Showing posts with label Wyatt Earp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wyatt Earp. Show all posts

Apr 8, 2017

Wyatt Earp and John Wayne

Wyatt Earp was not satisfied sticking to one job for too long. During his life he was a lawman, buffalo hunter, brothel keeper, miner and boxing referee, among others. But he was best known for being an infinitely tough cowboy.
Earp took part in the most famous shootout in the history of the American Wild West, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, a 30-second gun battle that has inspired dozens of feature-length films. What you might not realize is that, unlike most people involved in that event, Earp lived long enough to see the earliest movies inspired by his exploits.

Toward the end of his life, Earp settled in California and tried to break into Hollywood. Perhaps noticing an alarming lack of westerns where his character was always surrounded by naked ladies, Earp decided he wanted to tell his story from his own perspective. Unfortunately, the closest he got was reportedly a background part in a single scene of an obscure 1915 film. However, Earp did get to befriend some Hollywood actors, including a 17-year-old nobody called Marion Morrison, whose stage name is John Wayne.

While hanging out on movie sets, casually choreographing historical gunfights for directors like John Ford, Earp would share stories from the Wild West with the actors. The future Wayne, then an extra and prop man, soaked them up. He also paid close attention to the way Earp talked and carried himself.

Dec 7, 2011

Wyatt Earp

There have been many stories, movies, and books about Wyatt Earp, but did you know he is buried in a Jewish Cemetery in California? We know many stories are from the old West. Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was born about 1848, just before the Civil War and died in 1929, just before the great stock market crash.

Josephine Sarah Marcus ran away from her home in San Francisco with a friend and joined an acting company touring the country. When they played Tombstone, Arizona, she met Wyatt Earp. They fell deeply in love and were married.

It is true that he did have an extra long barrel pistol. It was given to him and a few others, including Bat Masterson by  pulp-fiction writer Ned Buntline, hence the name 'Buntline Special'. It was a Colt. Colt did not use that name until the 1950's when the TV series made it a household name. The foot-long barrels were made until the 1980s.

Wyatt, his brothers, and Doc Holliday went to trial for the famous gunfight at the OK Corral and were acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. The Clantons did not like the verdict and ambushed Wyatt and killed his brother Morgan. After that, Wyatt and Doc Holliday, along with others, raided various hideouts, killing anyone they suspected had a hand in Morgan’s death.

With the law after him for the killings, Wyatt and Josie moved to Gunnison, Colorado. They moved often and invested in mines, and real estate, and operated saloons and gambling parlors in Nome, Alaska, Eagle City, Idaho and others. For a while, they even lived with Josie’s parents in San Francisco. Later, they settled in southern California and raised racehorses and lived off gambling winnings and real estate speculation. In the 1920s, they invested in oil wells.

Wyatt Earp died in 1929 and his wife had his ashes buried in her family plot at the Little Hills of Eternity Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery in Colma, California, just outside of San Francisco. Wyatt Earp was not Jewish, but his wife was. Josie, his wife of fifty years died in 1944, and is buried next to Wyatt.

Aug 13, 2011

What's in a Name, Luke Short

This guy from the old west had a stature that matched his last name. Luke started out hunting and trapping in Nebraska, but discovered his skill at gambling when he would regularly clean out his acquaintances on the trail.

Gambling led to gunfights and he was a gambler/gunfighter for the rest of his life. He went to Colorado mining camps, visited the Earp Brothers’ Oriental Saloon in Tombstone, AZ and ended up in Dodge City, KS in the 1880′s. Luke bought an interest in the Long Branch Saloon and during an ongoing feud with a rival saloon owner, Luke’s friends Bat  Masterson and Wyatt Earp came to town to help him end it.

Short eventually moved on to Fort Worth, TX and bought the White Elephant gambling hall. He famously gunned fellow gunfighter Long-Haired Jim Courtright when Jim tried to extort protection money from him.

In 1893 Luke sold the White Elephant and moved to Kansas City, MO, where he died in bed the same year at age 39 from an unknown ailment.

Back in the old days, 'seeing the elephant' meant having a great adventure. Also, a 'white elephant' was a worthless investment. In the wild west, white had a racist subtext, because frontier saloons tended to be very segregated. Back then, Fort Worth also had another bar called the Black Elephant.

Finally, the White Elephant bar insides were regularly seen in the Chuck Norris, Texas Rangers series.
Elephants are more afraid of Chuck Norris than mice.