Monday, October 03, 2005

October 3 , 2005
Well, just when I thought the “airtight” debate was finished, I get this:

“I noticed that some of your emails were about the use of the word Airtights in the movie Chisum. Someone said that someone else who heard the word used was mistaken. They are wrong. Ben Johnson’s character Pepper uses the word while he is talking about food provisions. I can't remember exactly when but if you watch again and listen to him you will hear it, listen closely.”
—Richard Kenney

We’ve got a new poll up: If Custer had Gatling guns at the Little Bighorn, would it have made a difference? Click here to cast your vote.

Here’s a couple of photos that Captain Ray took last Friday night at the artshow opening. I’ll tell you who they are tomorrow.

I guess the first time I met Ben Traywick was at the O.K. Corral Centennial on October 26, 1981. Ben played Wyatt Earp that day as the famous re-enactment came off right at 2:30, one hundred years to the minute that the original fight went down. I was on the roof of Fly’s Boarding House shooting the event with my state-of-the-art Super 8 camera. Ben cut a dashing figure and I told him it was an honor to meet him.

At the time I think Mr. Traywick was Tombstone’s official historian and had begun to write a series of books on Tombstone and its characters.

When I was doing my book on Wyatt Earp in 1993 I interviewed Ben and he graciously allowed me to use a rare photo of Allie Earp in my book. I gave him and his bookstore credit in all four editions of the book.

A couple years later I was in a saloon on Allen Street with two Earp authors who are notorious hotheads. Ben happened to be at the end of the bar, having a beer. We joined him and after pleasantries my two companions proceeded to get into it with Ben about his alleged alliance with Glenn Boyer. I thought my two companions were out of line, but I said nothing and didn’t join in the debate.

The next day I had a book signing at the Territorial Bookstore and during a lull in the signing I looked up and saw Ben stick his head in the door and say, “Oh, it’s Bob Booze Bell.” Now this is a common semi-humorous take on my name and is usually a heavy-handed clue that someone doesn’t like me. I wondered why he was being so hostile, but there were other people in line for my book and I got caught in the crunch of signing and thought no more of it.

In 2000 I asked Ben if we could run an excerpt of his forthcoming book on Texas John Slaughter book and he agreed. Our editor at the time, Mare Rosenbaum, edited Ben’s piece for publication and after the issue came out I got a snippy note from Ben along the lines of “I didn’t appreciate the heavy editing.” Fair enough.

Three years ago Ben and I sat on an Earp panel down in Wilcox and had a pleasant time talking about his long history with the magazine. I encouraged him to submit some more things and I would take care of him this time and not allow any heavy-handed editing.

Last year I ran into Ben and his wife at the Golden Boot Awards in Hollywood and we shook hands and marvelled at being in such a ritzy place.

Today we received a copy of the Tombstone Tumbleweed newspaper and here’s what Ben had to say:

"Bob Boze Bell is the most perfect asshole I know. He is not a historian—not a bad artist—but not a historian. . .He has probably made more on Tombstone than any other man in this country, but he loves to badmouth us. . .Unfortunately, his history of Tombstone is what he wishes it was, not what it really is."

"Two men look out through the same bars; one sees the mud and one the stars."
—Frederick Langbridge

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