Movie Memories & More
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Bravo for Dino
Many thanks for the piece on Rio Bravo and the effects of time ("Spoiler Alert," Continental Divide, March). I first saw the movie at the Gila in 1959 in company with the characters usually named Rollo and J.F. in my comic articles, and we were thrilled. At the time and before Clint Eastwood, I think they shot off more rounds of ammunition in that flick than in any movie we had previously seen, which probably explains our enthusiasm. And that was the first time, too, that any of us had seen Angie Dickinson, and given the fact that we were seniors in high school, I have to imagine that little remains to be said. Alas, after several decades and after John Wayne played virtually the same character multiple times, the movie did not age well.
In 1958, by pure accident, the Western High School band happened to be in Tucson on a band trip, and we were taken out to Old Tucson while the movie was being filmed, something that the band director failed to mention. So we were merely walking around, taking in the sights around 3 p.m. when a black limousine came around a corner and began to move slowly past my particular group of five or six students. I have never forgotten that moment because the daughter of the college librarian, a very lively and intelligent girl, but a high school girl nevertheless, peered into the backseat, uttered a groan of disgust, screwed up her face and said: "Who is that filthy slob in the… DEAN MARTIN!!" and virtually threw herself toward the car, which, fortunately for Dean Martin, breezed right by. Only later, when we all saw the movie, did it dawn on us that we had been in Old Tucson at the time Rio Bravo was being made and seen Dean returning to his hotel still costumed in the garb he had worn for dipping his hand into the spittoons.
Thanks again for a fine essay.
Well, pilgrim, I reckon I'll respond to the panning of Rio Bravo. The column misses the point a little — more target practice might be in order, pardner. Rio Bravo's greatness is not its screenplay or acting; central to its success is its characters. It celebrates the Code of the West and doing the right thing.
In the climax, Dean Martin puts down the bottle and picks up a badge to saddle up with some sidekicks to come to the aid of John Wayne. Out of a sense of loyalty, justice and duty, these heroes take on the bad guys head-on, thereby saving the day and helping save the West. As in Rio Bravo, the courage to stand up for what is right is a value that is not dated or out of style.
What makes the movie a true classic is the true grit it portrays. Bravo for Rio Bravo.
Paul Hoylen, Jr.
Your "Moneyball" editorial March) scratched the surface. Your experience was in publishing, which gave you other places to go, because you still had an "industry" intact. There are whole industries that were victimized and the victims had no industry left and therefore had to start all over again.
The way it worked was the "investor" milked all the cash out of each acquisition to repay the investment loan, and then sent the jobs to China. This drops the cost of the product to a fraction of the US cost. They then "buy" their product from the Chinese factory via an offshore money-laundering outfit. The Chinese factory sells it to an outfit based in, say, Singapore. It then resells it to the US company at a much higher price and it is imported and sold at the same old US price. A huge increase in the profits, but since they are accumulated in the offshore outfit, they are tax free. This process was repeated until the whole industry is decimated.
The final step is to buy enough Congressmen to assure that this is legal and untaxed. If it were taxed, the funds might be used for unemployment pay or retraining the laid-off workers. That, of course, would be immoral, so instead the laid-off workers get hired at a part-time minimum wage job at the convenience store. And thus we get the jobs "created" by these geniuses.
I just read your editorial on tourism promotion for New Mexico (March). I can't believe people still think you need a passport to visit the state, and that some confuse Albuquerque and Acapulco. That's very sad.
Anyhow, if the state tourism department does anything, it's doubtful that Silver City, Las Cruces or anything south of I-40 will get much attention. Especially if the budget is only $2 million.
I actually wonder how well advertising campaigns even work. It seems they might do well in something like Sunset magazine, but most of those readers are sophisticated enough to know about New Mexico without needing an ad to stimulate their interest.
I can't name a single person who went anywhere based on an ad. I know I never have. On the other hand, I have purposely sought out places profiled in newspapers and magazines.
This, to me, is where Silver City has a huge advantage. Silver City has much to offer that is unique and charming. We take every out-of-town guest there to visit and none has walked away disappointed.
I'm sure there are parallels for other activities and ventures in and around Silver City for what comes to my mind, but where I see a huge advantage in terms of publicity is the Silver City art market (granted, it's less abundant and interesting than what it was four or five years ago, but there is still a lot of creativity underway). There are many talented artists in Silver City who would garner publicity and photos if they would do a little marketing.
A popular magazine for collectors, gallery owners and artists is Southwest Art. Another one is Western Art Collector. I read these magazines religiously and the artists/art community of Silver City is rarely — if ever — covered. As you highlight in the editorial, what is more "Southwest" than Silver City? It isn't that the art in Silver City isn't worthy of coverage in these publications; rather, I question the extent to which the artists actually pitch themselves to these and similar publications.
As an avid collector, I know several artists who are doing quite well, independent of what we hear about the economy. While quality is certainly a part of this, the thing that sets many of them apart from artists who are struggling is their ability to market themselves, often with little or no cost. I'm not talking full-page ads in expensive magazines. Rather, I'm told that Facebook, news releases, quick notes to magazine editors, etc. command a lot of attention, which often generates buzz and sales.
If Silver City waits for ad dollars to stimulate tourism, it will be a long, slow process. If the townspeople can find a way of taking matters into their own hands, however, I believe there is a lot of potential. Good luck!
Las Cruces and Rio Rancho
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