I like the Old West.
And I like old-time musicals.
Imagine the tingling excitement I enjoyed when I found a connection!
“Bat” Masterson (1853-1921) – who, at least in the TV theme song “… wore a cane and derby hat” – was an actual frontier lawman, and later, a newspaper columnist in New York.
Damon Runyon (1880-1946) was a New York columnist, famous for his colorful short stories, showcasing the shady demimonde of East Coast Prohibition.
Here’s where it gets good.
I read somewhere that, when they worked on the same newspaper, “Bat” Masterson served as literary mentor to Damon Runyon.
And here’s where it gets great!
When he penned the brief tale that inspired the classic Guys and Dolls, in appreciative tribute, Damon Runyon named the Lead Character in his narrative,
Is that wonderful, or what?
Of course, there is always the chance that what I read was not true. (Unlike the Internet, which gets everything correct.) But whatever. As they say in the film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,
“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
Which I just did. Either bolstering your knowledge, or wrongly leading you astray.
Wrongly or rightly, however – although I devoutly hope rightly – now, whenever, for some reason, the name “Sky Masterson” enters your mind, you will immediately think,
“… after the genuine, ripsnortin’ marshal!”
And it immediately lights up my life.
(Additional Side-Note Because This Was Short: Guys and Dolls’ original “Sky Masterson” on Broadway was played by Robert Alda, father of M*A*S*H TV star Alan Alda. I am less excited by that. But who knows what tidbit of trivia will give you guys a lift?)