Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jingles vs. Tonto

July 18, 2013
  Almost two months ago (May 20) I made a vow to do six drawings every morning before I check email. As we all know, checking email is very addictive and so this is a strong motivator to get going on sketching. Sometimes this leads to an odd assortment of ideas and sketches, like this page from yesterday:

Daily Whipouts: "Big Daddy Roth and The Tale of the Tail Fins"

   But this morning I hit on something with the random sketching. At the top of the page I wrote down the first phrase that came into my head at 5:30 a.m. Then I started a sketch of Kingman's favorite son galloping across the Mohave County landscape saying his signature line from the old TV Western Wild Bill Hickok. Grabbed a mining book and honed in on a grainy shot of a mining main street in Nevada around the turn of the Twentieth Century.

   As I was noodling the sketch of Black Horse (great town name!) I got to thinking about how when I was a kid, these old, wooden towns still existed. They were leaning wrecks and probably from the 1940s, not the 1900s, but they looked like this. Temporary buildings, barely scratching the surface of the tough land. And then, with a dozen years of rain and wind and enough dry holes, the buildings started to disappear, until nothing was left except a few foundations (White Hills and Charleston come to mind).

   When I had that sketched in, I returned to the old Wild Bill Hickok TV show and Jingles and how far we've come from there, but in a way, not very far. I thought of the new Lone Ranger and the twist on Tonto being the brains of the outfit (Johnny Depp's take on the character) and I thought to myself, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

   What was disappearing in my youth (TV Westerns and Old West Ghost Towns) is now disappearing in another guise (Hey, print is a leaning wreck!). The Black Horse townsite is not that much different than the Kingman I grew up in. Every time I go home another building is gone, or is leaning towards oblivion. And in another dimension, the oldtime, fat sidekick follows the hero and in another, the sidekick leads. Hi Yo Silver, indeed.

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
—Mark Twain