Guinn Big Boy Williams Night on Boot Hill …

15 Jun

Found this out on the Prairie, near Dodge City in an old newspaper found blowing in the wind …

Under the headline “Film Star Sleeps on Boot Hill,” in the Monday, April 3, 1939, Dodge City Daily Globe, a story begins: “For a great many years only concrete faces and the cowboy statue have rested in historic old Boot Hill cemetery. But Saturday night there was a newcomer there.

”The story goes on the tell how Guinn “Big Boy” Williams, one of the stars of “Dodge City,” was found sleeping on Boot Hill Sunday morning after the festivities surrounding the premiere.

Williams woke up sufficiently to elude authorities, who later learned that he had spent the day sleeping in a rooming house on West Chestnut street. Williams had missed the train back to Hollywood. He appeared in a west side grocery store later in the afternoon, took a taxi to the airport and caught a plane to Wichita. From there, he made it back to the coast.

Williams reportedly told a Dodge City man he wanted to sleep among the dead men for his wild West thrill.


Ah, Hollywood!


— David DeWitt


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    June 16, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Great story, David! You got me getting into Dodge.

    Looks below like Hale and Flynn are mighty mad Williams didn’t invite them to Boot Hill for the night. Also known as “The Babe Ruth of Polo -Big Boy was a bona fide cowboy, I. Sleeping at Boot Hill, where all the permanent residents died with their boots on” , i.e. violently, such as in a gunfight (hence the name, had to be an exciting experience for Big Boy. While others were trying to ‘get out of Dodge’, he was ‘in like Guinn’.


    • Gentleman Tim

      June 16, 2018 at 6:29 pm

      Here’s my favorite Dodge City scene with him, one of the great scenes in movie history:…

      • Karl

        June 16, 2018 at 9:05 pm

        MAGNIFICENT clip,Tim old boy- and you can clearly see he wasn’t doubled.

        At 6’2″ and solid muscle he cut a mean swathe through various and sundry physical challenges and was completely non-plussed not to mention unphased!

        Kind of made me think of the SUPER HUMAN toughness of Jim Thorpe as told by Iron Eyes Cody in his autobio, though in appearance he looked more like a Bush scion!
        His daddy was, in fact, a politician.

        Such a fan of polo that he supposedly owned 125 ponies at one point!

        He was some kind of a man as the saying goes.

        • Karl

          June 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm

          The reason for citing Jim Thorpe is there is a connection to Flynn.

          One of the GREATEST athletes of the 20th century their supposed first encounter led to Flynn HAVING HIM as an extra on some of his films, and Iron Eyes Cody later memorializing same which I now share:

          “Errol Flynn’s barroom brawling is probably legendary, being the type of guy who just couldn’t resist seeing how tough you were. If you had a reputation, that is. Flynn was a friend of mine and I managed to avoid duking it out with him on account of he always felt sorry for me. Thought I was basically a softie. Flynn knew Jim Thorpe was no softie, though. As he pushed his way into the saloon at Gower Gulch, he faced Jim’s massive back leaning against the bar. Flynn had obviously been drinking, but he never staggered about drunk. Rather, you could tell he’d just polished off about a quart of gin from the dancing, madman look in his eyes, that swash buckling, aber wielding, crazy-bent-on-distruction-for-the-fun of-it-look. He gave Jim a little poke from behind, which caused him to dribble his beer.

          ‘Okay, you big sonavabitch. Show me how tough you are.’ Flynn did his famous stance-defiant, screw-the-world, ramrod straight, feet spread, elbows akimbo, and fists jammed into his slim hips.

          Jim slowly wipe the beer from his chin, set the glass on the bar, and shook his head. ‘Dammit’ he said, grinning, ‘this is just like the old West around here, ain’t it ?’

          He turned to face Flynn, still grinning, but his eyes smoldered. Now I’ve never seen Flynn scared of anything, least wise when his blood was heated up with booze. But I wonder if he even felt a twinge of doubt as he looked into the grinning face of Jim Thorpe and saw something dangerous. Maybe he didn’t have time, it all happened so fast. Jim got into a crouch and pretended to throw the left, but held back. Flynn’s response was an immediate, reflexive, his right flashing out where Jim’s smile was supposed to be. But there was only air. Jim had anticipated and ducked, and now had Flynn in the perfect position for one punch, one angled roundhouse square on the chin of the handsomest face in Hollywood. I’ve never seen anybody head with such force in my life. I think if Flynn hadn’t been drinking, he’d have taken it too stiff and his head might have flown off. He was actually lifted off the floor a good foot and sent sprawling on his back. And there he lay, his arms spread out like he’d been crucified. Jim remained in a crouch, The grin gone from his face, huge shoulders wrapped protectively around his seamed face. This was the old gridiron Thorpe, snorting like a bull. He was watching Flynn now like some animal patiently waiting for a wounded prey to expire. Flynn moaned and started coming around. He propped himself up on his elbows, shook his head, and saw what stood there, ready to go right through him.

          ‘Enough?’ Said Jim.

          Flynn gingerly felt his job, and for a few seconds the two of them were locked in a stare war. ‘Are you kidding?’ he said, a smile spreading over his face. For a minute I thought he was going to be crazy enough to continue. ‘Too bloody much!’ He drags himself to his feet, and staggered a little, and shook his head again. ‘What a punch! Bartender, set ‘em up for Jim Thorpe, a real man!’

          That was Flynn for you. His ways were so winning. He just waltzed up to Jim, put his arm around his shoulder, and acted like they had been buddies for life. The old smoothie could be brawling with you one minute and charming you the next. The grin returned to Jim’s face and his eyes softened-after all, this Errol Flynn was his kind of dude

          ‘Jim Thorpe, Christ!’ said Flynn, as though only now it had sunk in who he had tangled with.”


          • Gentleman Tim

            June 21, 2018 at 1:14 am

            WOW, Karl, what a TREMENDOUS account from old Iron Eyes (and apparently Soft Hearted) Cody!

            I think I found a video clip of Flynn immediately following JT’s roundhouse. See 2:00-2:04 in the YouTube below


            Thorpe was one tough hombre, one of the toughest ever. Errol was amazingly brave to take on Jim Thorpe.


  2. Gentleman Tim

    June 16, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Amazing resemblance, Karl! Being from Texas, and from a politically-connected family, one might wonder if one of the Williams clan ever had a hoe down with one of the Pierces or Bushes.

    Here’s Guinn, looking quite a lot like W:…


    • Karl

      June 17, 2018 at 11:30 am

      Gwinn looks like he’s playing a cabbie in this one, and has just gotten through that most difficult of questions (because of one word in particular) he must ask of all fares: “You’re not carrying any NU-CU-LAR weapons on ya, are ya?”

      No one would dare not come across with an answer for fear of not only Rusty (appearing from out of nowhere, as often happens in the movies) but of the MIGHTY GUINN himself!

      • Gentleman Tim

        June 18, 2018 at 3:53 am

        Here’s a new clearer view of “The Mighty Guinn”, Karl. He was the bomb.