WESTERN AS THE PRICE . . . . TWO-BITS—(25c)
PACKET 3 OF POUCH 11
I BECOME A SYMBOL
PUBLISHED FOUR TIMES A YEAR
ONLY NEWSPAPER IN AMERICA YOU CAN OPEN IN THE WIND
How To Be A Desert Rat And Like It2
Smallest newspaper in the world and the only 5 page one. (Not a Texas Boast)
Published at Fort Oliver
THOUSAND PALMS, CALIFORNIA
Four Times a Year
ON THE NEWS STANDS NOW
TWO - BITS
I just had to do it
MAILING PRICE $1.00 A YEAR
H A R R Y O L I V E R
"If you like this windproof paper tell the world: If you don't like it, keep your fool mouth shut."
I welcome criticism from my readers
Write yours here
Then Mail It in
I hope you are not the fellow who put the "Lord's Prayer" on the head if a pin.—H.O.
Be a better story than your ridicule.
What have YOU been doing these 77 years?
Why Move Mountains?
As I come to my 77th year I look back with a smile, I also look around me at my possessions — my little adobe home — my little newspaper, books, old type, etc.—my old Ford station wagon (1928) — two fine daughters (equipped with husbands and kids — 5 grand children — 2 great grandchildren — my cat — a bit of a reputation as a fun maker — and lots of happy work to do — but no money.
YES, contentment has one big advantage over wealth — FRIENDS DON'T TRY TO BORROW IT FROM YOU — seems that most people are very much like my old cat and only want to rub against me as if hoping maybe some of my contentment will rub off on them.
Yes life is very simple when you do what you like and don't have too much "OVERHEAD."
17 Star Anniversary
This little newspaper is 17 years old.
My Ford station wagon is 36 years old.
Me, Your Editor, I am 77 years old
(SPENT THE WHOLE 17 YEARS DOING IT)
(BEAUTIFUL LACK OF AMBITION)
Old Fort Oliver is as old as the hills
(THAT'S WHERE I GOT THE MUD)
I find to succeed is small things one must kick out those great ambitions.
Best To Do a Mediocre Job
I don't do this for money. It's fun to do it. I work so's to forget that in my life most of my trouble came from doing things too well! I am sure safe today as I can never hope to do this fool paper too well. (its worth the $1.00 a year however) and what's more there is no one waiting to grab the credit if I should.
After 77 years without a New Year's resolution — this year I made one. It's to let the world go on its merry old way, muddled, stupid, dull and witless — without trying to advise, reform, correct or convert its poor city people. I am just going to enjoy the fine simplicity of this good old Desert. (PERIOD)
Lost Treasure Round-up
My friend, Gene Controtto, who used to publish the Desert Magazine, has put together a lost mine and buried treasure book called "LOST DESERT BONANZAS." It has 91 maps, but darn if any of 'em pinpoint the lost mines. The book only costs $6.50 (from Desert-Southwest Publishers, Palm Desert, Calif.) and think of the return on your investment if you can find only one of the 100 bonanzas the book describes!
Indians used to broadcast weather messages by holding a wet blanket over the fire. Now we've got television and get to see the wet blanket in person.
The Indian weatherman did not send up Smoke-Signals in the rain—but the other Indians knew it was raining—one old Chief sitting in his teepee would just call in his Dogs—if they were wet—he knew it was raining.
Jack Smith of L.A. Times gives this paper a new "Twist"— Jack says:
The Scrap Book is one of my favorite publications — a breath of hot, dry air.
It's printed in six different directions, so that you have to spin it around to read it all. It's like eating a pizza.
In the foreward of Bennet Cerf's new book of humor, (he says, If you khow a good story, publish it from time to tome.")
So I am reprinting this yarn of mine from Packet one of pouch one.—Ed.
Nogales, Ariz.—A few months ago old man West died here at Nogales. His two sons, Ted West, a newspaperman, and Bill West, a paper-hanger, each received $250 from the small estate. Bill, the paper-hanger, deposited his in the savings bank, where it still remains. Ted, the newspaperman, had always had a great yen for tequila in fancy bottles, and expended his heritage in the purchase of a grand array of the fanciest he could find. He has just finished drinking these, and has sold the strange fantastic, empty bottles to a tourist for $360.Dad West
Put not off till tomorrow what can be enjoyed today.
The pity of it is that sin is always found in such jolly company.
If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?
It takes about twenty years of hard work to succeed and you have to work hard for about fifty years if you fail.
A man from the cellar always comes up smiling.
HARRY OLIVER'S DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK
THE PEAK OF SAINT HYACINTH
By TOM HUGHES
That grey monument against the sky—you see it from almost any point in the Southern California deserts. Helmsmen on Spanish ships used to set fair-weather course by it. For the San Gabriel padres it marked the east frontier of their domain, and to John Steven McGoarty's enraptured eye it was "The kingly outpost of the royal hills."
Growing ever more awesome as you near it, by the time you have entered the San Gorgonio pass it has taken on an aspect fairly startling. Along the highway at some point near the lower end of the pass you simply must stop, and look, and fill yourself with looking, for you are face to face with the highest rock wall in the nation.
Ah, yes, you may have seen dizzying heights in other places. Colorado has its Maroons and its Wild Gardens, Wyoming has its Tetons, Washington has its Skuksan, Texas has its Signal Peak, Utah has its Navajo Mountain; but they all dwindle in comparison with the sheared-off and gourged-out face of San Jacinto.
Measured in terms of mountain-building time, this rock wall is in the first flush of youth. The utter grimness that all but overpowers the climber who dares to invade its secret high places is by the magic of distance transformed into beauty for the worshipper below. Its contours are etched with mysterious shadows, and tracings of last year's snow hand in filigree along the upper reaches. Of course you will get out your kodak and take a picture, little realizing that the precipice is the despair of expert cameramen. That's because the vertical angle is so great The truth is, no wall in the Grand Canyon is much more than half as high. Pikes Peak wouldn't fill that vast uptilted granite bowl. If you have visited Glacer Park, you may recall how from the Narrows at St. Mary Lake you gaze aloft to Red Eagle Mountain on your left and to Going-to-the-Sun Mountain dead ahead. Now the one could be piled on top of the other and still wouldn't show above San Jacinto's cornice.
If you look closer you may make out a silver thread dangling from near the summit. That is Snow Creek, which geographers have called the swiftest stream in North America. It is virtually one continuous cataract, with much of its downward flight lying in perpetual shadow.
From your car window you are beholding still another spectacle unmatched in our land. The escarpment soars through six life zones. The sand washes the Lower Sonoran, supporting coyote and chemisal. Where the precipice begins to really steepen is Transition, with its mule deer and pines. Next above lies the Canadian, where chickadees hop about in the brush chinquapin. Still farther up is the Hudsonian, and perhaps a bighorn sheep is peering down from beside a clump of Alpine sorrel. At the very top, in the Arctic-Alpine belt, there may live no native beast or bird, but wind-flattened limber pines cling prostrate to the rocks.
Yes, in one upward sweep of the eye you are viewing a forshortened landscape of 3,000 horizontal miles—from Mexico's Candle of Our Lord to Alaska'sbrave little buttercup.
This story is just as it was sent to me by Tom Hughes, I printed it in 1947 on page 4 of Packet Three of Pouch one.
That was 18 years ago, it is the best story I know about the "Our Mountain."
Tom called this story "The Peak of Saint Hyacinth".
The Purple Knight of Salton Sink
Harry's national campaign accepted as the first organized effort to stamp out the litterbugs, won him the "Top Story" award at the 1956 California State Fair and Exposition. Presentation was made by Governor Knight at the Press-Radio-TV Dinner in Sacramento.
As ex-officio press agent for the Southwest he was one of the first to recognize the threat of litter to our roadways.
To give his thousand-mile "Shame" campaign impetus, he sent out this news release from Fort Oliver: "The highways between here and Wickenburg are beautiful this time of year. All the Kleenex bushes are in full bloom, right alongside the road."
He followed with: "The wild-flowers at Fort Oliver were so thick this spring that you hardly could see the discarded beer cans."
Then came a formal declaration:
"In the desert we have a simplicity and cleanliness you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Our dirt is not dirty—just clean sand—no smelly swamps, no sewer-carrying rivers, no smoke, no smog. But, woe, we have distress and the leprechauns who sweep the desert clean each night with their feathery brooms can't cover those confounded beer cans. Due to our cleanliness, beer cans look worse in the desert than anywhere else."
Today Southwestern communities, counties and states are making it increasingly hard for motorists to destroy the outdoors beauty with their garbage.
The Gay Life of The Purple Knight of Salton Sink
Mr. Walt Disney,June 5, 1963
500 So. Buena Vista
Dear Mr. Disney:
First of all, many thanks for the two wonderful cartoons. I too, prefer the cactus.
Being the world's worst letter writer, prompted me to call your secretary to arrange another meeting with you and discuss another idea I feel very strongly about.
Your secretary informed me that you would be returning from your trip shortly, and encouraged me to write.
My idea is none other than the original, real live, and authentic "Desert Rat"—Harry Oliver, which Bennett Cerf describes so wonderfully in his book, enclosed with this letter.
To know Harry Oliver is a pleasure — witty and really a lovable person. I do believe this would be so different to have a real live, true anti-litter cartoon in helping us with our drive to Keep the Desert Beautiful.
I have marked various pages, both in Bennett Cerf's book and the Villager magazine, which tells the story of Harry Oliver much more completely than I could in a letter. He originated and pioneered the drive for Anti-Litter throughout the United States.
After I conceived the idea of having a real live character, I visited Harry Oliver in his Fort Oliver home in Thousand Palms. I talked with him about my idea and asked him what he thought of becoming a symbol for the Desert Beautiful Beautification program. To my delight, he was delighted.
He offered to use his old hat, his dog, his burro and the likeness, if we felt it would help in our drive to keep the Desert Beautiful. We could use full sized posters of him with his old hat, his dog and burro, along our highways, just as Smoky the Bear is used in our mountains. We could show him admonishing — Don't Litter Our Beautiful Desert — Get yourself a Litter Bag — Build with Beauty — Beauty brings Business", etc.
From a personal point of view, Harry Oliver would enjoy this too, as this is something very close to his heart.
The enclosed letter drawn up by our Attorneys, Carroll & Anderson of Indio (whose advice and help is their donation to Desert Beautiful) and signed by Harry Oliver is self explanatory.
I will be very happy to furnish any additional information you may require and will be waiting in anticipation to hear from you at your earliest convenience.
Mrs. Clifford Henderson
General Chairman of Desert Beautiful
For 17 years I have given much space to other Desert Rats in this paper—from John W. Hilton to Death Valley Scotty. I know this helped me to be recognized as a true Desert Rat.
Now, at the age of 77, I must become a fan to all "Symbols."
The colorful rascal above is 20 years ahead of me—It is almost impossible, but I will try.
I am offering a hundred year subscription to any columnist or cartoonist who can get a laugh our of us, "Myself, the Burro and Dog, on our effort to clean up the Desert." The Burro's name is "Maud," the Dog is "Whiskers" and I am "Old Harry".
You could make it 10 - 10 years subscriptions, or 20 - 5's, or 100 one year!
SIMPLE LASTING DESERT FUN4
This page is dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist - The DESERT PROSPECTOR
DESERT RAT Scrap Book
DICK WICK HALL
Only one, never to be forgotten performance
Dick Wick Hall, Miner, Promoter and Desert Humorist of Salome, Arizona, some thirty years ago, whose stories appeared in the Saturday Evening Post—and made Salome famous is also remembered by some of us old timers for his great gold promotion.
Dick discovered gold on three sides of a small mountain sitting out in the desert and as digging was hard and slow in the hot summer sun, he figured a way to do the job in a big way.
His way was simple, a hundred people put in a hundred dollars each (but he didn't want poor people's money), all the money to be spent for dynamite, the stockholders to be on hand, to walk in and pick up their own gold on the day set for the blast.
The day, came and so did the stockholders; there was never anything like it (but maybe the A-bomb); some said there was a tidal wave went up the Colorado River sixty miles away.
After the dust settled, the stockholders went in to pick up their gold, but there was no gold—a few showed their disappointment — some talked nasty—but an alert deputy sheriff from Yuma, stepped up on a large rock—the men gathered around him, as he said—"Fellows, you have had weeks of dreams, enthusiasm and anticipation—you saw and heard the greatest blast you will ever see—and by dam, you got something to talk about the rest of you life—let's give three big cheers for Dick Wick Hall.
One Year, $2.50 Three Years, $6.50
Grubstaker: The late Scotty Allen
THE PONY EXPRESS
Herb S. Hamlin, Editor
Address All Mail to
THE PONY EXPRESS
P.O. BOX 326
Published Monthly at
SONORA (Tuolumne County) CAL.
(Founded by real Sonorans—1848)
Many folks have achieved fame by their choice of pet companions, . . . I have just buried my old desert tortoise "Hop-Along Push'adee", he was the biggest I have known in these parts, . . . for 8 or 9 years, . . . maybe 10 . . . I gathered food for him . . . you can't feed as amiable a critter as he, . . . for years without having a genuine affection for him.
I will not tire you with our story because it lacks color, as I think of it there was not much contrast in our relationship, . . . as our speed was about the same. (I did get him a spot (page 638) in "A Treasury of Western Folklore"—By B. A. Bodkin—1951. Here he will rest for a hundred years or so).
Because our story is not big I tell you of two pet stories you should read.
Here in our West, Lola Montez . . . Queen of the 'Mother Lode' and her pet bear, did have contrast, Lola (her voice was ever soft, gentle and low.) her life at Grass Valley in the Roaring Fifties, today is both history and legend.
And for contrast our John Barrymore and his pet Buzzard, . . . Gene Fowler . . . in his chapter . . . 'The Ungrateful Maloney' of his book "Good Night, Sweet Prince", tells of John's affection for this Vulture.
Since Aesop's time (550 BC) critters have helped folks gain fame, for just having them for pets.
I guess there will be Buzzards, Bears and Tortoises for all time, but this years crop of Lola Montez's and John Barrymore's is on a par with the Whooping Cranes.
As told by Old Captain Catnip Ashby — who scoffs at Ghost Stories.
I saw her coming in carried by a high wind, it was manned by a crew of cucarachas, who brought it to a perfect landing, whirling as it was after it hit the water, yet they guided it to the shore for safety. One of the cockroaches (it sounds better in Spanish) one of the cucarachas with a moustache, the pilot I think, told me they had tried flying saucers but it was too hard to hang on. Then he said "See each of my crew carry a 'sticky' cocklebur to hand on to, to keep from whirling off into space and you know you get lonesome if you are all alone in space—I think there is too much space, don't you?"
And, said, Catnip, I had to agree with him.
JOHN B. STETSON SHOW
No other articles has had such a lasting effect on the Westerner. And no other specific trade brand, with the possible exception of the Colt's sixshooter, has been so much in Western literature. The John B. Stetson hat is the Westerner's trade mark, his crowning glory.
The notion for a distinctive Western hat started struggling in the mind of John B. Stetson one day on a Colorado prairie. Stetson, son of a Philadelphia hatter, was going West in the 1860's to seek a cure for tuberculosis, the plague of hatters. In a trek from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Pike's Peak region, he and a small group camped in the cold. Talk turned to shelter, particularly the immediate need of a tent. Tents made of untanned animal skins were unpleasant, and Stetson, being a hatter, happened to mention that a fur could be processed without tanning and that cloth could be made without weaving. His companions challenged Stetson to prove it.
With improvised tools, Stetson used an age-old process of felting and converted fur from a rabbit into felt. And he fashioned a hat which he considered the best head protector for Western weather. It was a big hat, one that would protect a man from rain, sun, cold, wind and even hail.
Stetson wore the hat and was the talk of the mining camps. One day a handsome giant horseman saw the hat and wanted to try it on. Stetson handed over the hat and the horseman placed it on his head. The ex-hatter surveyed the picture. Here was a giant of a man—the Western type—in a silver-ornamented saddle on a spirited horse. Stetson like the effect. The horseman did, too. He gave Stetson ten dollars.
About a year later, after Stetson regained his health, he returned to Philadelphia and started making hats,—Hats that made men, Hats for cattle kings, for the boss of the plains.
In the hundred years since, thousands of good Colorado families have claimed one of their 'KIN' wore the first John B. Stetson Hat.
Old John B. has found his place in Colorado Festival and Pageant . . . . . but today the big SHOW in this State is that—
VOTERS WILL NOT SEND ANYONE TO WASHINGTON UNLESS THEY HAVE 10 GALLON HEADS IN THEIR 10 GALLON HATS.
THOSE WITH 5 GALLON HEADS MUST STAY HOME.
What a small world.
I went to see the new owner of our "Old 99 Cafe."
Martha Rapp told me about how, (when she was a little girl, in Philadelphia), her father George Pote being the oldest employee of the Stetson Co., at the time, had the honor of presenting Tom Mix with one of the finest 10 Gallon Hats. As his Circus Band played, "Where did you get that Hat."
MY MODESTY HAS GONE WITH THE WIND
I TELL THIS MYSELF WITH NO HELP FROM HORATIO ALGER
This "Modesty business" has been a kind of "quarantine" I lived with for 72 years,—"but the sign is down." I must say at the age of 72 my modesty has gone with the desert wind, — So lets talk about me, — for my Grand Children.
Here We Go
For the last 40 of my 72 years I have done things thoroughly—with a stick-to-it-iveness Not brilliance — but my simple showmanship—has a quality of ever-lasting plainness,—clean-cut as a Trade-Mark,—also all my shows are a part of a definite plan to glorify the Desert West.
60 Years Ago
My first love of show-business, — came at the age of 12—my older brother lifted me atop a piano, back-stage to see my first show,—Joseph Jefferson in the legendary Rip Van Winkle. I remember the show as if it were yesterday. That was exactly 60 years ago.
Fun All of It
My years of show-business included all branches,—Theatre,—Circus,—Fairs and Expositions, Motion Pictures, — Annual Festivals, and out-door Celebrations. As a Motion Picture 'Production Designer', after 30 years in Hollywood, I was able to pick my jobs,—so I took trips abroad and saw and 'worked' in Rome, Paris, Naples, London, Dublin, Mexico, Tahiti and China.
Coming from a family of Pioneers that had walked across the continent at an average of two states to a generation.—My great love was naturally for the West—The Desert West.
Good Old Bill
I had a great admiration for Will Rogers and was Art Director on several of his pictures.—It was he that inspired me to try for something beyond just being the designer.
The Tase for this type of fin was started in 1935 when your Editor staged Gold Gulch at the California Pacific International Exposition at San Diego.
"The Rip Roarin'est Mining Camp since '49" as designer, producer and director of the twenty-one acre Old West Mining Camp, I'd received much publicity; the following tells the tale of the fun I had.
From Bill's Sunday column, May 19, 1935
Yes, but we haven't got enough with that spirit. We talk more independence than we practice. Here is an interesting letter from an old friend of mine, Harry Oliver. He was art director for our movie company (Fox). That's the man that arranges all the "Sets." That's the houses and scenes that we shoot. Well, he is quite a desert rat, and has a place away out on the desert, and he is head of the big amusement place called Gold Gulch at the big San Diego Exposition, which you don't want to miss. It's going to be a big fair. He is putting on a "Mule Swearing Contest." That is its prizes for the man that an cuss a mule the best or worst. They are importing real Missouri mules. He has a lazy dog contest, where thee is handsome prizes for the laziest dog, including the owner.
Then he has a special contest just for residents from Florida, who can tell the biggest lie about California, (or maybe it won't be a lie, but the Californians will call it a lie). I can't imagine what it would be if it was a lie. California is a hard state to lie about.
Yes, — Will Rogers Sunday column started me planning out-door contests in a big way,—Why,—the very next week I staged a Cigarette Rolling Contest,—The Bull Durham People—(The American Tobacco Company) had sent me two 36-inch Bronze Plaques—ornamented with their Bull,—(this wa before the law made them put the fence in front of the bull).
I had two contests—two-hand and one-hand rolling,—a plaque as a prize for each,—The contestants were Cow Boys,—Miners and Sailors,—a Sailor won the two hand contest and took his plaque to his ship. But three, one-armed Night-Watch-Men tied for the one-hand contest — but you know it took three play-offs to get a winner.
No Payola for Rolling-Your-Own
And to think today there ain't a TV star can roll them with the help of the whole staff.
In Will Rogers' write-up he told of my Mule Swearing Contest—
The 'Mule Skinner' contestants were given 4 mules hitched abreast to 'Fresno' scrapers. And made to fill and level-off a gully full of tree stumps.
Price of Progress
Today the bull-dozers noise would rob you of the exquisiteness of the old time swearing.
My Lazy Dog contest was a great show—only I must tell you, the dogs get over being lazy when there are too many of them. We gave up hope of picking a winner, and went out to eat, came back to find an Old Mexican and his dog asleep. They got First, Second, and Third prizes,—and we went to bed.
Good Old Days
Coming back to the Desert in 1940 this time to stay "for all time," — I helped Uncle Sam at the Air Base for 5 years. Went to work again as Press Agent for the Ghost of Peg-Leg,—Designed and built The Date Festival Stage,—Started this Desert Rat Scrap Book,—Built Old Adobe Fort Oliver—stronghold of the secessionists—exploitation headquarters for Desert Rats, Ghosts, Burros and all that is good "copy" in our Desert. — Newspapers were always good to me.
Through this elapse of time I was in and out of the Desert, Wrote 3 books, and a Newspaper Column for a year. . . . I tried for the Centennial Shows in 1949—but was discouraged—few have been repeated.
Fighting for the Desert Animals
L. Burr Belden in The San Bernardino Sun Telegram in 1950 at a time we were all Campaigners for Burro Protection.
Said This of Me
It has remained for Harry Oliver, Desert Rat Scrap Book publisher of Thousand Palms, however, to lampoon the burro shooters. Oliver has issued a "set of instructions to burro hunters" which advises:
"Get in your car and go to Death Valley. For practice shoot all the road signs an power insulators on the way, along with an occasional shot at a bunch of cattle of some prospector's house (he might be in it).
"When you see the burros, get up wind wo your scent will be carried to them. Open a fresh can of tobacco and as the burros come to eat out of your hand you are sure not to miss if you wait until they are 10 feet away before pulling the trigger."
Matt Weinstock in The 'Daily News' Los Angeles, On November 9th 1952.—Told it with the brevity I like
Desert rat Harry Oliver is always cooking up something different to glamorize the desert. This time it's a burro-flapjack sweepstakes Sunday near Stovepipe Wells, as part of the Death Valley 49ers encampment. First prospector to pick a site, unload his burro, lay out his camp, start a fire and flip a flapjack to his Burro to eat̵wins.
Randall Henderson, Editor of The Desert Magazine in his Magazine of January, 1953, told how it all came to life.
Last September the idea of a Burro Beauty contest was suggested to the directors of the 49ers. They named Harry Oliver chairman, and Harry developed the flapjack angle which he felt would produce a more interesting event than a mere beauty contest.
My Original Rules, Harry Oliver 1952
Burro Flapjack Race
This is the Top Show of the Death Valley '49ers Annual Encampment and is staged in Mid-November of each year.
I planned this show to keep alive the Desert's most glamorous and intimate team—the Prospector-Burro combination.
This will long live as a show of the "Right Sort" in the "Right Place." The numerous committeemen, judges and contestants work untiringly, striving to bring back all the color as well as authentic garb of the Prospector, including beard, as well as hand and belt props—much stress is put on the perfection of the Burro's Pack—the Kayaks, the Diamond Hitch&8212;(can be the Packer's Hitch with, or without, a Gahilagan,—Army Hitch—or Mormon Hitch). The Pick can be thin-handled prospector's pick or undersize Washoe pack pick. Ax trappers single bit, Canteen 1 gal, blanket-covered. Standard wooden pack saddle—Kayaks can be leather, canvas, or wood, covered or not—Bed can be sleep-bag or blankets.
Contestants will receive points on the perfection of all above.
At gun shot the Old Timers start on a 100 yard rae, (much to the delight of the photographers) and must after passing the flag – pick spot — lay out bed, neatly. Pick and shovel must be handles up — takes canten, ax and cooking needs to fire—a fire they must start. (At this point I must tell you readers that the worst thing about a burro is his stubbornness. He wants to do things his way, and is likely to do most anything at any time.) If the Burro will let the Old Timer cook a flapjack, hge will get to eat it&8212;and his team will win.
Kyach or Kayak
See Poster—Page 3
At the second staging of this show at Randsburg I greatly improved the race (from the audience angle) with the choice of land contours, I am sure theis year's chairman will take advantage of this change. Your Editor.
Doing Things Thoroughly
As Chairman I worked out some rules, got and O.K. and some praise from HOOFS and HORNS the Official Publication of The Rodeo and Cowboys Associations of America.
My Desert Shows
Some times the Leprechaun's just push your pencil around.
I have been accused of "Barnumizing" the Desert, I think to be so accused is a great compliment. Old P. T. Barnum had Jumbo, largest elephant, Tom Thumb, smallest man—I have a Burro, Dog, Crow, Pack Rat, Cat, Tortoise and an audience of Praying Mantisses, Vinegaroons, Lizards, Scorpions, Centipedes, Jerusalem-Crickets and Sidewinders.
Yes I think our show is good as desert shows go, (it's home talent). Old "Burr" the Buzzard has each spring applauded it and he gets to see a lot.
(I always get a kick out of seeing a bashful sidewinder come in late and go own the aisle when only the "PAW and CLAW Lights" are on.)
When the Annual Cricket or Caterpillar Conventions are on we put on three shows a night. (Gee we got to, if we didn't they would eat up the scenery.)
I have tried shows with people in the desert but I always come back to my animals, they have so much more imagination, shows with desert people are not so good, they just want to do the same thing over and over till all lose interest in it, I look at it this way, when an animal gets his belly full he is not greedy, people are greedy for applause and unearned credit even after their belly is full.
Drop in some evening and see our home show, "Sin" our leading Lady winked at a "Stage door Johnny Cat" and I have 98 requests for kittens, "Colossal" I say.
By E. E. EDGAR
William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill), after matching his wits with the Indians for more than a decade without mishap, finally deserted the open spaces and went into show business with his own Wild West show.
One morning, in Boston, he entered the hotel barbarshop to have his long hair trimmed. He had been to a party the night before and was suffering from a hangover.
As the barber placed the sheet about him, Cody fell into a sound sleep. The barber, assuming that the former scout wanted a close trim, applied the scissors with vigor. Some minutes later, Cody awoke. Still somewhat dazed, he looked down at the floor and saw his hair piled up at the side of the chair. With an anguished howl, he clapped his hand to his head and cried:
My God! Scalped at last."
It's a mad dream come true in a desolate canyon over a hundred miles from a railroad or town—utter desert all around—in Death Valley, the hottest, driest spot in America.
Out of these scorched mountains, squeezed by the weight of them, leaks a little magic brook of water — here Scotty dreamed of a Castle—and said to himself, "This is the place,"—here is where it was so still—why that whisper sounded so loud it just had to be.
To me Scotty wa a Barnum, Munchausen, Don Quixote and Rip van Winkle all in one. Today you can visit this Castle and you will find (as I did) that Scotty is there — everywhere — you can walk right into his dreams—the good folks at the Castle know all this — his dogs do too—and a sweet lady dweller—after I had looked at a new batch of kittens — told me — this for sure — that Scotty loved the little strangely spotted one — and you know somehow I was sure of it. Your Editor hopes some day to sleep the night in Scotty's bed—to look up at the pictures of Buffalo Bill, Pawnee Bill, Annie Oakley and Will Rogers, then put his head on Scotty's pillow and try to redream some of the old Showman's Million Dollar Dream.
Any redblooded man in the West can tell you how to get to Death Valley — yes they have accommodations at SCOTTY'S CASTLE year round.
George Bernard Shaw
In his trip across the Unites States, Shaw paused to visit the Grand Canyon, but according to J. B. Priestley, who met him there, Shaw complained that the spectacle had not come up to expectations.
"I believe," reported Priestley, "that Shaw was jealous of the Canyon!"
From Bennet Cerf's Column, March 20
Your Editor talks to the Ghost of George Bernard Shaw.
The river in this mighty Canyon has had a long run Mr. Shaw, like your "My Fair Lady," it too is doing good to many. Millions are the young ladies your story will teach to live a richer, fuller life. Also Millions are the heads of cabbage and lettuce the waters of this Canyon will help to grow to a richer and fuller life.
"Pygmalion" will be seen by Millions . . . . in all languages . . . . but . . Mr. Big Showman, Grand Canyon is also a hell of a big SHOW, and I predict a few more thousand years run, and by 'Gee' I cannot help but think of those thousands of acres of cabbage, miles away, as being much like your audiences in Scandinavia.
CALICO GHOST TOWN
13 Miles East of Barstow
Calico in the 1880's was the largest silver mining Camp in the southwest. Almost obliterated by time, it is now being restored by Knott's Berry Farm. An ideal outing for the rockhound, and camping groups.
Press Agent For A GhostPage 5
Almost everyone has his pet legend, his pet dreams—a Big Spoof in which he steadfastly believes despite any facts to the contrary. And who's to say there isn't solace and comfort in such willing suspension of logic?
Nobody has learned to make better use of it than my old friend and Secessionist holdout, Harry Oliver, the self-styled Desert Rat of Thousand Palms. That's a wide spot off the freeway a few miles west of Indio. There he has daubed an adobe structure into a replica of what a desert fortress might have been in pioneer days. There he publishes a unique newspaper scrap book devoted to Western Americana, and enlarges upon his personal Spoof—the mystery of the Lost Peg Leg Smith Mine.
With a wealth of imagination and showmanship he has built it up into a treasure that constantly throws off clues as a cyclotron does neutrons. One year Oliver carved a pile of peg legs from old mine timbers. He weathered them still more in acid and a sand blaster, then dropped them int sand dunes and canyon where they were a cinch to be found by rockhounds and tourists. The myth of the Lost Peg Leg Mine grew anew, and he delighted in its prosperity.
Unveiling, second Peg-Leg Monument. Clyde Strickler, Supervisor, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Leo Carrillo and Harry Oliver at the old Harry Oliver Ranch.
All text was hand-entered (no OCR scans) by Dick Oakes who did the layout, markup and graphics reproduction (all of Harry's misspellings retained). The contents remain the property of Bill Lincoln and his heirs.