Entire Contents of BisonBill.com Copyright 2007 Mack White
BISON BILL'S BLOG All Things Western: Funny, Fanciful, Fictional, & Factual
1/30/11 BREAKING NEWS
MACK "BISON BILL" WHITE'S NEW BOOK COMING SOON!
Two years in the making, at last it is complete ... TEXAS TALES ILLUSTRATED: THE REVOLUTION, written by renowned Western novelist Mike Kearby and drawn from life by yours truly, Col. Mack W. "Bison Bill" White. Featuring the true stories of William Philip King, 15 years old, youngest defender of the Alamo; Enrique Esparza, who at eight years old was inside the Alamo with his family during the battle; Dilue Rose, an 11-year-old girl who experienced the Runaway Scrape and saw the aftermath of the Battle of San Jacinto; and Francisca Panchita Alavez, the "Angel of Goliad" who saved 30 men from massacre by General Santa Anna. This comic will be published with two covers (see Cover B below) by Texas Christian Press in April 2011 ...
"In the grand tradition of Rosenfield and Patton's Texas History Movies and the wonderful graphic novels of Jack Jackson, we now have Mike Kearby and Mack White's marvelous Texas Tales illustrated. Clear writing, great art, and solid history make for a winning combination that will delight and educate readers both young and old."--Paul Andrew Hutton, University of New Mexico
"Mike Kearby and Mack White's Texas Tales is more than just a well-illustrated graphic novel of the Texas Revolution. Their personal approach to reliving the Alamo, Goliad and San Jacinto through the eyes of both Texians and Tejanos vividly illustrates the drama facing frontier pioneers caught in the independence movement that created the Lone Star State. Texas Tales is a historically accurate and refreshing approach to educating and entertaining readers of all ages on the Texas Revolution." --Stephen L. Moore, author of Eighteen Minutes: The Battle of San Jacinto and the Texas Independence Campaign
It's still too early to order TEXAS TALES, but it is now listed HERE on the Texas A&M on-line catalogue where you can request to be notified of its availability. Also, I'll be posting more exciting news about the book in the days and weeks to come. So watch this website for more exciting news about TEXAS TALES ILLUSTRATED!
11:45 am CDT
BISON BILL RADIO HAS RETURNED
After being off line for a couple of months, Bison Bill Radio has returned. Now Playing: A Have Gun Will Travel episode entitled “The Bells of Perdido.” CLICK HERE TO LISTEN (a new window will open).
Barbara Stanwyck as Annie Oakley: Annie Oakley [DVD](1935) DVD Barbara Stanwyck hits the bull's-eye in George Stevens' fun-filled fictionalized biography of the famed frontierswoman and sharpshooter that served as the inspiration for the 1950 musical "Annie Get Your Gun." After she joins Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Oakley falls for rival performer Toby Walker (Preston Foster)--much to the chagrin of her lovesick manager. With Melvyn Douglas, Chief Thunder Bird, Moroni Olsen. 90 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English (SDH), French; bonus shorts "Into Your Dance" (1935), "Main Street Follies" (1935).
Reba McEntire as Annie Oakley: Buffalo Girls [DVD](1995) DVD The legends of the Old West come to life in this fanciful adaptation of "Lonesome Dove" author Larry McMurtry's best-selling novel. Anjelica Huston plays Calamity Jane, who joins a group of her sagebrush pals on an excursion to England as part of Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. Melanie Griffith, Reba McEntire, Gabriel Byrne, Jack Palance, and Peter Coyote as Cody also star. 180 min.
COMING SOON TO BISON BILL'S WEIRD WEST: THE ANNIE OAKLEY GALLERY
5:55 pm CDT
UPDATED: THE HEAD OF BLACK JACK KETCHUM
One of the most popular features here at my Weird West, The Actual Head of Black Jack Ketchum, has been updated with a series of rarely-seen, authentic photos of the famous hanging (and unintentional beheading) that shows the entire sequence of events, including the grisly aftermath. STEP RIGHT THIS WAY, but BE FOREWARNED the gut-wrenching final photograph is NOT for the squeamish or faint-of-heart ...
6:45 pm CDT
Bison Bill's Favorite Westerns: THE TERROR OF TINY TOWN and HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER
I first heard of The Terror of Tiny Town in the 70s when I came across a lobby card for the film at a collectibles sale in Arlington, Texas. An all-midget western!? I couldn't resist it. I had to have that lobby card. Plus, it cost only a quarter, this being in the days before there was a big market for old B-western ephemera. So I bought it. (By the way, that's not my lobby card above. Mine won't fit on my scanner screen. I'll post it another time, after I get a new scanner.)
So, the lobby card hung on my wall for years-hangs there still-right next to another western lobby card I also bought for a quarter during the same general time period (Buck Jones' Silver Spurs. I was curious to see Tiny Town or at least know something about it. But this was before the Internet. You couldn't Google it and find articles such as this one at the Old Coral. And, as for seeing it, it never came on television. Maybe it played in some other city, on television or at a midnight show, but not anywhere I lived. I didn't get to see it till the 80s when it was broadcast on a show called Matinee at the Bijou. On that occasion, I made sure to record a copy on my new VCR. More recently, now that VCRs are becoming obsolete, I have acquired a DVD copy. Not that it's the kind of film I watch frequently. It's the sort of thing I only watch once in a while when the mood strikes me-a weird kind of mood, of course, because that's what the move is: weird.
It's not exactly a so-bad-it's-good film, such as Plan 9 from Outer Space. You don't laugh at it for those reasons. In fact, you don't laugh much at all. There are some gags here and there, but mostly it's played surprisingly straight. It's standard B-western fare of the era (1938), with a white-hatted hero, a heroine, a cattle-rustling villain, a stagecoach chase, shoot-outs, and all the rest, with one exception. You guessed it-everyone's a midget! And they ride Shetland ponies! Which sounds hilarious when you describe it. But when you see it, you chuckle for maybe the first few minutes. After that, it's just ... weird. Which is why it appeals to me. It's not entertaining in the normal way-the plot is not exactly gripping, and as I say, it's not very funny-but it creates a strange atmosphere that makes you feel you've wandered into an alternate reality, a West that exists in a parallel dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind ...
Here are some clips. First, a stagecoach chase ...
Now here's a musical interlude. I rather like the music myself, but of course it's not for every taste ...
As I said, the music is not for every taste. Perhaps you would find the entertainment value of this film enhanced by turning down the sound and playing some other music. Here's what happens when the punk rock group Dead Kennedys plays "Rawhide" over the film ...
Billy Curtis, who plays the hero in The Terror of Tiny Town, was no flash in the pan. He had a long career in movies and tv shows, many of which were westerns. His best role was in the Clint Eastwood classic High Plains Drifter. Which is a weird western too. Not in the sense of The Terror of Tiny Town--there's only one midget in High Plains Drifter, Billy Curtis, not an entire cast of them'but because of its supernatural theme. I'll talk more about High Plains Drifter another time. For now, take a look at the trailer ...
Bison Bill Recommendation: A Billy Curtis Weird Western Double-Feature, The Terror of Tiny Town and High Plains Drifter ...
NEW ARTICLE: OUTLAWS WHO ARE BURIED IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE
Col. Mack W. "Bison Bill" White at one of the graves of Billy the Kid.
In my latest article, I discuss the many graves of Billy the Kid and Jesse James, also the mummification of John Wilkes Booth. This is how the West was Weird. CLICK HERE TO READ ...
11:45 am CDT
BISON BILL RADIO: GUNSMOKE: "BILLY THE KID"
Before the classic tv series there was the classic radio series Gunsmoke starring William Conrad (tv's Cannon) as Matt Dillon; Howard McNear (tv's Floyd the Barber on The Andy Griffith Show) as Doc; Georgia Ellis as Kitty; and Parley Baer as Chester. This is the first episode, "Billy the Kid," broadcast on March 26, 1952. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN (a new window will open).
11:45 am CDT
BISON BILL RADIO: THE SIX-SHOOTER STARRING JAMES STEWART
First episode of "The Six Shooter" starring James Stewart as Britt Ponset, frontier drifter and gunfighter. Broadcast July 15, 1953. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN (a new window will open).
The greatest Western sidekick of all time was undoubtedly George "Gabby" Hayes. He was sidekick to the top Western stars of his day-William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, John Wayne, and more. He was also star of his own comic book (above is the back cover of Gabby Hayes #1) as well as his own tv series in the 1950s. A heap of information can be found about him on the Internet. See his Wikipedia
entry and IMDB page, also this very interesting article by Leonard Maltin. Also be sure to check out this great Gabby Hayes Tribute Page. And check out the video below, a complete half-hour episode of the Gabby Hayes Show:
Here are a few of my favorite Gabby Hayes movies ...
Gabby stars with Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd): Hop-A-Long Cassidy (1935)/Bar 20 Rides Again [DVD](1935) DVD William Boyd debuts as Clarence E. Mulford's veteran cowpoke in "Hop-A-Long Cassidy," whose limp earned him the nickname "Hopalong" (an affliction that was rarely seen after this film), in the first of over 60 movies made over 13 years. Here Boyd and the gang of the Bar 20 Ranch must stop a crooked foreman's cattle-rustling pals from starting a range war. With James Ellison, George "Gabby" Hayes. AKA: "Hopalong Cassidy Enters." Then, Hoppy and his Bar 20 cowpokes must pluck the plans of a chicken-hearted cattle rustler Purdue, who's out to make himself into a frontier Napoleon, in the exciting sagebrush thriller "Bar 20 Rides Again." Jimmy Ellison, Harry Worth, and Hayes as "Windy" also star. 123 min. total. Standard. Call Of The Prairie (1936)/Heart Of The West [DVD](1936) DVD The call is a cry for help when a group of outlaws causes all sorts of trouble, and Hopalong Cassidy and his pals are pressed into action to save the day. Jimmy Ellison, Muriel Evans, "Gabby" Hayes and Chill Wills and the Avalon Boys also star. Then, you've gotta have "heart" to be a Wild West rancher, but a little help from "Hoppy" won't hurt, either. That's what frontierswoman Lynn Gabriel learns when Hopalong Cassidy and pals Jimmy Ellison and Gabby Hayes help her save her spread from a rascally neighbor. 122 min. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Gabby stars with Gene Autry: Melody Ranch [DVD](1940) DVD Advertised as a musical more than a western in order to broaden Gene Autry's appeal, this modern-day frontier drama finds singing radio star Autry being made an honorary sheriff during a visit to his Arizona hometown, then being called on to act the part when crooks disrupt the festivities. Ann Miller, Vera Vague, Gabby Hayes and Jimmy Durante co-star. Songs include "Call of the Canyon," "What Are Cowboys Made Of?" and the title tune. 84 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Gabby stars with Roy Rogers AND John Wayne The Dark Command [DVD](1940) DVD Epic frontier saga, directed by Raoul Walsh and set in pre-Civil War Kansas. Town marshal John Wayne must protect his territory from a band of pro-South vigilantes. With Walter Pidgeon, Claire Trevor, Roy Rogers, "Gabby" Hayes. 100 min. Standard;
Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Gabby stars with John Wayne Tall In The Saddle [DVD](1944) DVD Offbeat John Wayne western has the Duke playing a tough, woman-hating cowboy who reluctantly goes to work for an aging spinster and her attractive niece on their ranch. With Ella Raines, "Gabby" Hayes. 87 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English, Spanish, French; theatrical trailers.
Gabby stars with Roy Rogers In Old Cheyenne (Happy Trails Theatre)
[DVD](1941) DVD Newspaper reporter Roy Rogers is assigned to sniff out a pattern of illegal behavior purportedly carried out by "Gabby" Hayes, but along the way manages to clear Gabby and finger the real culprit. Co-stars Joan Woodbury, George Rosener. 63 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono. Jesse James At Bay (Happy Trails Theatre)
[DVD](1941) DVD Roy Rogers in a rare dual role, as the famous outlaw and also as a tin-horn gambler hired to impersonate him. How did Jesse really die? With "Gabby" Hayes and Gale Storm. 60 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; biographies; featurette. Sons Of The Pioneers (Happy Trails Theatre)
[DVD](1942) DVD In a comedic jab at his screen image, Roy Rogers plays a bookish bug collector who comes from a line of famous lawmen. He lives up to his heritage, though, when "Gabby" Hayes brings him west to get the goods on outlaws who've been killing cattle. Oh, yes, and the Sons of the Pioneers lend a hand, too! 62 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; biographies; featurette.
It was the sensation of the 1936 Frontier Exposition in Fort Worth, as well as the 1939 Golden Exposition in San Francisco. And now you can see it here at Bison Bill's Weird West Show. I'm talking about Sally Rand's Nude Ranch. STEP RIGHT THIS WAY (You must be over 18 to enter!) ...