Wednesday 6 May 2009

WILD WEST MONDAY GUEST BLOGGER - JOANNE WALPOLE



Today's guest blogger is Joanne Walpole who gushes of her love for Heyes and The Kid from the TV show Alias Smith and Jones, and tells us of how the show has influenced her own work. Joanne writing under the name of Terry James sees a novel out at the end of the month LONG SHADOWS and it can be ordered now to ensure delivery - HERE

Joanne also maintains her own blog HERE


And so The Tainted Archive hands you over to the lovely Joanne





My love affair with Alias Smith & Jones by Joanne Walpole

It’s truth time. Alias Smith & Jones was THE biggest influence on me writing westerns. There. I’ve said it. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Alias Smith & Jones (TV, 1971). They form my earliest recollections of the genre, although I was only five or six years old at the time when they were first shown in the UK. As soon as I could hold a pencil, I wrote episodes for my mum. Given a few spare minutes, I’ll still whip up an unlikely tale.

As time has gone by, I have been asked on numerous occasions what the attraction was, and still is. Being a deep thinker, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the strong bond of friendship between Heyes and the ‘Kid’. Add this to the simplistic, non-violent and ultimately satisfying alls-well-that-ends-well plots and you have that most wonderful beast – the timeless western.

Obviously as the years go by, my tastes change, and so does my choice of favourite episode. If I had to choose now, it would be a toss up between The Girl in Boxcar #3 and The Fifth Victim. Strangely, these are both Kid Curry biased episodes, which is why I am surprised I single them out since my preference is the Hannibal Heyes character. Why? Because he’s intelligent, good with cards and easy on the eye. Not that Kid Curry doesn’t have equally attractive qualities being fast with a gun, a bit more serious and highly likely to get into trouble.

Look closely enough at my writing and you’ll find something of Alias Smith & Jones in there, whether it be the stance of a gunfighter or the luck of a gambler. It may not be a literary or cinematic masterpiece but it holds high the essence of what a western is to me – good vs. evil, honesty, integrity, friendship and that ‘leave you with a smile’ ending.


13 comments:

Jo Walpole said...

Thanks for allowing me to share my first love. ;-)

I.J. Parnham said...

I'll make a bit of an admission too that the two main leads in my Avalon western series started life as a combination of two tv series, one of which was Smith and Jones. The idea of two men, one of whom is the devious brains of the outfit and one who's good with a gun, is the sort of thing that makes writing dialogue and situations an utter delight.

Ray said...

Sadly, this is a series that I've not caught up with. Sandy says that I never missed an episode - maybe, it is time that I played 'catch up'.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I think this very much rode on the success of Butch and Sundance - the two main characters are very much like old butch and the kid. I must say I used to love it when I was younger and I've just downloaded several episodes and am enjoying them all over again. I'd like to get that season boxset - is it available on region 2?

Jo Walpole said...

Gary - yes it's available on R2. I go tmine from HMV a few years ago and I know they have it on Amazon and eBay regularly.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Thanks Jo - I'll have to get that one. I watched the pilot recently and thought it was great fun. Just the sort of western you can watch with the kids.

I.J. Parnham said...

What's your view, Jo, on the replacement bloke? I only watched it first time round and remember stopping watching it when Pete died.

Jo Walpole said...

Ian - I never watch the episodes with Roger Davies. I think the episodes are weak and thrown together and he always seems too full of himself. Also, IMO he can't act. I was glad when Kid Curry shot and killed him in Smiler With A Gun.

Ray said...

And as an aside Kid Curry rode with Butch and Sundance.

Laurie Powers said...

I loved this - thanks Joanne!

Charles Gramlich said...

I definitely liked that show, although I never got a chance to see it regularly. Makes me want to read your book, though. Looking forward to it coming out.

Steve M said...

I grew up with this show too, and never miss it when it's repeated.

Anonymous said...

Good article, Joanne. Alias Smith and Jones were always one of my favourites. A friend of mine just bought me the first series for my birthday. I actually felt sorry for Roger Davies, who took over from the original Heyes. I think he did a good job under really difficult circumstances. Pete Duel was almost irreplaceable.

I also loved "How the West Was Won" tv series, on at roughly the same time, with a character very much like Heyes and Curry.

Good to read your thoughts.

Andrea

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