Saturday, May 19, 2007

May 19, 2007
Nice to be home for a day. Yesterday, Carole Glenn made me airline reservations for John Wayne's Centennial Birthday to be held in Winterset, Iowa next weekend. I'm flying into Des Moines on Thursday night, big dinner on Friday night, then I'm speaking at the dedication on Saturday at noon. Wayne Davis, who is my contact in Winterset, told me they already have reservations from 36 states, Denmark, England and Norway. In fact, I have to stay at my cousin's condo in Des Moines. All the room in Winterset have been sold out for months.

Going down to the Millenium Resort at two: rehearsal for WETA's AIM Awards Show. Dinner is tonight at seven. Going to be another long day.

On Tuesday afternoon at Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, we were fighting the rain and the mud puddles when a very pretty lady named Gayla Choitz showed up riding side-saddle. We had a script for that based on a viewer's question: "How dangerous was the side-saddle and how could women gallop and stay on?"

Gayla and her friend Patty Gardner proceeded to tell us all of their research on the subject, how women started riding on a platform in the thirteenth century, being led by a man, of course, and how it was essentially royalty who rode. Then as women became more frisky, the side-saddle horn was developed and it was quite dangerous and many women were hurt and, or killed trying to cling to that one puny knob. But then in the 1830s a Frenchman, in England, invented the second horn (actually a curved, hard strap, resembling an inverted cow horn) directly under the saddle horn. Women could drape their right leg over the top horn, then place their left leg in the curve of the second horn and squeeze. She told us the strongest muscles a woman has are her thighs, and with this invention women could do everything a man could do, and not get bucked off anymore.

Of course, it took decades for Americans to accept this new invention (It was after all invented by a Frenchman) and it wasn't until the early 1880s that American women took to riding with this new state-of-the-art side-saddle. And here's the kicker: women only began to ride astride (like the men) after they got the vote! Amazing.

Jeff and I looked at each other and Jeff said, "I think we need to rewrite our script." The two of us stepped out of the shoot, walked over to a bench and furiously rewrote the script to reflect what we had just learned. Our original script wasn't wrong, it was just not complete and of course, it was lacking all that juicy detail. Thanks to our side-saddle volunteer, we nailed it.

Gayla and her husband Lloyd drove 90 miles to support Old Cowtown and be in the shoot. Amazing the support for that little ol' museum.

Onion Headline de Jour
Missing Boy Scout Earns Publicity Badge

"Experience has not text books nor proxies. She demands that her pupils answer her roll-call personally."
—Minna Antrim

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