Tag Archives: Gunfight at the OK Corral

Movie Wisdom – Earl Holliman Edition

26 Dec

As Christmas wound down, I turned on the television; flipped through the channels; and came upon The Sons of Katie Elder. This is not one of my favorite westerns, but I was lucky enough to catch the opening scenes, which I have always thought were cool.

As I watched the movie, I realized a couple of things. Martha Hyer, who plays the wholesome love interest of John Wayne, played a completely different kind of role the year before. She was soiled woman in The Carpetbaggers.

Also, I realized that Earl Holliman, who played one of Katie Elder’s sons, shows up in a lot of old movies. That is when I decided to find out if there can be any wisdom found in the movies of Earl Holliman.Earl Holliman

This is what I discovered.

From Broken Lance

Anybody that throws $10,000 in a spittoon makes me nervous.

From Forbidden Planet

We’re all part monsters in our subconscious, so we have laws and religion!

One cannot behold the face of the Gorgon and live!

From Giant

Money isn’t everything.

Just remember, one of these days, that bourbon’s gonna kill you.

From Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

There’s always a man faster on the draw than you are, and the more you use a gun, the sooner you’re gonna run into that man.

Poker’s played by desperate men who cherish money.

From Last Train from Gun Hill

If any of the girls try and tell you how wonderful you are, don’t believe them.

The human race stinks.

Don’t take no guts to kill a man when he’s cuffed!

There you have it. The wisdom of Earl Holliman.

 

Picture This – The OK Corral

15 Nov

Arizona 2013 008

A few weeks ago, Necole and I spent some time in Arizona, and that provided us with the opportunity to travel to Tombstone. I had been there several times, but this was Necole’s first trip. It was about time that she experience “The Town Too Tough To Die.”

Like everyone else, we had to take a look at the OK Corral. To do that, we had to make our way through a souvenir shop that sold everything with OK Corral written on it. That wasn’t surprising. The fact that there was a movie about the history of Tombstone in the next room was also not surprising. However, discovery that Vincent Price was the narrator of the movie caught me off guard. Of all people chosen to narrate a movie about a western town, Vincent Price would not have been my first choice.

Anyway, we paid our money and walk out the back door to the OK Corral. There was some blacksmith stuff going on, and there was a carriage for a photo opportunity. However, there wasn’t anything about the gunfight that made the OK Corral and Tombstone famous. There have been movies about the Gunfight at the Ok Corral. There have been books written about the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Unfortunately, the gunfight did not take place in the OK Corral. It took place in a vacant lot around back.

It seems that the Gunfight at the OK Corral sounds more interesting that the Gunfight at the Vacant Lot.

We followed the path of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the gang and found ourselves staring at Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the gang. As you can see from the above image, they looked very realistic. I thought Disney World was the only place with animatronic figures. In fact, Tombstone has them, too.

Necole noticed that their boots had curled up from long exposure to the elements. She also noticed that they were standing close together. That’s because the combatants we standing close together. At least, that’s what Wyatt Earp said. The problem is that a lot of things Wyatt Earp said have turned out to not be true.

As we stood pondering these thoughts, a booming voice came over the loud-speaker, and the figures began to move. The Gunfight at the OK Corral was happening all over again. It was not very action packed, but the most disappointing aspect was that the booming voice did not belong to Vincent Price.

Walking in the Footsteps of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Some Biosphereans

15 Oct

Necole and I just returned from Tucson, Arizona and the conference of the Western History Association. The conference was informative and will be covered in the next post. This post is about the touristy things that we did while there. Obviously, there are lots of places to see, but our time was limited. Necole had never spent much time in that part of the country, and I wanted to make sure she saw some good stuff. With that in mind, I picked one place that neither one of us had ever seen and another place that I have visited several times. In fact, it’s one of my favorites.

North of Tucson sits a giant scientific experiment called Biosphere 2, which was recently named one of the 50 Wonders of the World. In the 1980s, it was built by a private firm for $150 million as a way to study the environment in a controlled setting. For two years, eight Biosphereans were sealed in the facility to live and study their surroundings. After our tour, I am still not sure what they were trying to accomplish, but they came out alive. More people probably remember Pauly Shore wrecking the place in Bio-Dome than they do the actual experiment.

I have always wanted to see Biosphere 2 and thought it would be something good for us to both see for the first time. We had to walk through a little village that is supposed to be the model for a perfect community. I have no idea why people keep trying to create one of these. People aren’t perfect, and, therefore, communities will never be perfect.

Then, we saw it.Arizona 2013 001

Before we went in, I was afraid that we might run into a Sandman. The crystal in my palm has already turned black, and there was no way I was going to Carousel. My options started to run through my mind. I could look for Farrah Fawcett at the plastic surgeon, or I could run. It turns out that I didn’t have anything to worry about. Instead of a Sandman, we found a tour guide.

He took us through a building with miniaturized versions of different environments. There was a rainforest. There was an ocean. There was a swamp. There was a desert.Arizona 2013 004

After touring the upper world of Biosphere 2, we went into the underworld and saw the guts of the place. Then, we sat the dining table in the living quarters of the Biosphereans. It was a nice place, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

It was at some point toward the end of the tour when a German tourist asked about the power source for the structure. The tour guide said that it ran on 2% solar power. Necole said what I was thinking. How can an experiment design to study the environment run on 2% solar power? Shouldn’t they be more environmentally friendly than that? As Necole said, it made the entire thing seem hokey.

The next day, I took Necole to one of my favorite places, Tombstone, Arizona. Known for the Gunfight at the OK Corral, this town has been immortalized in movies, books and television. It’s a good thing because without a gunfight that lasted a few seconds “The Town Too Tough To Die” would be dead. The old mining camp lives off tourist who want to walk in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. I won’t destroy anyone’s opinion of those guys in this post. Instead, I may do it in the next one.

My parents took me to Tombstone when I was a kid, and I have been back several times since. I wanted Necole to see one of the places that made me want to study and teach the history of the West. To do that, we needed to step into the streets of a famous mining camp.Arizona 2013 007

Our first stop, like everyone else, was at the site of the gunfight. Of course, you have to go through a souvenir shop before they will let you in the corral. In truth, that’s not where the gunfight took place. We walked through the corral to a backlot where the action took place. Now, there are cheap animatronic figures representing the combatants. As the narrator describes the fight, they move. However, they don’t fall down when they are shot.Arizona 2013 008

After watching the fake gunfight, which I had explained to Necole before the narrator ever began, we walked down the street. Necole wanted to stop in a jewelry store, and it turned out to be a good thing. That was the place where Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday stopped to buy cigars before going toward the corral. Movies make it look like they walked a long way. It was just a block away.

Then, it was on to the highlight of any visit to Tombstone, a meeting with Ben Traywick. We entered his bookstore to find him behind his desk. I introduced myself and introduced him to Necole. Mr. Traywick is the Tombstone historian. He also happens to be from Watertown, a little town in our county where my dad grew up. For the next hour, he told us how he got to Tombstone; talked about the actors who have visited him; talked about people back home; and showed all of the books he had written. I bought too many of them. Mr. Traywick is an interesting person who has lived an interesting life. I wish more people knew to stop in and see him.

We went further down the street to the Birdcage Theater, perhaps the most famous saloon in the West. It served as a theater, a gambling hall, a bar and a brothel. In fact, prostitutes plied their trade in the theater boxes that overlooked the main floor. The boxes looked like birdcages.Arizona 2013 009

If you see anything weird in this picture let me know. The Birdcage is supposed to be one of the most haunted buildings in the country.

After the Birdcage, we did like Doc and Wyatt and went to a bar for a drink. I was tempted to order a shot of redeye. Instead, I got a Jack and Coke.