The Reality of Cliffhangers; or, Real-Life Versions for Real-Life People

Reel-life cliffhangers in western serials run a narrow range. But cliffhangers in real life are much more subtle, devious, and hair-raising. Cue exclamation points here, and lots of them.

IN REEL LIFE:

A wagon hurtles over a cliff! (Don’t fret: The hero will jump off in the nick of time.)

A powder . . . → Read More: The Reality of Cliffhangers; or, Real-Life Versions for Real-Life People

Get Your Heroic Story Arc On; or, The Teachable Moments of Cliffhangers

It’s one of the hoariest cliches of westerns known to humankind: the cliffhanger. You know, the dramatic end of the episode when the good guy faces certain death and hangs from a cliff/is trapped in a room with a powderkeg’s lit fuse/is about to be eaten by mountain lions, only to save himself against all odds . . . → Read More: Get Your Heroic Story Arc On; or, The Teachable Moments of Cliffhangers

The Purple States of True Grit; or, Bridging the Gap, One Movie Theater at a Time

True Grit has accomplished the impossible. Unity! It’s a miracle! It’s hope, change, and Old West dialogue all mixed together!

True Grit has bridged the red state/blue state divide, Frank Rich of The New York Times writes. It’s a hit with coastal elites and Middle America family-values families alike, something that the blue/red mix of voters . . . → Read More: The Purple States of True Grit; or, Bridging the Gap, One Movie Theater at a Time

The Animal Hero’s Journey into Serial Darkness; or, Not Another Worst Silver-Screen Animal Hero Western!?

Just when you thought it was safe to go blog surfing, one more Worst Silver-Screen Animal Hero Western! Nooooo!

Actually, it’s not too bad. In this flick, Rex and Rinty far outshine the human actors and the ridiculonkulousness of the script. Like their man’s-best-friend comrades in the real world, Rex and Rinty prove themselves to be . . . → Read More: The Animal Hero’s Journey into Serial Darkness; or, Not Another Worst Silver-Screen Animal Hero Western!?

Music and the Western; or, The New West’s Bittersweet Lesson

The stirring, swelling strains of Cimarron (1960), directed by Anthony Mann, music by Franz Waxman, make me want to chop wood and haul water and ride fast horses over wide plains and watch over cattle in the cold moonlight night and sweep a woman into my arms. It’s that insidious. This score would trick anyone into becoming . . . → Read More: Music and the Western; or, The New West’s Bittersweet Lesson

Following the Soundtrack of Dreams; or, Franz Waxman’s Cimarron

Cimarron!!! Cimarron!!!!

The woodwinds and brass crescendo, a chorus of voices swells in epic awesomeness. And “epic” is the target word in 1960’s Cimarron, directed by Anthony Mann et al, a frontier saga that swells with its own importance from the opening credits. Full disclosure: I have not yet completed watching this film. Why? Because I have . . . → Read More: Following the Soundtrack of Dreams; or, Franz Waxman’s Cimarron

Colt’s .44; or Western History Triggers Countdown

On January 4, 1847, Samuel Colt sold his first revolver to the United States government, allowing buckskinned frontiersmen and uniformed soldiers everywhere to sheathe their Bowie knives and mail their powder-and-ball kits to their poorer relations.

When Samuel Colt, cigar clamped manfully between his teeth, shook hands on the deal for one thousand .44-caliber revolvers to be . . . → Read More: Colt’s .44; or Western History Triggers Countdown

A Happy New Year from Cowboylands; or, We All Have a Flaming Star So Get Going!

May 2011 be sparkly bright, dear readers and bloggers way out in the Wild Western Web, in my hometown in western PA (and you too, WV), NYC bloggers and dear friends, and FB cyberpals and Twitter cybertrail buddies…

May it be as bright as Graceland’s crystal chandelier

As big as Graceland’s hall of . . . → Read More: A Happy New Year from Cowboylands; or, We All Have a Flaming Star So Get Going!