Well, a while back I was thinking about a Chronicle on heroes. The recent death of James Arness brought it to mind again. I had put it off because my thinking involved several different ideas that needed to be pulled together into a unified theme. Let's start with a couple of fictional heroes
Gunsmoke was on prime time television from the time I was five years old (1955) until I was 25 (1975). It is one of the longest running prime time television series. Matt Dillon was certainly a hero to me. My father also enjoyed the show. Whenever I played Cowboys and Indians I would often choose to be Matt Dillon. I had pistols, cowboy hat, cowboy suit - the whole works. It was pretty easy to tell good guys from bad guys - the good guys wore white hats and if you were a good guy hero you were always trying to do the right thing. Heroes were not complicated in these earlier days. A Chronicle from last year has more information on Gunsmoke - Take a Look:
Some of the Gunsmoke Cast -
Only Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) and "Doc"
Galen Stone (Milburne Stone) made it through all 20 years; Miss Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake) and Festus Hagan (Ken Curtis) were ever popular
Davy Crockett - Hero
My son, Raymond, recently copied to CD a podcast by Stephen Tobolowsky on Davy Crockett - the Disney fictional version. Listening to it on my drive to my Alabama consulting job refreshed my memories. The link to the Podcast is below.
The Disney Davy Crockett was a simple, straightforward hero with many useful skills. He was an excellent shot with a rifle. When he had to make a long shot requiring great skill and accuracy Davy would always lick his thumb and then touch his thumb to the rifle sight before shooting. I could perform this action very well myself in my coon skin cap. One time when someone was under threat from a bear Davy went into action. Davy was well noted for killing bears, but this time he took a different approach - he just hypnotized the bear. You don't always have to kill them - sometimes there is a better way. I was also very good at hypnotizing bears while playing Davy Crockett - although our English Sheppard, Shep, was usually stuck with doing the bear part.
Davy's side kick was affable Georgie Russell. Davy was always having to get Georgie out of some kind of trouble. I remember one time Georgie got drunk and into a big brawl in a saloon. Just as Davy was coming to the rescue Georgie was swinging from some kind of big, rustic chandelier looking thing that fell from the ceiling with Georgie still on it. Davy barely got him out of there alive.
A few years back there was a guy about my age in the cubicle across from me at the small software company where I was working at the time. His name was George Russell - a really good guy. One day my poor brain put it all together.
I simply said, "You never got you be Davy Crockett, did you?"
He replied, "No, I always wanted to, but I had to play Georgie Russell."
He shook it off quickly, but his face had a dark, distressed look for a few seconds. I cannot imagine - it must have been terrible growing up. When I was playing with other kids I always wanted to be Davy Crockett and I would do my best to make someone else be Georgie Russell. It could get pretty complicated if we all had really nice coon skin caps - but if your real name was George Russell - Oh My Gosh!
Davy Crockett - King of the Wild Frontier
Played by Fess Parker
Played by Buddy Ebsen - Already Looks like Jed Clampett
Davy Crockett and Georgie Russell - On the Look Out for Bad Guys
Next Week - Heroes Part II
Next week we move to Heroes Part II - Non-fictional, real life heroes. This can be more complicated. Do you want to be a hero yourself? You can. And we will cover heroes in Ecuador - after all, this is all about Ecuador.
Would You Like to visit Ecuador and become a Real Life Hero - Find out How: