Miles Keogh. E company rode gray horses and wore gray hats and F company rode bay horses and wore mostly black hats. This battalion was commanded by George Yates and went to the river with headquarters group as per the new narratives uncovered by my colleague Mike Donahue.”

Which reminds me that in 1996 I was in Great Falls, Montana for the annual Charlie Russell artshow and the rumor going round was that Brad Pitt was set to play Custer in a new movie and that this time they were going to do the horses right (gray horses and gray hats for E company, etc.) but that when the production company found out how much it would cost they bailed. Not that finding $20 mil for Pitt helped anything, I’m sure.

Talked to Alan Huffines regarding Friday night’s Alamo premiere in San Antonio. Alan, who was invited, told me the governor and many Texas politicos were there, big ballroom treatment with prime rib served to the entire audience after the screening. Special yellow carpet. Really ritzy and oh so Texan. On Sunday night they had the premiere for cast and crew and Jason Patric got so wound up in his Jim Bowie role that he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly on the streets at 2 a.m Monday. Evidently Patric is still in character. Huffines predicts best actor nominations for Patric, Billy Bob and the guy who plays Santa Anna. He also thinks the Alamo will get an Oscar nomination for best art direction.

Alan is very happy with the final edit and told me it comes in right at two and a half hours (they added back in 15 minutes from the last version he saw). From there the conversation turned to the new HBO series Deadwood and Alan told me he is turned off by the harsh language. He thinks it is overdone and hurts the story (Jana B. had the same reaction this morning). Also, historically, he told me he has researched the “F-bomb,” as he puts it, and it was used in that time period to describe the actual procreation event, not as an adverb or adjective, which really found wide usage in WW II.

“Nice shot.”
—Fulla Bull

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