(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above - Buck Rainey and Iron Eyes Cody circa 1980.
Published 1976Published 1980 |
Remembering Bill G. "Buck" Rainey
My memory banks can recall in specific detail the theatre where I first saw, on original release, JESSE JAMES AT BAY (the Lyric) or the first chapter of JUNIOR G-MEN (the Arcadia) or even DIVE BOMBER (the Lindsey), but when it comes to important dates and important people in my life, it clouds up like a bank on the Thames, or a PRC film with a montage of bad stock footage.
The first time I was aware of Dr. Buck Rainey of Tishomingo, Oklahoma, was when I mailed him a copy of Yesterday's Saturdays number 1.
A couple of issues later, I think, I got a letter from Buck asking permission to use something or another in an article he was writing, and I told him I wasn't aware of anything in YS that required my permission to use --- I was pasting most of it together from pressbooks, aside from a few snide comments --- but he was more than welcome. Then I got the first of scores of telephone calls that we exchanged for over a decade, to go along with the hundreds of letters that went back and forth from Texas to Oklahoma. To put that in context, we exchanged more letters and calls than Oklahoma football recruiters made trips to Texas. I gave him what help I could on several of his books and magazine articles and one day got a call from Buck asking if I wanted to co-author a book with him on some era of western films. I said I was already --- slowly --- preparing a book on ALL of the western films of the sound-era. That call led to Shoot-'Em-Ups which was published in 1978.
That book was put together like two guys deciding to build a new car in their widely separated garages; Buck as the designer (format and style) and I was the engineer (data and parts.) Part of the work overlapped but Buck primarily wrote the prose, and I primarily provided the history, and it basically and primarily worked. The best compliment I think we ever got was from a reviewer who wrote it was two books, written by a fan and a historian, and either worked without the other, but the two parts together made the perfect package. Not surprised; we both knew what we were doing and we each trusted and respected the other like a brother. That bond was cemented many times, around two A. M., when we both had to be at work in about four hours, and were hunched over two typewriters located on both sides of the Red River, putting something together to mail to the other one the next day, and repeated the procedure the next night.
There have been more than a few over the years, but Buck Rainey was one of those people who made a positive difference in my life.
Will I miss him? Yes, like a brother.
Partner, thanks for sharing the shoot-'em-ups trail with me ... and may all your new trails be downhill and shady.
March 24, 2009