January 1, 1997
Post #649 – 19970101
I other day I visited some friends, and after several hours had to make use of the “facilities”. I am a believer in the old Utah proverb, ” A fool goes when he has too, a wise man goes when he can.” There was an 18 month old copy of the Smithsonian conveniently placed for those whose like to go and read. On the last page was your article about “Sheriff Bob”. I loved Col. Tim McCoy.
Colonel Tim McCoy had an afternoon show in Los Angeles on Channel 5, KTLA. He was truly a living legend. He and his faithful Indian companion Iron Eyes Cody were to me the pure gold. I loved and lived for westerns. Col. Tim was who I wanted to be like and look like. There wasn’t a villain alive who could stand up to the steely gaze of the Colonel.
I also got a bike, my dad got it for me. It helped me compete with the skinny kids who could run fast. My Schwinn, “ol’ Blacky”, and I could out distance the fleetest of the fleet. And we were much better at going downhill than the runners. Col. Tim went off the air without much notice from me. I was now delivering papers and making “big, big money”.
Years later and I mean years, I moved to Idaho, married and had two sons. One day there was a poster, “Col. Tim McCoy ” was coming to town. The boys and I went. It was only one show and not very well attended. The ticket taker, the refreshment seller, and the Indian assistant were all the same guy. Col. Tim looked old and some what frail. His voice had lost a little of the commanding resonance, and he did tricks with an Australian stock whip, not much gun play. The boys thought is was so-so, I thought he was too old.
After the show we got the obligatory souvenir program and a couple of “authentic Australian stock whips”. We had parked in back of the theater and had to pass the stage door to get to the car. As we walked by the door opened and there stood Col. Tim McCoy. He had his huge white hat, pants tucked into his boots, and a gun belt could be seen under his leather jacket. What a magnificent sight. I had been wrong! This was the real Col.Tim McCoy, not the other guy on the stage.
I introduce myself and the boys. We “parleyed” for almost 20 minutes about the past, indians, bad guys, good guys, and Gen. Custer. The Col. lead a part in the early 1900’s to the Little Big Horn. He talked with indians who had been in the battle. The kids and I were spellbound. He was no longer the old man trying to regain past glories, but the dignified, and as you said, hansom teller of Indian tales, and western lore.
He died a few years later, but my boys, now 30 and 33 both remember Col. Tim McCoy. Thank you for your article.
Bob Sullivan Salt Lake City, Utah
Your post here is better than my article. I forget if I mentioned his book, ""Tim McCoy Remembers the West."" Reading it, I learned he was a real Colonel, a real Cowboy--in short, the Real McCoy. Also an early and first-hand ethnologist, expert in Indian sign-language, and married to an accused Nazi spy. I got the book on inter-library loan, and enjoyed it quite a lot.