Monday, January 18, 2021

Bass Reeves

Just who is Bass Reeves? I didn't know until quite recently. He's the inspiration for The Lone Ranger and also known as the Odysseus of cowboys and the James Bond of U.S. Marshalls. So who is Bass Reeves? He's the First Black Deputy U.S. Marshall West of the Mississippi! Here's more from the Bass Reeves website:

Bass Reeves was a lawman for a total of 32 years with over 3,000 felon arrests and killed 14 outlaws in the line of duty, all without ever being shot himself. Bass had to overcome, prejudice, betrayal, and some of the worst criminals in Oklahoma, the most dangerous district in the country.

Born a slave in 1830’s Texas, Bass was owned by Colonel Reeves, who taught him to shoot, ride, and hunt, but would not let him learn to read. Bass grew to be a strong, physically impressive, and determined man who ran away at the age of 20 to be free. Pursued by slave hunters, he narrowly escaped into the Indian Territory where Creek Indian Warriors accepted him into their tribe. Bass learned to speak Creek, Cherokee and Seminole. It is believed that Bass fought in the Indian Territory during the Civil War with the Union Indian brigades.


The Indian Territory, at this time, was a cesspool of violence. In 1875 President Ulysses S. Grant named Congressman Isaac Parker, Federal Judge at Fort Smith, with the mandate to “save Oklahoma”. The “Hanging Judge”, as he was soon to be known, brought in 200 deputy marshals to calm the growing chaos throughout the West. The Indian Territory, later to include the Oklahoma Territory, in 1890, was the most dangerous area for federal peace officers in the Old West. More than 120 lost their lives before Oklahoma became a state in 1907.

One of the first of the deputies hired by Judge Parker's court was former slave from Texas, Bass Reeves. Bass was known as an expert with pistol and rifle, stood about 6 feet 2 inches, weighed 180 pounds, and was said to have superhuman strength. Being a former slave, Bass was illiterate. He would memorize his warrants and writs. In the thirty–two years of serving the people of the Oklahoma Territory it is said he never arrested the wrong person due to the fact he couldn't read. 

Bass had a reputation throughout the territory for his ability to catch outlaws that other deputies couldn't. He was known to work in disguise in order to get information and affect the arrest of fugitives he wanted to capture. Bass is said to have arrested more than 3,000 people and killed 14 outlaws, all without sustaining a single gun wound. Bass escaped numerous assassination attempts on his life, he was the most feared deputy U.S. marshal to work the Indian Territory.

At the age of 67, Bass Reeves retired from federal service at Oklahoma statehood in 1907. As an African-American, Bass was unable to continue in his position as deputy marshal under the new state laws. He was hired as a city policeman in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he served for about two years until his death in 1910, at age 71, from Bright’s disease.

For more information, check out the Bass Reeves website. Had you ever heard of Bass Reeves? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Ava Gardner: Beauty Privilege

I love old movies and reading about Hollywood's Golden Era. I lived in North Carolina for a number of years and regret that I never made it to Smithfield to visit the Ava Gardner Museum.


Although I admire her work, I'm not a huge Ava Gardner fan and I haven't seen too many of her movies, but there's certainly no doubt she was a superstar and a true beauty! Nowadays people talk about certain types of "privilege." Ava had what I'll refer to as beauty privilege. 

Wikipedia says: Gardner was visiting her sister Beatrice in New York in 1941 when Beatrice's husband Larry Tarr, a professional photographer, offered to take her portrait. He was so pleased with the results that he displayed the finished product in the front window of his Tarr Photography Studio on Fifth Avenue.


A Loews Theatres legal clerk, Barnard Duhan, spotted Gardner's photo in Tarr's studio. At the time, Duhan often posed as an MGM talent scout to meet girls, using the fact that MGM was a subsidiary of Loews. Duhan entered Tarr's and tried to get Gardner's number, but was rebuffed by the receptionist. Duhan made the offhand comment, "Somebody should send her info to MGM," and the Tarrs did so immediately. Shortly after, Gardner, who at the time was a student at Atlantic Christian College, traveled to New York to be interviewed at MGM's New York office by Al Altman, head of MGM's New York talent department.

With cameras rolling, he directed the 18-year-old to walk towards the camera, turn and walk away, then rearrange some flowers in a vase. He did not attempt to record her voice because her Southern accent made it almost impossible for him to understand her. Louis B. Mayer, head of the studio, however, sent a telegram to Altman: "She can't sing, she can't act, she can't talk, She's terrific!" She was offered a standard contract by MGM, and left school for Hollywood in 1941 with her sister Beatrice accompanying her. MGM's first order of business was to provide her with a speech coach, as her Carolina drawl was nearly incomprehensible to them.
There was certainly more to Ava Gardner than her sultry good looks, so to read more about her, click here.
Are you an Ava Gardner fan? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Most Popular New Year's Resolutions


Happy New Year! If you're thinking about making a New Year's resolution, be sure to check out this interesting article at Goskills.com by Brad Zomick. An excerpt is below:
Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to spark positive change. The recurring themes each year include a more active approach to health and fitness, improved finances, and learning new things for personal and professional development. Chances are, more than a couple of the top 10 most common resolutions will look familiar to you:
  1. Exercise more
  2. Lose weight
  3. Get organized
  4. Learn a new skill or hobby 
  5. Live life to the fullest
  6. Save more money / spend less money
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Spend more time with family and friends
  9. Travel more
  10. Read more
Zomick goes on to explain how to achieve these goals.  Some of his suggestions include mentally preparing for change, setting goals that motivate you, limiting resolutions to a manageable amount, being specific, breaking bigger goals into smaller goals, writing down your goals and sharing your resolutions with others. 

I haven't made a New Year's resolution in years, but Zomick's suggestions make setting one realistic. Be sure to check out the entire article here, and have a Happy New Year!

Will you be making a New Year's resolution? Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! I'm taking a break from blogging but I'll be back after the holidays on January 4, 2021.

Monday, December 14, 2020

A Christmas Cult Classic

Christmas is right around the corner, so time to sit back and enjoy some classic Christmas movies like It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.

I never realized there were Christmas cult classic films, until a few years ago when someone gave my kids a collection of Christmas movies. The motion pictures included were not well known, to say the least, but all were good for a laugh. 

The strangest--and corniest--was Santa Clause Conquers the Martians.  It's a 1964 science-fiction movie that regularly receives the honor of being listed as one of the worst films ever made. A featured player is ten-year-old Pia Zadora.

Here's a part of the plot from Wikipedia:

The story involves the people of Mars, including Momar ("Mom Martian") and Kimar ("King Martian"). They're worried that their children Girmar ("Girl Martian") and Bomar ("Boy Martian") are watching too much Earth television, most notably station KID-TV's interview with Santa Claus in his workshop at the North Pole. Consulting the ancient 800-year-old Martian sage Chochem (a Yiddish word meaning "genius"), they are advised that the children of Mars are growing distracted due to the society's overly rigid structure; from infancy, all their education is fed into their brains through machines and they are not allowed individuality or freedom of thought.

Chochem notes that he had seen this coming "for centuries", and says the only way to help the children is to allow them their freedom and be allowed to have fun. To do this, they need a Santa Claus figure, like on Earth. Leaving the Chochem's cave, the Martian leaders decide to abduct Santa Claus from Earth and bring him to Mars. As the Martians could not distinguish between all the fake Santas, they kidnapped two children to find the real one. Once this is accomplished, one Martian, Voldar, who strongly disagrees with the idea, repeatedly tries to kill Santa Claus along with the two kidnapped Earth children. He believes that Santa is corrupting the children of Mars and turning them away from the race's original glory.

It goes on, but you can tell from this that it's pretty bad, very funny, and not your average Christmas movie! Do you have any Christmas cult classics you'd like to share? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!