Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 28, 2009
Got this question this morning:

On Sat, Feb 28, 2009 at 9:20 AM, Jimmy Sparks wrote:

"Mr. Bell, Please satisfy my curiosity. I watch the Westerns Channel about every day. I see a lot of your commentaries and just wondering if those cowboys really drink as much as they seem to. My thoughts are that they are not really drinking alcohol at all. Am I right? List me as a faithful watcher From Lenoir N.C."
—Jimmy Sparks

Excellent question and observation. First of all, cowboys, as a class, have been known to drink quite a bit, especially when on the trail or out on a drive and then they hit town. Some of these cowboys often went on week long benders, practically living in the saloon. Curly Bill Brocius, the leader of the Cowboys in Tombstone comes to mind. After getting out of jail in Tucson (with the help of Wyatt Earp, no less), Curly Bill went on an extended drunk, taking over Charleston and Contention before drinking his way to Tombstone and shooting out the lights on Allen Street. But, like most generalities, not all cowboys acted this way, especially the successful ones.

Most Mormon ranchers didn't drink at all, and prospered because of it.

Second, in Western movies most actors are drinking tea, if anything. One of the problems on a film set is stray sounds. A persnickity sound man will often insist that a bottle be empty to insure that a slurp won't ruin a key piece of dialogue. I'm not kidding. Next time you see someone allegedly drinking in a movie (and this goes for all movies, not just Westerns), they often don't have anything in the bottle. You can sometimes tell because the bottle seems too light in their hand, or sometimes you can actually see that's it empty.

Bob Boze Bell
Executive Editor, True West magazine

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post your comments