Monday, August 07, 2023

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation

August 7, 2023

   We are in the final stages of preparing our October issue to go to press this week and one thing I had never considered kind of jumped out at me as we were putting it all together. Just how generational the scholarship is on Wyatt, Doc & Tombstone. When I was starting out in the seventies, one of the top dog historians in the Tombstone field was this guy, a WWII dude. 

John D. Gilchriese

   John Gilchriese was an amateur historian and long-time collector of Earp memorabilia who actually interviewed John H. Flood Jr., Wyatt Earp's secretary, several times before his death in 1959. Gilchriese operated a Wyatt Earp Museum from 1966 to 1973 at Fifth and Toughnut Streets in Tombstone. His massive collection of Earp-related items included Wyatt's original diagrams of the gunfight in Tombstone and Iron Springs, along with photos, original letters, invoices, checks, and business cards from most of the establishments in Tombstone. Oh, and he allegedly stole Wyatt Earp's bible out of the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson. In 2004, when his health deteriorated, he sold his collection at auction.

   Gilchriese was from my father's generation, sometimes called the "GGs"—the Greatest Generation—because they saved the world from Hitler. 

Another Generation Another Contention

   The contested heir to the King of the Earp world which Gilchriese claimed was Glenn Boyer, who was from the Korean War generation. Boyer and his cronies despised most of my Boomer compadres and associates (Boyer called them "The Fairy Patrol" and other similar terms which you can probably guess).

 O.K. Boomers

   Wyatt Earp was a Boomer. As are most of the writers and historians arguing about him in our October issue. Granted, the term Boomer has slightly different meanings here: Earp followed the boomtowns in the Old West (thus he was called a "Boomer") while we historically-hysterical pontificators are members of the post WWII "baby boom." Thus we are Boomers celebrating and debating the value of a Boomer. Make sense?

A Lab and Two Boomers

   See that photo of Wyatt Earp in the rocking chair over my shoulder? That photo was taken when the aging Boomer was 74, the same age as I am in this picture. The dog's name is Uno and he thinks we're all crazy. Photo by Bryan Black.

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation

    No wonder the Millennials have dubbed us, "Okay, Boomer."

    The subtle differences in the term is certainly serendipitous. Or, as Mark Twain so succinctly put it, "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." In this case, literally.

   One more revelation.

How to Redeem Kevin Jarre's Masterful Script

   This is not a prediction. This is a mandate. The remake of "Tombstone" will be a limited series and in the final episodes it will feature Kurt Russell as an old Wyatt Earp and Dana Delaney as his longtime partner trying, in vain, to cash in on his story in the final boomer-outlaw town, Hollywood.

   Okay, Boomer?

"I'm not trying to 'cause a big s-s-sensationI'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation."
—The Who, 1965 "My Generation"

1 comment:

  1. Tombstone would make a great series, and I love that idea of older Russell and Delaney involved. I can't say I've seen every single movie on the subject, but I was wondering if any of them have ever gotten into the political angle to the story. If memory serves, wasn't the Earp faction mostly Northern Republican, while the Cowboys had quite a few Southern Democrats who had Confederate sympathies? Also, what with the sheriff's election and the bitter feelings around that, Behan and so forth, it all seems ripe for the picking in today's climate.


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