The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Yippee-Ki-Yay! Another Flash Back Friday!

      The Western genre has never ridden off into the sunset never to return.  Though not regaining the popularity that it may have experienced prior to about 1965 or so, throughout the years Western films have continued to reemerge intermittently with mixed reactions from the public.

       Recently I watched a 1941 Western called Six-Gun Gold which starred Tim Holt.   I haven't seen many films starring Holt, but I really enjoyed his performance in the classic film The Treasure of  the Sierra Madre which if you've never seen I would highly recommend.   This all got me thinking back to a blog post that I did several years ago which in turn provides me for my September post for Flashback Friday...

     

    
        IT'S FLASHBACK FRIDAY - A TIME OF THE MONTH WHERE YOU CAN REPUBLISH AN OLD POST OF YOURS THAT MAYBE DIDN'T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION, OR THAT YOU'RE REALLY PROUD OF, OR YOU THINK IS STILL RELEVANT ETC. THIS BLOG-GO-ROUND IS HOSTED BY MICHAEL G D'AGOSTINO FROM A LIFE EXAMINED--THAT'S WHERE YOU'LL FIND THE REST OF THE PARTICIPANTS OR TO JOIN UP YOURSELF.

THE POST I'VE CHOSEN FOR THIS MONTH FIRST APPEARED ON TOSSING IT OUT ON 
Wednesday, March 10, 2010. TO SEE THE ORIGINAL COMMENTS TO THAT POST YOU CAN CLICK ON THE TITLE BELOW TO BE TAKEN TO THE ORIGINAL POST...


No Country Music For Old Men



            My father used to tell me stories about how when he was a kid he and his friends would go to the movie theatre on a Saturday and, for a nickel or a dime, spend the afternoon watching cowboy movies.  He might have mentioned the stars of these movies, but if he did the names never really registered with me. 

         I had grown up with Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry-- the cowboys that were on early television. Then later I might have watched Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, or Bat Masterson.  The cowboy stars of my father's day had fallen out of favor in the early network television days and had been replaced with the new guys in town.

          When my dad heard that Colonel Tim McCoy was coming to town with the Tommy Scott Caravan and Wild West Show, he was enthused about it.  I was not able to share his enthusiasm because I wasn't familiar with Tim McCoy and even after my father told me who Tim McCoy was I was not very interested.
         Tommy Scott's Wild West and Medicine Show, as it was also known, passed through Maryville, Tennessee every year and would play in the old armory building in Alcoa, which is a city which borders Maryville.  Each year I would go with my parents to see the show.  In one sense I feigned interest in these shows, though on the other hand my love of show business couldn't keep me away.  Since our family was known in the entertainment business we would be always be welcomed to visit the show and spend time with the entertainers.

          The show was mostly country music interspersed with cornball comedy skits and variety acts. Tommy Scott's show was very much like Hee-Haw, the country comedy TV variety show that was popular at the time, except Tommy Scott had been doing it long before the television show had ever aired.  The highlight of Scott's show would be the headliner, who this year was Colonel Tim McCoy.  He would come out and talk about being a cowboy and present his expertise at fast-draw and gun slinging and then give a demonstration of his skills using a bullwhip.

         After the show, my parents and I visited with the performers and met Tim McCoy. Neatly dressed in a black cowboy outfit, he was a very polite man in his seventies.  His demeanor was dignified and robust.  He seemed like a real gentleman cowboy.  He seemed more than willing to be engaged in conversation and I suppose my father spoke to him a bit, but I wasn't paying attention to what was said.  My curiosity about the show and it's folk had been satisfied and I was ready to get on my way.

         Now I look back wishing I had tried to establish some kind of relationship with this elegant, legendary cowboy star.  This man is a genuine American legend.  He had ties with the real West and actually was a real cowboy before he went to Hollywood.  He had an actual working relationship with Indian tribal leaders and had gained their respect.  He had actually been a Colonel in the U.S. Army.  He was once a marquee idol and has a star on Hollywood Boulevard.  His wife had been at one time associated with Adolf Hitler and John F. Kennedy.  The man had an extraordinary history and hundreds of stories to tell and now toured the country with a country music circus and I didn't even ask for an autograph.
        
             For that matter Ramblin' "Doc" Tommy Scott came to town every year and I passed him off as some country yokel who put a silly old time medicine show together.  Actually he is a figure of country music history who wrote many songs and was an entertainer, recording artist, television personality, and author.  His show was a springboard for future talents as well as a forum for nearly forgotten stars like Johnny Mack Brown, Clyde Moody, Gabby Hayes, and many others.  He was a man who respected legendary talent because he was one of them.  To see an early Tommy Scott performance check out his  She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain  video on YouTube.  If you remember Hee-Haw I think you'll see the influence from this video that is probably from the late 40s or early 50s.  Why didn't I get to know Tommy Scott?  I was around him every year.

         So perhaps I'll blame my indifference on my youth--I was in my early twenties at this time.  But what excuse do I use when I was in my late thirties and early forties and was around Lash La Rue on many occasions.  Lash La Rue was working with the company that owned the show I managed at that time and on several occasions I was right there working side by side with him.  Somehow I guess I was thinking he was just some weird old guy that my boss was helping out.  Now that I'll never have an opportunity to be around Lash La Rue again I realize that Lash was once a huge cowboy star famous for his skills with a bullwhip.  He's the one who trained Harrison Ford for the Indiana Jones role.  He was also a poet and a wonderfully witty raconteur.  And yet at the events I attended where he was speaking I essentially ignored him, absorbed with my own thoughts.   Couldn't I have just listened for a short while? 

          There have been so many lost opportunities.  I think back once again to that Tommy Scott show passing through town --every one of the entertainers with stories to tell and with talents to exhibit.  And like any one of the other faceless members of the audience I sat dutifully through the program and soon forgot what I saw.  Except I had the opportunity that most of them did not have --I was able to meet with the performers and spend time with them.  I could actually visit with a cowboy star like Sunset "Kit" Carson and shake his hand.  But I squandered my opportunities. Sunset rode off into the sunset and I didn't even say so much as good-bye.

           Cowboy stars were once heroes to Americans, and they sometimes were literally real life heroes.  Do we have any real celebrity heroes now and who are they?  Who were your heroes when you were a kid?  As you look back were they really heroes and what did they do to deserve that label?  

        Check out my current post at the A to Z Challenge Blog for some more information about blogging events such as Flashback Friday.   Also tomorrow I'll be presenting my next Battle of the Bands installment.  It will be the start of a pre-election BOTB series, but don't worry--I'll try not to be overly provocative or antagonizing about the subject.   Of course, you never can tell what the comment section might bring.   Be there to vote on your favorite version of a song that I'm using to start a conversation about political elections in general.   


16 comments:

  1. I would have loved to have met Col. Tim McCoy because he is legendary and another would have been Yakima Canutt. When we are kids or young adults, we just don't realize who really deserves our attention whether they are famous or not. I find it difficult to say any entertainment figure or sports figure is a hero because of just what they do. They are not heroes for throwing a ball or acting in a role. It depends what they do off the field, sort of speak. I find James Stewart heroic because of his time in Wolrd War 2. He did some amazing things not only in his bomber(having close calls) but also for his men. I find Jackie Robinson and Jesse Owens heroic for what they had to endure to just play their game...or run. I think there are many people we don't even know who are more a hero than most people who are famous. Growing up, I thought Raoul Wallenberg a true hero.

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    1. Birgit, I think younger people are so self-absorbed that they have a difficult time looking for truly inspirational people and learning about the experiences of others. Idol worship is not quite the same as sitting down to listen to someone who has lived an interesting life--especially if they are older. The greatest heroes are likely known by few.

      Lee

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  2. I remember when I was a kid my parents took me a lot of "cowboy" places. From Tombstone to the Gene Autry Museum. It was so amazing. I have seen a few western novels around--maybe they are making a comeback.

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    1. HR, I don't guess the interest in westerns and cowboy culture has ever totally waned, but I don't know that it will ever make a comeback to the point of the popularity that it once had.

      Lee

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  3. Ah, the misspent opportunities of youth. So much we don't appreciate. I told my son a couple of days ago how much I wish I had asked my dad some questions about his youth. How did he have enough money to go to college? Did he have an athletic scholarship even during the late thirties? He played basketball at the University of Minnesota. I wish I knew more about it. I certainly didn't care for the entertainers my parents loved so much.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Janie, I used to ask my parents a lot about their pasts, but still I wish I could ask more. I never got tired of hearing about their lives. My father played basketball for West Virginia University after WWII, but I'm not sure if he paid for it or got a scholarship. I do know he was a popular favorite with the fans and it was the beginning of his juggling career.

      Lee

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  4. That post really touched me. The opportunities we have are more than we realize and it's too bad we can't have that big neon arrow over the heads of those we should pay attention to. I guess we don't because we're supposed to pay attention to EVERYONE.

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    1. CW, when we're young we are often the center of our universe and what older people have to say is often irrelevant. Even now that I'm older I know that I miss opportunities, but I do try to be more aware if I do suspect I'm in proximity to someone very interesting. And you've touched upon the real point: Everyone is interesting and sometimes we just have to drag it out of them because they don't realize it.

      Lee

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  5. This made excellent reading Lee, most moving,I am late commenting as I had shors in my shoulders on Friday and didn't feel up to blogging.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, seems like Friday was a slower day for everyone. Kind of quiet on the blogs.

      Lee

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  6. This was a 'flashback'for me too! I remember, having two older brothers, seeing a lot of cowboy movies and shows on TV. My favorites were Gene Autry and Gabby Hayes (Both sound like 'good guys'). Dale Evans became a role model. (She had an interesting life story that I never knew about.) :)
    https://meinthemiddlewrites.com/

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    1. MLQ, Cowboys were all the rage in the 50's. Sounds like you were growing up about the same time. A lot of boys used to wear cowboy outfits with six-guns holstered at their sides. Don't seem to see that anymore.

      Lee

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  7. I guess I was pretty fortunate having known those who became legendary to me. That, or we were simply censured by virtue of rural seclusion:-) We did see John Wayne movies when they came available. They seemed more authentic back then.
    Just today I ran across a quote about having only to imagine yourself without in order to appreciate what you have. I guess we don't think of that enough while we're busy paving paradise.

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    1. Diedre, I guess when we imagine being without it's a matter of that which would inconvenience us or deprive us from something. History doesn't always seem important when you're thinking about progress that heads us toward the future.

      Balance should always be striven for as well attained securely.

      Lee

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  8. LEE, I know I mentioned this song in the original post, but here's a URL to it in its entirety:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhu9MnJnjcQ

    Although this isn't really one of my favorite of Bruce Blackman's songs (I'm a Roy Rogers kid), I think he's a really terrific songwriter with a wonderfully pleasant singing voice. I listen to him more than I do most artists from the 1970s.

    In fact, the stuffs he's done in recent years is even better than the stuffs I fell in love with during the '70s.

    ~ D-FensDogG

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    1. Nice song. I wonder if Lash Larue ever heard it and what he thought.

      Lee

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Lee