Thursday, October 15, 2015

Seems For Some Concerning Bonnie & Clyde History-- Reality Isn't Where They May Wish It To Be.

It is the best of times.. it is the worst of times for Bonnie & Clyde History.  Good.. in that some wonderful revelations have come to light in recent years.  Bad.. in that within this same period, there have been a rash of unsubstantiated attempts to re-write this history-- seemingly fueled by historically-challenged protagonists, who feel they are above scrutiny.. and thus throw claims about without verification or provenance-- like handfuls of confetti in celebration of themselves.  Now along comes the latest entry into this foray.. the Massey Ford, apparently thought by those close to it, to be the authentic Bonnie & Clyde Death Car. 

Recently, I have tried to reason with some who back the Massey Ford-- and ask questions concerning this car's provenance and origin.  Now where Mr. Massey is, seems a mystery??.. in that although I'd asked to have my feelings and inquiries made known to the acknowledged owner of the Massey car John Massey-- seemingly, only Keith Hickman responded.. Mr. Hickman the other person named in news articles concerning this car housed at his Hot Rod shop in Gunter, Texas.

Seems Mr. Hickman may take offense to anyone having a say about anything to do with this car.. so let me put this in terms the car guys I hope will understand.  If you work on cars, and have John Johnson's late model Mustang with clear title.. no issue, you're good.  But when you claim to have Lee Petty's Olds 88, that won the inaugural Daytona 500 race in 1959-- you must be able to prove it's authenticity.  However and then again-- when you say you own an historically "iconic" car, such as Bonnie & Death Car.. the stakes are even higher.. and there will be people paying attention, asking questions and requesting irrefutable proof of authenticity.  It's just the way it is within historical circles.             

So never mind, that the Warren Bonnie & Clyde Death Car has a clear line of ownership since Ruth and Jesse Warren had their '34 Fordor Deluxe model swiped by Bonnie & Clyde.  And-- after the ambush, the car was sold to Charles Stanley and so on down the line.. until now being owned by "Whiskey Pete's" in Primm, Nevada-- where it has resided for many years now.  A line of ownership well-known and acknowledged.  And-- that court-backed determination of it's authenticity, was arrived at via the Ted Toddy Trial in Atlanta decades ago.  And-- that build records have existed for that car, where many particulars concerning the Warren's former auto are known. 

And-- that bullet holes, dents and other damage to the authentic Warren car-- match bullet holes, dents, and other damage to the car as noted in numerous photos which exist of the Bonnie & Clyde Death Car.. images taken immediately after the ambush on May 23rd, 1934 and which are beyond reproach.  And-- even that the original blood-soaked seats, are still contained within the Warren car.. blood which likely, could still be tested for DNA authenticity should a need arise.

None of that seemingly matters to backers of the Massey Ford-- who have.. well, not expressed much to go on.  Not much except unsubstantiated stories, seemingly fashioned to lend credence to their car-- but stories without adequate verification.  No particulars re: their cars production or prior ownership records.  No items brought forward said found in the car-- including weapons.  And how can that be??.. as an inventory and photos exist of Death Car contents.  The car is the wrong color.. backed by their alleged claim, the original Cordoba Gray Warren car was re-painted Desert Sand in color by Bonnie & Clyde, to throw the law off course.  This claim, despite universally-accepted knowledge, that when The Barrow Gang needed a new car-- they just "ditched" their previous one and stole another.

Ruth, Jesse Warren and their dog-- shown at the passenger side of Bonnie & Clyde Death Car after the ambush.  Note the dark color.. Cordoba Gray-- not repainted Desert Sand by Bonnie & Clyde while on the run as some allege.    

And why anyone would think, Clyde & Bonnie had time while on the run to wait for paint to dry-- well, that's just beyond the realm of acceptable logic within this history.  "Oh, but the car's lighter color is listed in the coroner's report".  Well, it takes a bit of insight to know-- that when Carroll Rich interviewed Dr. James Wade about 45 years ago now.. clarification was made acknowledging that error. Next and to me, the "end game" before even beginning for the Massey Ford-- is the fact that Massey Car bullet holes, don't exactly match the ones on the authentic Death Car.  "They don't".  Iron-clad photographic evidence exists with which to compare-- and a fair comparison can only result in a "read 'em and weep" result for this latest unsubstantiated Bonnie & Clyde Death Car entry.   

A pretty good attempt by whomever crafted this almost certain replica car.. but the bullet holes and dents made by the heavy barrages on the true Death Car "don't match" the Massey Car.  Simple as that.  Plus-- many of the Massey Car holes seem too large a caliber to be historically accurate.  The real Death Car, has a variety of  different caliber holes-- not only highlighting the significant firepower, the 6 ambush posse lawmen brought to bear in terms of damage to the car-- but also death to Bonnie & Clyde inside the car.. as caused by deliberate use of smaller caliber, but high powered weapons, using narrowly-pointed .30 caliber and .30-06 caliber rounds.

These caliber sizes, were meant to penetrate the rock-hard shell of the Warren Ford.. where larger caliber rounds would not.  Thus, many of the holes in the real Death Car are small.. and smaller than those seemingly evident in the Massey Car.  Heavy weapons such as an auto-shotgun with large shot and .45 caliber automatic pistols were used too-- but it seems, the missle-like rifle shots best penetrated the car through the tough '30's metal.

So what defenses have been advanced re: these Bonnie & Clyde Death Car realities??  Well, so far-- not a lot concerning defending the car.. but Hickman Creations did participate in some give & take commentary with me on their publicly viewable Facebook page.  Thus comments, were publicly aired.. witnessed by some of the Bonnie & Clyde faithful.. and print screened to provide accuracy and record.  And although I surely have no disrespect for anyone concerning this, importantly-- my comments involved a defense of Bonnie & Clyde History, attempt to provide guidance as to proper methods of historical verification and questions concerning the car. 

However the responses I received, again publicly aired (people should always consider that when commenting on Facebook)-- seemingly involved more in terms of politically "populist" concepts, rather than addressing much to do with the Massey Ford.  But apparently, concerning the Massey Car and it's authenticity..

That it should be up to the public to decide..

hat the American People are Believers.. 
and believers are the Best Example of 

That the Feds and courts cannot be trusted and are corrupt..

hat the Feds staged Bonnie & Clyde's deaths.. 

That somehow, I am felt to be a Communist..

Something about drinking beer, badass cars and looking at hot women in bikinis..

That there are real Bonnie & Clyde experts to back their claims.. BTW-- I asked about these experts, without reply..

That the motor of the Massey Car had been changed.. but numbers seem to match-up.  Well, which numbers match up to what??  Can "any" numbers found on that car, be traced back to the Warren purchase and delivery to Mosby-Mack in Kansas??  If not.. it's not the right car.  

For me not to move to Texas "cuz people don't like ur kind round these parts !"

"And" that they are praying for me..

("Hey thanks")..

Also that they have never made a claim that it's definitely the real Bonnie & Clyde Death Car.  But they think it is-- and that's their opinion. 

Bunch of side-stepping semantics there. "But that's fine".. as my opinion that the Massey Car is not the authentic Bonnie & Clyde Death Car, is shared by many-- since the acknowledged Bonnie & Clyde Death Car has resided in Nevada for many decades.

o there you have it ladies and gentlemen.. a staunch defense of the latest, alleged Bonnie & Clyde Death Car-- by those who feel they've struck gold, within the "Desert Sand" shrouded , and oh so cool that it's back in Texas Death Car.      

Ruth and Jesse Warren Bonnie & Clyde Death Car, Primm, Nevada.

Meanwhile-- for those who would like to visit the long-acknowledged Bonnie & Clyde Death Car within Desert Sands that matter.. the one with verifiable history, bullet holes, blood, color and provenance.. please visit Whiskey Pete's Hotel and Casino, West Primm Boulevard, Primm, Nevada. Best to call 1st-- as sometimes, Terrible's Casinos has showcased the Warren Bonnie & Clyde Car at other Terrible's locations. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Yet Another Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Surfaces-- But It Seems This One, Has Some "Essplainin" To Do..

It's been decades now-- since the Bonnie & Clyde Death Car was in question.  And at more than one point in time, proper identification of the death car "was" in question-- until the Ted Toddy trial in Atlanta.. when Ted Hinton seemingly helped lay any remaining controversy to rest.  At that trial to determine genuineness between Bonnie & Clyde Death Cars.. ex-Dallas Deputy Sheriff Hinton (one of 6 Peace Officers, who put an end to Bonnie & Clyde's "reign of terror")-- provided expert testimony, that the Ted Toddy car originally owned by Jesse and Ruth Warren.. was indeed the authentic death car. 

Although minutes of that trial would need to be examined to reveal all the particulars of that event-- Hinton who surely knew that car in '34..
was able to identify the car again decades later-- via a mark he had placed somewhere on the car.. and thus, verify the former Warren car then owned by Toddy, as the correct one.  Hinton helped provide court-sanctioned iron-clad assurance as to the Death Car's genuineness.  As I understand it, that trial also compared Ford manufacturing records.. used for proof as well. 

And as such, the Ruth and Jesse Warren Bonnie & Clyde Death Car.. at that point owned by Ted Toddy, and having changed hands more than once since then-- is now an attraction/owned by Whiskey Pete's.. a Terrible's Casino-- in Primm, Nevada. 

Fast forward to today, where in Pilot Point, Texas a man named John Massey claims to have the real Warren car housed at a body shop in Gunter, Texas.  Please review news link here..

So Bonnie & Clyde had the Cordoba Gray car painted to elude police??  Man, who had time for painting cars while on the run.. and why not just steal another car as they always did??  Also, who was this man, who owned the Massey car for 25 years-- before displaying it at The National Museum Of Crime.. and who's estate it was purchased from??  Names and proper provenance are necessary for historical verification of any serious historical artifact-- and for one this monumentally iconic.. provenance is key.  Plus as other Death  Car fakes have made their way around over the years-- one of those from even way back, conceivably could have resurfaced to see the light of day once again.    

And would that be the National Museum of Crime in Washington D.C. which just closed.. which housed my Bonnie & Clyde artifacts??  Could this be the Ken Holmes Bonnie & Clyde '67 movie car.. burned in the Wax Museum fire in Dallas.. restored.. displayed in Gibsland-- and later displayed at the National Museum Of Crime And Punishment.  And now, with more than a few larger caliber holes too many.. gained attention again in Texas??  Did Ken's kids sell it to this fellow??  Don't think so, as last I heard-- Ken's car was in limbo, as to where it may go with the museum now shutting down.  So this is a different replica death car-- longing to be the original?? 

I would think some particulars for Mr. Massey to ponder-- before allowing his car to "hit the road" on display for historical purposes might include..

Knowledge that the line of ownership re: the Warren car in having been sold by Ruth Warren to Charles Stanley in the '30's and beyond, with owners known and documented along the way-- and which today, leads to Whiskey Pete's Casino in Primm, Nevada is solid.

Charles Stanley, after purchasing Warren Bonnie & Clyde car.  Note the darker color than evident on Massey car.  Ford Cordoba Gray swatch shown below.
The Warren car was a 1934 Ford Model 730 Fordor Deluxe Sedan.

> Ford Cordoba Gray in color
> Purchased at the Mosby-Mack Motor Company,
     Topeka, Kansas
> 85 HP V-8, with manual 3 speed transmission
> Motor number #649198
> Options included Arvin hot water heater-- steel cover for spare tire-- front and rear bumper guards-- Potters trunk and a chrome Greyhound radiator cap ornament.

On May 23rd, 1934 it was shot full of holes (167 have been counted, including entry and exit holes)-- when Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed in Sailes, LA.. holes documented through numerous photographs of the death car, taken at Arcadia, LA after the ambush.  Historically correct photos of The Bonnie & Clyde Death Car.. "no doubt about it".

The main issue I see for Mr. Massey, without even comparing build info.. is that bullet holes evident on post-ambush photos from '34 of the actual death car-- don't exactly match up, to holes apparently "recreated" in this latest car alluding to Bonnie & Clyde authenticity.  Although close and a spirited try.. they don't precisely match the Death Car bullet patterns-- however the holes in the car in Primm do.  So "case closed".. it should be that simple. 

Plus the holes in the Massey car, seem of similar size-- whereas at the ambush, a variety of weapons were employed in trying to penetrate Bonnie & Clyde's solidly built 1934 car.  Thus many holes were relatively small, and appeared as such in photographs-- having been created by Remington Model 8 rifles (up to .35 caliber) and a BAR (.30-06 caliber).  Although I wouldn't hesitate to wager, spots substantially dented in (evident on the real car but seemingly not on this latest replica)-- may have been made by the BAR-- which has a velocity that will propel bullets a remarkable 3 miles.  Many heavy hits may also have been made by Hamer's automatic shotgun, said loaded with the largest shot.  .45 caliber pistols may  also have made substantial holes-- but may not have penetrated the car, sans the windows.          

Actual Bonnie & Clyde Death Car.. May 23rd, 1934, Arcadia, LA.
Massey Ford, with bullet holes which "don't" exactly match Bonnie & Clyde Death Car bullet holes.  And where did all those larger caliber bullet holes in the door panels come from??  Like the "Old Man" in "A Christmas Story" with the extension chords.. "Well.. there are just too many".  One of the keys to penetrating the heavy '34 metal-- was the use of narrow, sharp 30 caliber rifle shots, along with BAR rounds (.30-06 caliber)-- for sheer firepower.  Thus many of the actual holes were small.   

But apparently, to those who wish for their Bonnie & Clyde artifacts without provenance and death cars to be real.. well, yet another attempt at glory??  Perhaps this gentleman isn't familiar with the ambush and it's aftermath.  Thus maybe he wouldn't mind producing any of the many items he claims were left in the death car (including weapons).. which speak to his car's authenticity.  It sure seems, the law and all who scoured the death car after the ambush-- missed so very much within their inventory. 

No.. they didn't. 

One more observation.. I believe within his interview of Dr. James Wade in the late '60's, Professor Carroll Rich noted that Wade had gotten the color of the car wrong.. in noting it to be Desert Sand in color.  As Carroll's interviews are both out of print and ones only those with a keen interest in Bonnie & Clyde History would be familiar with.. I'm not surprised, some have hung their hats on the original coroner's report concerning this-- and thus attempted to create replica cars in the wrong color.  As has been noted for decades.. within manufacturing reports, Cordoba Gray was the reported color of the Warren car-- with those in the know having made replica non-shot up Bonnie & Clyde cars in the correct color.  I have the Carrol Rich interviews of Wade archived, and will double check them to be sure concerning this correction to the original coroner's report.      

I do wonder though, about the motivation of those for example that this fellow bought his car from??  Do some really think they can buck history, and create questionable alternatives others will buy into??  It sure seems so. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Bonnie Parker-- Innocent And "Sweet As Pie".. Or Perhaps In Reality-- Not Exactly??

Bonnie & Clyde History can be a polarizing experience-- with impassioned and spirited views flying about, as if leaves on a blustery November day.  Within such disparate views-- many have formed opinions concerning Bonnie Parker.  Some seem to envision Bonnie Elizabeth Parker, as just a "sweet young thang".. who fell prey to love and the charms of a sinister Clyde Barrow, who then.. led her astray into a world she never would've imagined dying in.  

Then there are those who consider Bonnie perhaps more akin to a female "Devil Bandito".. who while voluntarily participating within a gang of evil wrongdoers.. became one herself-- and despite seeming evidence to the contrary.. brutally killed along with other members of the gang, many innocents without mercy.

Well I've gotten into that debate often with some.  For I feel the reality concerning Bonnie Parker and killing was.. that in the eyes of the law and indeed society in the 1930's-- Bonnie was clearly at least an accessory to murder.  Although with the number of times she was witnessed firing weapons at the law.. and considering weapons she loaded (along with that ill-advised pic with a stogie)-- well, seems Bonnie may never escape the trumped-up image of her as perhaps the preeminent Gun Moll.  And with The Barrow Gang having committed so many murders (likely 13)-- it's my feeling, Bonnie Parker may well have gone to the electric chair.. if not ambushed on May 23rd of  '34.

But what about Bonnie as a person??  What about her heart-driven demeanor and actions while a Barrow Gang member??  What type of young woman was she in reality??.. and how did her love for a killer, along with life on the road with a gang of killers change her.. from the sweet and innocent person many view her as-- to a more hardened sort, fueled by Barrow Gang desperation seemingly at every turn.  

Movies and books portray Bonnie in different lights.. from innocence unduly influenced, to Jeff Guinn's not so masked assertion of an astute woman, prone to even the lure of prostitution for want of better things.  But there "are" credible clues, into the identity of the real Bonnie Parker while involved in Bonnie & Clyde's "reign of terror".  And oddly enough to me, these clues almost mirror..(almost)-- Bonnie as portrayed in the Bonnie & Clyde TV mini series aired in 2013. 

Now in fairness, much about that mini series was contrived and "all jumbled up".. as if someone pulled Bonnie & Clyde 1/2 truths and balderdash out of a hat, and just plugged it in various places.  Of course, Frank Hamer was not at Dexfield Park-- and Bonnie didn't aspire to be a dancer.. although according to Billie, Bonnie did want to be a singer on Broadway.  And I'm not sure anyone can nearly surmise, Bonnie somehow actively sought to substitute fame within a murderous gang-- for her faded aspirations in show business.

However, I do think that movie got something quite important right, not usually associated with Bonnie Parker.  A certain hardened-steel toughness and propensity for tough-talking action, many seemingly overlook-- in giving Bonnie a wink, nod and pass-- when scouring Bonnie & Clyde references for truth. 

Dallas Bonnie & Clyde FBI file 26-4114 contains a multitude of unique Bonnie & Clyde info.  So do interviews with lawmen the Barrow Gang kidnapped.   Sheriff Corry (Wellington) thought the gang abusive with Bonnie seeming "nervous and high-strung".. and with the least provocation-- she and the others, capable of killing without hesitation.  And Percy Boyd claimed Bonnie was the 1st to fire on he and Cal Campbell-- and that she used a shotgun.. but concerning that incident, Clyde told her she was not to shoot any more, without his telling her to.  However, that didn't seem the case-- in a number of other documented Bonnie & Clyde shooting incidents, where Bonnie "was" witnessed pulling the trigger.

Joe Gunn (Reeds Spring, Missouri) said Bonnie cursed a lot-- and when she spotted police said "There they are.. we had just as well stop and have it out with them".  And they did.. with Bonnie having again been witnessed firing at officers.  W.D. Jones also said Bonnie fired  a .41 caliber pistol on the night of January 6th, 1933 in Dallas, at the Lily McBride house (Malclom Davis killing).  So can it be said with absolute certainty, that Bonnie never hit anyone with her gunfire??  Likely not.. but likely true she didn't kill anyone.. at least not that we know.  

And of course Sophie Stone (Ruston, LA)-- told of an abusive and physical Bonnie, who Miss Stone said slugged her with a pistol butt and shoved her into their stolen get away car.


So do these eyewitness accounts by many-- lead to a conclusion of Bonnie blinded by love, being an innocent "victim of circumstance"??  I'm not sure that can be judged the case.. as objectively, this combination of credible accounts which don't even include Bonnie perhaps firing at Joplin??-- likely lead one to conclude that in reality.. Bonnie may have been a much more tough-talking-- prone to crudeness-- nervous and reactionary woman.. than many have previously believed.  And without a doubt I think.. willing to propel bullets in the direction of ending life.

And thus, was Bonnie the innocent and reserved young romantic many portray her to be while with The Barrow Gang??  In my view-- not according to enough evidence to make a difference.  Of course, there's nothing wrong with commenting on Bonnie's sweetness as described by some who said they knew her best-- as long as grains of salt are employed.. to temper, what was likely a stark and more hardened reality. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum-- What A Difference One Person Can Make.

For those who remember and for those who unfortunately never had the privilege-- to many, The Original Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana, was thought an historical beacon of integrity without reservation-- and known far & wide, for the  imparting of a quite "cool" brand of Bonnie & Clyde knowledge and experience.  However, now-- well let's just say, some close to Bonnie & Clyde History-- believe the renewed museum far less than that.. with a self-imposed closing or moving date of October 31st, having been revealed to the media in Shreveport.  But after such a long run.. how could a museum newly acquired just 8 months ago, be in danger of failure or relocation??

For years, the museum known mostly for museum-goer's interactions with L. J. "Boots" Hinton, but also as a mainstay for The annual Authentic Bonnie & Clyde Festival in Gibsland--  was respected and revered.  Also many friendships and shared camaraderie among Bonnie & Clyde aficionados and historians alike, was commonplace concerning the museum.  But now.. that entity seems more a hotbed for controversy-- with heated accusations involving impropriety and the crafting of historical untruth masquerading as authenticity, positioned like hurdles to overcome stretching into the distance.  And I don't think many would disagree, in looking to the new museum's website-- for it does seem evident.. it's focus appears more a conduit for sales revenue rather than history.

But with "Boots" Hinton still there although in a more reserved role now-- what's the difference??  To me, Ken Holmes was the difference.  May God rest your soul in peace Ken.  During his tenure as founder and owner.. Ken cared to do right by Bonnie & Clyde History, and thus would never do anything to weaken it, but only strengthen it.  He also had a respectable working relationship with the landlord, who still owns the old Rosa's Cafe building in Gibsland.. a relationship which allowed for the museum to not always thrive.. but stay viable, to carry on in it's most unique role for Bonnie & Clyde History. 

But now despite a self-serving video seemingly attempting to shift focus away from it's issues-- and some most recent posturing to make it appear "all is well"-- the reality is, the museum has named a closing or moving date which aired on Shreveport area TV and is approaching.  And so too is rain.. for those in the know, know-- the museum's roof is likely the issue most critical concerning survival or not.. with a forecast  via Accuweather, for 9 days of rain prior to October's end in Gibsland-- and with Winter on the horizon.

he downturn and possible downfall or relocation of the Ambush Museum is in many ways a shame.  But in other ways, for those who have raised impassioned historical red flags in defense of integrity within this history-- the museum facing life & death challenges is not unexpected.  As I see it, these Bonnie & Clyde "defenders of right" have backed their accusations with evidence which seems irrefutable.. "and" without public denial by the museum, sans a blurb or 2 on the museum's Facebook page.. who's public limitations, it seems works just fine for them. 

For some have thought it fair to ask.. who buys a museum??--

> without a sustained effort to buy the building it's housed within..

> with known roof issues..

> apparently without a lease, and now sporting a publicly visible rift with the building's owner..  

> and where the backing of locals who could be valuable allies, seems anything but assured..

Then add in the alleged historical issues.. "shake well" and "Ta Dah".. the museum as it sits today-- with buckets admittedly deployed to catch rainfall, as if tears of historical conscience or lack of it??  Historical conscience is good.. yes it is. 

And in having reported on this monumental tug-o-war within the Bonnie & Clyde Historical community for a while now.. and having weighed evidence along with rebuttal (what little there's been)-- I'm reminded of that famous political debate between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle in '88, when Quayle so remarkably evoked the name of Jack Kennedy.

Well, on behalf of those I respect in Bonnie & Clyde History, including Ken, who I wish was still with us.. I'll do my best to paraphrase that telling moment. 

"Mr. Carver-- You're no Ken Holmes".