Monday, January 25, 2010

January 25, 2010
Skies have cleared but we supposedly have another storm coming by Wednesday. Came in the office early to get ready for tomorrow's design meeting. Dan the Man is coming out and we are going over some of the new tidbits we are developing for the new year. Always exciting. We've got some great stuff.

Speaking of Dan the Man, he and I were really into re-enacting when we were kids (we just didn't call it that). Of course, our models were TV shows, particularly the short-lived, but long-loved 26 Men about the Arizona Rangers:

The show, which was filmed at 40th Street and Camelback in Phoenix, utilized cowboy fashion from the time period it was filmed, not the era it portrayed: i.e. waist cut Levi jackets and 1950s style cowboy hats with medium brims and most notably a tail fin, or spoiler in back (think Steve McQueen in Wanted: Dead Or Alive). That was the conventional wisdom of that time about how cowboys and gunfighters looked in the Old West.

We were not alone. Check out this photo of "real cowboys" reenacting the O.K. Corral shootout:

On the back of the photo it says in pencil: "late 40's—early 50's Tombstone cowboys, these guys—real ranchers from Gleeson/Tombstone." The photo is by Reginald Russell, a photographer for the Tucson Daily Citizen. To our eye, it's painfully obvious they are adhering more to 1940s and 50s cowboy style that anything worn in the actual Old West.

It wasn't until I attended the October 26, 1981 centennial of the O.K. Corral fight in Tombstone that I saw the future of super authentic re-enacting. A gunfighter group from California was there and they put the local group to shame when it came to authentic gear and style. They even incorporated blood bags in their enactment of the famous street fight.

Here is how the locals looked on that day in 1981:

The sideburns and bell-bottom pants, give away the era pretty strongly. There are exceptions to the rule. One guy I met at the centennial, Richard Ignarksi, of Albuquerque, New Mexico is a stickler for the smallest detail, including hair, and when I look at a photo of him it's pretty timeless:

Mainly, though, it's the hair styles that tend to be a dead giveaway. This is also true in movies, Faye Dunaway's 1960's poofy hairdo, blatantly gives away the otherwise excellent period costuming for Bonnie And Clyde.

I imagine the red sashes and the huge brims of current day re-enactors will someday look dated. As much as I like the big brims I have to say:

"If everybody's wearin' a big hat, ain't nobody wearin' a big hat."

1 comment:

  1. Among the Audition-ees for 1993 PawneeBill WildWestShow -Pawnee, OK...were a few "Tombstone" extras (who happened to live in OKC area).
    One of them quoted Sam Elliot, joking that there were SO MANY Boss-of-The-Plains hats distributed among the cast...he called it "a OneHatMovie.."


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