I am sad to see how Mr. Bob Franken has once again twisted the truth to suit his view of the world. In his column “OK, zoomers” published in the Boomerang on Thursday, November 28, 2019, he misstated facts central to his discussion. I believe he is a boomer, as am I, and am wondering how he could have gotten so much wrong in his discussion of Roy Rogers and the other TV/movie cowboy heroes we grew up watching.
In his column, he referred the TV/movie cowboys we watched as “killing machines.” I believe he is wrong. A little history about these cowboy heroes. According to the LA Times’s obituary of Roy Rogers, “Fans say Rogers never shot to kill but was content to just blast the gun out of the other guy’s hand.” As for Gene Autry, according to an article written for the American Society for Baseball Research, “His movies for Republic Pictures followed a simple formula . . . Good guy defeats bad guy, but never shoots first and never kills anybody.”
According to Wikipedia, the Lone Ranger also avoided killing people. “Whenever he was forced to use guns, he never shot to kill, but instead tried to disarm his opponent as painlessly as possible.” Same thing for Hopalong Cassidy. His biography states, “Hopalong Cassidy unequivocally embodied the heroic western hero for younger viewers . . . Hopalong captured the bad guys without killing them.”
So, it looks as if Mr. Franken didn’t do his homework, which in my mind negates the entire discussion in his column. None of the films or TV series he cites “contributed to the cultural mindset (sic) that has made us such a gun-totin’ country today.” Our heroes were not “killing machines”–exactly the opposite. But it seems Mr. Franken’s prejudice, short-sightedness and lack of attention to detail has once again kept him from seeing the truth. Shame on him.