Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Gat In The Hat

April 12, 2011

Proofing pages for the next issue, which goes to the printer on Thursday. Among the highlights: Fort Fizzle. Really. There was a Fort Fizzle (page 75).

In the new movie Rango, Henry Beck tells us there is a character stealing water a la Noah Cross in Chinatown, who is "voiced by Ned Beatty (who played a similar figure in Network). Beatty works hard to sound like the late John Huston, who played Cross. He's also designed to look like Huston, while he putts around in his wheelchair like Old Man Potter from It's A Wonderful Life,

who was himself a deliberate caricature of that universally despised oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller. Try deconstructing that!"

Ha. Henry at his best.

Meanwhile, internationally known film director Josh Becker (Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules) reviews 1958's Terror In A Texas Town, riffing on the film process. "(The pitch is: Harpooner vs. gunslinger. All right. I'm listening.)"

The Gat In The Hat
Here's a bold prediction: the next Billy the Kid movie (there have been at least 48) will be about the Kid after the Lincoln County War and will be the first movie that focuses on his affinity with the native New Mexicans (he was fluent in Spanish) and how he gravitated between the Mexican plazas of Anton Chico, Puerto de Luna, Fort Sumner and Portales, with a smile on his face and a querida in every plaza (querida is Spanish for girlfriend). And to give my prediction a humble nudge, here are a couple scenes from that episodes:

They called him "El Chivato" and as Jose Garcia y Trujillo put it: "su vista penetrava al corazon de todal la gente" (his face went to everybody's heart.)

One of the scenes in this coming issue involves a derringer hidden in a hat. When I was in Socorro about 25 years ago, I saw a newspaper clipping in the courthouse about an incident Elfego Baca once told about the Kid which is probably apocryphal. Elfego claimed the two of them were in a saloon in Old Town Albuquerque and the Kid would shoot out one of the lights with his derringer. They had a strict law about carrying weapons, so a policeman would rush in and search everyone, find nothing, warn them and leave again. The Kid smiled, took his hat off, pulled out the derringer and shot out another light and put it back, smiling. While it's doubtful this is a true story, I have always loved that idea about the gat in the hat.

And speaking of the Kid's many queridas. Here's one he meets on a stagecoach.

"Billy the Kid came to our house several times and drank coffee with us. We liked him for he was always nice to the Spanish people and they all liked him."
—Lorencita Herrera Miranda

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