Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 11, 2010
Last Sunday, Lew Jones, of Tara's Mineshaft fame, came out to work on the '49 Ford, which is parked in our garage. I kept him company and while he fiddled with the points and the carburetor, I started cleaning up multiple messes.

We had a herd of javalena get in through our new gate (if a javalena can get his head through at any point, his whole body will fit through, amazing but true), and, after they slipped through the tiny space between the brand new gate post and the adobe wall next to it, they head-butted their way into the garage sidedoor and started breaking open any and all containers to find food. This happened around midnite. I stumbled out of bed (Peaches was barking like crazy) into the yard in my underpants, armed with a hoe handle and my biggest verbal weapon ("Hey! Hey! HEY!!!"). Me and Peaches managed to get the last one out the front door after a ten minute battle. But, by then, they had done their damage.

Anyway, while Lew tweaked the points on the Ford I picked up the strewn boxes of my sordid past. Found several 8mm film canisters and other assorted garage-worthy items like my Ludwig drum kit, back issues of New Times and paste up boards, etc. In amongst this mess I found three boxes of Razz Revue treasures. Well, at least they are treasures to me. The Razz Revue was a humor magazine founded by Dan The Man Harshberger and me in 1972. It lasted four years and 16 issues and made zero money, but we had fun doing it, and in some weird way, it led to straight to here—True West.

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Gee, I wonder what Boze's first wife looked like in a wooden coffin, with Dan The Man holding her ankle?" Well, wonder no more:

This was a staged photo done out at Old Tucson Studios, circa 1974, for our very first Old West issue of the Razz Revue. I think we were parodying an old undertaker ad. Here's a better shot of Olive Mondello (at left), and Dan's girlfriend Darlene:

This was a shot for our "Turquoise Lust" issue of the Razz (1974) and the idea is that they are wearing these huge turquoise rocks for rings. This was shot at the Lodge On The Desert in Tucson and the people who worked there thought we were mighty weird. You should have seen the shots we did at San Xavier. Ha.

Meanwhile, in these Old West themed issues we loved to pose old timey photos with a bent angle and we encouraged our advertisers to do the same. Here's one of our best advertisers, The Oxbow Inn, a Country-Swing joint on North Stone. I believe the Floyd brothers owned it (that's one of them, standing at right, and that's his girlfriend, front and center). Notice how the long hair styles give away the era totally.

Well, that and the Budweiser glass electric Clydesdale sign, top left. I have to say, I have known some pretty cheap Bastards that were club owners, but the Floyd brothers were the exception to every club owner rule. They always paid for their ads on time (absolutely incredible) and even offered to pay for future ads! I'm not making this up, and if I didn't live it I wouldn't believe it either. Not sure what they are doing today but I hope they are very happy. Good kids and clients, and she was a beauty. I hope they are still married, have a gaggle of grand kids and laugh all the time.

Speaking of laughing all the time, we really had fun with a cover idea that answers the question: what would Billy the Kid be doing if he was alive today (in the 1970s)?

Yes, probably robbing Circle Ks. And here's Billy (me) robbing a real Circle K near Seventh Street and Bethany Home Road in Phoenix. Someone, I think it was Dan and Darlene, knew this very nice woman who worked there and she agreed to have us come in during a slow time and, ahem, "shoot" in the store. That's Tom Story, at left who was a local surveyor who I worked for when I first got to Phoenix in 1970. On the final cover, Dan painted in a hole in one of the Coors cans (or is that a six-pack of Bud?) from the six-pack he's holding and he had beer gushing out in a stream, onto the floor. The kicker is that, as soon as we started shooting, someone called the owner and he came in and read us the riot act, shoving me out the door, shouting all the way: "Do think this is some kind of a joke?!" And, "Why don't you grow up?!"

It was a good question. And, to be fair, he wasn't alone.

The next year, we shot our next Old West Razz cover out on the desert west of Tucson. We got real tricky, utilizing fishing wire to hold up one of the arrows. Too bad that hammy model is wearing modern Levi's. Dan The Man added fringe on the final cover to try and hide this authenticity fow-paw.

I still have that hat. It belonged to Bill Stockbridge, one of my Kingman Cowboy uncles.

"It's not a magazine, it's not a comic, it's a magazomic!"
—Dan The Man Harshberger, describing The Razz Revue

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