The Transformation of an American

  Tonopah—it’s a Shoshone word meaning either “water brush” (a small desert shrub) or, more likely, “little spring”—in central Nevada, owes its existence to a sometime hay farmer, sometime prospector, and sometime district attorney (for thirty-five dollars a month) named Big Jim Butler who camped there in May of 1900. The story goes that his…

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A Sentimental Fool

The only good to come out of having so much of my material accidentally deleted is that in going over the recovered posts, I realize that some need a lot of revision. This is a revised and greatly expanded version of the original post. Have you ever had one of those sensory memories that transport…

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A Man with a Tight Mouth

  What I remember most is laughter. We would be on the set, waiting in our chairs, or rehearsing, or, most likely of all, actually filming, and one of us, usually Mackie, would ad-lib something or come out with some one-liner and off we would go. God only knows how much film was wasted on…

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The Kid, at Twilight

  The second ride of the evening did not go well. Rogerio de Souza Pereira came out on Wild Thang and within two seconds, on the third or fourth massive, twisting buck, Rogerio was in trouble, his head snapping back, throwing his weight off balance. The Kamikaze Kid was already moving. Things that were happening…

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An Adventurous Lady

The guests at Medway Plantation had finished dinner and moved into the library, old Mrs. Legendre leaning on the arm of one of the men who served us, perhaps a butler, perhaps some other title. We were going to shoot wood ducks in the morning and had to get up very early, so most of…

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The Girl on the Motorcycle

The past fell out of a book last night. I caught a glimpse on television of Lawrence Olivier in John Osborne’s The Entertainer the other evening, and it prompted a thought that led to a thought that led to… You know how it goes. So I pulled down my copy of Osborne’s play to look for a…

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