Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Many Faces of Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp is a legend in his own time with multitudes of historical facts to his credit. There is only one true Wyatt but many have portrayed (or tried at least) his character through the years. See how many you remember as you step back in time...

Errol Flynn, Dodge City (1939)

While Flynn does not go by the name of Wyatt Earp, the movie is obviously based on the gunslinger, as he tries to clean up the streets and bring justice to the famed Dodge City. Errol Flynn was always noted for his swordplay but proved himself quite capable as a gunfighter.


Randolph Scott, Frontier Marshall (1939)

Randolph Scott made history by playing one of the first screen versions of Earp. The film produced many memorable quotes. The first comes early on when the coroner pronounces that a man’s body is “Too badly punctured to hold whiskey.” Earp presents the film's tagline, "I'm the law in Tombstone, from now on it's up to you whether the city or cemetery grows the fastest!"


Henry Fonda, My Darling Clementine (1946)

“My Darling Clementine” builds up to the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral, but it is more about everyday things--haircuts, romance, friendship, poker and illness. Wyatt Earp is usually shown as a man of action, but Fonda makes him the new-style Westerner, who stands up when a woman comes into the room and knows how to carve a chicken and dance a reel.


Joel McCrea, Wichita (1955)

Former buffalo hunter and entrepreneur Wyatt Earp arrives in the lawless cattle town of Wichita, Kansas. His skills as a gunfighter make him a perfect candidate for Marshal but he refuses the job until he feels morally obligated to bring law and order to this wild town.


Burt Lancaster, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)

Lancaster holds a strong performance that set the standard for future Earp's. The movie's true star, however, is still the OK Corral with its legendary shootout that gave the movie its name. Interestingly enough the elaborately staged scene took a record 44 hours to film for a mere six minutes of screen time. The fight, however, bears no resemblance to the actual battle. It was a 30 second long, face-to-face affair with only a few firearms, not a medium-range, heavily armed shootout. That's Hollywood for ya!

James Stewart, Cheyenne Autumn (1964) 

Classified as the least essential Earp, Stewart plays the former marshal for laughs. When Warner Bros. Studios decided the film ran too long, they chopped the wholly unnecessary but very funny episode involving a poker-obsessed Wyatt Earp (James Stewart). Contrary to popular belief, this episode was included in the earliest non-roadshow prints of Cheyenne Autumn.

Guy Madison, Gunmen of the Rio Grande (1965)

Famed marshal Wyatt Earp is sent to clean up a lawless mining town on the Mexican border. Madison brings to life the legendary Wyatt Earp. One of the best scenes in the movie is the fistfight between the bandit Bogan and Earp. 

What's a good ol' shoot 'em up without a fistfight anyway?

James Garner, Hour of the Gun (1967) 

Wyatt Earp, hero of the badge or cold-blooded killer? Considered the sequel to Gunfight at O.K. Corral, Garner was cast in Hour of the Gun as the gunslinger legend Earp, instead of Lancaster a decade earlier. The beginning credits yield two groups of men prepared to converge upon one another. No dialogue is needed to heighten the tension, and the tone is set by the onscreen text at the conclusion of the credits: "This picture is based on fact. This is the way it happened." 


Kurt Russell, Tombstone (1993)

A successful lawman plans to retire anonymously in Tombstone, AZ. Disrupted by the kind of outlaws he was famous for eliminating, Russell nabs the appearance of the 'wanting to get rich in obscurity' Earp. A band of outlaws, The Cowboys, commit random acts of violence coming into confrontation with Doc Holliday & the Earps, leading to the shoot-out at OK Corral.


Kevin Costner, Wyatt Earp (1994)

Where the West seems so wild the shootsouts become tiresome or so it seems...is it really necessary to have so-o-o-o much gun-slinging? Just how much is fact vs. fiction is debatable but it is noticeable that the 30-second fight at the OK Corral lasts 42 seconds for which it may be forgiven. It is the actual events within that span of time, as well as the backgound of the incident, that is disputed.

Who is your favorite Wyatt Earp?

In the mood for more Earp?

Cowboys, Tombstone and Wyatt Earp