Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spanish Beauties & Hat Rant Takes to The Streets

November 24, 2010
Took the production staff out for lunch at Cafe Bink up in Carefree. This was my treat for all the hard work they did on this year's Source Book, which will be arriving in subscriber's mail boxes in about two to five days.

Came back to the office and whipped out an illustration for True West Moments, this one about the Earp wagon train stopping in the small town of Phoenix (pop. 150) in 1879. Virgil's wife Allie later said, "I saw my first beautiful, real Spanish ladies, fair, slender, with big brown eyes, and hair black and shiny as ravens' wings at a house where Mattie and I went for drinking water."

The building at left is Loring's Bazar (yes, spelled just like that) and News Depot which stood at about Central Avenue and Washington. Hard to believe that this little burg is now a beast of 3 plus million people. Oh, if only Wyatt could see it today.

Hat Rant On The Street

Meanwhile, the Hat Rant continues with a look at street photos. It is true that a whole bunch of the upward sweep of the cowboy hats in old photos is due to the photographer requesting the sitter to push his hat up so we, the viewer, can see his eyes. This is not as true outdoors, although some photographers no doubt still requested the push up. That's why I like anon photos (see below).

First up, a posed photo in front of a blacksmith shop in 1885, but it appears the gents in the scene are wearing their hats down low. The guys on far right definitely have winged brims, which would be banned from most Western movie sets today for not being authentic:

The next series of shots are almost too good to be true. Taken around Socorro, New Mexico in the early 1880s by a photographer with the unlikely name of Joseph Smith, these are just amazing. First up is an action shot at a rural rodeo (in 1882!). A great array of hats but the guy on the horse appears to have a modern, Tom Mix (or Gus, or Grab & Pinch) style hat. Check it out:

Get that guy off the set! Nobody in the real Old West had a hat like that. The next photo is also by Smith and is of a horse race in Socorro in 1882. Look at all the caps!

Another amazing photo, also by Smith, is this one of cowboys goofing outside a Socorro saloon in 1882:

I count at least three winged brim hats that would be banned from a modern Western movie set.

What do I draw from all these incredible photos? Well. . .

The flatter the brim the flatter the box office

It's downright silly to have everyone wearing a flat brimmed hat. Not only is it boring, but there are so many other things you can do with hats, as these photos prove. For one thing, emulate the hats in these images—that would go a long ways towards better Westerns.

And finally, give thanks. Why? Because that's it for now. It's Thanksgiving and what are you thankful for?

"I'm thankful BBB finally is going to give it a rest."

—A certain friend of mine who goes by Way

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