Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bonnie & Clyde-- Taken Down From Within. But At What Cost Betrayal??

Until 2007-- the Methvin family (rumored for decades, as being involved to a greater or lesser degree?? in betraying Bonnie & Clyde)-- were known as the key protagonists, in spelling the end for America's most iconic outlaws.  But unbeknownst to all who studied this history until the new millennia, prior to the Spring of '34-- Bonnie & Clyde had their share of turncoats, many of whom (whether realized or not) betrayed them from within.  For once released, those insightful Bonnie & Clyde Dallas FBI files (file 26-2114)-- shed enormous light on realities previously known only to participants within this history, and Federal law enforcement who in truth-- played a much larger role than previously thought re: the tracking of Bonnie & Clyde.

Indeed one need look no farther than Cumie Barrow's own brother in law Jim Muckleroy, who within an interview held with U.S. Bureau of Investigation agents in March 1933-- "spilled the beans" in a profound way regarding "key" info divulged concerning Bonnie & Clyde. "Ah"-- that pesky prescription bottle, found in the car owned by Dr. E. L. Damron of Effington, Illinois.  That little clue, found within a car stolen on September 2nd, 1932 and later recovered in Pauhuska, Oklahoma.  That lone "carnapping"-- would not only lead to Federal charges of Interstate auto theft against Bonnie & Clyde-- but also garner important leads for the law, in bringing a fledgling Barrow Gang into greater focus. 

For the tracing of that prescription bottle (not belonging to Dr. Damron)-- led Bureau Agents to Cumie Barrow's sister Mrs. James Muckelroy-- who's name was on the script.  When interviewed, Mr. Muckelroy provided what must have seemed a "bonanza" of information to investigators-- including (almost as an aside) an explanation re: the prescription bottle.  As explained by Mr. Muckelroy-- his wife remembered giving it (soon to be refilled anyway)-- to her nephew L.C. Barrow, who was in need of medication to combat a venereal disease. But not only was L.C. there on that visit to Martinsville, Texas in the late Summer of '32-- but Mr. Muckelroy revealed others present that day, who were of keen interest to law enforcement.  For also present, were Clyde Barrow, Clyde's "wife" Bonnie, Cumie Barrow and her young daughter of about 17 years of age.  That would've been Marie.

Mr. Muckelroy would further explain that Clyde & Bonnie traveled all over the country, and that he didn't know the maiden name of Clyde's wife-- but thought they married in Dallas.  Also that the Barrows lived at and operated a filling station in Oakcliff, West Dallas (with directions).  But that's not all.  By the time investigators had processed info from this meeting and generated a report-- they had noted Artie and Nell Barrow, their occupations and locations-- that Clyde had visited the Muckelroys previously with 2 other men whom Mr. Muckelry provided descriptions of-- had told of Buck Barrow having stayed with them after escaping from prison, and once having recuperating there from sickness-- again having surrendered.  He also seemingly provided detailed descriptions of Clyde, L.C. & Bonnie right down to scars, tattoos and Bonnie's bullet wound ("left foot in toe next to little toe").  

In fact, by the end of this Bureau document (dated March 6th '33)-- the law had already linked Clyde (wanted for murder, robbery, kidnapping and car theft)-- to Gene O'Dare and Raymond Hamilton.  Also seemed certain that Gene O'Dare's wife was a sister to Ray Hamilton.  "And" had identified Bonnie as the wife of Roy "Harding" (a misidentification that would plague the Bureau for months, and inhibit their ability to learn more about Bonnie.  But they knew of Bonnie's sister Mrs. Fred Mace alias Billie Parker and the Mace's address.  Also that L.C. lived at home, and about his pending charges in Kaufman, TX.

Bottom line-- some pretty nifty results, at least in part-- from the discovery of a prescription bottle errantly left behind, in one stolen car by L.C. Barrow.  In fairness to Mrs. Muckelroy-- Mr. Muckelroy told police he would just as soon his wife not know he had furnished any information as to the Barrows, as Mrs. Cumie Barrow and his wife were sisters. But bless Mr. Muckelroy-- as that too would be relevant info.  

In addition to these important insider revelations, you can include other Barrow and Parker relatives as having contributed to the downfall of Bonnie & Clyde.  Surely Barrow cousin Bailey Tynes (also on Cumie's side of the family)-- was instrumental in providing "remarkable" information during the immediate time leading up to Bonnie & Clyde's May 1934 ambush.  Please view the August 29th, 2009 post on Bailey Tynes, for revelations beyond those found in the FBI Files.  I learned of these rare Bailey Tynes stories, through interviews conducted with Tynes family members-- at least one of which, heard Bailey tell his Bonnie & Clyde accounts 1st hand.  

And to know of Bailey's stories as told without the Bureau's knowledge-- is to view Bailey within a quite dangerous game of having helped Bonnie & Clyde (including letting them stay at his home)-- while at different times heading off to stay with Cumie and Henry Barrow in Dallas, to report back to the Bureau from within the Barrow residence.  Damned remarkable!!  It's no wonder, he sent his children to live with relatives during this period to insure their safety.  And no wonder, the Bureau sent an Agent to follow Bailey on his travels.  That fact makes more sense, once you know the private Bailey stories. 

Also for those not aware of this-- according to Bailey, at one point he tried to lure Bonnie & Clyde into meeting him within a Pecan orchard.  Reportedly waiting in the woods there-- were Federal Agents poised to attempt capture of the elusive pair, well before Gibsland.  To me, one of the more remarkable stories told re: Bonnie & Clyde.  None of these revelations are in the Bureau files, but I imagine they wouldn't be-- as documentation concerning Bailey Tynes was most often dependent on Bailey's disclosures.

Then there's the Sower's informant-- long thought to be Marie's husband Joe Bill Francis.  I as many, feel the evidence points pretty squarely at Joe Bill.  Some from Joe Bill's family have most graciously contacted me over the years, to support Joe Bill-- and tell me of his life post Bonnie & Clyde.  I must say I've surely appreciated those who've reached out to me in that regard-- and find stories of his later life both inspiring and admirable.  In relating to Francis family members, I've found myself quite conscious of his family's heartfelt defense of Joe Bill-- concerning rumors of betrayal, which have dogged them for decades.  

However my thoughts are-- that for all their wonderful support of him post '30's-- no one to date, has presented evidence (including any statement of denial known from Joe Bill)-- to help quell those rumors.  Believe me, I've tried-- to learn of Joe Bill's thoughts concerning this matter as expressed at any time during his life.  As I've expressed to the Francis family-- the door is always open here, for an objective defense of Joe Bill Francis should new evidence be brought to light.  

Beyond Sowers, there's also the Bureau's interview with Edith and Buster Parker-- who were helpful in a way not dissimilar to the assistance Jim Muckelroy provided the prior year.  When given an opportunity to speak with Charles Winstead on January 5th, 1934, Edith opened up-- in revealing family info on Bonnie & Clyde but particularly re: Bonnie & the Parker family.  Buster was more reserved and direct-- in saying if ever he could learn of Clyde's whereabouts while separated from Bonnie-- he wouldn't hesitate to put Barrow on the spot.  Edith provided the additional insight, that Bonnie & Clyde would not come around them, due to Buster's dislike of Clyde & Bonnie's "mode of living".  Despite the idea that Billie seemingly understood Bonnie's devotion to Clyde-- it was apparent the Parker family was clearly of the view that Bonnie should disassociate herself from Clyde Barrow.  A notion Bonnie never took to heart.

There were other informants along the way, comprised of the criminal element known to Bonnie & Clyde.  W.D. Jones and others such as Jimmy Mullens, and Hilton Bybee seemingly sang like birds when confronted with the right pressures.  To me, those "helps" for the law would be expected.  But whether for the sake of conscience, or a respect for righteousness and the victims involved-- it's the "family confessors"-- whom I suppose are of more interest to many who follow this history.  The Methvin family can surely lay claim to the most profound betrayal of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, for their sell out resulted in the deaths of the outlaws.  But now that more is known, it also pays to acknowledge others "from within"-- who contributed to Bonnie's so famous end line--"But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde".

Now was there a price paid for the betrayal of Bonnie & Clyde??  Those looking into the still mysterious deaths of Ivy and Henry Methvin, might think so-- as perhaps Parker or Barrow retribution could've been  true??  But sometimes, too much is read into tragedy-- which can blur the lines between fact & fiction.        

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Visit to the Barrow Filling Station and Residence. Someone Needs to Save This Important Piece of Bonnie & Clyde History

Every saga of history has it's locations, where "history was made". And if so fortunate, those of us living lives within our own times-- can visit these hallowed spots to gain insights into history.  Bonnie & Clyde History is no different-- for within the saga of Bonnie & Clyde,  we're familiar with many of the locations where this deadly cat and mouse game played out-- which would eventually spell the end for Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow, and grant welcomed satisfaction for the law after a prolonged struggle.  

Unfortunately, many Bonnie & Clyde historical spots have been lost over the years-- with some removed from existence within just the recent past.  In Louisana, Bonnie & Clyde's last hideout is gone-- so is Congers, Dr. Wades office, Gus Cole's little store near the Sailes Corner-- where Clyde reportedly bought an Orange Crush drink for LeVohn Cole, & her cousin-- and the Gibsland School where the wrecker towing Bonnie & Clyde's car (with bodies still inside)-- broke down.  There school children including Mildred Cole who told of this story-- learned an important lesson in life, and shared a unique experience likely never forgotten.

In Dallas, a number of residences so famously recounted within this history no longer exist-- including Buster & Edith Parker's home where Edith introduced Clyde to Bonnie.  However the Lilly McBride house still stands, as does Raymond Hamilton's house.  The former location of Hargrave's Cafe is still there-- however it sits within sight of Baylor University Hospital, who reportedly owns the land.  And you know, when hospitals need new parking spots-- they'll often utilize lands owned for such "vital" needs.  

But just around the corner from Swiss Circle-- the glass works where Clyde once worked is now reportedly gone.  When I was there a few years back (and fortunately for my memory snapped a photo of it)-- the building which housed the United Glass and Mirror Company at 2614-16 Swiss Avenue was still there.  However, construction was in progress immediately next to this building to enhance DART-- the Dallas Rapid Transit system. So I'd make a wager, DART took down this Bonnie & Clyde landmark left unprotected for decades-- for a use of their own.  So too in other locales such as Wellington and Platte City-- time has reclaimed land where Bonnie & Clyde haunts once stood, as testimony to a history filled with memorable & dramatic events.  

This brings me to the Barrow Station and residence.  No one to date has protected this important Bonnie & Clyde  historical site.  Having been sold by the Barrow family in the '40's-- the station's had different owners and uses over the years, often utilized for auto related ventures.  The land, building and adjacent lot-- are currently owned by a Dallas corporation.  I would think some who've owned the Barrow property, would appreciate walking within a building so steeped in history.  But I'll bet there have been others, who've cared very little about what happened there before.   

A few years back, I'd made an attempt to inspire a couple of individuals known within this history-- to consider buying the station to preserve it for history.  Part of that attempt, also involved inquiring about obtaining historical status through the State of Texas for this site.  As the Oakcliff section of West Dallas has seen a boon in construction recently, and a new viaduct has been erected from downtown Dallas to the West Dallas side of the Trinity River-- it seems more important than ever, to protect this important Bonnie & Clyde location while there's still time.  Last I heard, the asking price for the Barrow station and land is $300,000.

It surely seems many who are passionate about Bonnie & Clyde History care to think of this stuff-- but for the States of Texas and Louisiana and even for the locals involved, there's doesn't seem "a hill of beans" interest in protecting Bonnie & Clyde historical sites.  So every once in a while, you'll hear one Bonnie & Clyde site or another is gone.  

Perhaps someone seeing this article, will contact me with interest in the Barrow Station.  As there's been talk of turning an historically protected Barrow Station into a museum (good idea)-- perhaps that notion can be rekindled again.  It also pays to remember, The Star Filling Station wasn't just there to aid the Barrows in making a living-- but it was their home as well (located within an attached structure behind the business). 

As many around the world have likely not had the opportunity to visit this spot, where Bonnie, Clyde and many others within the history walked and lived-- I've posted photos I took a few years back.  I hope you'll enjoy seeing (up close & personal)-- the hallowed Barrow digs.  For anyone with interest in protecting the Barrow station & residence-- please contact me, as I'll gladly steer you in the right direction to initiate action concerning landmark status, partnership re: a museum or ownership.  Someone needs to save this indispensable part of Bonnie & Clyde History.  Perhaps it will be you.  Those who wait for others to act, sometimes share in disappointment.  Hopefully-- not the case here.

For those who'd like to visit the Barrow station and residence-- it's 1930's address of 1620 Eagle Ford Road, is more easily found today at it's current address-- 1221 Singleton Blvd (corner of Singleton Blvd & Borger St) in Oakcliff, West Dallas. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Ambush of Bonnie and Clyde. After 78 Years-- Still a Poignant Moment in History

As May 23rd marks the 78th anniversary of the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde, many will pause at 9:15 AM Central time U.S.-- to share karma with those who participated in both the celebrated and mourned carnage that fateful day in 1934.  If you've ever been to the ambush site, on what's still a desolate stretch of road 7 miles South of Gibsland, Louisiana-- it "can" be an eerie feeling, especially if you're exploring those Pine laden hills alone.  Some say when there at night, the "sewing machine" like purr of Clyde's Fordor V8 can still be heard in the distance-- advancing 'round the bend, and steadily towards what is always certain doom for the loving desperadoes.  For those who study this history, Bonnie & Clyde's deaths were a certainty.  However many truths, which surely existed for those who lived Bonnie & Clyde History-- remain shrouded, as if lurking in the shadows-- but without our ability to see them.  

For the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde is steeped in controversy-- both past & present.  But no matter the facts supported or theories espoused-- such an impassioned history is bound to inspire heated debate.  And it does.  Within the many topics favored by Bonnie & Clyde aficionados-- invariably, the ambush ranks near the top of the most heavily bantered queries.  So "was" Ivy Methvin (just 49 at the time, but thought older by many who live & breathe this history)-- indeed positioned in the road next to his truck to entice Bonnie & Clyde to stop, or was he in fact handcuffed to a tree as Ted Hinton would reveal in his memoir "Ambush"??  

"Or" in an unforeseen twist, as I and others heard directly from those old enough to have heard from those alive at the time-- was it another Methvin family member standing near the car, someone Bonnie & Clyde would also trust-- to act as the lure for them??  Interestingly, this possibility would allow for Ted Hinton's story re: Ivy to be true.  As we now know-- the betrayal of Bonnie & Clyde was indeed a family affair, so one could ask why couldn't this story concerning Terrell Methvin be true??  Perhaps Ivy Methvin "was" forced to balk-- when faced with the reality that Henry's whereabouts couldn't be confirmed by the law prior to Bonnie & Clyde's car approaching that day.  As a parent and thinking you have a deal to protect your son-- what would you have done, if you felt your son could be in that car-- and soon be killed by those in your presence you were assisting??     

Many may be unaware that Ted Hinton's bombshell revision of the ambush, concerning Ivy being detained against his will and not at the truck when Bonnie & Clyde approached-- was "not" 1st known through his book.  During the famous Ted Toddy trial in Atlanta, meant to prove which Bonnie & Clyde death car was authentic-- Hinton testified "under oath" concerning his participation at the ambush, revealing details which contradicted other posse members including the location of Ivy when the shooting started.  So one is left to wonder,  how a lawman with seemingly such a stellar reputation for integrity as Ted Hinton-- would lie under oath re: ambush particulars??  Good question, which begs another.  If it was Hinton who told the closest version of the truth-- where does that leave other somewhat conflicting posse members stories??  "Ah"-- for that's the rub.  

Then you have the issue of a reported Bonnie Parker pregnancy, as it relates to her on many levels-- as a woman, as Clyde's lover and in having more than just 2 lives??-- so savagely snuffed out that unusually hot morning in May of '34.  At least one standout principal, Frank Hamer-- admittedly knew of Bonnie likely with child (or thought so)-- before passing that knowledge (apparently already discussed) to The U.S. Bureau of Investigation clearly "in advance" of the ambush.  But just as with Watergate-- the question concerning the rest of the posse then becomes, what did they know-- and when did they know it??  The Bonnie rumors were out there prior to the ambush-- to the point where members of the Dallas Press were dispatched to Arcadia to view Bonnie in death, to see if  she appeared with child.  This makes one wonder how lawmen so close to the actual situation, wouldn't know of this possibility prior to pulling multiple triggers to end Bonnie's life??

Pregnancy possibilities aside-- I participate in Bonnie debates with those on all sides of these issues on a regular basis.  Did Bonnie deserve to die, and would she have left Clyde if given the opportunity??  As it's believed B&C did separate at times to visit family members on their own-- Bonnie apparently had the opportunity to leave Clyde, (a wish encouraged by her family)-- but ultimately stood steadfastly by her man, knowing she would die with him.  Now was Bonnie Parker culpable for murders committed by members of The Barrow Gang within various incarnations??  In my view, most certainly-- as I don't think there's doubt if she had lived, she would've been tried as an accessory to murder in being present for many of the killings-- and for likely loading bullets, fired to end the lives of at least some known victims.  

However I find it both remarkable and repulsive-- that some have called for "silence" in encouraging investigations into a Bonnie Parker pregnancy not go forward.  It's been asked "what difference would it make now all these years later, if Bonnie was pregnant"??  My response has been-- "the same difference it would've made in 1934".  "A lot of difference".  For if it had been known that Bonnie was pregnant when killed-- there may have been a severe public backlash against the law, concerning their handling of the whole affair-- with negative repercussions concerning both personal reputations and lawmen in general.  It seems in trying to stifle what could be the truth now-- it's "CYA" time in the lawmens' camp. 

Along with those who called them unmitigated heroes-- the posse members had their detractors, for their stealth-like tactics and brutality employed at the ambush.  Many have viewed (and still do)-- this deadly "assurance plan" as just plain smart-- where others have questioned the posse's grit, in thinking the posse cowardly for not facing up to whatever element of The Barrow Gang might have returned fire that day.  This discourse has only been heightened in recent years, by revelations that the law likely could've attempted capture of Bonnie & Clyde sooner than May-- and perhaps without the glory and fanfare of such an assassination, leading to unintended martyrdom of the outlaws.  

The moral dilemma concerning Bonnie Parker presents numerous human & ethical challenges.  A key question has been, in feeling she may have been with child-- should or could the law have attempted to save and imprison Bonnie, rather than apologetically fill her full of lead??  Also, if you believe in the sensationalized Hamer family recollections, or read between the lines of Capt. Hamer's own words-- one might conclude Hamer had a vendetta against Bonnie (more evidently than Clyde)-- resulting in some particularly heinous approach and one-man justice enacted by Hamer against Bonnie at the ambush.  

This assertion has been added to ambush lore by Jeff Guinn, the "hired gun" Simon & Schuster sometimes fiction/ sometimes non-fiction writer-- in using research which L. J. "Boots" Hinton would term "facts not in evidence".  But to believe in such a claim, you'd necessarily need to call Dr. James Wade either incompetent, a liar-- or one pressured by coercion, to have covered up such a bold attack by Hamer from the right side of the Warren car.  Professor Carroll Rich (who knew Dr. Wade personally)-- has told me James Wade wouldn't be pressured by any man.  But plain & simple-- the detailed evidence compiled by the Coroner (Dr. Wade) in front of all to see that day, doesn't support such an vengeful and needless attack.  

Plus it's a good thing Hamer wasn't at the right of the car, when Bob Alcorn admittedly fired at it-- apparently making the few holes which appear "above" Bonnie's window.  I've wondered about those errant shots??-- as you'd think Alcorn a better marksman than that from such close range.  As surely he knew who he was firing at-- perhaps there's an unwritten story of compassion there?? So when you shake out the Hamer vs Bonnie contention, it seems when considering such a bold theory-- the addition of non-expert supposition doesn't change history.

But not to be outdone, in adding another wild theory to an ambush soup already rich with controversy-- there's Gordon Baker's assertion of a "7th Man" at the ambush.  A most interesting contention-- but one not  backed by proof anyone can find.  I've attempted to warn some over the years, that when pontificating re: Bonnie & Clyde-- that they better bring their proof with them. Otherwise some within this history, who tow the status quo more often than not-- will berate those with unsubstantiated theories, sometimes to the aim of public humiliation.  My issue with this discourse, is not just one of decency & decorum-- but also one of fairness, in knowing some who like to criticize others-- also possess, unproven theories with highly debatable claims.  

So concerning the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde-- there's never a dull moment, where "bountiful" theories abound.  In deciding on a pic for this post, I opted for a photo taken a few years back of the ambush marker-- which sits across the road from where Bonnie & Clyde's bullet riddled car came to rest.  This marker is often and regularly defaced by both supporters and detractors of the outlaws.  On the day I took this photo, the sentiment-- which rightfully should include all who lived this remarkable history-- was conspicuously skewed in favor of the West Dallas desperadoes.  Ted Hinton would tell the story, of how in the '30's-- there seemed as many people trying to protect Bonnie & Clyde-- as were trying to catch them.  

But even after all these years-- when you see such a human sentiment as that expressed by some today-- it makes you wonder, whether much has really changed??  I welcome your comments.  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bonnie & Clyde-- Alive and Well in Washington, D.C.

As far as I can tell,  Bonnie & Clyde had never seen our nation's Capital-- although in now knowing of their travels to the far reaches of North Carolina, I'm not sure I would've put it past them.  But today, they surely maintain a spot of honor amongst a remarkable array of historical crime information and artifacts at The National Museum of Crime & Punishment. For the Bonnie & Clyde exhibit there is a nice one-- and now expanding.

Having done many historical talks on Bonnie & Clyde, my 3 days at The National Museum of Crime & Punishment provided a welcomed experience for me-- and one if possible, I plan to use as a model from now on.  Instead of more formal talks as I'm normally used to, the fine folks there set me up among the patrons at the bend coming off the Bonnie & Clyde exhibit.  Thus those interested in B&C would stop and talk with questions concerning the iconic outlaws.  This informal give and take was "wonderful"-- and seemingly enjoyed by all.

I did prolonged sessions on all 3 days, which thanks to those who stopped to inquire of the outlaws-- lasted well beyond the times scheduled.  I was able to discuss the ambush and other B&C topics of interest, such as a Bonnie Parker pregnancy and Bonnie & Clyde's role in the Depression Age.  In addition-- I had in front of me Bonnie's poem "The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde", Blanche's Christmas card with personal note and signature, Billie's manuscript "Bonnie, Clyde and Me"-- and correspondence sent to Blanche while imprisoned at Jefferson City.  These artifacts, will be available to view at the museum in the near future.  I was also able to recount remembrances from Billie's journal, as well as numerous points of contention to many with a keen interest in Bonnie & Clyde.  

As an aside-- it took me a few go-rounds, to realize why young people kept approaching me to ask how many people Bonnie killed??  It was then I realized that's a question from the museum's question and answer booklet, meant to be learned by studying the exhibits.  These questions also seemed a required assignment, for kids involved in school tours (of which there were many).  So I guess the kids figured the "Bonnie & Clyde guy" would know the answer.  Of course I did-- and unwittingly at 1st, and then sometimes willingly (shhh)-- helped where I could.  So I guess the test will be graded on a curve??

As I took hundreds of photos in Washington, I plan shortly to feature The National Museum of Crime & Punishment in a well deserved post here on The Bonnie & Clyde History Blog.  What a remarkable resource the Crime Museum is.  My thanks to Janine and Rachael for inviting me, and for doing everything possible to accommodate me so graciously concerning my visit.  My thanks also to the staff of The Holiday Inn White House/ Rhode Island Avenue NW, for a great stay-- as well as Amtrak for "as always"-- unparalleled service to & from home.

Also my thanks to FBI Historian John Fox for a great lunch.  "Finally", after all these years-- we had that lunch we've been wanting to have.  Now we just need to do it again.  BTW-- John surely agreed that J. Edgar (whom I have my arm around above)-- seems to have had a tough day.  But in reality-- Director Hoover would've never appeared so disheveled.  And my thanks as well to Lisa, for taking the iPad shot of me at the top of this post-- and being so kind in e-mailing that image to me.  Those things take great pictures.  Lisa was the only person I saw, among what had to be hundreds of people who passed through the museum over this memorable weekend-- to use an iPad to preserve her images.  I would think at some point-- that will change.  

After having Lucky Luciano staring over my shoulder for 3 days-- I lived to tell of the adventure.  In a slight foray into gangster history-- even though Luciano was deported from the U.S., when he died in Italy-- he was granted his wish to be buried in Queens, N.Y. under his given name Salvatore Lucania.  Please look for my post on The National Museum of Crime & Punishment (with many cool pics)-- coming soon.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Talking Points for Washington

As my visit to Washington is fast approaching, I'm busy preparing topics for my talks at The National Museum of Crime & Punishment.  There will be 3 formal sessions (Thurs. through Sat.)-- along with as much time spent with Bonnie & Clyde aficionados at their Bonnie & Clyde Exhibit as time will allow.  Talking points will surely include the ambush, it's conflicting eyewitness accounts-- as well as rumors and espoused theories new & old.  And despite some people's wranglings-- to me no conversation regarding the ambush would now be complete, without addressing the rumored pregnancy of Bonnie Parker.  

Objectively, too many people in differing locations were aware of this possibility-- including Capt. Frank Hamer and Dallas Bureau of Investigation SAC Frank Blake, for smoke to not equal fire. Some more recent declarations concerning the ambush may be less than verifiable-- but that doesn't change the plausible possibility, that there may well have been "3" individuals killed at the ambush that day??  Some (especially from a lawman's viewpoint)-- have asked "What difference would it make, if Bonnie was pregnant when killed"??  My response has been-- from an historical perspective, it would make a great difference, as knowledge of such a reality in 1934 would've likely caused public condemnation of the law.  CYA has long been a shield used on both sides of the war between good & bad.  But even in '34-- the killing of a pregnant woman (and in such a remarkably brutal way)-- would've likely sparked outrage.   

For those still intent on protecting the lawman's position within the guise of "heroic reputation"-- or some who talk a good game, but play both sides of the fence concerning this issue-- my feeling is, it's time to "get real" and bring the past within better focus.  And for those who feel I'm not likely to say anything controversial, when given the opportunity to "kick start" a renewed effort toward truth within Bonnie & Clyde History-- now that doesn't sound like me does it??  This entire history is fraught with controversial assertions.  For me, the closer we come to "reality" as it actually existed for all involved-- the better.      

In addition to thought provoking topics, while in at The NMCP-- I have the unique opportunity  to discuss a variety of Bonnie & Clyde artifacts already on display and newly added.  These will include Bonnie's unfinished "working copy" of "The Story of Bonnie & Clyde"-- originally titled "The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde".  I'll be bringing this rare Bonnie poem for display and comment.  I'll also have with me, Billie's manuscript "Bonnie, Clyde and Me"-- which contains numerous great talking points, such as Bonnie & Clyde's suicide pact and near use of it at Dexfield Park.  Also Billie's accounts of Sowers and Bonnie's health post Wellington-- as well as Bonnie's premonition concerning the death of Billie's Son Buddy etc.  A grand resource (in addition to Billie's journal)-- for this history and for speaking of Bonnie & Clyde.  In addition of course, I'm always happy to discuss The Bonnie & Clyde Signatures-- and Steve Haas' wonderful Bonnie poem "The Street Girl".    

I'll also be bringing Blanche's Christmas card (seen in B&C documentaries)-- which she used to store her manuscript written while in prison.  Her original manuscript has now moved on to a new owner, but quite kindly-- the Christmas card came my way in 2010.  This card bears an ultra-rare Blanche Barrow signature, as well as a hand written reminder to herself-- concerning her recorded accounts with The Barrow Gang.  This large 8x10" 1930's Christmas card is quite colorful and a remarkable survivor of this history.  There will likely be other loans from my collection-- including correspondence to Blanche from prison, original photos of Blanche available no where else, and perhaps even Blanche's heart shaped locket with photo of husband Eddie Frasure-- one would think worn proudly by Blanche, during his service in the Navy during WWII.  

Anyway-- never a shortage of Bonnie & Clyde topics to touch on in Washington, in addition to whatever Bonnie & Clyde stories others wish to discuss.  I always come prepared with revelations from The B&CHB & Dallas FBI Files, for those wishing to discuss say Wellington or Bailey Tynes etc.  "And"-- I even carry a myriad of B&CHB Poll questions, for some challenging fun.  I hope you'll join me there.  It seems I'll be able to provide an addition link from the Museum, prior to Thursday.  Questions??-- please drop me an e-mail.