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MARCH 2015

Years ago, after a fest in Asheville, NC, we motored to our nation’s capital to prolong our journey away from our nation’s smog capital, LaLaLand. Two highlights: 1) Viewing the framed photo of WB’s Magnificent 7, unsmiling, guns drawn, on a wall at the Smithsonian—Wayde Preston, Jack Kelly, John Russell, Peter Brown, Ty Hardin, Jim Garner, and ol’ Hutch. Beats having your picture on a wall at the post office. 2) Meeting Steve St. John. He took Babs and me on a tour of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, my favorite childhood magazine, until PLAYBOY came along. Steve’s a saint. He gave us a large, framed, color print of a wonderful old clown walking his pet penguin down an ancient street in Italy. Hangs on a wall of my cobwebbed hideyhole.

Will ("Sugarfoot") Hutchins, Peter ("Lawman") Brown, Jack ("Maverick") Kelly. Ty ("Bronco") Hardin, James ("Maverick") Garner, Wayde ("Colt .45") Preston, John ("Lawman") Russell.

Steve has sort of a sinister sense of humor. He got hold of some SUGARFOOT comic books and enlarged some of the pictures, craftily adding his own captions. Let’s see. Here’s a good ‘un. Some varmint is lassoin’ Tom “Sugarfoot” Brewster. Tom says, “Dang! Time again for the six o’clock noose.” Tom’s in the bathtub. “Mr. Warner, What do you mean stand up for the European version?” Tom’s astride a stubborn mule. “Tom attempts to get his ass on the road.” Tom’s swimmin’—a huge boulder jes’ misses his head. “You just can’t swim nekkid in the Warner Bros. pond without Clint Walker throwing rocks at you.

Here are two of my favorite “Wisdom of Sugarfoot’s”: “It’s April 1st, and I crash my car again into a Ford—now some repair guy, mad-as-sin, will send a wild bill, and we’ll duke it out over a buck. Then, I’ll be a walker and hopalong rocky lanes in a mix of weather, which blowing from the east would even chill will.” And “You know you’ve been out on the trail too long when you start noticing how pretty the curves are on your horse.” Don’t know how many of you out there read “A Touch of Hutch” in the print edition of WESTERN CLIPPINGS, but y’all take a gander at Steve St. John’s “Wisdom of Sugarfoot”.

Babs, do you have a gun? I don’t. The Colt company back in the ‘50s gave me two single-action .45s, one for my right hip, one for my left hip, “Sugarfoot” engraved on the handles. I kept the left hip puppy. Reckon the right hipster’s still in the WB prop department along with my Frank Kandelin shotgun chaps. Sonuvagun! My house was robbed back in the ‘80s. Them lily-livered knaves stole off into the night with my Colt 6-shooter and my Iver Johnson 5-shooter. Not exactly your basic garden variety weaponry for todaze state-of-the-art gang bangers. Hi Ho. And so it goes.

Sherry Jackson.I have a request for a thumbnail sketch of Sherry Jackson (right). Said requester deems her a ‘hottie’. Pardner, I’ll see your hottie and raise you a sweet patootie. First time I saw Sherry was in Republic’s “Come Next Spring” starring Steve Cochran, Ann Sheridan and Sonny Tufts. SONNY TUFTS! Sherry played a sweet young gal who couldn’t speak. “Memorable!” says Long Island critic. Her step-dad Montgomery Pittman wrote the screenplay.

Back in the ‘50s Warners sent a busload of us contractees cross-country to plug “The Young Philadelphians” starring Paul Newman. We ended our junket in New York. I stayed to catch the Broadway musical. Monty Pittman called me to come back. He was directing “The Kookie Kaper”, an episode of “77 Sunset Strip” (snap snap). He wanted me for the gag tag with Sherry. Sherry! (“To La Guardia, driver, and step on it!”) Sherry and I drive up to Dino’s. Kookie parks our car. There was some banter about Kookie’s lending me his comb. I was a mop top.

Monty wrote and directed my favorite “Sugarfeet”, but he worked mostly on “77 Sunset Strip” (snap snap). Ironic, what? Warners, home of tough guys Bogie, the Cag, Edward G., Garfield, Raft, was now spewing elegant private eyes, dressed like the suits.

Sometimes I dream Sherry and I are riding horses on a “Sugarfoot”, Monty directing. Sherry Jackson! Whatta Sweetheart! Beautiful, naïve, without an ounce of cynicism. Hope she’s hale and happy.

       Adios—