Draw or Die

He knew this could be his last, hell, every time he was forced to draw his gun it could.

But, he had to do it, he had to go.

He may have only been the marshal for three days, but he was Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire after all.

Dallas Stoudenmire

Hearing the first shots and quickly drawing his guns, he ran into the street firing all the way.

When the smoke cleared and the shooting stopped five seconds later, four men lay dead in the streets of El Paso.

He was not one of them.

This is a six sentence story.

SSS

Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

This week’s prompt was draw.

A Tale of Two Sisters.

My mother’s only living sister will turn 100 on June 11.

The last link to our family history, she doesn’t remember as much as she used to, but she remembers more than many 75 year olds I know.

An amazing woman who taught a town to read for 43 years, she is an inspiration to anyone who meets her.

I’ve posted about her before and will do so again before her birthday, but in the mean time, I’d like to look at some other folks born in 1916.

Roald Dahl

Gregory Peck

Kirk Douglas

Tokio Rose

Glenn Ford

Mitterand

McNamara

Eugene McCarthy

Betty Grable

Shelby Foote

Walter Cronkite

Attorney James B Donovan.

Olivia de Havilland

I could write reams about all of them, but I’m going with Olivia today, well, Olivia and her sister, Joan Fontaine.

Fontaine and de Havilland

Fontaine and de Havilland

Their sisterly relationship could not possibly be more different than that of mother and my Aunt Diddie.

Mother and Diddie – her real name is Willie, but mom couldn’t say Sissy when she was a kid and it came out Diddie, it stuck, well, at least for our branch of the family – were very close all their lives.

Aunt Diddie and Mother

Aunt Diddie and Mother 17 and 14

They called each other every week, visited each other when they could, and went to every family reunion held for as long as they could go.

Olivia de Havilland and her sister Joan Fontaine – well, no so much.

The only siblings to win Academy Awards in the lead actress category, the sisters had a lifelong rivalry of epic Hollywood proportion.  The uneasy relationship started early.  Olivia wasn’t too thrilled with having a younger sister, and Joan would later claim she resented her mother’s favoritism of Olivia.

Reality – perception – not much different.

Joan was a sickly child causing her mother to be over protective.  She pushed Olivia to do with the mantra “Livvie can, Joan can’t.” de Havilland went into show biz first overshadowing her sister early on.

When studio head Mervyn LeRoy offered Fontaine her own contract, mom chimed in with the news that Warner Bros. was Olivia’s studio and Joan would have to come UP with a different last name.

It got worse.

In 1942, both sisters were nominated for an Oscar; de Havilland for Hold Back The Dawn and Fontaine for  Suspicion.  When Joan won, Olivia – proving she was a great actress – reacted graciously saying, “We’ve got it!”  but sister Joan rejected Olivia’s attempt to congratulate her and de Havilland was offended.

In 1946, Joan and one martini too many and made some nasty comments about Livvie’s new husband.  (This is the only comparison I can make; Mother was none too fond of Uncle Joe and said, “He’s got to sleep sometime.”) When Livvie read Joan’s comments she demanded an apology which never came.

The rift grew.

When Olivia accepted her own Oscar the following year, Joan went back stage to congratulate her and de Havilland turned away.

They did not speak for five years.

In 1961, things were looking better.  They spent Christmas together in New York.

But, that didn’t last.  In 1975, the sisters fought over the cancer treatment their mother was receiving.  de Havilland wanted to consult other doctors and pushed for exploratory surgery, Fontaine did not.

Side note:  neither had an MD, just sayin’.

Fontaine claimed later that de Havilland didn’t let her know when her mother passed.  Fontaine was touring, and indeed, de Havilland did send a telegram.  It just took two weeks to get there.

But, the feud, like all feuds ended.  Fontaine died in December of 2013.  de Havilland issued a press release saying she was shocked and saddened by the news.

When mother passed on in 2015, she and Aunt Diddie were the best of friends.

It is a fact that makes me happy and lives on as an example every day of my life.

Don’t be like Joan and Livvie, be like Della and Diddie.

Mother and Aunt Diddie

Mother and Aunt Diddie

The Mystery of the Leaping Fish.

100 years ago this week, Douglas Fairbanks starred in a movie called The Mystery of the Leaping Fish.

Just to be clear, Douglas Fairbanks and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. were two different people.  Jr. was obviously his son, and not nearly as big a star.  Fairbanks Sr. was one of the founders, along with Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and others of United Artists, the first studio where actors actually had a stake in the project and weren’t the “property” of the studio.

But, that’s a story for another day.

So is the story of Jr.

The Mystery of the Leaping Fish is an American short silent comedy film starring Fairbanks, Bessie Love, and Alma Rubens.

Leaping Fish

Fairbanks usually played the swashbuckler, so a comedy was not so much a stretch but at least unexpected.  People love their stars whole, when they change things UP, it makes the fans skittish.

Fairbanks

Not only was this a different genre for the film star, the subject matter was a tad shocking.

A broad comedy cast Fairbanks in the role of Coke Ennyday, a cocaine-shooting private eye, ala Sherlock Holmes.

Ennyday wears a bandolier of syringes across his chest and injects himself from time to time dipping into a hat box sized container of white powder labeled “COCAINE”!  When he feels down, he shoots UP and immediately laughs with delight.

The movie displays a comic attitude toward Coke’s use of coke while he hunts and nabs a gang of drug smugglers.

Of course, he proceeds to use most of their supply.

The Harrison Act, which taxed and prohibited narcotics and cocoa products was enacted a year before the film which may have been an early Hollywood political statement.

They do that from time to time, right Jane?

In 1916, the use of opiates and cocaine were far more socially acceptable than today.

Also, the Hays Code, which censored films, was 14 years away, so they got away with a whole lot more!  Now-a-days, lighting a cigarette will get you an R rating.

When Hays came into effect, films dealing with controversial topics had to show the degradation surrounding drug use, not the glorification of it.

The film runs a whopping 25 minutes and is currently public domain.

In 1916, it was a departure for the swashbuckling film star who would marry America’s Sweetheart, Mary Pickford.  Now it is considered a “cult film” and historians consider it a bizarre “hallucinogenic odyssey into the absurd…”

Fairbanks and Pickford

Fairbanks hated the short, and tried for years to get it withdrawn from circulation.

But he couldn’t.

It’s still out there.

So, be careful what you do.

Or photograph.

Or film.

Or post.

Cake For Breakfast.

There are those days when cake for breakfast seems the best option.

It’s there, it’s already cooked, you don’t even need a plate.

Seriously, a paper towel will do.

eating cake

And, it’s Monday.

So, why not?

Have a great Monday.

And let them eat cake.