Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 5 December 2014

Sepia Shots


Sepia shots being fired from sepia guns in 1950. My brother is acting the part of one of his cowboy heroes. I’ve no idea which one, although Roy Rogers is a name I seem to remember being mentioned. There’s a strong possibility that the outfit he’s wearing was sent from America, where my Mum’s Auntie Millie lived. There are also pictures of my brother wearing a shirt made of print fabric, the design of which is cowboys and yes, cowgirls; perhaps Rogers’ wife Dale Evan who appeared alongside him on TV and in films. I’m sure I spot a cactus, a horse and possibly a steer, and is that the steam of a Old West train puffing over the prairie?

In the 1960s the folklorists Iona and Peter Opie catalogued “Children’s Games in Street and Playground” and at that time ‘Cowboys and Indians’ was still a great favourite, both in Britain and on the continent. The games were usually named after whatever TV programme was popular at the time and they list: Raw Hide, Wagon Train, Pony Express, Cheyenne, Totem Pole, Cavalry and Indians, Gun Law, Apache Warpath, Laramie, Wells Fargo, Lone Ranger and Cisco Kid. I have vague memories of Tenderfoot (Sugarfoot), Bronco (I can even sing the theme tune), and later, The Virginian and The High Chaparral. Last year an article in The Daily Telegraph was titled, ‘Cowboys and Indians more popular than computer games’ although I’m not sure how in-depth the survey, commissioned by the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, was. The conclusion was that outdoor pursuits were still number one, but whether they actually mentioned ‘Cowboys and Indians’ I have no idea. I’m just a wee bit sceptical as I’d have thought the genre was fading fast. I can’t think of any current TV programmes or films that would fire the imagination in the same way as those racially insensitive examples of the 50s and 60s wher the Indian was always the bad guy and pioneer cowboy or the cavalry always won the day.



By the 1980s children’s education was a little more enlightened and the curriculum at my daughter’s school included a project on Plains Indians and offered a more sympathetic view of their way of life. My daughter was captivated by the theme, and Christmas 1982 brought dressing-up outfits for her and her younger brother. Unfortunately he wasn’t quite so impressed by his outfit and I’m afraid there isn’t a happy shot of the photo shoot. It was no way for a sheriff to behave of course, but they were both just getting over Chicken Pox and were still a bit emotional. I have his permission to use the images below, and it didn’t get in the way of his subsequent career as a ‘lawman’ - no sheriff’s badge though.






















By the time of my daughter’s birthday, ten months later, he was much more relaxed about joining the other cowboys and cowgirls at the party and to enjoy a piece of themed birthday cake.

He still wasn’t overly fond of that hat though and decided it was better removed at the table.


Sepia Saturday 257 has a young cowboy lassoing his father and posing on the porch of his house as our prompt. Why not mosey on over there and see who’s been drawn into the Sepia Saloon this week?



17 comments:

  1. Priceless photos and memories! I remember such a fun time to share parties with Cowboys and Indians, it was magical, and your happy photos prove it right before our eyes.

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  2. I also wonder if children still play cowboys and indians today. I certainly did, I even had my own tipi!

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  3. My brother and I alternated between playing cowboys & Indians, and going off into space - the swing set in the backyard becoming a teepee or a spaceship, depending. Great fun times! I think my favorite western-themed TV show was "Wagon Train". Ward Bond was great as the older leader of the wagon train, but my attention was on the handsome younger second-in-command fellow played by good-looking Robert Horton. And later, Bonanza with the elder son, Adam Cartwright, played by Pernell Roberts - both worth a sigh or two! :))

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  4. I remember wearing my cowboy outfit, complete with holster and gun, but I don't remember playing cowboys and Indians with other children.

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  5. This brought back lots of memories for me and reminded me that I coukd have gone in a completely different direction for my post. My daughter's birthday is around Thanksgiving and we had a birthday party one year that looks a lot like your photos.

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  6. Lovely photos, but my favourite is that thoughtful study of your brother in his patterned shirt.

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  7. Well I think Hugh Jackman was my favourite cowboy. :-) Young brother looks as though he could be singing a la Jackman om Oklahoma.

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  8. What a trip back to my youth! I remember pajamas like your brother's as well as curtains and wallpaper, not at my house though, but in the rooms of friends' brothers. And those tv shows -- my favorites were "Bonanza" and "Maverick" although I spent some time with many of the others you mentioned.

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  9. Oboy; cowboy! Absolutely wonderful photos...and tell your son that I love men who remove their hats at my table -- a true gentleman cowboy!

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  10. What endearing photos, great post!

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  11. I don't remember having a favorite cowboy show but my sister liked Lash Laroo.

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  12. We must have missed out somewhere as our guns were made of wood and none of us had costumes to wear.That didn't stop the fun - but it was war time.

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  13. Wonderful memories, thanks for sharing! I had forgotten how many old west television shows there used to be in the 60's and 70's. Sepia Saloon in the last sentence made me smile!

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  14. Brought back great memories for me too. The little costumes were great..we had cap guns and had to use a lot of imagination. We lived near real Indians on reservations - no cute head dresses.

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  15. I am now wondering why so many of the outfits were always red, it seems to be confirmed here this week on Sepia....lovely photos and those old TV shows would not make the cut today....still we loved them

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  16. Great photos. I remember most of the TV shows you list - sign of a mis-spent childhood - but we tended to play "Brits and Germans" on the Air Raid Shelter roof when we were at school.

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  17. I was going to say that I didn't really watch cowboy stuff on tv when I was kid but I do have vague memories of the Cisco Kid and thinking he was pretty hard done by. And I confess to being deeply in love with Blue Boy in High Chaparral.

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