One positive power modern technology offers is the ability to rekindle a bundle of forgotten memories. Reruns of old cowboy movies over cable television and internet sites can transport us back to a better time.
Back all the way to days when my main worry was if my mom would find the frog I had released in the cellar. Back to the late 1940s and early 1950s when the major dilemma in a kid’s world was "who is King of the Cowboys." It was a battle for the title of top cowboy waged between Roy Rogers and Gene Autry.
I guess TV existed but few could afford such luxury. Kids casted their vote in a simple way – buying a ticket to the movies. The star with the best box office receipts was King (at least for that week.)
The top cowboy back then rode out by himself and fought the bad guys without pulling his gun and would never take unfair advantage of a desperado even if it meant putting his own life in extreme danger.
He was the guy who leaped on a horse from behind and never seemed to touch the saddle until he was galloping down the road in hot pursuit of the bad guys.
Those were the days when the hero could shoot his six-gun at least 75 times without reloading. He never actually killed anyone, just wounded them or shot the gun out of their hands.
It was also a time when the good guy never, ever would get caught kissing the girl who occupied much of the film footage with him. She was the girl who could ride a horse just about as well as the hero and could even handle a six-gun in a pinch. She didn’t care anything about kissing either and was primarily interested in saving the rich old widow who the bad guys were trying to rob.
And then there were the bad guys. Let me assure you that the bad guys of today are nothing like the ones we had back then. Those crooks were so tough they didn’t even brush their teeth. They were b-a-d!
Yah, those bad guys were really stinkers. They never made any qualms about it. There was absolutely no hope for any of them and they knew it. They would usually shoot everyone else in the film except the hero and heroine who they’d keep hostage for some unknown reason. They’d tie them up but the hero’s horse would somehow find them and untie the hero’s knots with its teeth. Once he was loose he’d save the heroine and capture the bad guys (alive) all by himself.
Besides that, the hero had at least two songs to sing before the outlaws were locked up and the poor widow rescued. Naturally, all the bad guys were captured alive and the worst four letter word uttered was darn.
So, thanks to modern science, you can now relive those days. You might even be lucky enough to come across an old movie starring the Durango Kid or Red Ryder and Little Beaver.
As I noted earlier, these movies all took place back in the good old days when heroes were heroes and the bad guys knew their place. I guess we will never again have script writers come up with a storyline like that.
Without a doubt, the cowboy movies of my younger years were filled with plenty of shooting, horse back riding and fist fighting. The only thing we had to worry about was to buy our treats before the movie started because no one wanted to miss a minute of the action.
(Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times. He lives near Cambridge.)