Monday, September 30, 2019

The Apache Warrior Jason Betzinez on "I've Got A Secret"

September 30, 2019
    Well, here we are on the last leg of the book (16 days to press) and my job now is to fill in the last holes. And, this last weekend, I found a major hole.

   I have heard for years that the Apache Jason Betzinez appeared on television in 1958 in conjunction with the publication of his book, "I Fought With Geronimo." Numerous, separate entries online state that he was on "What's My Line," but I skimmed the entire year—1958—of shows on YouTube and he is not there. So, last night, in desperation, I turned to my intrepid researcher to see if it could be confirmed, what show was he actually on, and, more importantly, is there surviving footage of the event?

   Thanks to my intrepid researcher, Gay Mathis, I have found the actual footage of Betzinez on "I've Got A Secret" (the show was similar to "What's My Line") talking about his Geronimo days in 1958. I love how he pronounces his name and the word "Apache." Just so damn cool. He was 98 years old when this was filmed.

Jason Betzinez on "I've Got A Secret"

   So thanks to Gay Mathis, I have avoided stepping in some serious doo doo, and not only that, but she has found a wonderful archival piece of history that gives even more depth to the story.

   I cannot say enough about the abilities of Gay Mathis. I have never met her—we met online and communicate often but, so far, we have never met in person. She has saved my bacon so many times I owe her a car. Or, the equivalent to a car. 

   Also, it is thrilling to me that I was 12-years-old when this show aired and to think that a guy who was with Geronimo in the Sierra Madre, was alive when I was a kid is pretty damned exciting. So, now the copy will read:

He Fought With Geronimo!
   Jason Betzinez graduated from Carlisle and became a tireless supporter for Apache rights. He wrote a wonderful book, "I Fought With Geronimo" and appeared on the television game show "I've Got A Secret" in 1958, where he almost stumped the panel. He died in 1960 at age 100!

Jason Betzinez: He fought with Geronimo

"Wherever the crowd goes, run in the other direction."
—Charles Bukowski

Sunday, September 29, 2019

First Kiss, Last Goodbye

September 29, 2019
   Although many a Kingman boy vied for the honor, I was the one who gave her the proverbial first kiss. At least that is how she always told the story. It was after a dance at Kingman Junior High School and on the walk to her house, two blocks away, I abruptly leaned in and awkwardly kissed her. Sometimes when she told the story, there was a chipped tooth in the telling but I think that is an exaggeration. I have looked through her dental records and I can find no injury to match my clumsy, but well-intentioned lunging. Plus, I have the photographic evidence to prove this blatant falsehood.

Jan Prefontaine, clearly no chipped tooth

   We had our ups and downs. One time she left this message on my answering machine: "We waited for you, Robert. Where were you? Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!"

   We also could be competitive with each other. She self-published books on angels which I thought were ridiculous and I self-published books on gunfighters that she thought were ridiculous.

   In spite of all my efforts she had two wonderful children with another man, Scott Jones, and it was yesterday that Xandi and Dan did their mother proud with a memorial near the foot of Cathedral Rock in Sedona, a place Jan loved.

Cathedral Rock, Sedona

After a hike, we all met in a sprawling ranch house in Red Rock Park and as the extended families enjoyed a brunch, a few of the MCUHS crowd gathered around to tell stories about the girl we all loved. In our rapidly dwindling circle stood Rusty Petry (class of '63), Sherrine Davis Petry (class of '63), Dan Harshberger (class of '65) Karen Johnson Collins (class of '65) and Bruce Porter (class of '65). After a couple stories, Sherrine looked concerned and she said to me, "Jan was worried about you. She said she upset you?" So, I told the answering machine story and as I told it, I happened to look over at the photo of Jan on the table (above) and I got the strangest vibe, like she was trying to say something, so, I asked Sherrine what she thought Jan was saying to me in that photo and without a pause Sherrine said she knew exactly what Jan was saying.

"Really, Robert?"
—Jan Prefontaine

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Captain John G. Bourke And A White Apache chief!

September 28, 2019
   One of my least favorite comic strips as a youth was one called "The White Indian." It just seemed lame to me and kind of far-fetched. Well, just when you think you've heard it all. . .

The White Apache
   His Apache name was Dji-li-kine, or Pine Pitch House, and he was not only a chief but he was Geronimo's father-in-law. He was a white captive, similar to Mickey Free, who chose to stay with the Apaches. John Rope said he was "not as tall as an old-fashioned musket," but he was "about the best fighter of any of them. . .the Chiricahua chiefs were like nothing to him and they usually did what he advised."

Daily Whip Out:
"Dji-li-kine The White Apache"

   When Crook first tracked down Geronimo high in the Sierra Madres in May of 1883, the old chief was intent on hatching a devious plan. The Chiricahuas would feign friendship with the soldiers and the scouts, but Geronimo and Kayatennae and a couple other chiefs planned to invite the White Mountain Apache scouts to a dance where Chiricahua warriors would circle behind the scouts and slit their throats. When they took this plane to Dji-li-kine he dismissed it out of hand: "I won't join in this because the White Mountain people are like relatives of mine." Geronimo told him they were going ahead with the plan with or without him, to which the White Apache said, "You chiefs don't mean anything to me. I have been with you many times and helped you kill lots of Mexicans and Whites and that's the way you got the clothes you are wearing now. I am the one who has killed these people for you and you have just followed behind me. I don't want to hear you talking this way with me again."
   Geronimo did proceed with the plan but it fell apart when Chief of Scouts Al Sieber wisely advised the White Mountain Apache scouts not to attend the dance.

   A colorized version of the famous C.S. Fly photograph of the Geronimo-Crook parlay at Embudos in March of 1886. That is Crook, seated, second from right and that is Captain John G. Bourke next to him, on Crook's right, looking at the camera. It is Bourke who wrote down the entire exchange from memory and preserved the encounter for historians. Bourke spoke fluent Spanish and studied Apache intently. He amassed an Apache dictionary which he planned on printing,  but it never got on the press.

   The scouts called Bourke "Nantan Justa Chuli" (Captain Cactus).

Daily Whip Out:
"Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood"

The Shaman's Power
"Men, our people whom we left at our base camp are now in the hands of U.S. troops! What shall we do?"
—Geronimo, May 15, 1883, having a premonition that Crook's troops had in fact captured Bonito's camp 120 miles away

   There are no photos of Cochise, but here is a first-person account of someone who met him, and, who described him as a handsome man of 
about "fifty winters, straight as a rush, six feet in stature, deep chested, roman nosed, black eyes, firm mouth, and kindly and even somewhat melancholy expression tempering the determined look of his countenance. He seemed much more neat than the other wild Indians I have seen and his manners were very gentle."
—Captain John G. Bourke, describing Cochise, who he met on February 3 of 1873

   It was also Captain Bourke who fought for the Apaches all during their imprisonment in Florida and Alabama. He visited the Apaches at Mount Vernon Barracks in Alabama and addressed them like this:

"I have known you people for just twenty years. I knew you first when Loco was living outside Fort Craig, New Mexico, and again when you were all on the war-path in the Huachuca Mountains, and down in Mexico. I used to think that you never would come off the war-path. I went to see you in the Dragoon Mountains when Cochise was still alive, and some of you were just young boys. Then I went with General Crook into the Sierra Madre, and after he got hold of you and set you to work for your living near Camp Apache, you began to do ever so much better and some of you never forgot what he told you."
—John G. Bourke

Thursday, September 26, 2019

My Life As A Guest Lecturer

September 26, 2019
It was a privilege and an honor to give a lecture yesterday at NAU (Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff) on how not to make it in media. I am somewhat of an expert in the field having failed at so many endeavors from rock 'n' roll, to underground newspapers, to morning drive radio to Playboy magazine. Oh, and True West.

Holding Court With One Lie After Another

The class is Introduction to Journalism and the professor is Martin Sommnerness. I tried to keep in mind that these kids are post 9•11. They were born after the World Trade Center attack.

I aimed my remarks at this idea: I once sat where you are sitting and for the past fifty years I have been in hostile territory, on the road you are about to go down, and I have come back to give you some of the road signs to look out for and what to expect and how not to get lost. I promised to reveal trade secrets and how to get past the crowd at the foot of the ladder.

They seemed to enjoy some of my stories, but I ran into one sobering fact: virtually all my cultural references are history, as in, they don't connect.

• Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp: never heard of the actor, the TV show or the historical character.

• Paul Newman in "The Left-Handed Gun": never heard of him, although one of them said, "Isn't he the salad dressing guy?"

• The Beatles on Ed Sullivan: their grandparents love the band but they've never heard of the show.

• "Standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona": one girl, in the blue hair, in the photo above, knew the song and the name of the band, the Eagles. Everyone else just stared at me like I was talking about Al Jolson.

To them the Watergate break-in is in Gettysburg territory. It's ancient history and has nothing to do with them. This is not a put down. It's just how life goes. If some old guy came into one of my classes at the U of A in 1967 and started praising Benny Goodman I would have rolled my eyes as well.

"Everything you love will be taken away."
—Slaid Cleves

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Renegade: Final Breakout

September 25, 2019
   Here's a sneak peek at one of the chapter heads Dan The Man came up with.

"The Renegade: Final Breakout"

   I told Dan this is so strong that maybe THIS should be on the cover. Actually, I think we'll stick with the original cover, below, but I think the Renegade could easily be the cover of another book.

"It takes two years to learn to speak and sixty to learn to keep quiet."

—Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

When Old Men "Remember" The Past

September 24, 2019
   I have a historical bone to pick with old men and their memories. For example, the Apache Asa (Ace) Daklugie, was fond of saying, "My father was a good man; he killed lots of White Eyes."

Asa (Ace) Daklugie, circa 1950

   Oh, really? So, how would Ace feel about a White Eye saying, "My father was a good man; he killed lots of Redskins." I've got a strong hunch he wouldn't like it. Personally, I don't like either one, but if you can tolerate one, you can't condemn the other.

   This is situational racism and it drives me crazy. To some people it's apparently okay for Ace to say that, because of, you know, Wounded Knee. 

   I'm sorry, but that's totally insane.

   In the G book, I am dealing with Geronimo's last words and it was revealed in the 1950s by, none other than  Daklugie himself that Geronimo told him on his deathbed that he, Geronimo, should never have surrendered, and other things that really applied more to Daklugie than to Geronimo, in my opinion. I have quoted him and taken him at his word, because he was, in fact, there at the end and whatever he had to say about it is worth listening to and considering. I'm just not so sure I trust his memory. Was he putting words in Geronimo's mouth that Daklugie wished he had said, or, felt that Geronimo should have said?

"I should never have surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive."
—Geronimo, as quoted by Daklugie

   What we have here, is the old adage that "every time an old guy retells a story, he gets closer to the center of the stage."

   Now, the irony here is that if Geronimo had fought to his death we probably wouldn't remember him today as we do. The fact that he did surrender, and became a national sensation, riding in Teddy Roosevelt's inaugural parade, etc. is why he is now the most well known In-din in the world.

   I realize the double irony here, that the person writing this is also an old man who is reframing stories from an old man, to make a contentious point. 

   So, how does any of this apply to the truth and history? I'm not sure, but this guy said it with the most poetry:

"Talking of others, old men talk about themselves, studying their image in vanished mirrors."
—John Le Carre

Monday, September 23, 2019

Geronimo Pitches Arizona

September 23, 2019
   Lorena hit us this morning around five. Got some steady rain which tapered off with the usual tattered cloud syndrome on the mountains which makes it look like Hawaii, to me.

   Then we got slammed around ten, complete with tornado warnings on our phones. Big, loud blasts, like a submarine getting ready to DIVE! DIVE! DIVE! It's been raining on and off ever since.

Daily Whip Out: "Apache Fun"

 Born Into A Storm of Violence
   In the time of Goyathlay's youth the Southwest was awash in blood and violence. All the tribes trafficked in slaves and with the constant raiding and reprisals, it decimated entire regions. Then with the Spanish and the Mexicans moving in, the violence grew even worse. In 1835, the commander of the military in Sonora, Mexcio, Ignacio Zuniga, wrote in a report that since 1820 no fewer than 5,000 lives had been lost to the Apaches. He claimed at least 100 ranches, haciendas, mining camps and other settlements had been destroyed, and between 3,000 to 4,000 settlers had been forced to quit the frontier. He added that the Apache raids had slackened recently, but largely "for lack of anything worth plundering."
   An Apache scalp bounty is enacted by Sonora, offering 100 pesos (about a dollar) for each male Apache scalp. Chihuahua makes its own offer two years later, upping the bounty to 100 pesos for a warrior's scalp, 50 for a woman's and 25 for a child's. With this incentive scalp hunters proliferate on the northern frontier and jokingly refer to their business as "Apache ranching." One enterprising group led by Don Santiago Kirker claims 487 Apache kills with the loss of "only three men."  

Daily Whip Out:
"A Rolling Storm of Violence" 

   Still, in spite of all the negativity, the G-Man had nothing but nice things to say about my home state.

"There is no climate or soil which, to my mind, is equal to that of Arizona."

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Geronimo: 23 Days to Go

September 22, 2019
   Going through all my notes to bring the Geronimo book to the finish line. Got the calendar marked: 23 days before it goes to the printer. 

   Note to self: Make it good, kid.

Daily Whip Out:
"You Never Caught Me Shooting"

"You have never caught me shooting."

—Geronimo, putting a fine point on the fact that he was never captured while fighting

"His energy, his determination, and his sturdy independence can be perceived as traits that distinguished him throughout his life."

—Angie Debo, who wrote a very fine bio on the G-Man

   If we could go back and talk to the people living in the Southwest in those days—and I mean all races—they would overwhelmingly describe Geronimo as a "red-handed-murderer," who was "cruel, selfish, treacherous" and deserved to be hanged for his "numerous crimes." And, to be fair, Goyathlay came damn close to being hanged, more than once, but he skated, as we shall see in the book, on the thinnest of circumstances.

   One of the points of the book will be just how brutal those times were.

"Until I was ten years old I did not know that people died except by violence."
—James Kaywaykla, Chiricahua Apache

Daily Whip Out Sketch:
"Geronimo Shooting Smirk"

    Of course, none of that matters today. Geronimo has risen high above his towering contradictions to achieve what no other Native American has ever done. The Top Secret Writer captures the transition and his current, lofty position, perfectly.

"Geronimo. It is a warrior name for the ages—standing comfortably alongside the likes of Achilles, Leonidas, Genghis Khan, Patton and Rommel in its power—a storied name invoking cunning, courage, tenacity and uncompromising ferocity."

—Paul Andrew Hutton

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Apache Cowboys: Yippee Ti Yi Yatahey!

September 21, 2019
   I got to laughing with Dan The Man Harshberger yesterday about all the chapter heads I want for the Geronimo book. The problem, as I told Dan, is that the G-Man did so many crazy things in his life. In addition to being a warrior, he also became "an immaculate homemaker" and a first class huckster (selling his autograph and the buttons off his coat), but in addition to all that, he also became a schoolmaster, a judge and—hold onto your hat—a Cowboy! 

"Daily Whip Out: "Yippee Ti Yi Yatahey!"

   Here's how that happened.

Judge Geronimo
   When the Chiricahuas were transferred from Florida to Alabama in 1888, Lieutenant William Wallace Wotherspoon, the commander in charge of the Apaches, made Geronimo a justice of the peace at a monthly salary of $10.50. Wotherspoon directed the unrepentant, old warrior to resolve any internal Chiricahua disputes and rule on misdemeanors under anglo law. In the beginning, Geronimo threw the book at everybody—almost literally. He sentenced one Apache to six months in the guardhouse for being drunk and another Apache got a sentence of 100 years in prison for being drunk and fighting. It's probably safe to say, the G-Man was used to being judge-jury-and-executioner. After some temperance training, Geronimo got the hang of the justice system and became much more moderate, and fair.

The Schoolmaster
   When the Chiricahuas were sent to Mount Vernon Barracks in Alabama, Geronimo took it upon himself to support a school for the Apache kids. When the promised teachers were delayed by nine months in arriving, Geronimo appointed himself the schoolmaster and rounded up all the kids and made them go to school. He trained them as he had been trained with very strict discipline, especially the boys. One eye-witness said he paced the schoolroom with a stick in his hand to keep his charges in line.

The Apache Cowboys
  First Lieutenant Hugh Lenex Scott was stationed at Fort Sill when the Apaches arrived in 1896. Scott was already widely respected by the Comanche, Kiowa, and Kiowa-Apache also held there because he understood and used the sign language used universally by the plains tribe. Scott was known among all the In-dins as the Sign Talker.  

Captain Hugh Lenex Scott
(Scott was promoted to captain
not long after he took over Fort Sill)

   Meanwhile, the colonel commanding Fort Sill was outraged that the Chiricahua were being sent there and planned to keep them penned up in a stockade. Scott knew if that happened there would be war and he told General Miles about the colonel’s plans. Miles transferred the colonel to a post in the east and put Scott in charge of the Apaches. Congress had appropriated money to buy a herd of 10,000 cattle for the Apaches and Scott had troopers in his command who were cowboys and they helped train the Apaches, who were excellent horsemen to begin with, on how to flank and rope cattle. The Chiricahuas took to it like fish to water.

   The first winter many of the Apaches didn't have horses and ran on foot herding the cattle.

Geronimo and Naiche working cattle at Fort Sill

   Captain Scott described Naiche as "a straightforward, reliable person. When he was in charge of the cattle herd I could depend on him completely in every weather, and he never disappointed me.” Scott didn't have as high opinion of Geronimo, who he described as, “…an unlovely character, cross-grained, mean, selfish old curmudgeon, of whom . . . I never heard recounted a kindly or generous deed.” 

   Most of this information, above, is from W. Michael Farmer's new book, "Geronimo: Prisoner of Lies." I highly recommend it. Here's Farmer, once again answering several of my other questions:

   "By the time Asa Daklugie, Geronimo’s nephew, arrived at Fort Sill from Carlisle in 1895, the herd was well established but in poor shape. He had studied cattle husbandry at Carlisle and lived on cattle farms there in the summers. When he saw the condition of the cattle he went to Scott and nearly got into a fight. Scott talked to George Wratten, the long time interpreter for the Chiricahuas who ran the trading store, about who the ruffian was who wanted to take over Fort Sill. Wratten told him Daklugie just wanted a job so he could marry Ramona Chihuahua, was widely respected among Chiricahuas, and knew what he was doing with cattle. Scott put Daklugie in charge of the herd and Daklugie did a superb job of getting the herd in shape, taking care of  things like black leg and ring worm the other Apache cowboys did have a clue about. The herd became the prime money maker for the Chiricahuas within a very few years.

   "The Apaches worked through the first winter cutting timber to be sawed for their houses and smaller trees for fence posts. They strung over fifty miles of barbed wire to keep their herd on Fort Sill land and out of their villages. They had to ride the fence and keep a watchful eye for rustlers. Nearly all the older men and some of the younger ones farmed. Geronimo was a farmer, but occasionally, I suspect, although there is no record that I know of, rode to help move the herd. Naiche spent most of his time farming too after the fence was up and not as many 'cowboys' were needed for the herd.

  "When the Chiricahuas left for Mescalero in 1913 the herd was sold to prevent the chance spreading of tick fever. The Fort Sill herd was considered one of the best in the state. It made enough money that the Chiricahuas in Mescalero were able to buy excellent stock and reestablish themselves as prime cattlemen in NM."

And here is Towana Spivey's take on the Apache Cowboys

   "The Apache POWs were encouraged to get involved in both agriculture and ranching operations upon their arrival at Fort Sill in Oct 1894 and they took to it readily.  Unlike the other tribes (Comanche, Kiowa, Plains Apache, etc.) who were administered under the Indian Agency at Fort Sill and Anadarko, the Apache POWs were enlisted into the army as soldiers and scouts at the same time as they worked as blacksmiths, cowboys, farmers, etc. under the authority of the army instead of the civilian agents.  They introduced Kafir Corn to the region that was more resistant to the heat; constructed soil conservation ponds, etc across the Fort Sill area; and did most of the fencing of the reservation to impound their herd of 10,000 head of cattle.  They conducted breeding programs to upgrade the quality of the cattle and regular roundups were held to brand and treat the cattle.  One Apache cowboy was killed during one of the roundups from a bucking bronc.  This was a communal herd owned by the Chiricahua and Warm Springs Apache as a whole, not by individuals."
—Towana Spivey

Meanwhile, just got this from Edmundo Segundo:
   "Many moons ago I was on a Geronimo research trip in Mexico with Bob when the wildest looking old man came riding up from behind the ruins of the historic church in Janos, where Geronimo's first family was wiped out. The rider, who we later found out was 83, said he was the grandson of Victorio. It was a surreal scene with two nearby men trying to restore an injured, cockfighting bird. That experience alone made me a believer in all the crazy stories in this book."
—Ed Mell

   All true. I believe this trip was in 1996 when Ed and I took our sons, Tommy and Carson on the Copper Canyon Railway deep into the Sierra Madres. On the way back to the U.S., thanks to our guide, Paul Northrop, we stopped in Janos and met the above mentioned Victorio. Somewhere I have photos of Victorio and the church and the cockfighters and the injured cock. If I find them. . .you'll be the first to see them.

“The finished product is a result of a series of organic, creative mistakes—perception itself becoming the editor of the final report.”
― Spalding Gray, Swimming to Cambodia

Friday, September 20, 2019

The Jack Rabbit Club Foretells Another Bunny Related Club

September 20, 2019
   Every so often a photo surfaces that makes us all go, "Say, what?" This is one of them.

The Jack Rabbit Club

   Our editor, Stuart Rosebrook thinks we should run one of these photographs in every issue and ask our readers to tell us what the hell they think is going on in the picture. Apparently, there was a "club" and the women wore bunny ears and well, I think Harry put it best when he said:

   "The only new thing in this world is the history you don't know."
—Harry Truman

Thursday, September 19, 2019

All The Geronimo Quotes That Fit

September 19, 2019
   Got out on the road this morning just in time to catch another so so view of Ratcliff Ridge:

   Meanwhile, here's a sneak peek at a quick mock-up of a doubletruck spread which includes many of the quotes I have been rounding up:

   Double meanwhile, here is a video of me working on a painting for the book:

"That’s the problem with the study of history: it’s one part magnifying glass, one part cudgel."
Stephen Harrigan, in his new book "Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas"

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A True West Moment: When We Bought The Damn Thing

September 18, 2019
   It was twenty years ago today, at noon, two crazy friends of mine (Bob McCubbin and Rick Baish) ponied up, with me, to buy a failing magazine we all loved. We threw a lot of money at it trying to turn the boat. Both Bob and Rick bailed at the $250,000 mark (Bob ponied up an extra $75k before leaving) and then Kathy and I soldiered on alone and remortgaged our house to put in another $100,000. Then Carole Glenn put up money from her house to get another $40,000, and we somehow, someway managed to squeak by.

The two women who saved True West
Carole Compton Glenn and Kathy Sue Radina

   We will celebrate 20 years of continuous publication of True West magazine on October 26th at the Desert Foothills Library.

   The room only holds 115 people at the library, so you need to RSVP to

What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between he does what he wants to.”
—Bob Dylan

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


September 17, 2019
   Gathering up quotes for the Geronimo book. Got some good ones.

"Bob Boze Bell is rightly celebrated for his historical artwork and for his narrative contributions to western American history. Geronimo is an ideal subject for this combination, and Bob does him full justice—in part, I suspect, because he probably got most of his information from my biography of Geronimo."
—Robert M. Utley, aka Old Bison

"Bell gives us a whole new and unexpected perspective on Geronimo in his trademark, inimitable style, complete with illustrations only his masterful pen and brush could create. Bravo, Bob Boze Bell."
—Juni Fisher

"Geronimo—patriot chief or natural born killer? Bob Boze Bell answers that controversial question and many others in this provocative new biography of America’s most famous Indian warrior. Fasten your seat belt for this one! Bell’s trade-mark blend of superb artwork, authoritative research, and fast-paced prose—always accompanied by a wicked sense of humor—makes this another masterful, must-have Boze western book."
—Paul Andrew Hutton

"Dig in! This is the good stuff."
—Billy F. Gibbons, ZZ-Top

"As few should recall I went twice in the '60s on extended tours as correspondent to the Vietnam War—filing hundreds of thousands of words plus acres of photography of battles, riots, coups, air strikes, profiles, nation building, ambushes, civic actions, heroes and flunkies—and of it all, my only brilliant line was, 'Is Geronimo alive and well in the Central Highlands of Vietnam?'   If so, I ventured, the world's greatest military power was about to lose a war.  Godspeed with your book."  —Don Dedera, legendary Arizona journalist and author, "A Little War of Our Own"

"It's been said that a book worth reading is worth buying.  Bob Boze Bell's book on Geronimo is worth reading, so buy Bob's book."
—Chris Enss, New York Times best-selling author

“I hope he explains the paratroopers.”
—Thom Ross, Artist

   Okay, wise guy: In 1940, on the eve of WWII, the Army was in the process of figuring out how to drop troops out of airplanes. The night before the first test jump, some of the soldiers from Fort Benning went to the movies and saw the 1939 film "Geronimo" starring Preston Foster, Andy Devine and Chief Thundercloud. 

   After the movie, one of the soldiers, Private Aubrey Eberhardt, bragged he wasn't afraid to jump and his fellow soldiers laughed and ribbed him saying he would probably forget his name at the door, which was a put down because all the soldiers were supposed to shout their names as they jumped. The next morning everyone made their jump successfully but when the smart ass Eberhardt came to the door he shouted "Geronimo!" Everyone laughed and thought that was great and this started a tradition in the squadron. The army brass didn't like this and tried to discourage it, which only made it even more popular. From there it caught on to include any dangerous jump or feat of daring.

   I'm Bob Boze Bell and this has been a True West Moment.

"When Geronimo jumps out of an airplane, does he yell, Me!"
—Old Smart Ass Saying

Monday, September 16, 2019

Bullet Proof Geronimo, Part II

September 16, 2019
   Worked on artwork for the Geronimo book all weekend. Filling in sidebar art holes like this:

Once Geronimo was at a water hole in Mexico getting a drink with several other Apache warriors when a pursuing Mexican soldier got close enough to fire off a shot, which hit Geronimo in a glancing blow to the face, toppling him forward into the mud. With the rifle report, the Apaches with him fled and the swarming Mexican troops ran by Geronimo, assuming he was deader than a doornail.

Several minutes later, Geronimo regained consciousness and ran off. Another time, once again against Mexican troops, Naiche related that Geronimo was shot in the chest and still managed to mount his horse and escape.

Daily Whip Out: "Geronimo Bulletproof"

   According to the artist E.A. Burbank, who was a guest in Geronimo's home and painted his portrait numerous times in the late 1890s. In one of these sessions, he reported that Geronimo bared himself to the waist. The artist recounted, "I was dumbfounded to see the number of bullet holes in his body. I knew he had been in many battles and had been fired on dozens of times, but I had never heard of anyone living with a least fifty bullet wounds on his body." Burbank went on to say, "some of the bullet holes were large enough to hold small pebbles that Geronimo picked up and placed in them. Putting a pebble in a bullet wound he would make a noise like a gun, then take the pebble out and throw it on the ground." 

"Bullets cannot kill me!"