Friday, August 12, 2011

Like Shooting Stars-- More Bonnie & Clyde Wannabes Gain Their 2 Minutes of Fame

Well these are certainly not your grandparent's Bonnie & Clyde days anymore. In possessing technology today which Bonnie & Clyde would marvel at-- law enforcement always seems to have the tools and resources needed-- to get the jump on and quickly hunt down criminals who make a big splash. Just as other recent outlaws who the media has ceremoniously & inaccurately ascended to the level of Bonnie & Clyde-- The Dougherty Gang-- Lee, Ryan and Dylan didn't last long on the run. Hell, it seems they were just witnessed buying their tent-- & barely had time to put the sticks up.

Bonnie & Clyde History is so much more profound than just the antics, crimes & passion of a love swooned pair-- most often viewed in polarizing terms, as either callous hardened killers or unfortunate characters of fate. Their history is "our" history-- as The Great Depression affected all, regardless of circumstance. Those remarkably tough times, manifested true hardship, heartache, legitimate desperation and class struggle.

Compare that to this trio of troubled kids, where the threat of one having to register as a sex offender-- was thought would hamper his ability to see his yet unborn child. That could well be true-- but I'm not sure modern problems of personal inconvenience such as this, measure up to the unmatched challenges and struggles a brave '30's populous had to endure.

Although the overall crime rate reportedly dropped during the Depression-- robbery based murder and domestic violence surged, as frustrations were stretched to the breaking point within many. Desperate times can lead to desperate measures, among those where hope flickers like a candle in the wind. I seem to do one of these posts, every time now Bonnie & Clyde are mentioned in comparison to whichever modern day misfits are on the run. I'm sure it won't be long, until this recurring historical inequity is exercised once again by the media-- in order to prompt a reminder, of what truly tough times & iconic criminals were really like.

Monday, August 1, 2011

When It Rains It Pours-- Bonnie & Clyde Movies That is

With thanks to Russ-- an interesting new development on the Bonnie & Clyde movie front.

However, the source book for this newly reported Burger and Sheldon effort is less than impressive-- at least to me. It looks like I'll need to re-sharpen the skewers once again, for yet another round of Jeff Guinn "historical" comment concerning this newly proposed film. According to this media account, should this additional Bonnie & Clyde movie be made-- it will key on the hype and sensationalism Jeff Guinn brought to bear (without historical basis)-- which seemed aimed at spurring on his book sales. It appears this portrayal, will include a telling of Bonnie's alleged foray into the world of Prostitution-- a claim Guinn has espoused, but can't back with any credibility. To view the damage Guinn has inflicted on Bonnie's reputation-- one only needs to Google the phrase Bonnie Parker Prostitute, to reveal how Guinn's handy work has maligned her.

Whether it be within the realms of politics or film-- as the truth doesn't seem important anymore, it appears this new Bonnie & Clyde movie will look to capitalize on today's successful formula-- of separating people from their $$ via the sensational. My take is-- the "true" story of Bonnie & Clyde if told correctly, is more interesting and poignant than any film portrayal to date. Based on Tonya Holly's passion and dedication to the truth concerning Bonnie & Clyde, it's my belief-- her portrayal will become the standard by which other are judged.

I've been in touch with Tonya, who says she's aware of this alternative Bonnie & Clyde movie effort. Last I've heard, Tonya's moving ahead with The Story of Bonnie & Clyde regardless of likened competitors. I as many-- feel Tonya will provide the saga of Bonnie & Clyde the historical truth these iconic outlaws deserve. I have no such illusion, concerning any effort which relies on Guinn's fantasy-laced interpretation of Bonnie & Clyde. Guinn, who's a "hired gun" contract writer anyway-- has moved on to topics unrelated to the history of Bonnie & Clyde, thus proving his lack of sustained interest in this history. In hearing of his association with this latest Bonnie & Clyde movie effort-- I can't say I'm disappointed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Bonnie & Clyde History Blog Editorial-- Same 'Ol Shit/ Different Day

As it seems some just can't control themselves & also speak with forked tongue, it's time again although it be unfortunate-- for an editorial re: the behavior of some within this history. This will be short and sweet-- at least for me, as I don't have time for moronic nonsense. For those who believe in Tom Methvin and his followers/the self proclaimed Bonnie & Clyde "Elite"-- go there/stay there and stay away from here. I will not have my daughter insulted as she was previously, the memory of my "wonderful" and deceased granddaughter dragged through the dirt-- and myself threatened repeatedly by a classless cad and liar-- who works tirelessly at manipulating others, to follow him off the cliff of indecency-- while spewing the lowest form of septic insult.

All I can do is document the threats-- and let he who does a fine job of coming apart at the seams, continue to do so if that's his desire. Rant after rant/year after year/forum after forum/topic after topic/attempt at ruined reputation after attempt at ruined reputation-- should signal to some what reality is. But if those around him still feel comfortable in supporting that kind of crudity and inhumanity, good luck to you-- for your forums repeatedly revert to only being platforms for hate filled vitriol. Unfortunately as such, these forums are often focused on manipulation and spin rather than history. Inciting hatred is bad enough-- but to me being heartless and dishonest, is a far more telling measure of a person's true identity.

Nothing surrounding this history, should be about selfishness, hatred or retribution-- as having the unique opportunity to study a history so steeped in passion and human dynamics, is indeed an honorable and fulfilling pastime. Useless and self imposed drama-- are not.

Dirty tricksters are an old breed, but never supported by the truth.
Dates can be changed, threads altered and spin created to influence those easily fooled. But you see, my granddaughter didn't just up and die-- so the end date of cruel comments even though now changed, is irrelevant. My family was going through turmoil concerning Leila's being ill-- at the same time that a multitude of crass comments were being made. Some might say "we didn't know"-- to which I would reply, "as you don't always know what's going on in people's lives-- you shouldn't have been saying those things to begin with". And concerning insincere condolences-- the indisputable truth is, rude comments were made-- then those same individuals tried to backtrack, and seem sincere in expressing sorrow.

It's funny how hatred and sorrow don't mix. As such, even Tom's cleverly crafted 2 word note of condolence "Very sad"-- was picked out by some within our families, who asked "who is that idiot?" It seems even for those who didn't know anything about him-- in viewing just 2 words of "supposed" sympathy, they had him pegged correctly. Insincerity you see-- is not easily disguised.

Unlike some who will spend countless hours harping on this, and posting rant after rant to waste time and space on their forums-- that won't be the case here. Unfortunately from time to time, I need to respond to another round of this Bonnie & Clyde elitist bullshit. I've sent 1 e-mail in response to many, and hopefully just this opinion will suffice-- in combating a number of newly posted comments elsewhere. Thus, we can hopefully now move on to more important historical matters. As always in these instances-- my apologies for needing to take time for this kind of distraction.

Honorable men, are never dirty tricksters or liars-- and honorable men in the end will prevail. I take pride in having The Bonnie & Clyde History Blog be objective, fair and polite. So even within these comments which by all rights could be much more scathing-- I choose couth over crudity, and honor over disgrace.

Update-- I've now read Tom's latest rant-- a rambling repetitive attempt at saving face I suppose. For the record, having lost quite a bit of weight, I'm in pretty good shape now-- better than in years. And what was that you said in your e-mail about having proof Bonnie was pregnant?? All this time you've made people think I'm wrong about that, and that I've wanted to hurt others in my quest for the truth. Now what was that about Coushatta?!? Prescriptions and Doctor's notes-- "oh my". I wonder if JR knows you send threatening e-mails exposing your research, and holding it over my head as if I care. And is 2022 now the release date for the book??

I know what I feel is true re: a Bonnie Parker pregnancy-- and all this time you've agreed, but made others question my motives?? and investigation. Now at some point, you're going to reveal what you know in support of a Bonnie pregnancy?!? So what was the point of ostracizing me in the minds of others, over something in truth you agree with?? That's a fair question for all to ponder, isn't it?? Hypocrite is as hypocrite does. And where does a pregnant Bonnie fit in with Gordon Baker's book?? He may not have proof, but may not be that far off either. Worth trying to ruin his reputation, or just an attempt to reduce a competitor by one?? So what did happen at the ambush, which was so secretive?? What was the info from a witness to that carnage/never publicly revealed?? I might suggest we try and get along about now. This really seems all about hate-- and I'm not into hate.

"Love is the answer and you know that for sure"
-- John Lennon

And what's that about obsession TM-- as between you and your right hand girl Jan, you sometimes visit here close to 20 times a day. Thanks for the support-- but I don't care at all to look at what you're doing. Just 12 visits on Thursday-- perhaps a little light, but there's always tomorrow.

Monday, June 6, 2011

In Honor of Leila

I haven't posted a photo of my granddaughter Leila until now-- something I've wanted to do for all who had expressed kind thoughts upon her passing. It's a shame at the time, some were wrapped up in trying to destroy the reputation of Gordon Baker and also in taking callous shots at me at a most inopportune moment-- while my family was in the midst of heartbreak.

I've now had the chance to read through the B&C History Discussion forum, which I imagine some might prefer I wouldn't have found. My advantage in having seen this now, is to better understand who among the self proclaimed Bonnie & Clyde "Community" are sincerely passionate about their cause (as
there are some good folks there)-- vs those who just seem to be insurmountably vulgar individuals. I have noted those who went out of their way to make cruel remarks, while at the same time appearing concerned about my family and myself during a period of immense personal tragedy. Although I didn't know it then, a number of what appeared to be sincere condolences re: my granddaughter's passing-- obviously were backed by less than true feelings.

So for those who are interested, and in her honor-- this was Leila. And to those who were nice enough to exercise restraint and decorum within that forum of grand disrespect-- my sincere "thanks" and appreciation. Also to those loyal to The B&CHB, whom I know expressed genuine and heartfelt concern for my daughter, my family and myself-- I again offer my most grateful thanks. I'll always remember your wonderful kindness. However for those whose false words and actions deserve no accolades-- please note my feeling that this wonderful little girl-- was a far better person in just one year of life, than you'll likely be in all your days. To treat people as you do just because you feel like it, I'm sure is not what you would want others to do unto you.

Maybe we're a little more even now. Oh and for those who've expressed "glee"-- in thinking you've made a difference in having brought down Gordon Baker and his book, I don't see it that way. Those who cast stones, but yet have or support what many might consider marginal theories-- and without evidence to back their cause-- really should think twice before criticizing others. Fools and their followers it seems, serve little purpose-- except to entertain their own twisted sense of hatred. I can think of fewer things more useless.

It's interesting how some people's hidden truths are exposed when the chips are down, while others remain true to the self always seen. Hey-- What goes around, comes around. And as a friend of mine recently posted-- "Pay no mind to those who talk behind your back, it simply means that you are two steps ahead".

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Joplin Relief-- Please Help If You Can

The Joplin relief effort in helping displaced families is seemingly a monumental task. As such I would ask that if possible, all help if you can-- even with a small donation. Although for many of us, our only link to Joplin is the Bonnie & Clyde History that resides there, this very human tragedy is certainly not a Bonnie & Clyde event.

I must take a moment to say, I've now heard of a Bonnie & Clyde Historian's fund being established for Joplin relief. I suppose that's alright-- however I'm not sure anyone should tag this tragedy to promote a Bonnie & Clyde anything. You don't see a B&CHB Joplin Relief Fund, as I can only feel the Red Cross Chapter there on the ground in Missouri-- is likely the correct vehicle with which to donate. Also-- any comments concerning complaints about Joplin residents I've seen advanced recently, in dealing with Bonnie & Clyde matters at a time when Joplin's citizens are dying-- is abhorrent to me. Bad taste & timing as I view it.

You can find links to the Ozark Red Cross Chapter here, on Frank Ballinger's site and on my facebook page. I encourage all who can-- to please donate. And don't feel you need to link any association to Bonnie & Clyde to do so. I'm not part of any historian's fund, and although I'm sure it's well intentioned-- I'm not so sure it's entirely necessary. I just hope all will do the right thing-- when doing the right thing is all that matters.

Link to the Ozarks Chapter of The American Red Cross for Joplin disaster relief--

"Thank You"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Joplin, MO Devastated by Tornado-- Death Toll High. Bonnie & Clyde's Joplin Hideout Survives Twister

Joplin, MO has sustained much damage after a powerful double vortex tornado struck the city on May 22nd. The storm which has been identified as an EF5, had winds topping 200 MPH. More than 140 fatalities have been confirmed, with many still missing. Besides heart felt concern for the lives and property of the good people there, there's also been an interest among those who revere this history regarding the condition of Bonnie & Clyde's Joplin hideout.

As tornadoes have destroyed a number of Bonnie & Clyde historical sites over the years, I've attempted to learn what I can concerning this situation-- while maintaining a proper and compassionate focus on the lives and families of Joplin residents, which of course must be the overriding concern. Regarding Bonnie & Clyde's Joplin hideout, Tonya Holly has declared the following via facebook-- "Just heard from Phillip McClendon, he said the apartment in Joplin is fine. It is on 34th St. and the tornado went down 32nd St. He is going to let us know where people can send supplies or whatever is needed to help. He and his wife survived the tornado in their closet, but their house and many of their neighbors are gone. He is the owner of the Bonnie and Clyde hideout. I was so glad to hear his voice."

My Goodness, what a story. Thankfully the McClendons are safe, but their harrowing account illustrates just how serous this situation was. Many thanks to Tonya for the update, and may God bless the citizens of Joplin in their time of need.

Author Ron Morgan had communicated with me, in providing his feeling that based on his knowledge of Joplin-- that the tornado may have come very close to Oak Ridge Drive.
How right he was. As Ron and I and others have expressed continuously since this tragedy occurred-- people and families must come first, before historical matters. As such, priorities need to be placed in the right order. As nearly 1000 hits were logged on this site on May 23rd and 24th alone, mostly searching for info on Joplin-- there's obviously been great interest expressed. Many thanks for your patience and understanding-- within what are most dyer concerns for the people of Joplin.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Story of Bonnie & Clyde. Hilary Duff's Out-- No She's In-- No She's Out-- No Wait, She's In??

As many know, I've tried my best to keep up with the ongoing saga of The Story of Bonnie & Clyde-- Tonya S. Holly's independent attempt at telling a true life version of the History of Bonnie & Clyde for the silver screen. In exchanging e-mails with Tonya over the past few days, I've discovered the heartbreaking and unfortunate truth-- that many associated with the film were affected by the devastation of the recent tornadoes which swept through Alabama. Some associated with the film or within their families lost their homes or worse-- lost friends or loved ones. Shooting was also said to be affected by the toll of the tornadoes. Upon expressing my somber condolences to all affected, I politely attempted to learn what I could from Tonya concerning the progress of the film, which has apparently been sidetracked repeatedly by a lack of adequate funding for the project.

But then I seemingly walked into a hornet's nest of controversy involving the reported firing of the movie's leading lady Hilary Duff by Holly. TMZ had reported this rift and although Holly's website Cypress Moon Productions still lists Duff as portraying Bonnie Parker for the movie, has removed her from the movie's actors list. Hilary Duff has issued comment-- including making a statement for the U.S. news show Access Hollywood Live that she approached director Holly through her agent for clarification.

"I said, 'Well, I wanna, like, release a statement, but if I got fired I just want you to let me know so I don't release something, saying, 'I didn't know that I was fired. "She emailed me and said,"You know you're my Bonnie and of course I don't even know where this all came from and I'm so sorry..."

Thus Hilary's conclusion has been expressed this way-- "So, if the movie ever gets made, I think I'm Bonnie... It's been a long time coming. With these independent movies, sometimes they never get made or sometimes they take 10 years to get made."

However, importantly what may be have been overlooked by Hilary Duff within her statement-- is the reality that Bonnie was barely 20 years old and Clyde not much older when the saga of Bonnie & Clyde actually began. So especially with it's lead actors, time is of the essence as no one's getting any younger. And although Tonya has always been most generous in keeping The B&CHB informed of her movie's progress, this go round it appears more measured responses were the order of the day regarding the status of the film-- both from a filming perspective and perhaps more critically, a funding one. I too am hopeful this updated and projected true life account of Bonnie & Clyde will indeed be made. But it seems especially for a bold and independent project such as this-- this is no time for a recession. There's still interest in this movie, but understandably it seems less-- than 2 years ago when interest was at a fever pitch.

So channel your positive thoughts and hopes for what could be a wonderful and historically important film-- and stay tuned for more on Tonya Holly's The Story of Bonnie & Clyde.

Prentiss Oakley Finally Gets His Due

In a move which seemingly took longer than it may have needed to-- an updated plaque has been installed at the Henderson Jordan Memorial Park in Arcadia, Louisiana. This newly crafted brass plaque has now corrected the oversight of a year ago, where former Bienville Parish Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff and Bonnie & Clyde ambush posse member Prentiss Oakley-- was inexplicably left off the memorial commemorating the 6 members of the posse. This memorial is located at the former sight of Congers Furniture Store and Funeral Home in Arcadia.

In a gesture befitting of Prentiss Oakley's place in history-- the new plaque (pictured here)-- includes mention of Oakley, whom is known to have been the lawman who killed Clyde Barrow. Many thanks to Holley, for providing the image of the new Henderson Jordan Memorial Park plaque for those who frequent The B&CHB.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bonnie and Clyde Truth-- "Oh" Those Authors

Every so often I'll comment re: truth in Bonnie & Clyde History, a topic which most know with confidence that I'm committed to wholeheartedly. I wonder what it is about modern society, that truth has seemingly taken a back seat to reaping the spoils of unbridled greed-- or has truth really always been at the mercy of reality as seen through rose colored glasses?? It almost seems now we're to the point where accuracy has roughly the same value as mediocrity. From reality TV with no basis in reality, to journalism which regularly sports apologies and who's output is rarely proofread-- to books where some authors seemingly say as they please, and treat historical events with the same care employed by tabloid journalists.

And at least for one Bonnie & Clyde "historical" author with a much celebrated release, it seemed easier to incorporate a catch all disclaimer in attempting to negate even the need for historical accuracy-- rather than field legitimate questions concerning his work. Add to that the pungent aura of self aggrandizement amongst some, in appearing to take credit for others' long standing research within more modern efforts. What do you suppose is lacking within today's historical sensibilities??-- which has transformed what "should" be stellar standards upheld in the researching and reporting of history-- into some denigratory clay like modeling of history, to fit perhaps within the narrow maximization of a 16 week book tour. What's apparently lost on publishing houses today, is the fact that once historical books hit the discount racks-- they still retain lasting impact. And do publishers really possess the ability to research and resolve factual issues, without succumbing to the temptation of allowing sensationalism to drive book sales?? Now there's a question for a whole 'nother article.

I must say I'm not much into publishing plugs for authors who leave what appear to be self supporting comments-- which I suppose they hope will be posted, and just so happen to coincide with a book release. Recently-- a claim of propriety for the 1st publication of knowledge concerning a Bonnie Parker pregnancy was advanced behind the scenes here, along with the assertion of remarkable proof having been cited for this contention. Well being as interested as I've been for a number of years now in this mystery, and having launched my own investigation into a possible Bonnie Parker pregnancy which I feel "has" produced interesting insights-- I was of course eager to learn of this remarkable info. But it seems the catch was, I had to buy the book to find out.

I don't feel any historian, should install a financial prerequisite on another historian in the sharing of what could be key historical information. Selling your wares is fine, but seeming to hold out for cash historian to historian-- I had never heard of that before, and frankly skepticism on my part was the inevitable result of such an action. And as no revelations were forthcoming within a number of follow up e-mail exchanges, to support this gentleman's statement that Bonnie had told a friend she was 3 months pregnant-- I can only believe this monumental info had to do with Clemmie Methvin's insights as related by her sister in law Emma. However as I and others familiar with this history are aware-- that knowledge along with other Bonnie Parker pregnancy angles have been known and written of for years, and in some cases decades. Perhaps this individual wasn't familiar with the extent to which I've delved into this mystery, but it became clear through our e-mails-- that the weight of new knowledge concerning a possible Bonnie Parker pregnancy rested squarely on this side of the keyboard.

Hey, gotta push to sell those books-- which I'm sure are fine books-- but not here, where Bonnie & Clyde truth is sought without compromise. As this particular True Crime book having to do with Dillinger truths isn't primarily focused on Bonnie & Clyde, and it's author (who seems a nice enough fellow)-- is better known for reporting on other notorious outlaws, I'll wish him well with his book and not belabor the point-- except to say I feel
Dr. Carroll Rich and John Neal Phillips might appreciate their published efforts being recognized. Carroll wrote of a Bonnie Parker pregnancy circa 1970 with regards to Dr. James Wade's findings upon examining Bonnie-- and in 1996, John chronicled additional detail concerning this rumor.

Some of John's work was then footnoted within Jim Knight's book, with Jim using personally held interviews with Clemmie Methvin concerning Bonnie's revelation to Emma concerning her pregnancy-- as well as the preparations of women in Bienville Parish to help Bonnie. Another Clemmie interview regarding this topic exists amongst numerous interviews, which are so far unpublished. I have read transcripts of or viewed a number of these remarkable interviews from those alive in 1934-- most of whom are no longer with us.

Among Phillip's revelations was the story of Dallas Herald Reporter Bill Duncan, who in searching for answers concerning this mystery, traveled to Arcadia apparently for the express purpose of viewing the undraped body of Bonnie Parker in death-- in attempting to determine Bonnie's state of pregnancy if any at the time of her demise. That was of course nearly 77 years ago. Ala John Toland-- some authors who specialize in other outlaws, or paint outlaw history with a broader brush-- understandably might not always convey Bonnie & Clyde History to it's fullest insights. Of course in fairness, the opposite would certainly hold true-- should I try to impart many of the finer nuances of John Dillinger or Alvin Karpis.

However as this author was seemingly hell bent, on espousing a conspiracy theory and cover up of a Bonnie pregnancy-- my reply (even though I too believe Bonnie may have been pregnant when killed)-- was to exercise caution, and prompt this gentleman to provide more proof than just logical feelings. Logical feelings and $2.25 will get you a ride on the NYC subway-- provided you can find a MetroCard machine that takes cash!!

It seems true, as expressed by some within this history who are wise enough to possess a uniquely broad perspective on previously published Bonnie & Clyde works-- that so much knowledge (whether true or not) regarding these iconic desperadoes just seems bandied about from book to book-- and with some said insights having little basis in fact or evidence to support them. Also the groundbreaking info from Dallas FBI file 26-4114, to my knowledge-- was 1st used by Paul Schneider within his 2009 release Bonnie and Clyde: The Lives Behind the Legend. Some may not care for Scheider's unique narrative style in telling the story of The Barrow Gang from a surmised point of view, but Paul's research including his use of the aforementioned FBI info seems strong.

One disturbing element within this debate over truth within Bonnie & Clyde History, has to do with some authors' apparent ease in incorporating previously known work-- while seemingly taking credit for their use of it. One highly regarded Bonnie & Clyde author has related his feelings concerning this to me, while a well known B&C Historian has been so bold as to use the term plagiarism, to describe his impression of a recent B&C work. Just as with popular music these days, where blatantly sampled million dollar hooks from the past-- are re-spun into new songs in seeking the expedient all mighty dollar-- such seems the case with some historical chronicles published within this lightning quick data driven world.

"Sorry-- I'm too busy to exchange e-mails with you concerning this history, as I'm out promoting my book"-- is a phrase the gist of which I've experienced in one form or another, more than once in recent memory. But as we're all really busy in one way or another these days-- I feel you make time, when something's important to you. Also if you've gone to the trouble, to publish an historical effort likely filled with blood, sweat and tears-- wouldn't it seem worthwhile to discuss it within the realm of historical relevance?? Winston Churchill's famous quote about truth as depicted at the top of this article-- couldn't be more relevant.

It's most interesting what you learn by telling the truth, and suggesting the need for higher standards within this history. But it seems a sad reality these days-- that support for supposition driven assertions, and less than truthful self promotion of others work can so easily be bought and defended. However just remember-- facts are not decided by how many people believe them, and truth is not determined by how loudly it is shouted. Hopefully, there will always be an honorable defense of truth in Bonnie & Clyde History.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grapevine-- The Truth Remains at a Murky Depth

This Easter marked the 77th anniversary of the Grapevine killings-- another of the many uncertain Bonnie and Clyde events, where truth seems poised as if formed of mercurial lines. It's of course clear, that officers Wheeler and Murphy were viciously gunned down that Easter in 1934-- upon investigating what unbenownst to them was a suspicious car containing The Barrow Gang. However now close to 8 decades later, exactly who actually shot the 2 motorcycle police officers that day remains a mystery-- along with how many and which weapons were used.

Many who take the lawman's view within this history and without an element of pity, look to Grapevine as a vindication of sorts for Frank Hamer-- in supporting his statements made in justifying the killing of Bonnie Parker. However the statements of said eyewitness William Schieffer have been debated for decades, and with good cause-- as contradictory eyewitness accounts exist. Schieffer was never able to identify Bonnie Parker as the woman he saw that day-- and in fact, even though it was apparently more than obvious that Clyde Barrow and his accomplices were involved, the police in sorting through the accounts told that Easter Sunday-- oddly decided to charge Billie Mace and Floyd Hamilton for the crime. Billie and Floyd would ultimately be exonerated via ballistics evidence found within the Warren death car. Also-- even though Emma Parker seemed desperate to wish a clean pass be given to her daughter in telling of a Henry Methvin confession to both murders-- the number and types of shell casings reportedly found at the scene, don't appear to support the participation of just one killer. It seems more logical that both Clyde Barrow and Henry Methvin pulled the triggers that day, although many seem eager to eliminate Clyde as one of the shooters.

Yes this is yet another murky Bonnie & Clyde event, which to those who cannot forget the senseless murders of H. D. Murphy and E. B. Wheeler-- point to both the brutality of The Barrow Gang and the reality of the times in which they lived. For those who wish to portray Bonnie and Clyde as victims, Grapevine like their other killings-- can be fashioned as if an origami folding into justifiable homicides of self preservation. However for those who view Bonnie & Clyde as nothing more than cold blooded and perhaps psychopathic killers, Easter Sunday 1934 was just another day-- except for which these particular murders along with The Barrow Gang's other killings-- should never be forgotten.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bonnie & Clyde Sexual Rumor Never a Dull Moment

During my recent hiatus, I would look to view key word entries used to access The B&CHB. Along with many thoughtful inquiries which I often respond to-- as usual, there were more than a fair share of questions regarding Bonnie & Clyde sexual rumor. Sometimes these questions seem asked, as if this blog somehow provides some bastion of support for that kind of thing. Well unless someone can show me viable proof of such rumors having a basis in reality-- no-- this is actually a place to dispel such meddlesome innuendo.

Nonetheless-- you've just gotta love many of the questions asked by people searching in the dark, for some semblance of Bonnie & Clyde sexual enlightenment. In keeping with my tradition of addressing B&C sexual innuendo in a forthright manner-- I present examples of questions and comments advanced by some in grasping at sordid straws-- and offer historical viewpoints within lighthearted responses.

Why couldn't B&C have sex??
I wouldn't bet on that having been the case-- and if Clyde were around, I wouldn't let him know you're wondering.

Was Clyde Barrow afraid of women??
I don't know-- perhaps Bonnie, Eleanor or Grace would've answered that one best. Clyde also seemingly had good relationships with his sisters and mother. Go figure.

Did Bonnie have sex with the gang??

Which one??-- the 5 member gang, expanded post Eastham gang-- or some version near the beginning or end. It's hard to explain the STDs in both B&C, but in 1930's America-- their malady was at record levels. The STDs prove sexual activity-- but apparently no one who knew Bonnie, described her in a nefarious way. Any Bonnie sordid reputation, seems to have been advanced post ambush.

Bonnie & Clyde gender
Is there a question here??

Why do people think Clyde was gay??
Ah-- that is the question. Thank you.

Tijuana Bible gay

That's a new one.

In B&C was Clyde gay?? Impotent??
I would suppose if the later were true, the 1st wouldn't matter. You forgot sterile. A tough combo to experience-- which I personally don't believe any of which may have applied to Clyde. For both medically and statistically-- from what I've learned concerning Clyde's teenage illneses, when compared to the odds of those experiences causing permanent harm-- I tend to discount the claims of Clyde's inabilities in these ways.

Bonnie & Clyde Hot Sex

OK-- but I thought they couldn't have sex.

Bonnie & Clyde hope for America
Not a B&C sexual question/comment-- but Wow!!

Risque innuendos regarding guns

Have you reached out to anyone, for help concerning this??

Clyde pencils
My goodness-- what does this mean??

B&C bisexual Guinn
With all respect-- I really don't think he might know.

Bonnie, Clyde, W.D. Jones sex

One big happy family??

B&C psychological profile

Again unrelated to B&C sexual rumor-- however "best of luck".

Bonnie Parker sex habits
I would think those who could have revealed any info of that sort for sure, both perished without doing so. Also given the spirit of the day, it was unlikely such personal info was ever disclosed. Thus anything published post death in the crime mags etc., would almost certainly be invented-- and framed toward sensationalism. Hey-- some are still doing that today. Gotta sell those books.

Who did Bonnie & Clyde eat??
A Freudian slip of the fingers??-- or perhaps
the grand champion of B&C sexual rumor quotes.
My favorite anyway.

I poke a bit of good-natured fun here, in an attempt to raise the bar above the fluff-- & encourage more individuals wondering about B&C, to concentrate on more serious B&C concerns. But a little light hearted commentary sometimes isn't a bad thing. My long standing challenge still stands-- for anyone anywhere, to please provide any reasonable proof to verify any Bonnie & Clyde sexual rumor. After all, facts are facts-- and rumors are called such for a reason.

I find it remarkable, that I can't get even "one" of the multitude of people who inquire about B&C sexual rumor-- to leave a comment explaining why they're fascinated by these somehow vital but unfounded rumors?? Perhaps someone will be brave enough to explain the lure of these feelings-- even though there's no credible evidence to support such claims.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Baker Ambush Account-- The "Pause" is the Key

Right up front I'll say I've wrestled with my approach to this post. On the one hand-- I suppose many might feel the proper way to provide stark analysis and comment, re: the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde as published within Gordon Baker's Retribution-- would involve a point by point comparison to other known ambush accounts, as stated by participants who witnessed all hell breaking loose on earth-- that uncomfortably warm 1934 morning near Sailes, Louisiana. However as many are already entrenched within their favorite ambush stories, and generally seem unwilling to consider alternative possibilities-- I'm not sure what use those comparisons would be. The reality seems to be, that polarizing viewpoints based on conflicting stories of the ambush-- may too long be set in stone within many to be adjusted.

Plus the problem I see with that approach, involves the same roadblock as evidenced since 1979-- Ted Hinton's account of the ambush. For no matter who believes what concerning the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde-- in revealing his "come clean" version of events that day, Hinton's account directly or in effect frames all other ambush accounts as told by posse members who talked-- as cover up stories. As these other versions of the ambush differ from Hinton's account and each other in most curious ways-- the question we're forced into by default, is which story to believe??

Some might picture that most uncomfortable gap between the proverbial 'ol rock and a hard place to explain this dilemma-- while others may view this historical debacle, as tantamount to paddling against a stiff current-- and thus after much effort, arriving at no place in particular. Plus concerning the Baker ambush account, although this story could be true-- there's almost no evidence to substantiate it. Thus to me, for some to go through the creative exercise of forming elaborate arguments regarding which detail is or isn't feasible within the Baker story seems fruitless-- as the proof's not available and the accounts being compared to can't be substantiated by intense scrutiny either.

In preparing for this article, I felt it important to re-visit source accounts of the ambush as published at the time-- rather than count on well traveled Bonnie & Clyde reference book versions, so often editorialized over the years. I thought perhaps this approach could help ferret out overlooked clues from the unadulterated interviews of those who were there, where talking points could be derived to address Baker's version of the ambush.

Hamer gave an interview the morning after the ambush, which was published in the Dallas Post Dispatch. Another Hamer account, which included said secret Hamer info as related by a Hamer friend-- was published within Startling Detective Magazine. In a similar fashion, Henderson Jordan's ambush story was also published later on-- and can be found in the November '34 issue of True Detective magazine. Bob Alcorn gave an interview the day of the ambush-- published the following morning in the Dallas Morning News. And perhaps the most famous ambush account, can be found within Ambush-- Ted Hinton's B&C memoir published posthumously in 1979, which to many serves as his legacy.

Among conflicting tales, told by 6 lawmen trained in the art of observing and relating "detail" within their peace officers duties, but who strangely couldn't agree on many key elements of the ambush-- along with accounts told by other witnesses that day-- there's one crucial clue which to my mind holds the key to the Baker account. That pause-- as believed heard directly after Prentiss Oakley squeezed off the 1st 2 shots killing Clyde Barrow. As told by Gordon Baker, within Charles Baker's account of the ambush-- this discernible pause is prominently noted. And as seemingly related no where else to date, Baker fills in that gap in time with a Bonnie Parker plea for mercy and attempted protection in vain-- for her unborn child. As told within Retribution-- these brief but clearly audible cries went un-headed, and shortly thereafter-- Bonnie was shot to pieces.

Of interest to me-- is that Mr. Baker's not the 1st to buck the lawmen's version and reveal the possibility of a pause having occurred, before a brutal barrage of shots penetrated the Warren car-- passing through a likely already dead Clyde and killing Bonnie Parker. However there's plenty of disagreement, in sorting out this apparent independently confirmed and controversial claim. In examining the raw interviews-- the comparisons go as follows.

Within his ambush account,
Bienville Parish Sheriff Henderson Jordan notes witnessing a number of very specific and audible verbal exchanges between Ivy Methvin, Clyde and Bonnie. Then with Methvin diving for cover, Jordan states-- "The sharp report of rifle sounded. It's echo was drowned by the roar of six guns. Lead was poured into Barrow's car." Thus Jordan seems to reveal the slightest of pauses-- enough time for the echo of the 1st shots to ring out, before any following shots were fired.

Bob Alcorn never mentions Ivy Methvin, Prentiss Oakley, the Warren car coming to a standstill or any pause in saying--"Clyde began to slow down. All of us jumped up from behind that little mound. We had rifles and shotguns pointed at him. By this time he was in fifty feet of us. He saw us and reached over grabbing for what we later learned was his gun. We let him have it. His head flew back. Bonnie toppled forward. The car careened to the left and ran into a sandbank. We didn't know whether we killed them or not".

Frank Hamer in employing hindsight within his interview the next morning, recalls the moment of the ambush with curious detail-- in saying "Clyde was driving less than 30 miles per hour. I raised up and commanded them to halt. At the same instant, Clyde reached for his 12 gauge sawed off shotgun leaning on the seat between him and Bonnie, and Bonnie reached for a 16 gauge sawed of shotgun. I gave them a chance to halt but they didn't, so we gave 'em the same medicine they've given so many others. *Note-- This is the interview, which may have forever framed Hamer's opinion of having killed Bonnie Parker in the eyes of many by his stating-- "I hated to shoot a woman-- but as I looked down my rifle barrel I remembered that Bonnie Parked had taken part in the murder of nine peace officers. I remembered how she kicked the body of a highway patrolman at Grapevine, Tex., Easter Sunday, and fired a bullet into his body as he lay on the ground. Bonnie just got in the way of bullets intended for Clyde Barrow. A woman like that had something like that coming to her."

However, within a later vintage article on Frank Hamer entitled Outlaw Tamer of the New West-- more is recounted of the ambush in a more dramatized story, including info said supplied by an unnamed friend of Hamer's. Although this article contains seeming exaggeration, out and out falsehoods and often contradicts Hamer's earlier version as told at the time of the waylay-- some details (such as B&C reaching for weapons)-- actually support other ambush stories. However note that Prentiss Oakley's 1st shots are conspicuously missing. Thus no pause. Among other things not mentioned-- there's no mention of Ivy Methvin.

This article recounts the ambush as this-- Hamer restrained his impatient aides and at 9:30 they sighted a V-8 coming up the rise. A truck slowed the Ford up and at the crest of the hill the car came almost to a complete stop. Six rifles leveled at the man and the girl in the car. "It's Barrow," cried Hinton and Alcorn
confirmed. Six voices cried "Hands up!" Barrow dropped a hand into his lap for the weapon that lay there. Bonnie reached for a shotgun at her side. The six rifles Browning automatics all, roared. Lead smashed through the windshield, through the windows, through the body of the car. Barrow's head slumped onto his chest and his body rolled oddly and lifelessly over into the seat. His foot slipped from the clutch and the car started up jerked forward in high for a few feet and into a ditch. The Hail of leaden death never let up until the automobile had settled over onto one side. Hamer found Barrow drooped lifelessly over the car door, one ear and the back of his head torn off, his chest driven in by 50 bullet wounds. Terribly mutilated also was Bonnie, one hand clutching a pack of cigarets, the other an automatic shotgun. Hamer turned away, slightly ill.

Hinton's version of the critical moment was expressed as this-- "He has pulled even with the engine part of the parked truck, twenty feet in front of me, and he is in my gunsight, though his car is still moving. Suddenly, Alcorn's deep bellow "HALT!" arouses him. Alongside him Bonnie screams, and I fire and everyone fires, and in the awful hell and noise Clyde is reaching for a weapon, and the wheels are digging into the gravel as he makes a start to get away. MY B.A.R. spits out twenty shots in an instant, and the drumbeat of shells knifes through the steel body of the car, and glass is shattering. For a fleeting instant, the car seems to melt and hang in a kind of eerie and animated suspension, trying to move forward, spitting gravel-- etc".

Nicely written, but here's a question-- again what happened to Prentiss Oakley's 1st 2 shots?? Those shots are not apparent, nor is any pause seemingly discernible at all in Hinton's account. Although not in interview form with him directly, fortunately-- Prentiss Oakley apparently related thoughts of his ambush experience to friends-- who revealed some of Oakley's comments over the years. These revelations have been available in video form. Importantly, Oakley admitted firing first-- but said he wasn't sure why he fired. It's thought the intense pressure of the moment, may have caused Oakley (with a bead on Clyde)-- to squeeze his trigger initially. But again, true to other ambush posse accounts-- I don't recall these stories of Oakley's exploits, including mention of a pause after his firing.

However in throwing a gleaming monkey wrench into the lawmen's accounts-- this pause "is" noted within the accounts of independent observers, some of whom were present to witness the ambush with both their eyes & ears-- and some who instead witnessed it just aurally. As told within Bonnie & Clyde A 21st Century Update, Jim Knight notes that Prentiss Oakley emptied 5 shots into the Warren car, with only the 1st shot having hit Clyde in the temple killing him instantly. Jim states that as witnessed that day, only Oakley's 1st 2 shots stood out on their own-- with the final 3 being drowned out within the carnage which ensued. Buddy Goldston is footnoted as the source of that info, from his Remembering Bonnie and Clyde documentary interview.

John Neal Phillips also makes reference to this pause in firing, within his iconic Bonnie & Clyde rendering Running with Bonnie and Clyde. In this offering, Prentiss Oakley took 2 shots prematurely-- with Hinton seeing Clyde's head snap back. Then all six officers opened fire. It's seems unclear from John's account-- how long this pause was noted to be. The man named as the source of this critical info, concerning Oakley having fired with the pause that followed-- is Gibsland resident Olin Jackson. Mr. Jackson was working in the fields some 2 miles away, at the time of the ambush. Olin who to me was a good but testy interview, and who recently passed away having reached his late 90s-- told this now famous story of having heard the initial shots-- followed by a pause and then a wrath of gunfire. Mr. Jackson's claim has been chronicled in both video form, and within some of the more reputable Bonnie & Clyde historical reference books.

Although none of these accounts note a duration for this pause (which would be key to the Baker account)-- as I understand it from my many talks with "Boots" Hinton, who heard this story from Olin-- Mr. Jackson noted a slight pause before additional gunfire erupted. How slight is slight-- may be the "most" important element in wading through the Baker ambush account. As mentioned, not even Ted Hinton who professed to have exposed the truth within his account of the ambush-- mentions this discernible pause and thus offers no details from that experience. But it seems to me, those sympathetic to the lawmen have been forced to comment on this gap in time-- and admit to a contradiction in events as reported, based on independent witness accounts.

This opens up the possibility to all sorts of contradictions to the reality of that day-- as the lawmen themselves couldn't seem to get their stories quite straight. Concerning that pause in firing-- as others independent of the law and independent of the Baker account witnessed this pause-- I am inclined to believe such a pause indeed occurred. But it's what happened within that pause, that's important to Baker's story.

The crux of the Baker ambush account is that Frank Hamer hired Charles Baker, said to have been a freelance Canadian born photographer living in Texas at the time-- to record on film the capture of Bonnie & Clyde. Within this story, Hamer's motivation seems to involve preserving for some future use (perhaps his own)-- professionally shot footage of the ambush. Thus Charles Baker is reported as the "7th man" at Sailes that day, who chronicled the ambush. The film from 3 strategically placed movie cameras, was said to have been confiscated by Hamer-- who made sure no footage remained out of his possession.

As further explained within Retribution, during that pause & after Prentiss Oakley had noticeably killed Clyde-- Bonnie was said to have pleaded for mercy-- with enough time seemingly having elapsed for Baker to believe the posse might take Bonnie Parker alive. But then to Baker's horror, Bonnie is executed in a hail of bullets. After the ambush, and with posse members self absorbed in sifting through the bounty of their efforts-- Charles Baker is able to abscond with Bonnie's diary, which was well hidden under Bonnie's seat. This diary apparently revealed a final Bonnie Parker poem (Retribution)-- and diary entries from January 1st, 1934 until the morning of the ambush. It's said Bonnie's final diary entry, eerily foretold of her own death on that very day.

Of course the beauty of Retribution from a documentation viewpoint-- is that there isn't any. It seems the most crucial element of Baker's proof (Charles Baker's notes)-- were destroyed in a vindictive act by a Baker relative. I don't know about you, but I guarantee you one thing-- if those were my notes, they would have been locked up tight in a safe deposit box so that no cruel fate could befall them. I suppose Gordon Baker's explanation of Bonnie & Clyde not being of particular importance to him in 1985, couldn't have been better illustrated-- than by his apparent disregard for the value of those irreplaceable notes, which today could be historically monumental.

I've read much of the overzealous banter re: Retribution, as professed by those within this history who like to spread their skepticism like a blanket-- and pick apart any and all minutia within the saga of Bonnie & Clyde to the point of obsession. I myself don't feel it makes any difference, which wind up cameras may have been used by Charles Baker-- or where he was when the proceedings in Arcadia were unfolding. Hell-- the cloak of secrecy concerning the ambush of B&C casts such a dark shadow, I would challenge anyone to recount the actual events as they occurred that day-- based on any one or combination of ambush accounts. It's my belief, the full truth concerning the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde may never be known.

To me this is simple-- we could debate Retribution for years, but I don't feel we need to. Could Charles Baker have been at the ambush at the invitation of Frank Hamer?? Sure. Could he have recorded the ambush on film that Hamer confiscated?? Sounds like Hamer to me. However-- did this event actually happen as portrayed within Retribution??? I would ask politely, how these accounts could be believed objectively-- with nary a shred of proof??? I would feel more comfortable concerning Charles Baker, if some evidence of his existence could be shown. We know much about the 6 who fired at Bonnie & Clyde-- but nothing about Baker, with the exception of a word of mouth account and secondary notes. Could Baker and his participation within this history, just be one of those deep dark Bonnie & Clyde secrets-- never meant to see the light of day?? That could be a fair assessment-- as I believe many of those secrets exist. However I must say, the already murky ambush of B&C is hardly the place-- to throw in this added historical mystery without some element of proof. Concerning Baker and his story-- having a disclaimer act as a barricade at every turn, is not good for historical disclosure.

Regarding the pause which I feel so important-- based on independent witness accounts, no matter what the lawmen said that day or later in life-- I for one believe there was some discernible pause after Prentiss Oakley's 1st shots rang out. And the lawmen themselves may have evidenced this, with the claim that Bonnie was heard to scream after the law's presence was known. That's an interesting clue, as it too notes a space in time for reflection-- but at what point this scream occurred (pre or post Oakley's shots)-- would be vital to know. I'm still searching for a Bonnie scream from source material at the time, but am not sure this Bonnie reaction was noted until later. Hinton notes it after Alcorn's warning and prior to any shooting having started. It's funny-- they "let them have it"-- but some still had time to hear Bonnie's scream. Another seeming inconsistency.

However none of those who witnessed a pause in the firing, seemed to note a pause long enough for Bonnie to have made her plea as noted by Baker. In this case, the timing of gunshots wouldn't lie-- and that timing element-- a pause long enough for Bonnie to plead for 2 human lives and attempt to surrender-- doesn't seem apparent within what could have been terrific corroborating evidence. To me, the length of the pause is the "key" in being able to support or reject the Baker ambush account. In my view-- the amount of detail as reported within that pause by Baker-- could not likely occur within the space of time noted by independent observers. While others may choose to hash out the minutia of this to their heart's content-- I'll stick with this key moment as being most important.

Many know, after looking into a possible Bonnie Parker pregnancy now for close to 3 years-- I make no bones about the fact that at this point, I believe Bonnie may have been pregnant (or thought she was) when killed. I feel there may eventually be enough evidence to support this Bonnie circumstance. Nonetheless-- without even cursory proof for it's claims, I can add little additional credence to a Bonnie pregnancy based on the Baker ambush account. Having said that-- I respect very much Gordon Baker's valiant and stated desire, to have done right in honoring Charles Baker's dying request concerning this story.

You won't get me to say that I doubt Gordon Baker, or attack him as some defenders of the B&C Status Quo have done. I have no tolerance for unwarranted or vicious personal attacks-- whether within an historical context or elsewhere. Historical commentary based on substance is one thing-- immaturity and the use of personal slurs is quite another.

And for those who like to cast stones at me-- yes-- when compared to Gordon Baker, I view my criticism of Jeff Guinn's B&C book in a much different manner. To me, there's no apparent willingness to overtly tout the sensational within Baker's book-- or mold non-facts into facts, while noting via footnotes or e-mail that due diligence was employed-- or use materials with dubious merit from supposed B&C authorities, to make inference where inference cannot logically be made-- or publish claims based on the wrong provenance, when the correct provenance was easily obtainable-- or to utilize a "catch all" disclaimer, which in effect releases him from any and all responsibility historically-- in stating that "all written history is ultimately best guess." That's more the work of a hired gun, with literary experience in writing of vampires and Santa Claus. The simple truth is-- evidence is required to validate historical claims. Otherwise stories such as this, fall into the realm of Bonnie & Clyde lore. And Lord knows-- there's never a shortage of B&C lore.

It's most unfortunate more evidence isn't available to support Charles Baker's claim-- or of the existence of Charles Baker himself. Perhaps this could be sorted out in the future. Proof of the existence of Baker would help immensely, toward considering Retribution and it's ambush account as a viable Bonnie & Clyde work.

I don't believe anyone living, can substantiate exactly what occurred at the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde. I'm must say I'm to the point, where I don't feel confident in any of the stated ambush accounts. There seem too many conflicting and important differences noted, to know for sure what occurred that day-- except that Bonnie & Clyde were indeed killed by the 6 lawmen known to have participated (rightly or wrongly) in that carnage. But I suppose without this profound element of mystery within B&C History, filled with it's many fascinating uncertainties-- there would be little to do but say "Yep-- that's the way it was". And what fun would that be?? Also what can be made of the reported Bonnie Parker poem Retribution-- which accompanies this new B&C book, and could sound the part of a Bonnie poem-- but is it??

As always-- I welcome your comments.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Bonnie & Clyde History Blog Q & A-- With Gordon Baker

Gordon Baker's new Bonnie and Clyde offering Retribution, has inspired much comment-- some of it polite, thoughtful and genuinely inquisitive, and some to my way of thinking-- rude, self serving and not befitting of historical discussion. Unfortunately within the analysis of Bonnie & Clyde History, there are some who would prefer to play vicious games, rather than add meaningful comment to this history. With that said, there are many more fair minded and polite individuals-- who keep a wary but open mind concerning Bonnie & Clyde History, and who with the proper element of respect-- are willing to consider alternative scenarios within an historical void, which rarely lets in much light.

Perhaps those so critical of Mr. Baker, should take a lesson from the famous quote attributed to Voltaire but likely written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall under the pseudonym S. G.
Tallentyre which states-- “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Within that spirit of fairness, it seems appropriate to comment-- that Retribution consists of a reasonable but brief rehash of Bonnie & Clyde History, derived from a variety of well known sources. And just as a number of Bonnie & Clyde authors have formed their historical opinions based on writings which have come before them, it appears Mr. Baker along with the proper credits-- has accomplished his version of the same. As such although the read is good, Retribution offers little new on the traditional Bonnie & Clyde home front. "However"-- this new e-book's importance and claim to fame, will undoubtedly be it's "7th man" ambush account-- a wildly different and most controversial story espousing the participation of Charles Baker, whom it's said was hired by Frank Hamer to professionally film the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde.

It's purported that to Baker's horror, he witnessed Bonnie Parker plead for her life as well as the life of her unborn child-- only to have those pleas dashed and then be brutally murdered, after the sharpshooting of Prentiss Oakley had already cut down Clyde Barrow within the space of 2 shots. At first what seemed a chance Bonnie would be taken alive, quickly turned to mayhem-- as the ambush posse opened up with remarkable firepower, on just one living individual whom it seemed apparent to Charles Baker could have been saved. Although it's never seemed clear what the posse members realized at the time, or whether their regenerated thoughts only resonated within accounts told afterward??-- when you think of it, based on the totality of ambush recollections-- the sense of Clyde having been hit and likely already dead when Bonnie took the wrath of so many shots-- seems with or without Charles Baker, to have been the reality of the ambush.

However based on this latest ambush account, the key question is-- did an independent observer audibly hear Bonnie Parker plead for her life and the life of an unborn innocent, only to be decimated in cold blood by officers who couldn't control their desire to enact retribution that day-- their own form of roadside justice, regardless of circumstance?? With all the cloaked secrecy surrounding Bonnie & Clyde ambush stories as told over the years, it seems fair to ask whether Baker's account is credible enough to be "the great dark secret"-- and reason for all the conflicting ambush accounts as told, not told or analyzed for all these many decades?? It's not my purpose within this post, to address my opinions or evidentiary comparisons regarding the Baker ambush account. Rather this article, is dedicated to questions and answers addressed to Gordon Baker concerning his book. My next post concerning Retribution, will get to the meat of the matter from an historical viewpoint.

Some have seemingly taken their public interrogation of Mr. Baker to an unhealthy and heartless extreme, under the guise of protecting Bonnie & Clyde historical correctness. Well as someone who staunchly defends Bonnie & Clyde historical accuracy, my view is if someone, "anyone"-- can verify which ambush account is worthy to protect and why??-- well then we have a news flash!! The ambush of Bonnie & Clyde's been solved. But as no one can seem to prove any of the ambush accounts as stated, and it doesn't appear this one can be proven either-- "and" I assure you, even more controversial ambush contentions are on the horizon-- my view is, to maintain an open mind and keep digging for the truth. There are certain aspects of the ambush and it's aftermath, which are pretty much assured. However to this day-- many key elements concerning the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde-- seem about as solid as a dissipating fog.

While some were busy exhibiting non-exemplary behavior toward this latest Bonnie & Clyde author-- I felt it important to reach out to Gordon Baker, in a way fitting of someone who'd presented a new Bonnie & Clyde ambush account. What follows are a series of questions, answers and comments made to and by Gordon Baker. Among many e-mails to hit my inbox in commenting on Retribution, a number of really good questions were advanced-- which I addressed with Gordon Baker both within e-mails and a phone conversation I had with him. Along with queries of my own-- I present here a compilation of questions which many have felt should be asked, along with responses from Gordon Baker. Many thanks, to those who formed questions used in this effort.

Q-- Even though you had an agreement to wait the 25 years until 2010 to tell this story, based on a realization of your own mortality-- why did you risk this information perhaps being lost forever?? Did you ever think to release this information sooner??

GB-- I now understand your concern, as a historian about my waiting so long to make the information public. In that 25 year period, I could have lost my life, and the information I had would have been lost. However, the deal was I had to wait out those 25 years before going public. This was Charles Baker’s wish. No, I never considered releasing the info sooner. I filed the info away and never really thought about it much until the beginning of 2010. Prior to my starting to write the book about B&C at the beginning of 2010, the B&C story was not a big deal to me. It's only since I started to write the book that I have taken more of an interest in the story.

Q--Did Charles Baker make notes of the ambush, and how long after the ambush were these notes made?? Also did you make notes based on Charles story as you heard it?? And did your father perhaps make any notes, based on his knowledge of Charles story??

GB-- Charles did make notes about the ambush, but I have no idea how long after the incident that he did this. I did not make any notes as Charles told me, he would be mailing me a copy of all the information, which he did. My father did not make any notes. Everything I put in the book concerning Charles's participation was taken from his notes.

Q-- Where are Charles' notes now??

GB-- I had all the notes Charles Baker sent me including the envelope till the winter of 2004. It was at that time that my sister destroyed most of my belongings. This is a story about a fight over our parent's estate. It started in 2000 and it is still going on today, eleven years later. In 1999 I purchased a new computer, and that was when I entered the notes Charles had sent me.

Q-- How did your father learn of Charles' ambush account??

GB-- In 1935, Charles father told my dad his son had been with the B&C posse, acting as a photographer. That was all the information he gave my dad and he asked my father to not repeat that information. My dad never told me about that and I only learned he knew about it, the day Charles visited my dad's home in 1985.

Q-- How old was Charles Baker in 1934?? How old was he at his death??

GB-- I believe he was 81 when he died so that would put him at 30 years old in 1934.

(A.W.W. note)-- 1934 plus 51 = 1985. As such, Charles would have died the same year he met with Gordon Baker. Some tight timing-- however Gordon related to me that Charles knew he was dying, and didn't want to pass on without his ambush experience being known.

Q-- Where in Texas did Charles Baker live??

GB-- All I know is that he was living in Texas at the time. I don’t know what part. My father did tell me, because of the type of work he was in, he had to keep on the move to find new jobs and of course the depression of that era didn’t help his cause any. This next comment was speculation on my father’s part. He believed Charles accepted the ambush assignment hoping that it would open up new opportunities, which would further his career.

Q-- Was Charles employed as a newspaper or media photographer-- or was he a freelance photographer, and where was he employed??

GB-- Charles was self employed by himself as a freelance photographer. From my understanding, times were difficult then and being a freelance photographer was not an easy job. Apparently he was quite mobile in his search for work.

Q-- Was Charles Baker an American??

GB-- No, Charles was a Canadian-- who lived in Texas at the time.

Q-- Do you have a photo of Charles, or know of anyone who would??

GB-- I do not have a photo and wouldn’t know where to start to try and get one.
I only met Charles that one time. These were distant relatives and the two arms of the families only visited each other a few times in the 30s.

Q-- Do you feel it would it be possible to locate info on Charles Baker??

GB-- Trying to trace back Charles Baker is a mission impossible job. Too much time has passed. The Baker families did not keep in touch with distant relatives. All my dad's brothers and sisters are dead, and it's the same on my mother's side. The same would be true for all arms of the family tree.

Q-- How did Charles Baker come to meet Frank Hamer??

GB-- I have no knowledge of how he met Hamer or what assignments they worked on.

Q-- What type of cameras were used by Charles Baker in recording the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde, and how could more than one camera have been running at the same time??

GB-- I'm almost certain Charles used a Cine Kodak 8 Model 20 movie camera. This camera was used during the 1930s and was employed by many newspaper photographers. Cameras such as this used wind up spring mechanisms, which allowed 2 minutes of filming time for each side of the film. 2 minutes of film would 1st be shot on one side-- then the film cartridge reversed to allow for an additional 2 minutes of exposure. I believe an external spring action device could be purchased, which could extend the motor time.

(A.W.W. note)-- For reference, here's a link showing how an old style Kodak movie camera worked.

Q-- The January 1st entry in Bonnie's diary seems to allow for the possibility that Frank Hamer was involved in the hunt for B&C prior to the Eastham Prison break. How would this be possible??-- or does this diary entry purport an unknown reality for the emergence of Frank Hamer within this history??

GB-- In reference to your paragraph starting with, “Also the Jan 1st, 1934 reference. I have read the two entries in the diary and yes, you are right, they do appear to be out of sync. When I was entering the notes into my computer I was taking small chunks, typing them in and triple checking them to make sure I had everything correct. In that regard, I am confident that I did not make a mistake. That raises the question, did Charles make a mistake, did Bonnie make a mistake or did Bonnie know something that has not been discovered yet?

Q-- What other info concerning Bonnie Parker's diary was present within the notes you mentioned existed??

GB-- Charles said Bonnie was quite the writer, and as such many of her entries were long-- in talking of the weather, road conditions, reminiscing about things they had done in the past, and places Bonnie would like to go etc. As such, Charles related only what he thought was relevant information.

Q-- L. J. "Boots" Hinton has sometimes related stories from his father which are unpublished. Have you ever spoken to "Boots" Hinton??

GB-- I have never spoken to "Boots" Hinton.

(A.W.W. note)-- As there's an ambush detail, I've heard recounted by "Boots" which I believe has had little exposure over the years-- I felt it important to ask this question. "Boots" has also told me, that he and Gordon have never spoken.

Gordon Baker comments--

The B&C posse had a seventh man with them who was a freelance photographer hired by Frank Hamer. I personally, do not find that impossible or strange to believe. I believe the ambush of B&C was going to be the highlight of Hamer’s career and he was well aware of that. He was also aware that trophy material, like the killing of B&C would be worth a substantial amount of money. However, he had to settle for whatever B&C had with them at the time of the ambush. I believe Hamer made the decision to have the ambush recorded on film because he knew that would be worth money to news services, newspapers, magazines and maybe even the Hollywood film industry.

The reality was with a seventh man at the ambush, there was now a person who could give a more independent account of what happened. However, Hamer was a methodical type of person and to protect himself in case of a major blunder, he swore the photographer to silence with deadly consequences if he ever talked. His actions make sense and his thinking is logical. If the ambush didn't go as planned the last thing he needed was a big mouth photographer causing him major embarrassment.

Charles Baker's account of the ambush was quite close to the other accounts given by the lawmen. There are however, a few differences.

1) The car stopped on the hill for as long as five minutes, before approaching the truck stopped on the highway ahead of them.

2) Between the killing of Clyde and the killing of Bonnie there was an interval of time, where no shots were fired. I don't know how long that period was, but it was long enough that Charles believed they were going to take Bonnie alive.

3) A third difference is the fact that Bonnie was given enough time to yell at the lawmen after Clyde was killed. After reading Charles' notes, there was no question about it. She was trying to surrender to the law and begging for her life. Her efforts failed, but I believe it bought her more precious seconds. During those seconds, the lawmen had to be wondering was this right, to kill a pregnant woman who was a cripple and pleading for her life? In the end, I believe the lawmen looked to their boss for a signal on what to do? Hamer's signal came in the form of the opening shots, which led to over thirty shells entering Bonnie's fragile body.

4) A fourth difference is the fact, Bonnie in her attempt to surrender told the lawmen that she was pregnant. Another unknown that will never have an answer is would Hamer have given B&C fair warning before firing. My personal thoughts are yes he would have. Clyde vowed he would never be taken alive. If Hamer gave them fair warning, Clyde had two choices, reach for his gun or put the gas pedal to the floor. Either way, he was a dead man in my books.

Hamer went to the trouble of hiring a photographer to film the event. I believe he did this, because he figured he could make some money with the film. If that was true then he needed to follow proper police procedures. However, the ambush took a twist of fate, not in Hamers' favor and he had to bury the film.

Third piece of new info. The photographer finding Bonnie's diary. Again this disclosure of information is hard to believe. However, Bonnie was known to have kept a diary. My own thoughts on this are: The lawmen in their haste or excitement did not find the diary and Charles did. It was just pure luck on his part. However, for him to smuggle it out under the nose of Hamer was one gutsy move.

Gordon Baker thoughts at this time

I have read all your emails 3 times, to make sure I understood them. I have read some comments on line. I knew there would be a lot of skepticism. I knew people would want proof almost beyond a shadow of a doubt. I can understand that. So far I've received two nasty emails. Some people are taking this very personal. It's only now, I realize, I should have taken notes and regret that mistake. At that point in time (1985) my interest in B&C was not that great. I was self employed at that time and owned two video movie rental stores. The renting of video movies was very popular in those days and the stores occupied most of my time.

Gordon Baker conclusion to this point

I'm really wondering if I did the right thing, by going public with the info. However, I believe most people have filled in the blanks anyway. I read one comment on line, where the person stated this news is not new. I wish Charles would have gone public with it, long before he died. That way, everyone would have heard the story from the horse's mouth.

Some people think this is all about me selling books. If people want me to give the book away, I'm willing to list it for free. This was about my keeping a promise. I believe the average person in the U.S. and Canada couldn't care less about Bonnie and Clyde. Actually, I did forget to include a couple of items in the book, which are Frank Hamer did give Charles Baker a pat down looking for any film that Charles may have put in his pockets. That was at the same time he asked Charles to open all the cameras. The other item was Charles did say Frank Hamer was a big man and it was very easy to feel intimidated around him. I can tell you that when Charles started talking about the ambush, he became very emotional. It was clear to me that 50 years had not faded the memories. I do remember him telling me, I don't know how those lawmen can live with themselves, after firing their guns on a defenseless cripple woman, who was clearly trying to surrender. It was this part of the ambush that affected him the most I believe, as he mentioned it more than once.

-- Gordon.

A.W.W. Comment--

I will return soon, with a critical look at the Baker ambush account. For those who feel Bonnie & Clyde History shouldn't be explored to it's fullest, because some in their ultimate wisdom wish to pass definitive judgment on this history-- which is so hard to nail down in so many regards-- some beautifully written words of edification.

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be—
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep
Robert Frost 1936