Thursday, July 31, 2014

BBB Lands In Wild West?!

July 30, 2014

   Well, here's something I would never have predicted: I landed on the pages of our competitor, Wild West in the current issue.

   Johnny Boggs interviewed me last March while we were both at the Tucson Book Festival and he said it was for Wild West magazine and I said, "Well, I'll believe that when I see it."

   Well, not only did they run it, but it's a very nice piece and I'm accurately quoted. Plus, they gave a plug for my art website and the True West site. Amazing. A very classy move on Eric Weider's part (he's the owner of the Weider Group that owns Wild West and several other history titles).

   Chose ten paintings and drawings for the Powerhouse Museum show. All are featured in "The 66 Kid." Drove them down to Michael Feldman's Frame & Art Shop on Glenday at noon today. Here's a sneak peek at one of them:

Eye On The Sky (Division Doubletruck, pages 17—18), 24 X 18:, gouache

Still cleaning and filing. Found some groovy stuff in the garage a couple days ago:

Rolling Stone October 25, 1973 issue

   Read with interest the Gram Parsons obit which gave some of the sordid details of how two of his roadies kidnapped his coffin from Los Angeles International Airport then took the body out to Joshua Tree and burned it. They told the authorities they were off duty hearse drivers and they "had a girl all ready someplace to f**k them out of their mind; so they played that out to the guy." It actually worked and they signed with the name "Johnny Nobody." Allegedly, they were peeved because Gram's stepfather [Robert Parsons] had arranged a funeral in New Orleans and didn't invite any of Gram's band friends (that would be the dudes who kidnapped the body). Other little gems from the article: Mick Jagger allegedly wrote "Wild Horses" for and about Gram Parsons. Aslo, the cops didn't know what to charge the body snatchers with, but one of them called it "Gram Theft Parsons."

   By the way the issue is 80 pages, with covers, and it sold for 75 cents. it really is much closer to New Times than the slick mag it is today.

Matching Rolling Stone covers: one from the U.S. and the other from Argentina

"Eve!" he called and I sat with him as he ordered round after round of tequila. I think it must have been Gram who introduced Sauza Commemerativa {sic?) into rock & roll because Gram always knew quality when it came to f**king yourself up."
—Eve Babitz,  who comes off as major groupie-ish, in part of the obit commentary

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Getting to The Truth About Jack Slade

July 30, 2014
   I am often asked how we can find the truth when there is so much bad history in print and especially online. Well, here is a perfect example of exactly how we strive to ferret out the truth.

   I wanted to do a Classic Gunfight in our October Art Issue that somehow connected to a Western artist, preferably Charlie Russell. As I went through my extensive Charlie Russell book collection I came across a pen and ink illustration Russell did of Jack Slade shooting Jules Reni (also styled as Beni). I knew a little bit about Slade from my research for Bad Men (1999), but it had been awhile and my take on the shooting was a bit hazy. So my first query was to Marshall Trimble and Mark Boardman, asking them who they think is the best resource on the truth about Jack Slade. Here is Mark's reply:

   Try Death of a Gunfighter: The Search for Jack Slade by Dan Rottenberg
—Mark Boardman

   An hour later, Marshall chimed in with the same book and the same author. Now we had to track Mr. Rottenberg down. And with Google, it wasn't that hard. I sent my rough draft of the gunfight and a sidebar on Slade's most famous kill—Jules Reni.

   Based on the research in house and online (yes, Wikipedia was one of the sources) a problem emerged:

   The Jack Slade CG layout looks wonderful but we have a problem. Slade supposedly killed Jules Reni, but all of my text about this has disappeared. Not sure how this happened, but I had commentary about Reni getting the drop on Slade and shooting him with a shotgun and leaving him to die. Supposedly, Slade said he would track down Reni and cut off his ears and wear them as a watch fob. Slade did survive and later his men captured Reni at a spring and Slade went to Fort Laramie and met with the officers about what to do. Then rode to where they had Reni tied to a corral fence. Slade allegedly tortured Reni, shooting off his fingers and cutting off his ears before putting a bullet in his brain. THAT's where the watch fob ears came from.

   And then, I got Dan Rottenburg on the telephone and we talked at length, I sent him our copy and this exchange happened:

   Thanks for asking, and for your concern for truth. Here are the most likely facts about Jules Beni’s demise in August 1861:

   Slade had offered a $500 reward to anyone who captured Jules and brought him in alive. Two of Slade’s Central Overland employees wounded Jules in a gunfight, captured him and bound him to a packhorse to bring him to Slade. To their dismay, Jules died en route. Rather than lose the posted reward, they bound Jules to a post in a sitting position and insisted to Slade that Jules was still alive. Slade, who was skeptical, tested their veracity by cutting off Jules’s ears, without response from Jules.

   The details are on page 229-230 of my book, Death of a Gunfighter.

   Slade did supervise the hanging of at least two murderers and one horse thief. Whether these can strictly be defined as killings is a matter of definition.

Best regards,

   So I rewrote the sidebar in question and came up wit this:

A Fearsome Reputation Based on Scant Evidence
   Before Wild Bill Hickok, Jack Slade was the gunfighter everyone in the West knew and feared. Mark Twain wrote in Roughing It that “...Slade was a man whose heart and hands and soul were steeped in the blood of offenders against his dignity; a man who awfully avenged all injuries, affront, insults or slights, of whatever kind—on the spot if he could, years afterward if lack of earlier opportunity compelled it; a man whose hate tortured him day and night till vengeance appeased it—and not an ordinary vengeance either, but his enemy’s absolute death—nothing less; a man whose face would light up with a terrible joy when he surprised a foe and had him at a disadvantage."

   Twain is probably referring to the death of Jules Reni, the corrupt station keeper at Julesburg, Colorado. Slade had fired Jeni (also styled as Beni) and in March of 1860 Jules ambushed Slade and left him for dead. Remarkably, Slade survived and in August 1861 Slade's men captured Jeni and legend says Slade went to the scene of his capture and while Beni was tied to a corral fence, tortured him, shooting off his fingers and cutting off his ears for a watch fob, before putting a bullet in his brain.

   In spite of Twain’s rhetoric, Slade has only one other kill that can be documented. While division superintendent, he shot and killed Andrew Ferrin, one of his subordinates who was hindering the progress of a freight train, in May 1859. Slade’s fame apparently had much to do with his handle. As Twain wrote, “There was such magic in that name, SLADE!”

   And then in came this:

   Incidentally, the more likely last name for Jules is Beni, not Reni.

   Okay, change made. And then this:

   As I just pointed out in my previous e-mail, Slade didn’t kill Jules, and Jules’s last name was Beni (you have it as Jeni once below).

   Mark Twain wasn’t referring to the shooting of Jules. Twain’s only meeting with Slade occurred on August 2, 1861. The killing of Jules occurred in late August 1861.

   Twain’s description that you quote below wasn’t intended as a portrait of Slade, but as a reflection of the hyperbolic rhetoric Twain heard from Slade's stagecoach employees, to contrast it with the courteous Slade he actually met upon arriving at Slade’s station.

   Slade was thought to be vindictive, but actually he wasn’t vindictive at all— quite the contrary. After being ambushed by Jules and left for dead in March 1860, he didn’t pursue Jules. Instead he sent word to Jules to stay out of Slade’s territory, even though Ben Holliday, the stagecoach owner, urged him to seek revenge.  Slade didn’t take action against Jules until Jules returned to Slade’s territory in April 1861. It’s all in my book.

   Sorry to be so picky. As the late Chicago newspaper editor Harry Romanoff used to say, “Any story will blow up in your face if you ask too many questions.”  :)

Best regards,

   I responded thus: Are you kidding?! We love this. Thank you, sir. We want to get it right.

   And now you know how we get as close to the truth as we can.

Charlie Russell

Dailly Whipouts: "Jack Slade Slips Away In The Clouds"

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please."
—Mark Twain

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Can You Spot The Final Charlie Russell Cover?

July 29, 2014
   We're working very hard on a special issue featuring the original cowboy artist—Charlie Russell. Our art director, Dan Harshberger, has done a dozen different cover designs. Here are the final nine. Can you spot the final cover design?

The 9 finalist layouts for our special issue on Charlie Russell (October, 2014)

"I have throwed my last leg over a saddle, the old pump is about to quit."
—Charlie Russell, age 62, two days before he died of a heart attack

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Back Way Around The Mountains

July 28, 2014
   Drove back from LA yesterday by myself. Took the back way through Riverside and up over the mountains to Palm Desert. Enjoyed seeing that rough country.

   I especially enjoyed seeing my grandson Weston stylin' with his 1-year-birthday lid:

Weston and his father Mike

Weston stylin' while holding his favorite toy car

   Last Saturday night, I took the kids down to visit Carson Mell in his humble adobe near Hollywood. My son Thomas and Carson go way back. Here they are yucking it up before we walked to a Salvadorian restaurant.

Carson Mell and T. Bell

Answering The Mail
   In the August issue, page 23, BBB writes about his grandmother. He mentions that she (grandmother) said "Wyatt Earp was the biggest jerk who ever walked the West". He, BBB, never addresses the issue of WHY she said that about Wyatt Earp. Can you explain why she said it and what she meant?

—Dr. Ron Nierenberg, Marietta, Ga

Dr. Ron,
   Yes, my grandmother was from a ranching family near Steins Pass, which is about 90 miles from Tombstone and when she was growing up in the early 1900s, mere decades after the OK Corral fight, she heard the cowboy side of things. And Marshall is correct, the Earps were Yankees from Iowa and the cowboys were mainly from Texas and the Earps left Arizona after a short stay. So my grandmother had no love for the Earps . This was quite intriguing to me because I loved the TV show so much. it was that contradiction that ultimately led me to being in the history biz.


"They say they climb mountains because they are there. I wonder if it would astound them to know that the very same reason is why the rest of us go around them."
—S. Omar Baker

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tommy Taco Hoppiing

July 26, 2014
   Went out with my son Thomas Charles taco hopping this afternoon in Pasadena. He knows his way around the barrio. Here he is with the goods from La Estrella (he also stopped at Baja Ranch and got some green chile guisado and a couple buche tacos). The dude knows his Mexican street food.

Thomas Charles on the All Mexican All The Time Tour

   We're meeting Carson Mell tonight, for Mexican food, of course. Meanwhile, Weston has been enjoying a dog in the house.

Weston Smothers Hurley as his aunt and uncle laugh like crazy

   But the coolest scene was sitting in the back yard as my son read an advance copy of "The 66 Kid" and pointed out a photo of his father to Weston.

T. Charles points out his father to Weston Bortscheller

"The child is father to the man."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Weston Digs Hurley And The All Mexican All the Time Tour

July 26, 2014
   Here we are in Pasadena walking down the sidewalk on our All Mexican All The Time Tour.

Grand Marmita, Weston, T. Charles and Deena somewhere in Pasadena.

   T. Charles and his wife Pattarapan are on their way to Thailand and my son wants one final binge on the food he loves (In our family he's known as The Mole Man). And yes, Weston is smiling. He digs his uncle.

   The little Man of the West also loves Hurley, Pattarapan's dog. Here they are this morning waking up. The kids slept in the living room and the grandparents got the spare bedroom.

Weston grooves on Pattarapan's Thailand bound dog, Hurley.

  Our destination was Burrito Express for breakfast. We ate outside because it's a beautiful morning with the temperature in the mid-seventies.

Pattarapan, Deena and T. Charles digging in on the huevos rancheros at Burrito Express.

   We ate at El Patron in Altadena yesterday and T. had the "drunken margarita" which comes with an upside down cerveza attached. Quite clever and effective.

T. Charles with a "drunken margarita." Have two of these and the title is reversed.

   While at the Burrito Express this morning I gave the family a humor assignment. I'm sending "66 Kid" postcards to various media outlets with the goal of landing a guest spot, or getting some ink. I wondered aloud how to thread the needle between asking for the order and trying to get past the gatekeepers (something I know a little about at True West). Kathy came up with "I'll make a good guest," and since we always consider the opposite of whatever anyone comes up with, Deena posited, "Don't Google me."

   Ah, my clever daughter—that is how the next batch is going out, with that warning. I will tally the success rate and report on it when the results come in.

"Luck is the residue of design."
—Branch Rickey

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weston Digs A Bigger Hat!

July 25, 2014
   On the road from Vidal, California to 29 Palms, highway 62 parallels railroad tracks for about ten miles. the entire stretch has rock and wood tributes along the rail roadbed. Pretty amazing.

Roadbed graffiti along Highway 62 between Vidal, California and Iron Mountain

Drove into San Berdu, Glendora, Arcadia and Pasadena on old Route 66. Landed at Deena from Pasadena at about 11:30 and immediately got to playing with a certain grandson.

Weston looks like just maybe he'd like a bigger hat?

Okay, it's official: Weston totally digs the bigger hat.

Tom Bell, his wife and their dog, are coming in from the LAX and we're meeting them for Mexican food. T. Charles says it going to be All Mexican All The Time, until he leaves on Sunday for a teaching gig in Thailand.

"You can take the boy out of the country but you can't take the country out of the boy."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wyatt Earp's Road to His Happy Days Mine

July 24, 2014
 After our stop in Earp, California, yesterday, which is just across the Colorado River from Parker, Arizona, Kathy and I motored west, past Wyatt Earp's Happy Days Mine (which lies north from the highway in the foothills of the Whipple Mountains).

Highway 62

 I assume this is the route Wyatt and Josie took from their winter home in LA, out through San Bernandino, Redlands, Joshua Tree and 29 Palms, in a wagon, of course. Hard to believe they traversed this desert with miles and miles of soft sand in every direction.

One of the reasons I took this back route to Cal was to take advantage of the summer heat to study highway heat waves. Got a couple pictures of the phenom.

I took this route for scenes like this: floating cars in the highway heat waves.

 Noticed an amazing phenom along the railroad tracks that parallel the highway for many miles. People have created mini-signs with their names on them, girlfriends, etc. by utilizing rocks and wood. This goes on for miles and miles. It's hard to believe that many people have even used the road. We only met maybe four cars on the entire 100 mile stretch.

Motored up through Crazy Woman Valley and saw a ruined little ranchito. Stopped to take a couple photos. Heat really blasting (110 degrees) but had to get a couple shots of the ranchito ruins.

Ranchito Ruins #1

Ranchito Ruins #2

 Stopped in Joshua Tree, the town, for lunch. Found a groovy little cafe, The Natural Sisters Cafe, which I would highly recommend. Brewed iced tea is the new standard for me. Fewer cafes bother any more and I can't stand instant. Tastes like water sifted through cat litter to me.

Natural Sisters Cafe in Joshua Tree: great guacamole burgers and brewed iced tea

 Then headed up the mountain for Bear Lake. Temperature dropped about five degrees every mile. Kathy and I had a bet about how far it would go down. Kathy bet 84 and I guessed 87. When we pulled into a pine nestled destination the thermometer said 87.

 "In hell, women are even more right."
 —Wonderful Russ sent me this from a dude who goes by @dafloydsta

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Earp Postcard Vendetta

July 23, 2014
 Got up this morning at six and drove to the Earp, California post office so I could mail some "66 Kid" postcards with the Earp postmark. Several people on my mailing list are going to be very surprised.

"The mailing has commenced. Either get to telling me how much you want a postcard with an Earp postmark, or get away from me."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mickey Free Rides Across The Ledge of Death!

July 22, 2014
   Found a painting in my discard file and took a couple stabs at it. Finally added the rider this morning before I came into work.

Daily Whipout: "Mickey Free Rides Across The Ledge of Death"

   Whipped by an evil wind, the fire hop scotches the dry tundra and follows Mickey Free as he rides hell bent for leather out on the ledge of death.

   Just got the first advance copy of "The 66 Kid" from Cindy Laun at Voyageur Press in Minneapolis. Fed Ex rocketed the book from Minneapolis to Cave Creek in less than 24 hours (I received the book at 11 a.m.) How do they do this? Cost $92, but it's worth it. The printer is in Hong Kong and they evidently Fed Exed the publisher a copy. The rest of the shipment is coming on the proverbial slow boat from China and will arrive at the end of this week on the California coast. From there they will be trucked to the publisher in Minneapolis, then back to me in Arizona. Kind of crazy, this publishing business.

"I've heard some tall tales, but this one takes the cake. And, I love cake!"
—Hugh O'Brian, star of The Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp (back cover blurb)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Billy vs. Brush Bill

July 21, 2014
   Working hard now on sorting art into categories. Here's a spot illustration done for Arizona Highways and ended up in "The Illustrated Life & Times of Billy the Kid."

Daily Whipout: "Billy vs. Brushy Bill"

   Lots and lots of New Times cartoons. I did a doubletruck worth of cartoons (six to 12 illustrations per) every week for over a decade. Found lots of decent stuff, like this:

Monsoon Fashion Month
   It's that time of year when Arizona celebrates Monsoon Fashion Month. In late July and most of August, Zonie women who love fashion are challenged to stay current and clothed.

Daily Whipout: "Monsoon Mama"

   Found the promotional postcard for the opening of Honkytonk Sue's, the short-lived niteclub on Scottsdale Road.

Honkytonk Sue's, 2003 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, Arizona

   The opening offered free drinks from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on February 27, 1981, promising, on the back, "We're going' to have one hell of a good tam." Yes, time was spelled "tam." At first the club was a raging success with wall to wall dancers and wannabe cowboys, but then, over time, the main dancers would dance all night, nursing a coke, and all the good bands charged $1,000 (if memory serves me correctly) and then when the club tried to institute a two drink minimum, all the good dancers went up the street to Handlebar J's or points north. Ah, the club business. Not the easiest thing in the world to make a success.

"Anybody who thinks of going to bed before 12 o'clock is a scoundrel."
—Samuel Johnson

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gunslingers Scores Again!

July 20, 2014
   Okay, here is the good side of cronyism and being in a bad, rock band with a crony. I guess this makes me the croner?

Dave Walker Dishes A Juicy Review of "Gunslingers"

And here we last week, after I got off the stage at The Television Critics Association confab at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

The Survivors
We're both drummers (in the same band!) and we both survived working for Mike Lacey.

"Between us, we have over 10,000 hours of Gloria—Louie Louie frequent flier miles."

Home Is Where The Art Is

July 20, 2014
   I have a secret agenda. My daughter lives in Pasadena and often talks about how she could never "go back" to Arizona to live. She loves Southern California. My son is on his way to Thailand this week where he will be teaching at a University. He claims he has no intention of returning to Arizona either. He wants to see the world.

   Kathy and I smile when they talk trash about our home and we never challenge them on it. It would be dumb to even try. However, sometimes I send along a photo, like this one which I took on my morning walk, to each of them, with a simple, subtle caption:


Here is the actual article in The New York Times from yesterday:


Sass and Slow-Motion Bullets

‘Gunslingers,’ an American Heroes Channel Docudrama Series


Gunslingers Stafford Douglas, left, in this mini-series debuting Sunday on the American Heroes Channel.CreditAmerican Heroes Channel

You can always learn something by watching television. On Sunday night, it’s this:

“Do not take a drunk dentist to an arrest.”

Those words to live by come from one of the engaging talking heads in the first installment of “Gunslingers,” a spunky six-part series that begins on Sunday on the American Heroes Channel. The dentist is Doc Holliday, who tagged along with his pal Wyatt Earp to the notorious gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

This tale in the first episode and most of the others in this series have been told again and again on the big and small screen, but the treatment here makes the revisiting enjoyable for admirers of the Wild West and of history cheekily conveyed. The episodes are executed sort of like many hourlong TV docudramas, combining re-enactments (which are especially slick here) with explanatory comments from assorted experts and others. One is Kurt Russell, who played Earp in the 1993 film “Tombstone.” But Earp himself joins in the narration (via an actor’s voice), and some amusing camera tricks add to the fun. Love those slow-motion bullets.

The experts are not the usual dry academics. That crack about Holliday comes from Bob Boze Bell, the man behind True West magazine. They dress like people who have a genuine affection for the subject matter. You could stock a Western hat store with what’s on their heads.

The only problem with the series is that it means that the channel may have already outgrown its new name. It switched only a few months ago from “the Military Channel,” hoping “American Heroes Channel” would acknowledge that not all heroics are performed by people in the armed services. But future installments of this series look at Billy the Kid and Jesse James, among others. Heroes to some, maybe, but outlaws by definition.

American Heroes Channel, Sunday nights at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.
Produced for the American Heroes Channel by Castle Pictures Inc. For Castle Pictures: Christopher Cassel, executive producer. For the American Heroes Channel: Max Culhane, executive producer; Sara Kozak, senior vice president of production; Kevin Bennett, general manager. Henry Schleiff, group president of Investigation Discovery, Destination America, the American Heroes Channel and Discovery Fit & Health.

This article was forwarded to me from Casey Tefertiller who is also on the show. Casey just couldn't help himself and added this little dig: "Holliday probably was not drunk, but it does make for attention."

I replied back: "Thanks for sending me the article. Having an alcoholic father growing up, I think it's safe to say Holliday had a full head of steam by 2:30 in the afternoon."

 "Academics are so vicious because so little is at stake."
—Old Historian Saying

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Curious Journey of A Random Doc Holliday Quip

July 19, 2014
   "Do not take a drunk dentist to an arrest." I originally said that line into the blind eye of a movie camera in May of 2013 at Pioneer, Arizona. It was in reference to Doc Holliday and the O.K. Corral fight and was one of dozens of quips and quotes I provided to my interrogator, Christopher Cassel, the director of a TV documentary shooting in Arizona and New Mexico.

   Fast forward, the "drunk dentist" quip appeared last week on the sizzle reel for the American Heroes Channel at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

BBB at the Getty photo shoot in the Beverly Hilton Hotel, July 9, 2014

   And today it appears in the New York Times.

   And tomorrow night it appears on the new TV series, "Gunslingers." And now you know the curious journey of a random Doc Holliday quip.

"When the legend becomes fat, try to crack wise."
—Old Talking Head Saying

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gunslingers Premieres This Sunday

July 18, 2014
   Got this message from the folks at Castle Pictures (the company that made the TV series "Gunslingers"):

This is Nevena with Castle Pictures. I wanted to send you a quick note to let you know that the Gunslingers series is Premiering this Sunday, July 20th at 10:00pm/9C. And also to thank you again very much, for being a part of the program, and sharing with us all your expertise and insights on western history. Your help both with your interviews and archive research was invaluable, and we are grateful you joined us for this series.

The network (now known as American Heroes Channel, formerly Military Channel) is absolutely thrilled with the series, and has put a big marketing push behind it. If you watch any of the Discovery networks, you may have seen the promos running for the past couple of weeks. And I wanted to let you know all the air dates, if you are interested in the other episodes as well.  After this Sunday premier, new episodes will follow each Sunday at the same time slot.

7/20 Wyatt Earp: The Tombstone Vendetta

7/27 Jesse James: The South’s Last Rebel

8/3  Billy the Kid: The Phantom of Lincoln County

8/10 Wild Bill Hickok: Marksman… Marked Man

8/17 John Wesley Hardin: The Dark Heart of Texas

8/24 Tom Horn: Grim Reaper of the Rockies

Here is a link to the network's home page for the series


"This fight has commenced. Get to fighting, or get away."
—Wyatt Earp

What If Groucho Rode With The Daltons?

July 18, 2014
  Found some more old New Times illustrations this morning. This one answers the question: What if Groucho Marx rode with the Daltons?

Daily Whipout: "What If Groucho Rode With The Daltons?"

   I also answered this question: What if James Butler was a "Wild AND Crazy Guy?"

Daily Whipout: "One Wild AND Crazy Bill Hickok"

"I refuse to rob banks with any outlaw gang who would have me as a member."
—Groucho Marx

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Billy Painting by Degas Surfaces?

July 17, 2014
   A shocking find this morning. Everyone knows the famous French Impressionist, Edgar Degas, spent time in New Orleans and he did a famous painting while there in the 1870s. What most people don't know is that Henry McCarty, had relatives in New Orleans and while on a visit there just prior to the Lincoln County War, it appears he sat for Degas. The resulting portrait, lost for 152 years, was found this morning in the garage:

Billy Bonney by Edward Degas

   Also found in this same stash of old art this portrait of Billy in Bonita:

Daily Whipout: "Billy In Front of Atkins Cantina, in Bonita, Arizona"

   Also found was this original photo of Barney Mason's ranch, which I believe was east of Fort Sumner.

The Barney Mason Ranch, near Fort Sumner, New Mexico

   Note what appears to be a white wagon at left, center. This looks to me like a typical sheep wagon, although I'm not sure exactly what that is. Do you see it?

"He came to town dressed like a country jake with shoes instead of boots. He wore a six-gun stuck in his trousers."
—Gus Gildea, describing the young Kid Antrim at Bonita, Arizona in 1877

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Did Billy Fire Back?

July 16m 2014
   Still cleaning in studio and found this old T-shirt idea celebrating Billy the Kid in Bonita, Arizona, the date marking his first "kill." Lettering by Bob Steinhilber. Thought the folks in Bonita would love it, but they did not. I believe the woman who owned the bar there in Bonita (1991) was named Dottie and she had an annual celebration of sorts on the date of the Cahill shooting. I worked up this design and asked her if she wanted it to sell and she said, "No, we don't like it." She never said why. I always thought it was kind of cool in a specific to the Kid kind of way. Never got around to developing it farther, although I have another painting of the Kid as a "Country Jake" and I'll post it tomorrow.

Billy In Bonita, T-shirt rough design by Dan Harshberger

   And speaking of the Kid, Mark Lee Gardner forwarded me a very interesting new find. As I mentioned a couple days ago, Pat Garrett, Pete Maxwell and, I believe, both McKinney and Poe thought they heard three shots when Pat shot the kid at midnite in the darkened bedroom on July 14, 1881. They allegedly looked and looked and never could find another bullet hole to prove it. That's what makes this newspaper item, from the Clovis Evening News, May 31, 1937 rather interesting:

Interview with Buster DeGraftenried in Clovis Evening News, May 31, 1937

   Now the problem with Buster's story is Garrett didn't dive out the window, plus, he tells a bunch of other windys (trading horses with Geronimo near Vaughn, New Mexico and the like), but he was in the area at the right time. Hmmmm.

As Mark puts it: "There's no way to prove, of course, that the bullet "mark" was made by Billy's gun, and the old guy might have just been telling a windy, but the story certainly is intriguing."

"Let is all go and have a life that isn't dictated by the past."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Jesse James Hangs Out

July 16, 2014
   Woke up at three (thanks Bryan's Bar-B-Q!) and finally got up at four and worked on a couple projects. I've got my curator coming by this morning to start archiving my artwork.

   Ken and I are on the homestretch of The 66 Kid film which we are going to sneak at the Route 66 International Festival on August 15. Four weeks to finish it. Mike Torres is bringing by the final mix on the soundtrack music, which he and Hans Olson performed.

   Went for a walk up Old Stage at 5:30. Everything is tolerable out until the sun tops Continental Mountain at 5:55. Then it just gets ugly and uglier. The good news is we only have 16 more weeks of this. Ha. Actually about six to eight more weeks.

   Filled the seventh garbage bin, in seven weeks, with discarded art and hauled it out to the street for the recycling truck:

Garbage In: Jesse James Hangs Out

   That painting on the left was done in about 2002 when I was hot on the trail of the James Gang's retreat from Minnesota. It was supposed to illustrate Jesse and Frank riding the stolen, blind horse that ran into a tree, before they bailed on it (well, that and a sentry at a bridge crossing firing on them). Overworked the puppy. Had great photo reference of Chip DeMann and another re-enactor riding double on a horse, while wearing dusters, on the actual escape route of the gang west of Faribault, Minnesota. Had the right corn fields, buildings, everything. And still tubed it!

   As I took this photo, above, I noticed another two paintings sticking out and went over to give them one more look before closing the lid:

Garbage In: Mickey Free and Tommy Lee hang out

   Yes, the Mickey Free painting, on the right, is even worse, in the over-worked department, and the Tommy Lee Jones cover concept, middle, (done for a proposed True West cover on "The Missing") is a piece of crap as well.

    If you are thinking, "Hey, Boze, don't throw those away, I'll put them on the wall in my den," just remember I don't WANT you to do that. And I especially don't want to come to your house and see these hanging on your wall. That's how bad I think they are.

   Of course, one can over think these things and that in itself is something i am very good at.

"Analysis kills spontaneity. The grain once ground into flour, springs and germinates no more."
—Henri Frederic Amiel

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

LIve By The Gator, Die By The Gator

July 15, 2014
   Found this little painting, in my discard file this morning and gave it a whipout tweak:

Daily Whipout: "Madam Katie Fulton"

   Katie got her nose broken in a soiled doves melee in Olympic Park on the outskirts of Denver in August of 1877. In what has since been known as "The Nude Duel That Will Not Die" (okay, at least as long as I have called it that in my Classic Gunfight coverage). Katie went up against fellow madam Mattie Silks and it is believed Mattie's boyfriend, and "kept man," Cortese "Cort" Thomson is the one who did the damage. This fight is covered in Classic Gunfights, Volume I.

    Meanwhile, finished another study of a familiar landscape to the north of my house:

Daily Whipout: "Last Light On Morningstar #13"

   I'll get it yet. I have long been a fan of the gator until it almost killed me. Found this photo in my archives this morning. This was at the grand opening of the Country Swing bar—Honkytonk Sue's, north of McDowell Road on Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. I believe this is in the late 70s. A Honkytonk Sue lookalike (who came off of Bill Heywood's morning show) is the vertical dancer, and that's me, on the floor, doing the notorious gator. Hey, I had to break in the club with some ridiculousness.

BBB and Honkytonk Sue "dancing" at the grand opening of Honkytonk Sue's niteclub

   This is a lethal dance. My Kingman compadre—Dan Harshberger_wrenched his knee so bad while doing this dance he still limps from it. I, of course, all but died doing it on March 22, 2008.

"Live by the Gator, die by the Gator."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Monday, July 14, 2014

Billy the Kid Checks Out

July 14, 2014
    Tonight is the night Billy took a bullet in the heart (in 1881), courtesy of his former friend, Pat Garrett. The sheriff of Lincoln County always maintained there were three shots fired that night, two by him and one by Billy. The other ear-witnesses, Pet Maxwell and deputies Tip McKinney and John Poe also agreed they heard three shots, but no evidence was ever found of a bullet in the walls of Pete's room.

   Recently, Mark Lee Gardner found a newspaper article that solves the mystery. Stay tuned.

   Meanwhile, as I was cleaning this weekend I found an old T-shirt design created by myself and my neighbor Judy Darbyshire. I never quite liked the figure of Billy but I always dug the lettering and the concept of the Kid being the "I" in Billy. Decided I would take one more crack at it and either ruin it or save it:

Daily Whipout: "Billy the Kid T-shirt Design"

   Also, found a couple more daily whipouts I thought I could save, or ruin, like this one:

Daily Whipout: "Mickey Free Rides Out of the Fire Zone"

   The extra-keen vision of the Apaches has often been remarked on. Once when a cavalry column was scouting the flats south of Naco they spotted a rider coming towards them at a run. Even with binoculars, the anglo officers could not make out if the rider was friend or foe, but one of the Apache scouts said, "Rides like Apache." Even at a great distance he could tell, by the style of riding, what kind of tribesman was on the back of that horse. Now THAT'S vision.

Daily Whipout: "Rides Like Apache"

"Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
—Steven Wright