Posted tagged ‘westerns’

“Captain Midnight! His country calls and aviation’s greatest hero flies again in a one-man war against crime. The odds seem unsurmountable, yet his courage never flags. Single-handed, through fog and sleet and snow, he daily risks his life in the cause of justice. And while he lives, the underworld dares not rest!”

July 18, 2015

The weather is unsatisfactory. It is cloudy and chilly with a strong breeze verging on a wind. Rain is a maybe later this afternoon. Tonight is movie night so I’m hoping for the sun to rise dramatically with a ta-da soundtrack and chase away the clouds. The breeze can stay.

I am not a huge fan of westerns. I suspect it was because I spend enormous chunks of time when I was young watching them on TV. Every Saturday I got to watch The Lone Ranger, Sky King, an odd take on a western with a plane instead of a horse, Roy Rogers with his wife Dale Evans, Annie Oakley, Fury, The Cisco Kid and Pancho, Will Bill Hickok, Rin Tin Tin of at ease, Rinny, fame, and Tales of Texas Rangers. I figure there are more, but this blog entry would go on forever.

Night too was filled with westerns. Gunsmoke was on for close to a hundred years and there were others including Sugarfoot, Cheyenne, Judge Roy Bean, the law west of the Pecos, The Texans, Have Gun Will Travel (for the longest time I thought it was half gun and wondered how he managed), Texas John Slaughter who wore that great hat, The Range Rider, Wagon Train, suave Yancy Derringer and Pahoo-Ka-Ta-Wah, Maverick, a personal favorite, and Wild Wild West, my all time favorite.

TV was where I first saw science fiction jump off the pages of my books to the screen. Captain Midnight, brought to you by Ovaltine, and his sidekick, Ichabod Mudd (with 2 D’s) fought the good fight against evil men everywhere with help from his Secret Squadron (that would be any of us, the TV audience, who mailed in an Ovaltine proof of purchase). I watched the recycled Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials, Commando Cody who had a jet pack and wore an odd helmet when he flew and Tom Corbett Space Cadet. That last one reminded me we used to call kids who were way out there space cadets. It was not a compliment.

TV program outcomes were never in doubt in those days. The hero would always win. In westerns he’d have a fist fight and generally keep his hat on. It didn’t matter how many times the good and bad guys hit each other as there were never bruises and never blood. The worst thing was a dusty shirt and hat.

I believed for the longest time good always triumphed over evil. Even now I’d like to think it’s true.

“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”

May 6, 2014

I have been waking up early the last few days or at least early for me. I think the sunshine makes me not want to waste any daylight. The dog, cat and I don’t get up right away but stay in bed, them sleeping, me reading. My book is just about finished, and I hated leaving it this morning but thoughts of coffee and the papers were enough to roust me from bed. It was a noisy morning. From my bedroom window I could hear the sounds of the early day. Somewhere a lawn was being mowed and I could hear the kids waiting for their bus. Two neighbors, their combined seven kids and one dog are not quiet. The little kids’ bikes rumble up and down the neighbor’s drive-way. She’s not there. The dog barks if a car drives by him. The bus arrives about ten to nine, two of the kids get on, everyone waves to them, the bus leaves and the bikes head on down the street: a couple of Big Wheels and two bikes with training wheels. This afternoon they’ll do it all again for the return trip of the school bus.

I grew up in a golden age. We walked to school and all over town. We played in unfenced yards or went to the playground down the street. It was an innocent age where the only bad guy was a Russian with his atomic bombs, but duck and cover was more of a game to us than a strategy. We played cowboys and Indians. We had heroes like Superman. I don’t think my parents ever locked the front door. The world was never scary except maybe for the guy with the hook. We watched westerns on TV. They always had a good guy and a bad guy, and it was easy to tell them apart. In school, each class had 35 or more kids in it, but the nuns ruled with iron hands. Not one of us dared cross them or we’d get killed at home. The worst thing we ever did was whisper or pass a note. On Saturday nights the whole family went to the drive-in and on summer Sundays the beach. The car was cramped and there was no air-conditioning, but we all survived though with some complaining and pushing and screaming about territorial rights. The phones had operators who connected us, and ours was a party line. We knew just about everyone in our neighborhood. We also knew they’d tell our parents if we did anything wrong. Summer was pure bliss. Some days we walked to the zoo or the pool. The zoo was free; the pool was a dime. My mother sometimes gave us an extra nickel so we could buy a snack from the stall outside the pool. We’d sit under trees at picnic tables and eat our snack before the long trek home, all the way across town. We never gave much thought to the future. We were kids and the future was the next day or as far away as the weekend.

That was the easiest time in my whole life, and I think of it with great fondness and a whole lot of nostalgia.