Just had a young man in the offices who loves Doc Holliday. I met Marshall Tanner, 12, last week in Bisbee. Actually, it was at the Breakfast Club in Lowell, as Deena and Tommy and I came in for a late breakfast after the walking tour in Tombstone. Tanner came over to our table and asked for an autograph on his Doc Holliday book which he had just purchased. I told Marshall he should come visit our offices in Cave Creek sometime and today I gave Marshall and his dad the tour of the offices and he asked if he could come back some time and bring a friend. I assured him that would great.
100 Covers: Stop The Presses!
As we worked our way into 2003 we began to utilize the wonderful photo collection of Robert McCubbin:
Sticking with the fifty theme (as mentioned 2003 was our 50 year anniversary), we did the 50 Guns That Won The West:
The actual birthday of the magazine was the April issue and so we not only celebrated our birth, but the birth of John Wayne:
We had been doing only eight issues a year, but our new partner, Bob Brink, felt it was time to expand and add a special issue, or two, and here is the first special we came up with:
Our newsstand consultant told us we needed a different name for the issue so we came up with Renegade Roads, but it caused us a ton of confusion with the newsstand rackers and we didn't make that mistake again. Back to Custer for May-June:
And back to our old stand by Wyatt and Doc for July:
As we were going to press with our August-September issue we got the word that an effort to dig up Billy the Kid was underway, and the story landed on the front page of the New York Times. For the first time in my career, I got to say the line, "Stop the presses!" even though our printers are in Kansas City and we are in Cave Creek, Arizona and the issue had all of seven days before it actually went on press. Anyway, close enough for an itinerant typo, as we tore up the cover story on Pancho Villa and replaced it with this one:
I had the honor of sitting in a Barnes & Noble in New York City (we flew to New York to pitch Classic Gunfights to the History Channel) and watch several New Yorkers pick up this issue off a very crowded rack and buy it. I had to restrain myself from running up and hugging them. I was a very happy boy.
After a speech in Wickenburg at the Desert Caballeros Museum, a woman came up to me and asked if I'd be interested in her family collection of rodeo photos. She said her mama was an early day rodeo performer I asked her mother's name and the woman said, Vera McGinnis, the Rodeo Queen. Was I interested? Oh, I think so:
Back to Billy the Kid for our second special issue of the year:
And then for November-December we went with Billy Bob Thorton and the new Alamo, which we hoped was going to be a blockbuster:
It was not and the movie and the issue was a disappointment to everyone. Still, all in all, a very strong year. We were adding back issues and learning a ton as we went alonng. The year 2004 would include one of the best covers we have ever done and certainly the grossest. Was I walking on water? Not quite, but even if I could, I instinctively knew miracles have their limitations.
"If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: 'President Can't Swim.'"
—Lyndon Baines Johnson
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