Dr. M has a conference in Austin, Texas, and I am tagging along as, what they call in show biz, the "non-pro." In tribute to this "cowboy country" excursion, I offer a selection from my non-selling "cowboy book', "Saddle Up!" - I can hear the excited "Oh boys!" already - wherein I depict stock characters in cowboy movies harkening back to their memorable glory days in westerns.
Today's offering, a rarity in westerns, and therein lay the inevitable conflict...
"I was out of my element in westerns. Foreign Legion pictures, Biblical epics - that's where I felt at home. I played one of the two camels Noah took on his ark - the second one. That may not be much of a credit to you, but to camels, it's huge. I was a 'patriarch.'"
"'Sword and Sand' pictures - I was a natural. Then, some writer looking for 'a twist' does some research on the West and they discover that for like, twenty minutes, the cavalry experimented with camels. The calls goes out - Boom! - I'm out in of the desert and into the cavalry. I preferred the desert. Why? Bedouins don't use spurs."
"The horses on the set treated me terribly. Maybe that was partly my fault. Early in the picture, they asked me to join them for a drink. I said I wasn't thirsty. I think that kind of rubbed them the wrong way. It was nothing personal, y'know? I'm a camel - I drink once a week. I could have just tagged along, I guess, eaten a few pretzel, just to be friendly. But you know, if you are truly interested in someone, you could familiarize yourself with their habits."
"I think, deep down, the horses were nervous. They saw me do better in desert terrain - I was a 'natural' in sand dunes. Suddenly it's like, 'What's going to happen to us?' You could actually see "Glue Panic" in their eyes. Of course, they had nothing to worry about. Camels may be superior in 'The Badlands' but the West is, and always will be, 'horse country'."
"Americans feel stupid riding camels. They can't control us, they hurt themselves on the humps,
they make Indians laugh"
"The experiment was rapidly abandoned. One or two pictures, and the cavalry went back to their horses, and I returned to movies where they kick you with sandals"
"You know how I know we never really fit in?
"There's not a single song about a cowboy and his camel."