Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When It Comes to Bonnie & Clyde History-- Often, People See What They Want To See.

One interesting aspect of being so squarely involved with Bonnie & Clyde History-- is that on a regular basis, I'm approached to help verify all sorts of "officialdom" concerning this saga-- including of course photographs.  Some purported Bonnie & Clyde related photos, seem tied to newly-minted hunts for fame & fortune-- while others appear genuinely well-intentioned, fueled by fervent curiosity or aimed at aiding historical knowledge.  Then there are those, who when confronted by a disappointing truth-- will persist in beating the proverbial 'ol dead horse all over the lot-- with whatever self-imposed creative logic they can muster, to somehow keep hopes alive that they have something valuable or historically relevant. 

But "ahhh" you see-- fans and aficionados of this history aren't the only ones fooled by Bonnie & Clyde historical lookalikes.  Please refer to the photo comparison at the top of this post.  Within police circles, almost until the time W.D. Jones' was captured-- the man depicted on the right above, was sought by the law as the man thought seen so often with Bonnie & Clyde.  In fact, this man was Hubert Bleigh-- a criminal
unrelated to The Barrow Gang, except that he resembled W.D. Jones-- the real Bonnie & Clyde accomplice seen within captured photos and witnessed in gang-related escapades.  Thus even the law got it wrong concerning a lookalike.  Originally, info concerning Bleigh was relayed by a jailhouse informant to an officer in Dallas-- and it stuck.  So oddly enough, based on a case of mistaken identity-- W.D. had an unlikely ally and ongoing cloak of protection in Hubert Bleigh.     

But what about all those Bonnie & Clyde photos people bring forth to be scrutinized??  Surely some are real??  The short answer is "few if any".  Some of these more than suspect entries can be viewed on the Internet, having slipped through the cracks of unfulfilled diligence.  Others never make it that far-- having been ferreted out within behind the scenes approaches to folks like me, and others qualified to judge falsehoods in photographic form.  But surely-- some of those pics end up being related to Bonnie & Clyde History-- right??  Unfortunately, the reality is-- not very many. 

As "matter of fact" as I am, but always with an air of now long-lived open-mindedness-- to me this is simple.  Either the people depicted within mystery photographs are from Bonnie & Clyde History or they're not.  It's usually easy to tell-- however some seemingly make this simple task more tedious, by throwing up a maze of reasoning as to why those depicted within photographs are who they're not. 

This brings me to the latest approach I've fielded, published here with permission of photos' owner.  Photographs of a couple and baby thought to be Bonnie & Clyde-- as well as other photos of purported Barrow family members and also a deemed Alphonsus Capone thought to be shaking hands with a purported Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd.  All these photos were reportedly found within an abandoned shack in the California desert.  In addition to the oddness of the provenance here-- to me, the supposed Al Capone and Charles Floyd pic might have an obvious timeline issue among other problems.
It was even brought to my attention by Tim, the photos' owner-- that some 300 people have agreed with him, that these photos are without much doubt Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.   I must say, that's a lot of non-experts to go through-- before getting to someone who'd know, and could've saved so many much time and trouble.  Within his brand of truth-- this gentleman's even provided photo comparisons of his couple with baby-- to both a young Clyde and then older Clyde with Bonnie taken while on the run.

In an effort to be kind to Tim-- I would politely point out that to my eye-- the man he believes is Al Capone shaking hands with Charles Floyd, I feel bears a remarkable resemblance to the man holding the baby who's thought to be Clyde-- and appears to be wearing similar clothing and the same hat within all the pics.  Of course this man couldn't have been both Clyde and Al Capone now could he??   However, as I claim no expertise concerning Al Capone, but do know of a Capone family member I can contact for assistance-- I choose to refer that one for further consideration.   Plus, based on numerous photos of Clyde showing him wearing a hat of his choice-- I'm not sure he would go for the mild-mannered style of lid worn by the gentleman pictured here.

Anyway-- as hard as it was to break the news to Tim-- my response was, with all respect to the 300 plus people touted for their common sense abilities to discern human traits-- that  unfortunately, 300 plus surely nice people are wrong.  However-- then it seems stoked by the disappointment of my determination-- it was suggested I was part of some deliberate attempt at collusion along with the families to stifle the revelation of these pics.  OK now-- for those who know me a bit-- I am far too polite to respond in kind to that sort of nonsensical gobbledegook.  But for those who know me better-- I wonder if there's anyone familiar with me, who'd think I would shun a photo of the real Bonnie & Clyde with either of them holding a baby??  "Lord have mercy".  

I "will" say-- if I felt I was viewing authentic and previously unknown pics of Bonnie & Clyde-- the families would be the 1st people I would approach, and whomever I was talking to at the time, might well hear the phone fall and line go silent.  "Hey-- where did that Winston guy go"??       

Bottom line-- despite some hanging their hats on wishful thinking.. those of us close enough to this history to know living individuals who knew prominent people from this history personally-- and who've viewed well-accepted photos with iron-clad provenance, and privately-held non-published photos from the families or other unchallengeable sources-- "know" the real McCoys, or in this case-- Bonnie & Clydes when we see them.  Others may disagree and surely that's their right.

But I'll throw this question out to all who view this blog.  If anyone feels these newly published photos of this couple with baby etc-- are in any way related to Bonnie & Clyde History, let's hear from you.  Also, I would appreciate hearing your thoughts concerning Bonnie & Clyde mistaken identities.  To me-- these are nice photos of a family somewhere from likely earlier than the 1930's-- but unfortunately, not Bonnie & Clyde.    Yep, concerning this history-- my experience is that often people see what they want to see.  But in reality, there was only one Bonnie & Clyde.  "Thank goodness"-- for this history is challenging enough already.        



Marcy said...

I came across your blog today and I strongly disagree with you sir. I feel that these photos bear a very strong resemblance to Bonnie and Clyde. Maybe you should look a bit longer at these photos before you doubt them. Also, there is no need to sound so arrogant in your blog. :)

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Marcy-- Truth is not arrogance, not in the least. However, I am much too diligent and straight forward-- to allow a stubborn mis-identification to cloud this history. Also, this is not a website that promotes fantasy. I feel I have been most kind, to those so adamantly wrong concerning these photos. When confronted by truth-- those who truly care for unselfish reasons-- need to admit the errors of their ways. As I am qualified to pass judgement concerning these photos-- these individuals are "not" Bonnie & Clyde-- plain & simple. Sorry, it's not them-- no additional viewing necessary.

I'll offer you the same challenge I've offered Tim. Find any qualified authority on Bonnie & Clyde History to say the individuals in these photos are Bonnie & Clyde. Ask them please to identify themselves and comment here. Those familiar with this history, surely know the qualified individuals to ask. There is one sure-fire way to end this self-proclaimed hubbub, concerning these wrongly identified individuals-- and I'm working on it.

And one more thought-- "bearing a resemblance" in life to someone else, or some famous individual surely means little when dealing within an "historical" realm. I'm confident everyone reading this, can find other people who resemble them-- sometimes quite closely. But that doesn't mean it's you for example does it-- for there's only one you-- and that's all that matters.

However for some to insist so vehemently to the point of accusing others of collusion, in "hiding the facts" when the facts are clear to see-- well, I don't know what to say-- except that graciousness and reality in life are a good thing-- within and without history. Thanks for your comment.

A. Winston Woodward said...

For the record, and for the benefit of whomever it is sending hateful msgs my way concerning these photos (what a remarkable waste of time, and proof of the points I've been making)-- I field many, many of these requests every year. So when I comment via a post, it is meant as commentary on all such approaches-- not just one. Therefore it is "not" personal.

And those who've been around here long enough know-- when I want to pinpoint any one issue or individual, should a response warrant it-- I will. I'm surely not shy, and am well-versed in dealing with long stories and short fuses within Bonnie & Clyde History.

I have now gone to the ultimate source concerning these photos-- and as stated, these individuals whomever they are-- are not Bonnie Parker, nor Clyde Barrow-- nor anyone to do with the Barrow family.

Time to let it go. That's it-- case closed. And unlike YouTube for example where trolling is seemingly encouraged to inspire controversial comment-- not here. The reason I employ safeguards within comments sections-- is to head off hateful banter ahead of time.

It appears some surely need more in life to do. Perhaps now would be a good time to find those wonderful new passions.

dave said...

Winston, I have a pic saved on my computer of Clyde with two other men playing cards on a boulder. One guy is drinking out of a moonshine jug. Clyde is pointing a German Luger at the other guy who has a pipe in his mouth. Obviously a staged photo at one of the family get togethers. It was on a website one time and I saved it. Then the website and pic disappeared. I haven't been able to find it on the internet since.


A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Dave--

If you would be so kind, please send copy of that image to my e-mail address. Would like to see it. Then we can discuss. Many thanks.

Melissa Penrod said...

I am in no way an expert just a huge history buff that has invested many hours through the years pouring through any information I can find about depression era outlaws. Particularly Bonnie and Clyde, The Dillinger gang, and the Barker-Karpis gangs. I would bet my last dollar that those are NOT legit pics. Just looking at them if you have seen more than one pic of B and C should be a clue. They don't have the same builds nor features. Nothing about them other than the time frame is a match. As for the Al Capone and Pretty Boy picture,again neither looks anything like the purported subjects.

Marvelous said...

First of all, A. Winston Woodward, thank you for your website. I have recently discovered it, and I, too, am a B&C enthusiast.

I agree, those people are definitely NOT B&C. If you've studied B&C (and their existing photos) for years (twenty, in my case), you can tell at first glance it's not them. For one, the woman is much heavier than Bonnie ever was. She was a slim, petite girl, and became even skinnier on the lam, when they couldn't eat balanced nor nutritious meals regularly. Everyone in the Barrow Gang lost weight. For instance, Blanche Barrow was about 113 lbs. when she reluctantly followed Buck, when he rejoined Clyde. Then, four months later, after her capture, she weighed around eightysomething lbs.

Another telling thing is that the woman's wardrobe looks old-fashioned for the 1930s. I've also studied the early 20th century (though not as much as B&C), and her clothes appear to date from the the Great War (1914-1918). That's when hemlines had risen just above the ankles but not much higher yet. Her bodice is also blousy, which is indicative of this period. Her hat looks two decades out of fashion, too.

Compare this 1918 fashion illustration with the aforementioned woman's: