Wednesday, February 16, 2005

February 16, 2005
Got up at 6:30 and finished the big trainiac opus painting. Looks decent. Robert Ray is taking it down to Kenny to be shot this afternoon. I have spent an entire week doing train art. It has been fun, but I've got a book to finish and need to get back to that. Not to mention my responsibilities for the current issue (Classic Gunfights and editorial).

The latest gossip in Tombstone is this: evidently, a panhandling guy was working Allen Street with a dog and a rat riding on the neck of the dog. Locals were upset and a complaint was filed. The rat dog walker has since moved on to Bisbee where the rights of rats are honored (someone told me one was elected mayor at one point).

I got this interesting tidbit earlier:
"Did you hear that Bill Kurtis was lampooned on the ‘Saturday Night Live’ program last weekend? The character was making small talk about snacks while doing voice overs for an episode about serial killers. It was kind of creepy."
—Jim Hatzell

Joel and Abby and Amy are busy trying to get our nominations in to the WETA Awards. All the submissions have to be mounted and explained. Here is our “strategic plan” explanation regarding the Good Saddle-Bad Saddle video bit which runs on the Westerns Channel: to make dry history interesting by applying the techniques of soundbite television to get across our message that history can be fun and entertaining. The hope was that viewers would be entertained enough to find us. There is no hard sell in the segments. On every True West Moment that runs on the Westerns Channel there is an ID that features our website address ( Our web sales and subscription sales have increased directly because of this strategic campaign.

Regarding the budget: The on-air talent insisted on buying a new Stetson from Sabas' so he would look good. Cost of Stetson ($675). There were no other out-of-pocket-costs. The Westerns Channel picked up all production costs. A total win-win for both entities. The Westerns Channel gets credible and entertaining tidbits on the facts behind the movies, and True West gets much needed exposure to an audience that loves Westerns and the West. It doesn't get any better than that.

Artist Fritz Scholder died last Thursday. Quite a shock to me. He was only 67. He is famous for his Indian paintings which have spawned an entire industry. He went to the U of A just prior to me and soon after, in 1968, or so, he hit a home run with his contemporary take on Native American portrayals. By the mid-eighties he had grown tired of them and tried to move on to other things but it was like fighting the tide. In one of his last shows in Scottsdale he returned to the genre he created (think Indians with full headdress and a Coors can). I met him a few times but I never really knew him. I have always admired his painting skills and we have a print of his in the living room, which I often walk by and go, "Damn, I wish I had that much courage!" He was very bold and courageous.

"Death is a distant rumor to the young."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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