Friday, June 22, 2007

June 22, 2007
When I walked into the shooter's tent at Founder's Ranch yesterday afternoon, there sat Jeff Hildebrandt and a TV crew from the Westerns Channel. Jeff sees Trish Brink and Samantha Somers go into the True West Art Gallery tent next door and says to me, by way of a greeting, "Bob Boze Bell, every time I see you, you are surrounded by beautiful women. What does your wife think of this?" And I said, "She's just as mystified as you are."

I introduced Hugh O'Brian from the main stage at about 7:30 and gave him the Buckaroo Bronze for 2007 award. I told the story about watching The Life And Legend of Wyatt Earp with my grandmother in 1957 and how it took fifty years but I finally get to meet him. And, with that, I went over to the edge of the stage and invited him up, shaking his hand as he came on stage. The Westerns Channel got it all on tape and when I saw Jeff later at the artshow he said, "Bob Boze Bell Gushes," as a mock proposed title of the piece. Ha. I suppose I was a tad over the top, but hey, it has been fifty years, Man.

And speaking of over the top, had lunch with Paul Hutton and we took another gander at the Billy the Kid Show at the Albuquerque Museum. It's amazing, I saw things I didn't see the first tiem. It really is a stunning show. In the very back of the show, Paul showed me a video room which I hadn't noticed the first time around (there is no sign saying it's there). So we walk around the corner and there playing to an empty room is a Bill Kurtis video on Billy the Kid and who is on the screen but me, looking at a Billy book and the camera pans out to show Paul. We both did a doubletake and I think I said, "If I saw this in a movie, I wouldn't believe it."

Paul and I stopped at the comments book on the way out and the last entry in the book said, "Bob Boze Bell is a tad over the top."

So the art show was quite successful in some ways and a bust in others. We sold half the giclees (25) at $150 and the shooters were lined up at the front of the stage and Ken A. was badgering them to buy and they were shouting and saying, "I want one!" Then we went over to the art gallery which SASS had built for us inside a big tent. They had a big hand-carved sign that said "True West Art Gallery" out front. People were lined up to get in. We sold maybe six paintings, plus I already had sold the big Billy, so the red dots looked mighty nice.

The presence of Hugh O'Brian certainly gave the giclees a huge push. He signed them right over the top of the image, like it was a poster, which kind of irritated me, but hey, they were paying $150 for a giclee and if that's the way they want to display it, so be it. Plus, the veteran TV star pulled a Chuck Berry on us and demanded a piece of the giclee sales, starting off at 50%. Our plan was to give him the entire proceeds from the original ($5K) and we would make something on the prints. People were lined up to get their giclees signed, and Hugh just sat there with a Go-Ahead-And-Make-My-Day look and Ken and I huddled and came up with a counter offer (all the time the crowd is surging to get their prints signed) and offered Hugh a maximum of 25% and when Hugh asked how much that was Ken said $35 and Hugh barked, "I want $40!" And so we caved. It was pretty amazing. He jumped on this right on the stage when I announced it and he was like a dog on a bone and wouldn't let it go. When Ken told Hugh that he didn't need an agent, Hugh told Ken, "I'll be your agent."

Ken opened the bidding on the original at $1,000 and I think it went to $1,500, but that too got lost in the hub-bub. I'll have to compare notes with Trish and Sam when I see them this morning. By the way, both were fabulous. Dressed to the nines with cowboy hats. And they really worked hard as we were literally overrun at the tables in the back of the art gallery.

The book Classic Gunfights III kind of got lost in the shuffle and we sold maybe 10 books, and a couple DVDs. Now that was just on opening night, so we may do better today and Saturday. Lots of old friends came to see the show. Jim Dunham from Georgia and the Booth Museum came, as did Drew Gomber from Lincoln, Jim Clark from Tombstone and Jackie King Ellis from Durango. Afterwards, Jackie and I sat on the tailgate of her truck, drank a nice Argentina wine, petted her dog and talked about our families and life in the West. I was so touched that she drove all the way from Durango for the show. She's driving back this morning.

"When I look at the TV I want to see me, staring right back at me."
—Counting Crows, "Mr. Jones"

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