- On 20 Jan | '2017
Greeting Loyal Airmen, and welcome to this week’s Flight Log. This week we kick off things with news we consider both very good…and somewhat bad. So here goes.
In the past you Loyal Airmen have heard the Air Chief speak often about the greatest lawman ever to work in the old Wild West; Bass Reeves. In a 30 year career riding the Oklahoma badlands for Judge Issac Parker as a Deputy U.S. Marshal, Reeves brought in over 3,000 outlaws, was in 14 major shoot outs and never wounded once. And yet, to this day, he’s rarely mentioned in history books because he was black. You see, before becoming a lawman, Reeves was a runaway slave during the Civil War. It was only after war that he took on being a Marshal to help supplement his income. Married to another freed slave, the Reeves went on to have ten children and ran a successful horse ranch. But money was tight and Reeves, as a Deputy Marshal, was allowed to keep a portion of the bounty on the badmen he captured and brought to justice. Some ten years ago, a college professor named Art Burton wrote a terrific biography of Reeves but at the end of the book, for who knows what reasons, he put forth a ridiculous theory that Reeves’ exploits would later inspire Detroit radio writer Fran Striker and from that inspiration would come the Lone Ranger. Now all of this is pure fabrication and there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that Striker ever even heard of Reeves. But one has to wonder if Burton was purposely putting forth this ludicrous to cause sensationalism and thus bring more attention to his book and with that more sales. In other words, he was motivated to create a fairy tale out of pure greed.
So why are we spending so much time on this topic? Well, dear Loyal Airmen, last Fall NBC launched a new time travel adventure series called TIMELESS…and in next week’s Monday night episode, the heroes will travel back into the Wild West where they are going to encounter both Jesse James….and….wait for it….Bass Reeves. Above is a still from that episode featuring actor Coleman Dominog as Reeves. Now when the Air Chief watched this little 30 second trailer and immediately identified Reeves by the cross-handle guns on his belt, he was ecstatic with joy. Why Hollywood has never made a Bass Reeves movie is totally beyond our meager brain capacity. It’s really a crime. Anyway, as the short clip opens, Reeves steps out onto the porch and the black series league suddenly smiles and yes, “Oh my, the Lone Ranger is a black man!” And we just felt our hearts sinking. Yup, the stupid writers of this particular segment have opted to ignore the truth and put forth the stupid myth. Martin Gram, a good friend of the Air Chief, and an authority on old time radio, has researched extensively the history of both Frank Strike, radio station WXYZ and the creation of the Lone Ranger. His research is without reproach and NOWHERES in it is there any mention of Striker having been influenced by hearing the story of Bass Reeves. Earlier in the week, Martin wrote the head of NBC, explaining the fallacy of what they are doing and politely asking them not to perpetuate what is a lie…about a real, authentic, factual great man. Comparing Bass Reeves to a radio cowboy hero does him and all of us a disservice. History should be about the truth…always.
One of our good friends is Christopher Chance of Texas. A few days ago he posted several pictures of men dressed up in classic hero costumes; sort of a Pulp Team Up that we thought was really fun. These guys did a great job on their costumes and we very much wanted to share it with all of you. Starting to left with the Green Hornet (we’re amazed that the mask is an exact double of the one featured in the cliff-hanger serials), then comes the bug-eyed character who the Air Chief can’t identify here. Then comes Lee Falks’ Phantom, Zorro and finally the Shadow. Now imagine a movie blockbuster featuring all these heroes together.
Finally, we thought you enjoy a few sneak peaks at what’s on the Air Chief desk these days. At present, Airship 27 Productions’ Art Director Rob Davis is doing interior illustrations for writer Nancy Hansen’s second Jezebel Johnston Pirate Queen novel, Queen of Anarchy which we hope to have out soon. And….
…Fort Collins, graphic artist, Olivia Degaine has started doing breakdowns for the 8 pg fantasy comic strip we are doing together called “The Wooden Blade.” She is such a gifted artist and watching her bring our story to life is such a joy. We’ll let you know when its finished and in print.
And there you have it for another week, Loyal Airmen. As ever, thanks for stopping by.
Ron – Over & Out