Remmick-Hubert: Memoirs - Cowboys, Indians and Old Movie Days
Last Update: 24 March 2002
Remmick.Home.Site.Memoirs.Page 21 continued
...These became part of the child who went forth every day."
Cowboys, Indians, and Old Movie Days
Judy Remmick on " Little Champion" abt 1945 Lodi, California
How many of you had your own picture taken on this same pony by the traveling photographer?
"...These became part of the child who went forth every day."
|The real king of the cowboys, to me, always, was Gene Autry who
had been my favorite cowboy and my broom stick horse was obviously called
Champion in honor of the beautiful horse.
My father's favorite was Tom Mix and I recall seeing all of his movies [ many were reruns]. His last one I saw in San Francisco in a theatre that was on Market Street.
Most of my generation, however, will remember the King of the Cowboys was Roy Rogers, who reminded me of my father because of his smile, stature and personality. I always wondered what his real name was and if he wasn't German-Russian, too. He had "snow eyes" like my father and I. When we smile our eyes looked like we can't see through the thin slit. Roy had a good voice but it was the Sons of the Pioneers, his background voices and band, whom I really liked. I think the last time I heard them was on tape singing, "Tumbling Tumble Weeds". Speaking of voices, who could forget another favorite of mine, Gabby Hayes. I never identified with his wife Dale. I remember my mother crying as she read the story written by Roy Rogers wife, known as Dale Evans, about the death of one of their children.
I liked the singing voice of Gene Autry's but I couldn't tell you who his background singers were. I do recall his first movie after he had served in the war and all the talk of not regaining the title of "King of the Cowboys". Gene never did regain his title. I always felt his movies held better story lines and the photography seem to always improve instead of being always the same. I think Gene had more control of the production and was more artistic. Can't recall the name of his side kick. I can see his face in my mind's eye..... Maybe, someone out there will help me remember.
In those days, there was always a clear cut division between who the good guy [white hat] and the bad guy [black hat' was. No one talked about the guy [grey hat] who wasn't all good or all bad.
Another "good guy" was Hopalong Cassidy and his horse Topper.
My Cousins Russel [note his Hopalong Cassidy and Topper shirt] and Sheila Stewart
[See Viola, nee Remmick, Stewart - Remmick.Home.Site]
I had a lunch box with Hopalong Cassidy and his horse Topper. See Hoppy's Official Web Site
My holsters held silver cap guns of various kinds and sizes because I wore out so many of them. Some had handels that had long horns in white or black plastic and some had a red star [Texas Ranger pistols]above the horns....The later guns had spinning barrels that one could place "silver" bullets into the chamber. We bought small boxes filed with rolls of red tape that was the caps and when we pulled back the trigger and the gun hammer lifted then crashed into the cap making "pop" "pop" sounds as we'd yell, "Got you!" "You didn't get me!" Got you, again!" The smell of those tiny explosion floated through the air in little grey puffs and the small bites and pieces of burnt red cap tape fluttered to the ground was the results. Then I'd make the sound of a horse as my broom stick horse rose and kicked his hoofs into the air before I'd charge after the Bad guys.
Our generation had a game in the earlier years [before the official game of Trivia] when most of us were newly married. It was "name the horses of all the cowboys and cowgirls".
Silver belonged to the Lone Ranger, who had an Indian side kick by the name of Tonto [Silverheels] who presented the first Indian on screen who wasn't being chased and killed by the US Calvary. Tonto would urge his horse to move by saying, "Get'um up Scout."
Anyone remember Tom Mix's horse's name? This is the name most everyone misses on Trivia. His name was Tony.
Roy Rogers horse was Trigger. Dale Evan's horse was Buttermilk.
There was a group of Texas Rangers, one was Guy Madison, who were always chasing the "bad guys" across the Mexican border but my memory fails me beyond this point.
The cowboy with the whip, I think was called Lash Larue [sp.] and I'm not sure his horses held any names in particular.
Other actors who were cowboys didn't have the same horse in each movie. If they did, I don't recall this being known to those of us watching the movies. Names of the cowboys I remember hearing [I don't recall if I actually saw any of their movies up on the silver screen, only later in film dealing with the history of movies] were: Jack Holt, Hoot Gibson, Harry Carey, William Hart, John Bowers, Will Rogers, who's son Will Rogers Junior, played the role of his father. I remember visiting Will
Will Rogers Home & Museum - 1958
Rogers' Sr.'s home which his family had turned into a museum that was filled with great photographs back in the mid-1950s. One of the boys I knew was nicknamed "Broncho Billy" so named after a movie with G. M. Anderson's silent film made back in 1911. Did anyone else see the silent film called Nevada with Gary Cooper, the real cowboy from my state of birth, Montana? John Wayne always made a great cowboy. One of his last movies was filmed right across the river from my grandfather Edward Remick's property in Oregon near Sun River. My grandfather Remick and his dog were out there everyday watching. I don't recall the name of the movie but I do remember John "Duke" Wayne received an academy award for his character. There were other cowboys but I don't remember them at this time.....
Every Saturday Matinee, I took my place that was the middle seat in the front row with my Milk Duds [sometimes Taffy] and my Coca-Cola [a habit I never broke] in the old Lodi Theater. Next to me was a girl whom I only saw at the movies, later we went to High School together. She told me about the candy pastel colored wafers [I've forgotten the name, they were circles of pure sugar] and how they could last through the entire movie matinee. A smart girl, I thought. Her name is Marla Siebrass.
When I met Marla the first time, Marla told me her name and I recognized the name immediately. Her name was high up on the wall of the Children's Library with gold stars for having read [the number to get each gold star I've forgotten] so many books during the summer. See Lodi Library Article
I can still close my eyes and see all those cowboys on their favorite horses chasing with their guns blazing at the bad guys who were shooting back as they rode toward the rocks to escape being captured...
We didn't just see cowboy movies....
There was, also, the old reruns of Flash Gordon but the people in charge of the series in the projection room often times skipped the order and we'd always wondered how Flash Gordon had gotten out of the terrible mess he had always managed to find himself. The boys liked this series better than I. I always thought Flash was a man who was a hero who wasn't very smart.
I loved OUR GANG, which was, also reruns, but I didn't know it and thought they, the actors, were our age.
When I was old enough to realize a movie was best watched from half way back in the theater, the movies had, also changed, so had the cowboys and cowgirls. No actor just wanted to be just a cowboy or cowgirl, accept Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans.....
The old Lodi theater didn't just show movies. It held a huge stage and in the back of this were rooms which were similar to the dressing rooms shown in the movies about the old theaters in the large cities like New York and Chicago...
The old Lodi theater was built when Vaudeville Shows still toured the cities and towns and that was why it had a stage and the back rooms. . And I remember the last Vaudeville show and the "bawdy" jokes told by the man dressed up in a clowns suit. He made me laugh until I had tears streaming down my face. One of the acts was a magician who drew a rabbit out of a top hat.... This was real magic. At the time I didn't realize these were the real old timers hanging onto a life that was over and being eliminated because of the movies.
When I read that the Lodi Town Commissioners had approved to tear down the old Theater, I was sadden. The old place could have brought in the tourists and been Lodi's token in keeping "Yesterday" alive for future generations. But it's gone but not the memories.
My folks and I moved to the north edge of town, I had to ride my bike to the movies.
I remember when the theaters were having to compete with television, so, for a Coca-Cola bottle cap which we threw into a bucket me and the other children under twelve entered the theater free. Showing on the silver screen was Francis the talking mule with Donald O'Conor or the crazy comic Jerry Lewis and that Italian singer.....
My Saturdays about 1950 changed one day when my friend Spencer Stafford [Class of 1961] asked me to watch baseball on their new television..... Every Saturday Spencer and I watched baseball. I even gained permission to watch the baseball game when Spencer was not at home.... [See Story: Baseball - Boys To The Left, Girls To The Right]. Much to my regret, the Staffords and their television moved to the west side of town about 1952.
When we moved to the west side of town, just around the corner lived Spencer and his family. We were still friends but I was a girl and I knew his pals would tease him if I visited so I never visited when his pals were around. Therefore, it was impossible for me to watch baseball at the Stafford house like I had years earlier, but from time to time, I'd visit when a game was being shown.... Spencer and his Dad had a hobby room where they had built model airplanes. They were the only one I knew who had these plastic models that ended up looking like the picture on the box. His Dad flew planes that dusted the vineyards and orchards around Lodi and would died in a crash while dusting...
Next to him moved my cousin Donald Lepp who had been living near Torrington, Wyoming where our grandfather Ludwig Hein had homesteaded in the early 1900s. Don was and is a real cowboy who moved back to Wyoming and lives in Colorado, now. His grandson just won a trip to Disney land for winning a roping championship for his age group.
His cap guns had been exchanged for a BB Rifle and a Air-pellet Rifle.
I remember the day I knocked on the front door of Don's house. We must have been about ten years old There wasn't an answer. The front widow was open and I could hear someone inside. So I called out again, "DON!" I heard this cry, "Help me." I hurried inside and found him in the tub full of water that was red with blood. A friend of his had accidentally shot him in the back with the pellet rifle. The pellet just missed his spin by a hair...... Afterwards, Don and I were continually telling our friends about gun safety...
I'll never forget the first time I shot a twenty-two rifle. The kick of it recoiling against my shoulder knocked me down backwards to the ground. I never could bring myself to actually killing an animal. Don always thought I was a terrible shot.
Don and I use to make our own bow and arrows out on our grandfather Hein's farm [vineyard] that was near Clements. We'd borrow a knife from grandmother kitchen and go out and find the right size saplings for the bow and arrows which we sharpen. We'd stripe raw hide for the strings of the bow or find strong store string which unraveled and broke too easily. The older we became, the larger and stronger the bow and arrows became. For Christmas one year, we each were given store bows and arrows held in quivers.
We used Indians names we had heard in the movies that held names like Broken Arrow.....
I became interested in the history of American Indians and one of the books I read was about a famous chief called Crazy Horse, however, the book wasn't just about him, in fact, it was about a man named Korczak Ziolkowski who was building a memorial out of a rocky mountain in South Dakota which wasn't far from Mt. Rushmore which hold in granite some of the faces of our US presidents. Ziolkowsky had worked on this project. I believe it was Henry Standing Bear, Chief of the Sioux, who asked Ziolkowsky to make this memorial for his people and their hero.
It was Crazy Horse who lead the charge on Georg Custer and his 7 th Cavalry in the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876.
My mother's brother, Richard, knew one of the men whom Custer had left behind that eventful day with a small cannon which Custer felt would slow them down. Richard wrote about this man and other old timers in his book Yellowstone Country.
When my folks and I traveled to the mid-west, we stopped to see Ziolkowski's memorial in 1954. At that time it was estimated that it would rise 500 feet and be 400 feet long [arm extended over the head of his horse
The Memorial of Crazy Horse
As a teenager, in the small town where nothing ever seem to happen, our escape was the movies, again. I would see the early [afternoon] movies [A & B movie, cartoons and the NewsReel] on Saturdays then, again, on Sunday because the movies had changed and they'd run until Wednesday. The A movies, which ran on Saturdays were usually the better than the A movies which ran on Sundays.
The only movie I was part of the crowd was a Bing Crosby movie [the name escapes me] which was filmed at COP [now, the University of Pacific] in Stockten in the Fall of 1960 or Sping of 1961. The scene was to end up on the floor of the the film editor.
It was at this time I started to clip out of magazines the faces of the movie stars who were popular of the times, and paste them on the inside cover of my scrap book. When I was asked why, I explained, "Because they will never be young , again, like they are, now." And, I was right, they never were, nor, was I.
Remmick Home Site
Lodi HS, Class of 1960