tribute to cowboys

Okay, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve perpetrated a Western. Well, sort of a Western. It starts in Hollywood, in 1950, but soon flashes back to the traditional West of the 1800s. After years of publishing science-fiction and (I guess) science-fantasy, it was inevitable that I’d try a western sooner or later. Unfortunately, it’s probably […]

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Destination: MOONs

No, that’s not a misprint. There were many incarnations of the 1950 movie, Destination: Moon. The movie, as its title makes clear, is a story about the first flight to the moon: the development of the idea, the securing of financial and industrial backing, choosing the crew, and the flight itself, the suspense being whether […]

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The OTHER masked rider

They say only an intellectual can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger. There is also a short musical theme conducted by Mischa Bakileinikoff, which sounds a like a few notes from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Le Coq D’or, which would make some viewers of ‘40s and ‘50s B-westerns think immediately of the […]

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The Cisco Kid’s Pedigree

I have a dim memory of first encountering the Cisco Kid in the person of Gilbert Roland, during a weekend double feature at my hometown B-western theater where I spent many happy hours. I’ve never been able to identify the particular movie. But, today, I do know a lot more about the Cisco Kid. The […]

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The Reading That Got Me Started

It had to be Christmas. Well, maybe to a lesser extent, birthdays, but Christmas is the one I remember best. I had two aunts, a grade-school teacher on my father’s side and a high school librarian on my mother’s side, whose gifts to me were almost always books. But what books! My librarian aunt, worried […]

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You Are What You Eat? I Hope Not!

Our local library (Wythe County Public Library, Wytheville, VA) is home to many clubs, including a group interested in writing. A number of its participants have published (one brought a proof of his new book to this meeting). Once in a while, we do a little writing exercise, the one for today being a favorite […]

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The Power of One Dirty Word

Back in January, behind closed doors, President Donald J. Trump is supposed to have expressed frustration over immigrants coming to the United States from “s—hole countries.” No, the word was no more “s—“ than little Ralphie’s exclamation in A Christmas Story when he spilled all those tire bolts was “Fudge!” We all know what the […]

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Nineteen Months to Permanent Legend

It only lasted 19 months, but it has inspired countless stories, legends, folks tales and TV shows. I refer to the Pony Express, about which films were made with actors ranging from Charlton Heston (Pony Express, 1953) and William Elliott (The Plainsman and the Lady, 1946) to Roy Rogers (Frontier Pony Express, 1939) and Gene […]

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I’m fascinated by connections linked to things that have drifted around the periphery of my consciousness for decades, but about which I’m still learning new things. For instance: “I’m an old cowhand, from the Rio Grande…” Remember that tune? I always thought of it as an icon of western music. Surely it must have been […]

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