Thursday, July 13, 2006

July 13, 2006
Spent most of yesterday digesting a big packet of materials from Rod Cook in Caldwell, Kansas. I’m doing the Talbot Gang shootout when some cow-boys fought the entire town in December of 1881. Rod has spent most of his adult life researching the fight and his map is absolutely essential to understanding the fight. Rod took an 1885 Sanborn Insurance map, then backdated it to 1881, taking out the later buildings and identifying the older ones from ads and mentions in the newspapers. Very painstaking work, but essential for our purposes, and by our purposes I mean Gus Walker, and the map he will do tracking the combatants.

Google (and Meghan) Make Me Look Good
At about 10:30 yesterday morning I got a call from a newsman from KFI radio in LA. He wanted to interview someone about the Pioneertown movie ranch that was in danger of being burned out in a big fire north of Palm Springs. I asked the reporter how much time I had and he said "fifteen minutes to airtime."

My screenwriter friend Stephen Lodge (The Honkers) had just Emailed me the news report earlier in the morning, but when I went back and opened his Email I couldn’t get the link to work on my laptop and when I clicked on his publisher link and phoned the number on the website, I got a recording. There went seven minutes.

So I quickly deferred to our Google expert, Meghan Sarr, and told her what I needed and she instantly got on Google and within five minutes had the entire history of Pioneertown and the filmography on my desk.

Several minutes later, Carole buzzed me and said a Steve Gregory from KFI radio is on the line, I took the call and he turned on the tape recorder and I sounded like a veritable expert on Pioneertown, California. “Yes, Steve, many of the classic old tv Westerns were filmed at Pioneertown. Stalwart shows like The Cisco Kid, Annie Oakley, Cowboy G-Men, Buffalo Bill Junior, The Adventures of Judge Roy Bean were filmed at Pioneertown. You may not recognize the name of the town but if you saw clips of these classic shows you’d go, 'Oh, that town!'”

“It was founded in 1946 as a working town, with a restaurant and bowling alley for use by film crews when they weren’t filming. Some of the stars who graced Pioneertown’s streets were Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Dick Jones and Barry Sullivan. Yes, it will be a tragic loss if this wonderful piece of history is consumed by the, blah, blah, blah. . . .”

According to Steve, the report was going to run on 1,200 stations nationwide yesterday. You can allegedly find the interview at:

Painful admission:
Although I was married at Pioneer Village, Arizona—prior to yesterday, I had never heard of Pioneertown, California.

News From The Front Lines (Speaking of Screenwriters):
“The September True West is one of the best issues you've produced. The western art section is wonderful—I am wondering if anyone collects Fred Harman—he became quite a successful western artist after his Red Ryder comic strip days.”
—Jeb Rosebrook, screenwriter (Junior Bonner)

Q:What do Eric Clapton and coffee have in common?

A: Both suck without cream.

”Do a little more every day than you are expected to do, and soon enough you will be expected to do more.”
—Old Vaquero Saying

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