Just some thoughts:
From my earliest childhood I can remember one of my uncles and a grandfather who were great story tellers. As a small boy I remember often sitting on the floor near where they would sit and listening to them tell stories.
Many of these stories were about famous people from our country’s history. Not all of them with church like reputations. Early frontier people like Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett. A bit later into the western phase of our history folks like Annie Oakley, Wild Bill Hickok, Doc Holiday, Wyatt Earp, the Dalton Gang, Billy the Kid, Jessie James, Buffalo Bill (loved his museum we were at last year in Cody, Wyoming.)
But for some un-explainable reason I seemed to really be fascinated with the crime era of the late 1920s’ and into the 1930s’. My grandfather Adamson would tell us stories about Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde. Family legend even has it that one of our tribe had some type of contact once with Dillinger. I feel this might be, well lets just say I am not sure how creditable that story was. I even heard stories that Dillinger once hid out in my home town area and Bonnie and Clyde likewise. Again make for good folk lore. Those stories from past years told to me in my youth have always prompted me to try and read in particular about Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde.
I think the media of that era did a lot to create an image and thus fostered the interest in folks and to sell newspapers and listen to radio reports. Not much different than today.
“Thanks to the media, Clyde and Bonnie had quickly come to be considered the epitome of scandalous glamour. But in person Clyde was short and scrawny, and Bonnie’s looks ( what not Faye Dunway beauty) were ordinary. They were both crippled, Clyde from cutting off two of his own toes in prison and Bonnie as the result of a car wreck nine months earlier in which her right let was burned so badly that bone was visible in several places. She hopped now rather than walked. Clyde often had to carry her.”
“They had little in common with the glittering ages of themselves that mesmerized the public.”
Go Down Together–The True, Untold Story of Bonnie & Clyde–Jeff Guinn
The bottom line with some is, don’t let facts get in the way of a good story.
I think we see too much of this today. But it has always been present in media since early days. Everything you read and even often see….is not so.
Even still true today.
May 8, 2019