Tuesday, April 12, 2005

April 12, 2005
Had a staff meeting at 8:30. Talked quite a bit about marketing and how to create buzz on the magazine. Good ideas all around.

Samantha told about how someone staying at the Carefree Conference Resort, stole the True West in his room, came down the hill and found us, and subscribed. Man, this is wonderful news. I love it when people steal the magazine out of hotel rooms. It's the ultimate positive sin, if there is such a thing.

Brittany wants us to get another jam session going, so I called Mike Torres about coming out to play a little guitar. He may bring his wife (Hey, I'm buying lunch and that way he doesn’t have to bring his Kingman wallet).

Heard from an old classmate, Bruce Porter. He googled the Kingman High School Reunion, Class of 1965 and this blog and a mention of the impending reunion came up. Nice catching up with him. We were both hot for the same girl, but neither of us ended up with her (which may be empirical evidence of a fair and just God).

So, after hearing from the Necronauts (one of Tommy's fave bands), who also Googled their name and came up with a mention in this blog, I thought, I wonder if I Google Wyatt Earp, will this blog come up? Certainly it must, since I mention his name more than any other, seeing as how I'm writing the Wyatt Earp book and all.

So I did. Googled Wyatt Earp. And got 38 pages of Wyatt Earp mentions and links and nothing about my books, this blog or the magazine. I vainly (and I mean vainly both ways) plodded through 25 pages and not one reference to this blog, or me.

I guess I’m more than a tad naive about how Google works. If you Google Kingman Reunion and the Necronauts and this blog shows up, doesn’t it stand to reason that a daily mention of Wyatt Earp would elicit an entry at least in the first five pages? Evidently not. So, no Wyatt Earp for me (how many mentions is that? And do you think it will show up now?)

After the staff meeting, I went home and met the John Deere tractor crew at my adobe garage. Joe Yager and JD Nelson had all the tools, fix-it flats, 6 ton jacks, two railroad ties and engine degreaser. Joe got the John Deere (series D, 1940) running in no time, and I rode it over to his place for a washing. Felt great, fond memories of my Grandfather, Carl Marvin Bell, on this very tractor, riding tall, like the Norwegian Prince he was. The green and yellow farm implement washed up very nice. Somewhere my dad is smiling (or at least not quite so pissed off).

With all of my mentions in this space about recreating the streets of Tombstone as accurately as we can for the new book on Wyatt Earp I’m doing, I got the following:

"I was in San Francisco for the WHA Council meeting and visited the Brick Row Book Shop on April 2. The owner, John Crichton, had acquired an oil, somewhat primitive, showing the buildings on both sides of a street. It is by W. T. Porter, a California artist, painted probably in the 1880s. It has been identified by a Wells Fargo expert as--get this!--Tombstone. You can read many of the store signs, etc.--and even see a sign for the OK Corral on the right hand side of the street in the distance. The painting is about equally divided between sky and town and has some of the qualities of the 19th C bird's eye views of cities--but this is more a street's eye view with a slight elevation. Crichton doesn't claim that Porter visited Tombstone--he could have worked his picture up from a photograph or some other image. But it is a fascinating painting for lots of reasons. The Wells Fargo expert was able to identify most of the businesses as ca. 1880-81. In the foreground on the left is Brooklyn Restaurant, which apparently is not in the Tombstone directories for the period.
I pass all this along to you at Paul Hutton's suggestion and because of your interest in the time and place, claiming no expertise on my own part. But you might want to contact Crichton to see if he has an image available. Crichton specializes in 19th C literature, not Western Americana, but he's a savvy dealer and thinks he has hold of something special. If the painting seems genuine and of interest to you, he might want to have it in TW. Certainly it's worth contacting him."
—Brian Dippie

And so I did, calling John Chrichton within minutes of reading Brian’s Email. John got the painting from a dealer who thought it might be a painting of northern California, or maybe Oakland. W.D. Porter was a California painter in the 1870s. John had the local Wells Fargo historian, Robert Chandler, come by the bookstore and look at painting. A couple days later, Chandler came back with the Tombstone business directory and they were able to match many of the store fronts with the directory. This sounds like a major find in the field of Wyatt Earp history, and Gus and I are crazy to see the storefronts because so few photos survive of Tombstone’s most famous businesses. When I get the image I’ll see if I can post it here for you all to see, or certainly in the magazine.

Thanks Brian Dippie! And Paul Hutton! By the way you can check out John Chrichton’s bookstore at:


"The day of fortune is like a harvest day, we must be busy when the corn is ripe."

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