I have been working on my 75th book for several weeks now, but the idea for it has been in my head and in my heart for about 30 years. As I sit here thinking about that, I still wonder how and why so many stories keep coming to me. I am surrounded in my office by pictures of past book covers and pictures of models who look the way I picture them for future stories, and the ideas keep coming. One picture on my wall is of all the main characters from GUNSMOKE – Matt, Kitty, Doc, Festus, Chester and Quint, and I realize how much all of them influenced me to write about the Old West, clear back to when I was little and listened to GUNSMOKE when it was only on the radio.

       All those actors are gone now, but they live on in reruns that have been on TV since the fifties. Hard to believe. GUNSMOKE had to be one of the longest-running shows ever, but I fear a lot of today’s young people don’t watch it. Some probably have never even heard of it.

      That is sad. Thank God for Turner Classic Movies. If you want young people to know “real” America, have them watch some of those older movies. I love old black and whites that show what New York and Chicago and other cities looked like back in the 30’s and 40’s. TCM is a treasure trove of lessons in how we got to where we are now, and the Encore Western Channel is a great source for westerns that span the 1930’s through today.

      I don’t know about you, but I love studying and remembering the past. So much has been lost in the way of class and manners and how we dress. I love watching old airplane movies when people dressed up just to fly - furs, hats and all. And men wore suits and hats to baseball games.

      I think with the loss of respect and manners and pride in how we look only leads to disrespect of others and more crime and crude, insulting talk and even ignorance. We learn from the past, but now certain factions try to erase that past. We should not let that happen.




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