One of the strangest things I remember my Dad saying was, “I loved Bonnie and Clyde.”
Every one did at first. The Great Depression was in full swing, people were broke, out of work, and the banks were taking homes, farms, and refusing to give money to the people who’d put it there.
Bonnie and Clyde were heroes. They were robbing the rich and giving to the poor, and the public loved them.
Until they started killing.
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were from dirt poor Texas families, who lived hard scrabble lives in the dust bowl of America.
Clyde was a small time hood, car thief, bank robber, and murderer who’d spent the majority of his adolescence and adult life either in jail or on the run. He hated the law, he hated authority, and he hated the rich.
But if it hadn’t been for Bonnie Parker, we’d probably know or care little about him.
Bonnie added the sex appeal.
Clyde had already murdered one man before he met Bonnie Parker. He was repeatedly raped by an inmate in prison, and at the first chance he killed his attacker. Another inmate took the blame. He was already in jail for murder with no chance of getting out, and he owed Clyde one.
Clyde got out, went back in, got out, went back in, escaped, and met the blonde from West Texas that would change his life. They met at a friends house in West Dallas. Smitten on sight, Clyde fell for Bonnie immediately. In and out of jail, he loved her, she, always wanting more, drove him crazy with other men while he was locked UP.
But he tolerated it, because he loved her.
With Clyde once again free, they went on a robbing and killing spree that took the nation by storm, made headlines daily, and caused America to fall in love with a couple of criminals.
Then they killed a deputy and seriously wounded the sheriff, and the tide turned. Robbing banks, gas stations, and shooting UP a town were tolerable, but killing a lawman was beyond the pale.
Unlike the folk heroes Warren Beatty gave us, they were murderous law-breakers who had no respect for property or life. The movie Bonnie and Clyde may have made Warren Beatty a star, but he didn’t get the history right.
They were thugs, not heroes. They were murderers, robbers, and bandits. But, they were real people who loved each other.
But, it was a deadly love. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were gunned down in Bienville Parish, Louisiana on May 23, 1934. He was 25, she was 24.