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Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

November 9, 2013

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I love Westerns. I grew up on them.

The Lone Ranger, John Wayne movies, The Rifleman, Bonanza, The Cisco Kid, Ponderosa, ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’, and even the sci-fi westernWest World were some of my favorites.

John Wayne, Clayton Moore, Chuck Connors, Gary Cooper and Clint Eastwood were men’s men…cowboys in the old west standing up for good old American values.

Times were simpler then.

And the values were better.

I recently dressed up for Halloween as one of my favorite cowboys…the Clayton Moore version of The Lone Ranger. I was joined in costume by my sidekick, the 21st century Johnny Depp movie version of Tonto. The costumes looked great – very accurate and authentic – especially after we found a Durango old west cowboy revolver replica toy guns and holster set that made my costume look so authentic! (Gee, cowboy revolver replica toy guns are hard to find in today’s society…they’re all safety orange or orange-tipped so as not to look like threatening real guns that might get a kid shot by a police officer. So I was glad to take my chances with the real looking guns once we found them in the last of 7 stores we looked in or called.)

It was fun to be a cowboy for a few hours. It felt good walking into a modern day suburban ‘saloon’ as a cowboy in spurs, bellying up to the bar, and ordering a beer, shot of ‘rot gut’, or, in my case, “milk – straight”…and watching the amused reactions of others.

It had me thinking about cowboys and Westerns, and how they’ve changed in pop culture since I was a kid.

When I was a kid, Westerns were popular, simple, good, pure, virtuous, idyllic and epic. I would watch them for hours on TV or at the drive-in, often with my dad who loved them too. The movie Shane was one of my dad’s favorites. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence is one of mine. Kids loved to play cowboys and be like them.

Now, when you can find rare cowboy movies, they are complicated, violent, twisted, even sordid…and leave you wondering about where America is going … and missing the good old days.

The recent Western Cowboys and Aliens was an entertaining movie. But a little too complicated and Sci-fi fantasy for my tastes.

I never saw Brokeback Mountain. And I don’t care to. From what I’ve learned of it, I wouldn’t want to. And I wouldn’t want my kids to.

Give me an old fashioned Western with just cowboys, good and bad, and maybe even ugly and not so ‘Hollywood movie-star celebrity’ handsome.

Bring back those old Western values and virtues to our big-screens and televisions to re-infuse them back into American pop culture and society.

A simple story with a simple good guy/bad guy conflict is good for the moral development of our children.

Today’s video games are way too violent and graphic for our kid’s eyes. Pop movie messages coming out of Hollywood are much too sordid and complicated for our kids to learn anything of worth from them.

Yes, life is much more sordid and complicated these days.

But times were better when we had censors, and parents, that cared about the moral welfare and development of our children.

I’m glad I don’t live in the old west. It seemed much too dirty, harsh and threatening for my liking.

But if I did, I would hope that I would stand up for what was right and good and virtuous like the men of the old west, and heroes of old Western movie and television shows did.

And, sometimes I don’t care for life in today’s modern society and culture either. News stories of terror and violence, court case conflicts over marriage, family, religion and political issues, and pop culture social media exposing our kids to sex, drugs and bullying – too often affecting us directly – can turn your gut in knots.

But, since I am living in such a world, I can only hope I am honoring my boyhood film heroes, and my father, by living and teaching the values they taught me, and bringing them to today’s situations and problems, to honor them and preserve all they taught me, and hopefully make this ‘New West’ world as good as it can be…and hopefully teach those same values and virtues to my kids before I too become yesteryear.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Uncle John permalink
    December 30, 2013 11:26 am

    Your so right Eddie.

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  1. 2013 Year In Review | Ed Novick's Blog

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