Monday, May 08, 2006

May 8, 2006
Still wrestling with Buffalo Soldiers in the fog of war illustration. Got three overheads going, illustrating the enfilade fire, and a close-up, modeled after Robert McElroy’s dramatic stance (see photos below). I have four more I want to do, but the mag goes out the door on Thursday so I need to jam.

On Friday I connected with Larry Upton who went to high school in Pima and in fact married the great-granddaughter of one of the suspects in the Whambam robbery. She didn’t even know it, her mother didn’t know either (imagine that!), but when Larry happened upon an Old West magazine in Clifton, he saw the name Thomas Lamb connected to the Wham robbery. He bought the mag (not sure if it was True West or Old West or even Frontier Times) and brought it home and decided to show it to the grandmother (outlaw Thomas Lamb’s daughter) the next time they travelled to Pima. When he walked into her house with the magazine to show her, she grabbed it out of his hands and threw it across the room, sneering, “Get that damn pack of lies out of my house!” This is how heated the memory of the robbery still is in that neck of the woods. Of course, from that point on Larry was hooked on the story and managed to interview quite a few family members about the robbery. Here’s my favorite:

“Milton Rogers, son of accused participant David M. Rogers. . .had never heard of the 1889 incident until he was grown and his father had passed away. The younger Rogers was selling Raleigh Home Products door-to-door when a woman responded to his knock with an insult and a refusal to buy anything from the son of a Wham robber. Totally perplexed, Milton asked his neighbor Fred Webb [see his bio mention below] about the robbery. Webb responded that the heist had been planned by Chauncey Gilbert Webb, his father, and carried out by Webb Cattle Company cowboys. Dave Rogers was a Webb cowboy. . .Dave Rogers never got a dime.”

To me that is a very telling, and damning statement. And probably the truth. All the evidence, it seems to me, points to a cattle round-up with extra curricular activity. It seems likely that Gilbert got the inspiration while out on his leased land rounding up cows, probably saw the payroll go through (it came through there every month), then got the inspiration, talked about it to his cowhands, Rogers and Lamb, speculated how to pull it off and where, scouted around, found the perfect spot, and it grew out of the cow operation. One of the cow boss's from a different ranch remembered on the day of the robbery, five or six of his cowboys just rode off, during the round-up. The implication being they all went to work as usual, then headed for the robbery site. When the robbers split up after the fight, they rode through a cow herd to mix up the trackers, and that seems planned as well.

Joel Klasky just got back from the annual WETA (Western English Trade Association) convention held this year in Austin, Texas. Here is a summary of the awards that True West won:

Bronze Award: Cover-Consumer:
2005 August issue: History of Western Wear (Tom Mix dressed all in white)

Silver Award: Direct Mail Campaign
True West Postcard Campaign (we send out postcards promoting each upcoming issue, here’s the next one, promoting our October issue)

Gold AIM Award: Public Relations, Supporting Product or Product Series
“True West Moment-Fire Danger” by Bob Boze Bell, on the Westerns Channel

More R.L. Wilson Dirt
“Received June 2006 Vanity Fair today and in Dominick Dunne's diary this month is a page on R.L. Wilson, who was his neighbor in Connecticut and who you mentioned in your May 4th Blog entry. Dunne has a show on Court T.V. called Power, Privilege, and Justice and his diary usually is about celebrities who have run afoul of the law. Thought you might enjoy the article.
—John Hinrichs TWM #15

Kid Curry Query
Dear Mr. Bell:
I enjoyed the article on Kid Curry and Pike Landusky. I have written several books one of which had a chapter dedicated to Kid Curry, Pike and Jew Jake. I was curious regarding the two illustrations that you did for the article. The one sketch with Jew Jake in the front of the saloon with the fourth person believed to be Thomas that a sketch from an actual photo...which may be in the forthcoming Gary Wilson book? Also, the make of the gun held in Pike Landusky's coat is news to me also.

You may find it interesting to note that Methodist minister Brother Van had visited the camp of Landusky a few months earlier and that Kid Curry and his clan and Pike and Jew Jake attended the Sunday service together though likely separated. That had to be quite a sight. All the best.
—Samuel Phillips

That's very interesting, the Methodist minister part. These guys led such bizarre lives, pious one moment and deadly the next. I guess that's what makes them so interesting. My painting of Jew Jake, et al, is just fantasy. I often think when I'm doing a Classic Gunfights, "Okay, there's the known photos, now what photo would I love to find? Let's illustrate that!" Ha.

News From The Front Lines
Eleanor Gill of Gilbert called regarding her subscription ( she is a TWManiac) and used to teach high school. She said that she still misses your radio show and enjoys reading your work in the AZ Rep when they get around to publishing it. She was very sweet and sounds like a long-time fan of yours.

She said she was recently in Bisbee in a shop and suggested that they advertise in TW and was told that they do not because of the gun ads. Eleanor said she understood that if you were going to publish a magazine, you need advertising
—Carole Glenn.

Dear Bob,
Yoga....Recycling? OK.... you still ARE the editor of a mag called TRUE WEST right?

Yes, but this is where a former underground cartoonist, rock drummer and weekend hippie comes home to roost (and do the down dog). Sorry. Hope I haven't busted the Old West perception bubble too much, but it's the truth.

P.S. on a related note, someone put a gag bumper sticker on my truck today (prime suspect, Dave Daiss):

Annoy A Liberal: Work • Succeed • Be Happy

Actually, a more accurate bumper sticker for my truck would be: How to Annoy A Liberal: Marry One

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
—Lao Tzu, A Flaming Warrior

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