Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Black and White

Reruns. News. Entertainment shows telling all. Boredom. Millie, the Airedale, was asleep on her bed. I sat at my son's house scanning through the several hundred TV channels. Nothing.....not until I found the cowboy station. Nothing but cowboys.

When I was little girl and TV came to live at our house, I was glued to westerns. My first crush was on Roy Rogers. I truly don't think there was a cowboy show that I missed. I fell in love with the animals Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Fury. I didn't seem to notice the shooting and violence. I was captured by another day and age. One that really wasn't so far from the childhood of my grandparents.

Last night a show I'd forgotten greeted me when I landed on the cowboy channel. Paladin. I was mesmerized by the show. The black and white seemed more vivid than what we watch today. The starkness of the scenes drove home the starkness of those times back when families lived in houses crudely built out in the middle of nowhere. Those old shows didn't spend money on fancy sets and costumes. Women wore dresses that looked handmade. Cowboys were rugged and sometimes ragged. The stories were simple. They had to be. They only lasted 30 minutes.

After watching my old friend Paladin, James Arness came onto the screen. I watched a simple story of a father trying to make a home for his daughter. I was reminded of why I loved the cowboy shows. James Arness passed away in June this year. I imagine he may be one of the last few 'old' cowboys still around. Once Warner Brothers started producing Maverick and the other classic cowboys, the old simplicity of those black and white shows, the starkness of a set, the story that took the screen was gone to personalities who changed the cowboy image.

I will visit the cowboys again. The little girl who sat in front of the Raytheon television can still go back and watch her favorite shows. Those cowboys may have ridden off into the sunset, but they never truly went away.

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