Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June 27, 2007 Bonus Bonus Blog
The newest issue (August) arrived from the printer just before lunch. Very clean and crisp. Really like it. And there is one of those happy accidents inside. The Classic Gunfight is on the Battle of Big Dry Wash (page 60) and a few pages later (page 68) is an ad for Summit Resources advertising five acres in Payson, and the ridge in the background of the photo is where the Apaches went up and over the Mogollon Rim. Really amazing as context.

Theresa from Tri Star Boze brought up several boxes of books for me to sign, including several crates of the new CGIII. There is also a very fine full page ad for the new book in the new issue of True West.

My photo session with the Apaches turned out very good last week. Here are two shots. The models are Levi Miles and Rebecca Miles of San Carlos:

Me And Hugh
More Hugh O'Brian odds and ends. He has done 150 movies and 5 Broadway plays. His show "The Life And Legend of Wyatt Earp" was on the cover of TV Guide five times (more than any other TV show, according to Hugh).

He wanted a special holster for the Buntline Special and the studio wouldn't pay for it so he went to a famous gunleather shop and had one made for $45. He paid for it out of his own pocket. After the show was picked up for a second season he went to the studio guys and asked them to reimburse him for the holster but they refused. He said the holster is established, "How will you shoot around it?" and they shrugged, and said "We don't care. We'll rent another holster from the company we rent all of our gear from." So Hugh went to the prop guy and said, "How much does the studio pay a week for gun gear?" And the guy told him (I can't remember the number, maybe $2,000) and Hugh said, "How'd you like to make 10% of that?" And the guy said he would, but how could he make that much? And Hugh said, "Because I just started an equipment rental company and you are my go to guy." So the studio ended up renting Hugh's Buntline Special holster for $75 a week, plus all the other gear.

The studio really ground out the episodes. I believe today a TV show tries to finish an episode every six days (which is no easy task). In Hugh's day they did 18 pages of dialogue a day, and two episodes a week. Man, that is a grind.

When people came up to Hugh in the tent they would rave about how good he looks and he would say, "Do you know the three stages of Man?" No. "Youth, Middle-age, and Hugh, you look really good!"

Hugh told me a story about Al Jennings, a small-time outlaw who did time in prison, later ran for Governer of Oklahoma coming in third! Al showed up on the set of Wyatt Earp. O'Brian said many people showed up who claimed to have known Wyatt. According to Hugh, Al got homesick for Leavenworth and got a bus ticket back there and lived with the warden and cooked for everyone. The warden called Hugh and said, "That Al Jennings was the best cook we ever had."

Between customers Hugh would lean over and say random things, like, "Victor was a real cocksman." And I would say, "Excuse me?" And he would repeat it louder. Ha. He was referring to a co-star on "The Son of Ali Baba."

Also, Hugh would, from time to time, get out his cell phone and talk to his business partners. Kids would be standing nearby and he would be booming, "You tell that son of a bitch. . ." His wife, Virginia, would say, "Hugh, hold it down." And he would bark at her and keep going.

Another time he leaned over and said, "You know Wyatt wrote a book called 'Booze Bell'?" (he called me Booze for two days, more as a joke than anything, but he thought is was real funny), and I said, "What?" And then he would smile mischieviously and say, "He knew you were coming."

He took a look at my Wyatt book and said, "So you don't like Stuart Lake?" And I said, "I like Stuart Lake a lot. He made Wyatt a legend. But that doesn't mean his history is correct." Hugh really respected Lake and told me in great detail what a gent he was. I did feel bad about that one. Hugh got misty-eyed at the memory of the man who wrote "Frontier Marshal" and put Wyatt on the map. In fact, Lake was involved in getting the TV show on the air and was in many ways the architect of Earp's legend.

Another Hugh joke is to say to a guy with a good looking woman, "I see you brought your daughter." He said this to me, regarding Trish Brink and Jackie Ellis. And at least a dozen other guys.

Some of my friends have cringed about the charging for autographs, but I have some empathy for him. Autograph vultures are making a bunch of money off these guys and their image and it must really grind him. I think that was behind the demand for a cut of the giclee business. My painting was of him as Wyatt. Shouldn't he deserve a cut? The problem is I could have felt just as good at half the price. Ha.

"The real secret of success is enthusiasm."
—Walter P. Chrysler

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