Wednesday, April 06, 2005

April 5, 2005
We're doing an upcoming feature on the return of the Spaghetti Western. With the surge in DVD sales, many of these European productions (they made 800 of these from about 1965-75!) are just becoming available. I never dreamed there were that many filmed. So many American actors went over there besides Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. Stars like Robert Culp. Raquel Welch, Edd (Kookie) Burns, Joseph Cotton, Guy Madison, Telly Savalas, Chuck Connors, Peter Graves and even Ringo Starr! Yikes. I had no idea.

The Autry Museum in Los Angeles is doing a show "The Return of the Reel Spaghetti" which will open on July 30. Check it all out at:

More proof that comp mags work:
"This is Kirk Shapland. You comped me a years subscription some time back. I portray Young Buffalo Bill. I wanted to thank you for that. It has been some time since I got a copy and I find I miss it, so I subscribed today. Thank you for the kindness I really appreciate it."
—Kirk Shapland, Cody of the Plains

Stayed at the office until about 6:30, drawing a sexy black and white shot of May Killeen, a Tombstone bar maid who had an affair with Buckskin Frank Leslie and got her old man killed. Cribbed a very sexy shot of Scarlette Johansson and morphed her pouty looks onto an old photograph of French actress Ellen Andree (friend of the artist Manet). Fun. I love doing this.

Got home at seven and cranked up the video machine to watch Wild, Wild West. Jim Clark, the train expert from Tombstone (the town), told me he did all of the train work on the movie (they spent $2 mil just on the trains!) and I wanted to see if I could find a good overhead shot of a train for my Tucson train station painting. The movie had so much potential and they really spent the money. According to Jim, George Clooney was supposed to play Jim West, but someone, probably the director, got revved up about Will Smith playing the part, so they paid Clooney his entire fee (there’s at least $5 million!), had to change the script to accommodate a black man in the Old West (not easy, or comfortable) and then they burned down the entire Cook’s Ranch movie set near Santa Fe by mistake. All this after Kevin Costner’s Wyatt Earp had filmed there and built $2.7 million worth of sets replicating Dodge City and Tombstone. I met the owner of the ranch at an art opening in Tucson and he was telling me that he was fighting with Warner Brothers about the quality of the rebuild. Of course, the insurance company and the studio wanted to rebuild it with plywood, etc. Anyway, the movie missed by a country mile, but the trains did look good. Didn't find a shot to use, but a delightful waste of time was had by all.

"The future lies before you, like paths of pure white snow. Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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