Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Ramrod Starts a Stampede; Media Gets Trampled!

The first time ever I saw his face he was playing Rowdy Yates in the early-1960's hayburner "Rawhide," a long-running TV series about the adventures of drovers herding 3,000 head of cattle to market up the Sedalia trail from San Antonio, Texas.

Less taciturn than his later characters, still soft-talking early on, Clint Eastwood already exuded more talent than the small black & white screen could use.

It seemed every episode of the show featured at least one stampede, when 1,500 tons of beef on the hoof would stream at top speed whatever direction they thought best.

From time to time it was the good guys who wanted and started a stampede; perhaps to outrun rustlers or beat a storm. When a stampede was called for, Clint's character, the ramrod Rowdy Yates, got the task.

Keep movin, movin, movin
though they're disapprovin,
keep them doggies movin
In recent days too many of the talking heads, whether left or right or in between have tried to talk down Clint Eastwood's skit at the RNC. "He's too old." "It was disjointed." "It wandered." The Hollywood crowd has been the worst.

You'd think they'd know better. They're talking and writing about one of the very best story tellers of all time but have missed the point: The audiences loved it.

In just two days, the Eastwood skit has been viewed on YouTube by nearly 2 million people. 

Eastwood wasn't trying to convince the audience in the hall, he was using them as a prop to tell his story. And the media folks, the talking heads, are his Greek chorus, offstage left, by their comments echoing Clint's points that skewer like beef bound for the BBQ. With every ever so smart comment, they remind the audience of the empty chair, the low characters and supposedly lofty intellects that are the set pieces of the current administration.

Two million viewers in 2 days. That's a blockbuster.

Heck, that's a stampede. Nice going, Mr. Eastwood!

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