Monday, March 20, 2017

"Vacation Showcase"

Two days ago, we departed for a week at that fitness place we go to in Mexico whose name I prefer not to promote in case the place piques your enthusiasm making it harder for me to procure future reservations. 

And there you have it – a selfish blogger.   Although “part marks” for “Honesty”, don’t you agree?  Thank you.

As is my traditional habit, I am leaving you with writing to look at while I’m away.  This time, however, I am affording myself the opportunity to showcase samples from my “Cowboy Book”, which has been entitled many things over the years in my effort to sell it, which I haven’t, but which is now called Saddle Up!

Who knows?  Maybe some big-time publisher will accidentally stumble across these promotional efforts and think,

“This is exactly what we need to offset our too popular ‘Best Sellers’, thereby mitigating our future tax liability with an unquestionable ‘Loss’.”

What is Saddle Up! about?  (To illuminate relative newcomers and readers who may have missed the occasional excerpts sprinkled throughout these chicken scratchings?  And also to bore people who already know?) 

The template for Saddle Up! was inspired by a biography of Saturday Night Live – I am too lazy to look up the title –  a compilation involving SNL participants of various durations reminiscing about their experiences working on the decades-long series.  More recently, The Daily Show – The Book followed a similar template, so I know the structural format remains fashionable.

Saddle Up! is my fictionalized version – although based on such assiduous research it feels surprisingly real – chronicling the performers’ personal recollections participating in old-time western movies and TV shows.  (Before we realized there was arguably genocide involved.) 

In Saddle Up! the performers speak in their own voices about their extended tenures in westerns, portraying the numerous identifiable – to aficionados of the genre – “stock characters” in westerns.  And not just “human being” performers.  I also include critters (“The Vanishing Buffalo”), vegetation (“Tumbleweeds”) and Forces of Nature (“The Wind”).    

As you are by now probably aware, I have always adored – which is hardly a masculine descriptive but still – old-time westerns.  Why?  I have deconstructed my hypothesis to three significant explanations of certifiable validity.

(“Why does this feel like a PhD dissertation?”

“The writer wishes to appear smart.”

“He sounds smart.”

“But not ‘PhD’ smart.”)

I don’t know what just happened.  But allow me to continue.

Three Reasons I Appreciate Westerns:

“The Adventure.” 

(To quote the lyrics from The Adventures of Jim Bowie as supportive evidence:)

“He rode the wilderness unafraid
From Natchez to Rio Grande
With all the might of his gleaming blade
He fought for the Rights of Man.”

It gets your blood going, doesn’t it?  I’m ready to hit the trail!

Reason Two I Like Westerns:

“The Clarity.”

In every western of the day, “Right” inevitably triumphed.  (Owing to the meticulous exclusion of the parts when it historically didn’t.  Mirroring my “Theory of Great Photography”:  You throw out the bad pictures and what is left looks magnificent.)

Reason Three I Enjoy Westerns:

“The Security.”

There was undeniably violence in westerns – although during the “Production Code” era the bloodshed was limited to shooting people in the hand, eliminating spurting arteries or pulsating entrails.  However, since that violence, such as it was, depicted events occurring more than a century or so earlier, as a moviegoer I felt comfortably insulated from imminent danger, unlikely in the 1950’s or 60’s to have to endure Indian attacks or murderous evildoers hungering for my land.  (By contrast, today’s movies, reflecting today’s realities in which no one is a “civilian”, make it feel like an innocent bystander like you – or, more importantly, me – could get blown to bits buying a carton of yogurt.)

Summing up…

Beginning tomorrow:  Four selected excerpts from Saddle Up!   And now, a hopefully tantalizing “Sneak Preview” from Saddle Up! (Repeating the name so it will stick in publishers’ minds.)

Saddle up, Buckaroos!  And let’s ride like the wind!

                                                         “The Good Guy”

“I rode in, I cleaned up the town, I rode out.  Sometimes I sang.”

Okay, one more, ‘cause the last one was short.

                                                     “The Chinese Laundryman”

“In those days, you could play a Chinese Laundryman or you could be a Chinese laundryman.  I selected the former.”

Got time for one more?

                                                      “The Rebel Soldier”

“Thousands of people came the audition.  It helped if you had one arm.”

Okay, one last one.

“Dude, they won’t buy the book!”

“Dude, they’re not selling it anywhere.”

                                                   “The Good Guy’s ‘Stunt Double’”

“When I stepped in – to shoot a fight or a fall – and the ‘Good Guys’d say, ‘I could do this myself but the studio won’t let me’, I’d look them straight in the eye and I’d tell ‘em the same thing:

‘I know, Big Guy.’

“And they say I can’t act.”

Okay, that’s enough “getting the milk for free.”  For today.  There are four additional “free ones” coming up.

Enjoy the excitement.

And I will see you when I get back.

1 comment:

JED said...

I'm looking forward to your interview with "The Wind". I want to know if they just call the wind Mariah or that's the wind's real name. Or is it just a stage name?