Where kin I git me one'a them shirts?
The above represents the opening couple of paragraphs of The Caballero's Way by O. Henry, first published in 1907. The complete story can be read at The Nostalgia league, where it is filed under 'SHORT FICTION THAT BECAME MOVIES'. The story was first filmed in 1914, and at least twice per decade after that. Ceasar Romero played the Kid in 1939. It was a comic book as early as 1944; It ran on television between 1950 and 1956 and it was a daily comic strip syndicated by King features between 1951 and 1967.
The Cisco Kid had killed six men in more or less fair scrimmages, had murdered twice as many (mostly Mexicans), and had winged a larger number whom he modestly forbore to count. Therefore a woman loved him.
The Kid was twenty-five, looked twenty; and a careful insurance company would have estimated the probable time of his demise at, say, twenty-six. His habitat was anywhere between the Frio and the Rio Grande. He killed for the love of it—because he was quick-tempered—to avoid arrest—for his own amusement—any reason that came to his mind would suffice. He had escaped capture because he could shoot five-sixths of a second sooner than any sheriff or ranger in the service, and because he rode a speckled roan horse that knew every cowpath in the mesquite and pear thickets from San Antonio to Matamoras.
Tonia Perez, the girl who loved the Cisco Kid, was half Carmen, half Madonna, and the rest—oh, yes, a woman who is half Carmen and half Madonna can always be something more—the rest, let us say, was humming-bird...
The daily strip was a remarkable piece of work, drawn by Jose Luis Salinas. Ruben Espinoza is showing off his collection of original art by Salinas from the series. The most special thing about this special strip for me has always been the Kid's shirt. I've never watched the movies, so I have always presumed that the shirt comes from there, because it is difficult otherwise to imagine an artist setting himself the task of drawing this imaculately elegant detail every day of the week for sixteen years:
It is to be hoped that one of the publishers giving us reprints of the old comic strips will one day get around to giving us a few stories from this one.
update: mr j just sent this
After my post on the boat regatta on the dry riverbed, I've been reading about fish in the Australian desert (from Larapinta Trail By John and Monica Chapman.)
"Ten species of fish survive in the major waterholes. Finke River Hardyhead and Desert Rainbow Fish are very tolerant, being able to survive in water of poor quality. They are believed to bury themselves in mud to survive when waterholes dry up. The Spangled Grunter is able to move across land between waterholes by dragging itself with its fins."
Labels: classic strips(2)