Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Feeling down - Saddle up

Bumped into a new friend on 'Facebook' a few weeks back. Although not a proficient user of the networking site, I count my friends list using ten fingers and toes. I have found one kindred spirit in this new friend, however. Today, I was looking through his photo albums on Facebook, and found a very special photo. Special, because I have one very much like it, and I believe I am as proud of mine, as he is of his. After all, it is said you can judge a man by the hoss he rides.

'Urban Cowboy' - Photo of me taken about 1953 in Chicago, IL.

These photos were quite common in the 1940's and 50's, when itinerant photographers roamed through neighborhoods in cities and towns, with an offer to make instant cowboys and cowgirls of any who dared to climb into the saddle. Not just any saddle pardner, but the fanciest saddle, bridle and tack any respectable cowboy would know make people on horses look better than they are.

Equipped with the old large format or box film cameras mounted on a tripod to steady the shot, the photographer would adorn the eager cowpokes with chaps, coats, vests, bandannas, and hats.

'The Young Buckaroo' Photo taken 1951

The Pony's were the stars. Well behaved, and gentle enough you could put a toddler in the saddle. One look by a neighborhood child would alert all the rest that something special was going on today; and the pleading would begin, me next, mom mom, dad dad, can I? The pony man is here, can I have my picture taken?

These photographers could be found all across the country, selling pony pictures for a few dollars each. Children became their heroes, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, and the Cisco Kid for just a few minutes.

You wish you could ride like a girl!

No ride is ever the last one!

Picture on a pony = $ A few bucks
Smiles & Memories = $ Priceless

America wasn't the only country to experience this assembly of young cowboys & cowgirls. The United Kingdom were also avid followers of American western culture, and photographers were actively making memories for them as well.

Speak your mind, but ride a fast horse!!

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