I love today's photo, which comes to us courtesy of Merlinsguy. It is a fantastic publicity photo of that low-down, no-good sidewinder, Black Bart!! He's plum loco, see the crazy look in his eyes?? Merlinsguy was eleven years old when he saw Bart with some of these 8 X 10 photos. He said, "...after I overcame my fear of approaching such a star, he signed one to me.". Cool!
When I asked Merlinsguy if he had any other memories, he replied, "The photo was given to me personally by Black Bart, around 57-58 I'm guessing. The blacksmith shop is not quite behind him; that obviously is the trading post. Next to it is a corral, that I believe predated the shooting gallery (which might make the photo even earlier). Next to the corral would have been the blacksmith shop, where a true cowboy named Eddie Adamak twirled lariats and pitched his home-made product, a pre-fab lasso that enabled youngsters to make perfect circles just like their cowboy heroes." Great info about the early Frontierland!
I couldn't find any information about the actor who played Bart, and photos of him aren't common. He appears on at least one slightly odd Disneyland postcard (what are Bart and Sheriff Lucky doing on Main Street?).
There are some old articles that mention Bart...here is a quote from Time Magazine (July 29, 1957): "At nearby Frontierland, a Wild West stagecoach and a mule train churn the dust; if business slacks, villainous Black Bart conveniently shoots it out with Sheriff Lucky in a haze of gun smoke, later distributes used cartridge cases to the newly corralled crowd."
And another great quote from the Saturday Evening Post (June 28, 1958): "It was a normal Sunday afternoon at Disneyland. The Gay Nineties show had just broken at the Golden Horseshoe, a make-believe salon located in the Frontierland area. The tourist-packed Mark Twain, a scaled-down reproduction of a nineteenth-century Mississippi river boat, was sailing around Tom Sawyer's Island. Stagecoach passengers were jolting through the Painted Desert, which, until recently, had been an orange grove in Anaheim, California.
Suddenly, a shot shattered the silence in the Golden Horseshoe, and Black Bart, a masked desperado, burst through its swinging doors into the sunlight outside. Hot after him came Sheriff Lucky, his Colt .45 blazing away with extra-loud-blanks.
A crowd swarmed around the combatants. Protecting his stolen sack of dollars, Black Bart crouched behind a large rock, firing at the sheriff, who had taken cover behind a tree. After several exchanges, Black Bart charged out from his hiding place, but went down under Lucky's unerring fire.
As the sheriff advanced toward the wounded bandit, a tow headed five-year-old, wearing a cowboy suit and holding a cap pistol, came running from the crowd.
"Can I finish him off, sheriff, can I?" he asked.
"O.K.," said the sheriff, looking the boy over. "I'll count one-two-three. You fire at three."
The boy nodded, squinted and took aim at the fallen badman. Lucky hid his own gun behind his back and started counting.
"One...two...three." As the boy pulled the trigger, a shot rang out from the sheriff's concealed weapon. Black Bart shuddered, then lay deathly still.
The lad took one look, dropped his gun and fled screaming, "Mommy, mommy! I didn't mean to! I didn't mean to!"
His tears stopped a moment later, however, when he turned and saw Black Bart and Sheriff Lucky walking back into the Golden Horseshoe to get ready for their next performance."
WOW...there's nothing like making a kid hysterical because he thought he killed someone! I'm sure he enjoyed years of therapy after that. To tell the truth, that part of the story sounds like a bit of "artistic license" on the part of the writer, but I guess we'll never know for sure. It's still a fun glimpse into Disneyland's past.Many thanks to Merlinsguy for sharing this wonderful piece of Disneyland ephemera from his personal collection.