June 30, 2007 Bonus Blog
Here's a good question:
"How could a rifle patented in 1894 be used as standard equipment for 1870’s and 1880’s era westerns?"
—John Crismon, Knoxville, Tennessee
Great point. Actually as Weterns proliferated in the 1930s and 1940s and prop companies consolodated, movie makers got sloppy and started using the most convenient, dependable weapons. They got lazy. And at that time, most viewers didn't care. They do now! Ha.
"I was watching Bat Masterson on Encore the other night and in the closing scene where Bat is saying goodbye to the obligatory female love-interest, there is a 1950’s vintage Ford or Ferguson tractor sitting in a shed partially covered by a tarp in the background. A tractor before it’s time! Thanks for the Winchester 94 response.
Also, in response to another post of mine where I said, "In Hugh's day they did 18 pages of dialogue a day, and two episodes a week. Man, that is a grind."
"In Hugh's day (mid-50s) the studios worked six days a week. At three days per half-hour episode, his was no different than any other. By 1965, when I did my first show as a costumer, we did an hour show in seven days—if we were lucky. That show was The Fugitive, with David Janssen, and my work week (a five day week by then) was on average, 80 hours. Lotta' overtime. The next series I did was a Western; they also shot seven days for an hour show. Three days for a half hour filmed show was standard for many years."
Boardman Nitpicks The Board, Man
"So in reading your comments in the American Heritage blog with Allan Barra, I was struck by your choices of the two guys you'd want on your side in a gunfight.
"Wild Bill Hickok? Are you kiddin' me? Based on his track record with Mike Williams, he's liable to shoot YOU. And in the last four years of his life, there's no indication that he ever pulled his guns in anger. The Williams shooting made him gunshy--and that certainly wouldn't work in a gunfight. And his eye-sight was going. Face it, a blind, gutless pistoleer might be considered a liability. He might be useful as a human shield--after all, he was a big guy. And if you were fighting women, well, he could probably charm the guns and garters off them. Maybe he could threaten to give the other side the clap.
"And Billy the Kid? Let's see. He and several others killed Sheriff Brady and his deputy from ambush. He gunned down two other deputies who were unarmed. He couldn't face Peaches the dog down. The Kid was all flash and no fire. I can see it now--you and Hickok and Billy walking down the middle of some Old West street, heading to a gunfight with like-minded fellows. Billy would be looking for a place to hide so he could shoot the other guys in the back. And you'd be saying, 'Uh, Mr. Hickok, you need to be pointing in THAT direction...'
"What a crew.
"You want to walk with the best? Try Frank Hamer. Ambidextrous. A crack shot with rifle, shotgun and pistol. Involved in more than 50 shootouts in which dozens of bad guys were killed. Absolutely fearless--wounded numerous times, even declared dead twice. Did the job without bragging or boasting--didn't even tell his family about his exploits until Frank was on his deathbed. Considered one of the greatest Texas Rangers in history.
"And for a darker element, I'd bring along Killin' Jim Miller. We have no idea how many men he killed. Absolutely ruthless and unafraid to pull the trigger on anybody (including, perhaps, his grandparents and his brother-in-law).
Sure, most of his kills were done from ambush--but he did take down a few men in open confrontations. Hell, it never hurts to take a sociopath to a gunfight (just so long as you don't rile him). His shotgun would speak volumes.
"Oh, and remember—when they talk about fast draw, don't pull out your pen and paper and do a quick sketch."
"A winner lives in the present, and does not destroy the present by focusing on past memories or future expectations."
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