Sunday, August 08, 2021

Wyatt Earp, Cowboy Ground Zero, Billy Logas and F9

August 8, 2021
   I found this "draft" of an old blog post from 2015 and thought it had some potential for today, so I added on to it and here you go.

Hugh O'Brian flaunting his Buntline Special

   A fitting image because the Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp will get the full, revised treatment in the next issue of True West magazine going to our printer outside Kansas City, this week.
   Meanwhile, my good friend Kid Ross (that's Thom Ross to you) has this to say about the Earp legend vs. the facts:

   "History serves a purpose.  I see history as the foundation now which everything else is built.  You HAVE to know the history of these things before you cane even write about it, paint it, or turn it into poetry....EPIC poetry.  Like in 'Moby Dick', you can TELL that Melville knew and understood the whale industry and that was the foundation now which he could build his masterpiece.

   "I think the same is true of 'My Darling Clementine' (1946). You can't tell me that John Ford got everything wrong because he didn't KNOW the story.  I m now convinced that he got the history wrong precisely because he wasn't TALKING about the historical event; he was challenging us to SEE that history as pure, unadulterated myth.  OUR AMERICAN MYTH!  Our Iliad.....our Odyssey...our Siegfried, King Arthur, King Tut, Caesar, Leonidas etc.

   "And you know what?  You can hardly find that vision anywhere.....a few movies ('Clementine', 'Dead Man'...even the WWII movie, 'Castle Keep' which is the best Alamo movie ever made) a few poems (like 'Collected Works of Billy the Kid') and maybe in the paintings of TC Cannon and Fritz Scholder (who are both dead now).

   "Look how 'Field of Dreams' used the 1919 Black Sox scandal......and when people talk about that movie they argue about the historical inaccuracies!  It is insane, that inability to go beyond the boundaries that we, ourselves, set and which keep us prisoners in our own compact world and thus sniffles spiritual growth of the individual.

   "Look up the definition of 'Memento Mori'.  I just stumbled on that phrase last week in a. god damn baseball book, of all places, and I realized that THAT was what my art is about.........the Earp's walking down Fremont Street or the slave whispering in the ear of the triumphant conqueror, 'all glory is fleeting.'

   "So for me to understand THAT OK Corral, the gunfight within us, I have to turn to mysticism and philosophy and apply those thoughts to the OK Corral.  That is why that definition of Spartacus fit Wyatt Earp so perfectly: they are the same thing.

   "I no longer buy books by Walter Noble Burns......I buy books by Joseph Campbell."
—Thom Ross

Wild West Women Carte de Visite, Part II
   I'm still seeking that vignette look of the old time cabinet cards. It's a very subtle approach with a limited range.

Daily Whip Out: "Tiny Dancer"

   And this next image goes back to 2015 when I was hot on the trail of finding Cowboy Ground Zero. My theory was—and still is—that if you could find the spot in Spain, where the conquistadors came from you would find the source of the spring that led to the birth of the cowboy in America, because the conquistadors begat the vaqueros and the vaqueros begat the Cowboys. And, I did in fact, find ground zero, deep in Extremadura at a small plaza.

Daily Whip Out: "Cowboy Ground Zero #2"

   And speaking of legends closer to home, yesterday we went over to our neighbors to watch "F9" and it literally blew my mind. I had seen one of the first ones, but this one is just so outrageous and over-the-top crazy, with non-stop, ridiculous, jaw-dropping action. It's just the ultimate Saturday afternoon matinee movie, all high octane and just enough family drama, literally, to choke a goat. And speaking of a "goat" (car slang for a GTO), here is a hometown legend who ate goats for lunch.

Daily Whip Out:
"Billy Logas Looks Up Hall Street."

   The late, great, Billy Logas, was the original Fast & Furious drag racing champion of my hometown and to this day, his name raises a smile whenever my friends gather for a brewski, or two, and a BS session.

"Wyatt Earp matters because of what he means, not for who he really was."
—Thom Ross


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