the Wanderling

"Like so many young boys growing up during my era I loved cowboy-western movies and the actors that showed up in them. As well, right up there with westerns were Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies, especially Tarzan and the Huntress, Warner Brothers cartoons, Leonardo Da Vinci, astronomy, the cosmos, rockets to the Moon and Mars, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, along with a myriad superheroes, especially the 'mortal' type such as the Spirit and Captain Midnight. But still it remained, the cowboy western movie stars and heroes such as the Durango Kid, Lash LaRue, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers, their horses Champion and Trigger, and their sidekicks Smiley Burnette, Gabby Hayes, and Andy Devine were the ones that in the end interacted in my life in real life."

THE WANDERLING (please click)

Gene Autry

Gene Autry's Code of Honor

  1. A cowboy never takes unfair advantage - even of an enemy.
  2. A cowboy never betrays a trust. He never goes back on his word.
  3. A cowboy always tells the truth.
  4. A cowboy is kind and gentle to small children, old folks, and animals.
  5. A cowboy is free from racial and religious intolerances.
  6. A cowboy is always helpful when someone is in trouble.
  7. A cowboy is always a good worker.
  8. A cowboy respects womanhood, his parents and his nation's laws.
  9. A cowboy is clean about his person in thought, word, and deed.
  10. A cowboy is a Patriot.


Many of us grew up absorbing the Code of the West from our matinee cowboys, such as Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Wild Bill Hickok, The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, and The Texas Rangers. Sometimes, they even spelled it out for us, so return with us now to those days of yesteryear and listen to our cowboy heroes' codes, creeds, oaths, prayers, and rules.

Gene Autry rode off into the sunset in his final Hollywood picture, Last of the Pony Ride (1953). During his entire film career, the cowboy star remained in first or second place at the box office until he retired from motion pictures in 1953.

He had made nearly 100 movies, basically playing himself-an American cowboy hero, a tough gentleman who possessed tremendous common sense, kind to women and a good friend - which audiences loved.

Gene Autry was the recipient of hundreds of honors and awards. Autry turned to the small screen and had his own television show, "The Gene Autry Show" (CBS, 1950-'56). With its emphasis on the work ethic and patriotism, the Cowboy Code adequately captures the seemingly-benign, though unapologetically sexist values animating the juvenile westerns of America's Cold-War culture.

But "Thou Shall Not Kill" is noticeably missing from Autry's Ten Commandments - and this omission would later come to be the source of much public concern. Based on his beliefs and personal integrity, he established the "Cowboy Code of Ethics" for viewers. Gene Autry helped to establish the "Cowboy Code of Honor" that incorporated many noble behaviors.

Autry retired from show business in 1964, having made almost 100 films up to 1955 and over 600 records. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1969 and to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. After retiring, he invested widely and in real estate, radio, and television, including the purchase from dying Republic Pictures the rights for films he had made for the company.

In 1952, Autry bought the old Monogram Ranch in Placerita Canyon (Newhall-Santa Clarita, California,) and renamed it Melody Ranch. Numerous "B" Westerns and TV shows were shot there during Autry's ownership, including the initial years of Gunsmoke with James Arness. The world mourned when the legendary cowboy passed away in 1998.


Clayton Moore

The Lone Ranger Creed

  1. I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.
  2. That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
  3. That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
  4. In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.
  5. That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
  6. That "this government, of the people, by the people, and for the people," shall live always.
  7. That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
  8. That sooner or later...somewhere...somehow...we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
  9. That all things change, but the truth, and the truth alone lives on forever.
  10. I believe in my Creator, my country, my fellow man.

In every incarnation of the character to date, the Lone Ranger has conducted himself by a strict moral code. This code was written by the shows original writer Fran Striker at the inception of the character. He first appeared in 1933 in a radio show conceived either by WXYZ (Detroit) radio station owner George W. Trendle, or by Fran Striker.

The character was originally believed to be inspired by Texas Ranger Captain John R. Hughes, to whom the book The Lone Star Ranger by Zane Grey was dedicated in 1915. The radio series proved to be a hit and spawned a series of books (largely written by Striker), an equally popular television show that ran from 1949 to 1957, comic books, and several movies.

A much more well known and influential adaptation of the Lone Ranger was the (1949-1957) television series starring Clayton Moore (though with John Hart as the Lone Ranger from 1952-1954) and Jay Silverheels as Tonto.

The live-action TV series initially featured Gerald Mohr as the episode narrator. He was also narrator for seven episodes of the radio series in 1949, 1950 and 1952. Fred Foy served as both narrator and announcer of the radio series from 1948 to its finish, and became announcer of the TV version when story narration was dropped there.

Actors Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, taking their positions as role models to children very seriously, also tried their best to live by this creed. Moore often was quoted as saying he had "fallen in love with the Lone Ranger character" and strove in his personal life to take The Lone Ranger Creed to heart. This, coupled with his very public fight to retain the right to wear the mask, ultimately elevated him in the public's eyes to an American folk icon.

In keeping with the nature of the Ranger character, Moore chose to always protect the Ranger's identity and therefore is probably the only actor, or one of very few to have achieved his level of fame, whose face is largely unknown to the public. His full face was never shown in the TV series, although occasionally he would don a disguise and affect an accent, revealing the upper half of his face in the process. However, there is no shortage of photos of Moore unmasked, including many in his autobiography. His many fans though could easily identify him by his instantly recognizable voice.

The Lone Ranger was a TV show that aired for eight seasons, from 1949 to 1957, and starred Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. Only five of the eight seasons had new episodes. It was the ABC television network's first big hit of the early 1950s. Moore's tenure as the Ranger is probably the best-known treatment of the franchise. Moore was replaced in the third season by John Hart, but he returned for the final two seasons. The fifth and final season was the only one shot in color. A total of 221 episodes were made.


William Boyd

Hopalong Cassidy's Creed for American Boys and Girls

  1. The highest badge of honor a person can wear is honesty. Be truthful at all times.
  2. Your parents are the best friends you have. Listen to them and obey their instructions.
  3. If you want to be respected, you must respect others. Show good manners in every way.
  4. Only through hard work and study can you succeed. Don't be lazy.
  5. Your good deeds always come to light. So don't boast or be a show-off.
  6. If you waste time or money today, you will regret it tomorrow. Practice thrift in all ways.
  7. Many animals are good and loyal companions. Be friendly and kind to them.
  8. A strong, healthy body is a precious gift. Be neat and clean.
  9. Our country's laws are made for your protection. Observe them carefully.
  10. Children in many foreign lands are less fortunate than you. Be glad and proud you are an American.

On June 24, 1949, Hoppy became the first network Western television series, airing on NBC. At first NBC fashioned the shows out of the films after paying Boyd, who owned the TV rights to his films, a quarter-million dollars for them.

The footage later shot for the TV series starred Boyd, with Edgar Buchanan as his sidekick "Red Connors" and numerous tie-ins. The theme music for the TV show was written by veteran songwriters Nacio Herb Brown (music) and L. Wolfe Gilbert (lyrics). The show ranked number 7 in the 1949 Nielsen ratings.

William Boyd gave generously to children's charities and it wasn't unusual to see him, resplendent on his Hoppy regalia, unexpectedly appear in a children's hospital, making his way through the wards. During personal appearances, he was Hopalong Cassidy in the flesh and not William Boyd in costume.

The two had become so synonymous that when Boyd died in 1972, a number of obituaries actually identified the departed as Hopalong Cassidy. To the public, and to Boyd, the two men were one.

Legend has it that William Boyd hated kids. Nothing could be further from the truth. His own son had died of pneumonia in the early 20s and he had mourned the boy for years. As Hoppy, Boyd dedicated his life to children, even writing "Hopalong Cassidy's Creed for American Boys and Girls".

The Hopalong Cassidy films became a network broadcast over NBC, and early Sunday evenings became 'Hoppy night'. For the 1952-53 and 1953-54 seasons, there were 52 half-hour Hoppy adventures.  A dozen were created (condensed) from the later United Artists films with Andy Clyde and Rand Brooks. And 40 brand new half hour shows were lensed and featured Edgar Buchanan as 'Red Connors'.

The end result of all this air time was that Boyd and the Hoppy character were more popular than ever. In addition to TV, Boyd did circuses, rodeos, personal appearance tours, hospital visits, et al. He was on the covers of magazines such as Life, Look and TV Guide.

As to William Boyd the man, he had gone through a personal transformation and re-awakening. A few years prior to his passing, Boyd had cancer surgery. On June 5, 1937, he and actress Grace Bradley tied the knot, and the result was a happy pairing that continued through Boyd's death in 1972 of heart problems and parkinson's disease. Over the years, William Lawrence Boyd --- and his version of the Hopalong Cassidy character --- blended together to became one and the same.  The parents and kiddies of the time loved him.  And through personal appearances and such, Boyd returned that love and adoration --- you could see it in his face and smile and hear it when he belted out one of his great laughs. Many kids who grew up in the late 1940s and early 1950s owe some of their personal values and beliefs to William Boyd.  That's his greatest accomplishment.


Roy Rogers

Roy Rogers Riders Club Rules

  1. Be neat and clean.
  2. Be courteous and polite.
  3. Always obey your parents.
  4. Protect the weak and help them.
  5. Be brave, but never take chances.
  6. Study hard and learn all you can.
  7. Be kind to animals and care for them.
  8. Eat all your food and never waste any.
  9. Love God and go to Sunday School regularly.
  10. Always respect our flag and our country.

Roy Rogers Prayer

Lord, I reckon I'm not much just by myself,
I fail to do a lot of things I ought to do.
But Lord, when trails are steep and passes high,
Help me ride it straight the whole way through.
And when in the falling dusk I get that final call,
I do not care how many flowers they send,
Above all else, the happiest trail would be
For YOU to say to me, "Let's ride, My Friend"

More and more the generation that personally remember Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, like Roy and Dale, are slipping by the wayside. Their famous theme song, which Dale wrote and they sang as a duet to sign off their television show, was Happy trails to you, Until we meet again... As a kid I was well exposed not only to their music and movies, but to their philosophy. Kids like me actually joined the Roy Rogers Riders Club and we lived by these rules.

During the 1950s, there were no more beloved heroes than Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. They were role models for millions of children throughout the world. He stood for everything that was good.

Rogers and Evans were also well known as advocates for adoption and as founders and operators of children's charities. They adopted several children. Both were outspoken Christians.

In Apple Valley, California, where they made their home, numerous streets and highways as well as civic buildings have been named after them in recognition of their efforts on behalf of homeless and children. with disabilities.

In June 1933 Roy met Grace Arline Wilkins at a Roswell, New Mexico radio station. They were married in Roswell, New Mexico on June 11, 1936 after having corresponded since their first meeting. In 1941, the couple adopted a girl, Cheryl Darlene. Two years later, Arline bore daughter Linda Lou. She bore Roy Jr. ("Dusty") in 1946, but died of complications from the birth a few days later, on November 3.

Rogers had met Dale Evans in 1944 when they were cast in a film together. They fell in love soon after Arline's death and Rogers proposed to her during a rodeo at Chicago Stadium. They married on New Year's Eve in 1947 at the Flying L Ranch in Davis, Oklahoma, where they had filmed Home in Oklahoma a few months earlier. Rogers was an active Freemason and a Shriner, and was noted for his support of their charities. When Rogers died of congestive heart failure on July 6, 1998, he was residing in Apple Valley, California. He was buried at Sunset Hills Memorial Park in Apple Valley, as was his wife, Dale Evans, three years later.

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Dale Evans, the wife of Roy Rogers, was known as "The Queen of the West." She was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame where she has on exhibit a brief Cowgirl Code of Conduct that goes like:

Cowgirl is an attitude really. A pioneer spirit, a special American brand of courage. The cowgirl faces life head-on, lives by her own lights, and makes no excuses. Cowgirls take stands; they speak up. They defend things they hold dear.




Harry Lauter as Clay Morgan in Tales of the Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers "Deputy Ranger" Oath

  1. Be Alert.
  2. Be Obedient.
  3. Defend the Weak.
  4. Never Desert a Friend.
  5. Never Take Unfair Advantage.
  6. Be Neat.
  7. Be Truthful.
  8. Uphold Justice.
  9. Live Cleanly.
  10. Have Faith in God.

When asked how many Texas Rangers should be sent to quell a problem the traditional rule and motto of the service was "One Riot, One Ranger." This was not done out of a sense of frugality, but rather the statement proclaimed that the Texas Ranger was so good and in control that it only took one duly authorized Ranger to get the job done.

A number of TV programs featured Texas Ranger characters including Tales Of The Texas Ranger CBS-ABC 1955-59 starring Willard Parker and Harry Lauter; Texas John Slaughter ABC 1958-61 starring Tom Tyron; Trackdown CBS 1957-59 starring Robert Culp; Laredo NBC 1965-67 starring Neville Brand, Peter Brown, William Smith, and Philip Carey; and Walker, Texas Ranger CBS 1993-2001 starring Chuck Norris.

Originally airing on NBC Radio from 1950 to 1952 and later on CBS Television from 1955 to 1958. The radio shows were reenactments of actual Texas Ranger cases. The television version was produced and also directed for several episodes by Stacy Keach, Sr. It was sponsored for part of its run by Wheaties cereal. Captain Manuel T. "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas, who was said to have killed thirty-one men during his 30-year career as a Texas Ranger, was the consultant for the television series, as he had been for the earlier radio series.

The television version was filmed by Screen Gems. In the television version, Willard Parker assumed the role of Jace Pearson and had a regular partner, Ranger Clay Morgan, who had been an occasional character on the radio show. Morgan was portrayed in the television version by Harry Lauter.

During the opening and closing credits of the television series, the actors march toward the camera as an off-screen men's chorus sings the theme song, "These Are Tales of Texas Rangers", to the tune of "The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad".

The radio series used contemporary cases and modern detective methods to solve crimes; it was a procedural drama, in many ways Jack Webb's Dragnet with a western flavor. The television version had some episodes set in the 1950s. Other episodes were set in the 19th century in a traditional western genre. In each case, Parker and Lauter were involved with chases and shoot-outs. The code was developed for TV viewers, especially the kids watching, on how to be a better person.(see)


Wild Bill Hickok Deputy Marshal's Code of Conduct

  1. I will be brave, but never careless.
  2. I will obey my parents. They DO know best.
  3. I will be neat and clean at all times.
  4. I will be polite and courteous.
  5. I will protect the weak and help them.
  6. I will study hard.
  7. I will be kind to animals and care for them.
  8. I will respect my flag and my country.
  9. I will attend my place of worship regularly.

The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok was a western action series about a U.S. Marshall and his 300 pound sidekick who brought bad guys to justice in the old west. The TV show was nominated for "Best Western or Adventure Series" in 1955. Wild Bill Hickok's sidekick, Jingles, would always introduce him as "The bravest, strongest, fightingest U.S. Marshall in the whole west! "The Wild Bill Hickok Deputy Marshal's Code of Conduct," which recommends rules to the young.(see)


Sergeant Preston of the Yukon was not a cowboy in the classical sense, nor is he mentioned in the above codes maybe because of it. The thing is, if you look carefully most of the enforcers of the law written about above were not cowboys in the classical sense either. Similar in status to the others as far as the radio and comic books were concerned, Sgt. Preston was a lawman known as a Mountie operating in the far reaches of Canada's northwest territories. Unlike the others he didn't actually have a published Code. However, his character was created by Fran Striker, the same person that created the Lone Ranger, so by inference his character would no doubt practice or follow the same Cowboy Code of Conduct as the Lone Ranger. In a much broader sense, the period and area Sgt. Preston operated in was the gold rush era of late 1800's and the territories he policed was vast, wild, and not covered by official law. There was, however, what was called "The Code of the Yukon," although not written, it was a rule of thumb used by the prospectors and peaceful inhabitants of the territories based more-or-less on common sense, British Common Law, and the Golden Rule. In 1920 the Northwest Mounted Police became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) creating it's own code of conduct they expect all of their officers to abide by.(see)

They are the kinds of codes often drawn up to impress and influence the behavior of boys who become enamored of the cowboy ideal (or at least used to). It's an ideal akin to the noble qualities of the "perfect, gentle knight," the kind of man who "loved truth and honor, freedom and courtesy" as described by the great English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales. You don't have to have been born in cowboy country to understand and practice its code.(see)




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Those of you who are familiar or may have come across some my other online works know that as a young boy I was big on box top and the like offers such as Ovaltine's Captain Midnight Radio Premiums, especially Captain Midnight's Code-O-Graphs, and more specifically so the 1942-1945 Photo-Matic version that figured so prominently during my childhood right on up into my adulthood and the military as found in Code Maker, Zen Maker --- all because of secret codes.

However, there was another kind of code that played a huge role in my life as well, a code that had nothing to do with cryptography or securing communication covertly from others via secret means, but more with one's moral conduct and the ability to discriminate between right and wrong and acting appropriately thereof with the highest standards. That other kind of code I speak of that was such an influence on my early childhood was a code of conduct and, as the title suggest, was none other than the Cowboy Code of the West.


In line with the precepts as found in the Cowboy Code of the West, from a very young age I was both shown and taught by my father and uncle two very basic concepts: "When walking in the woods, never leave tracks," and "when you depart from a campground, always leave it better than you found it." Both concepts, although worded specifically in context, were meant to be expanded into the world and my everyday life as a whole. So said, even though I may not have had the individual specifics of the Cowboy Code of the West pounded into my head, the overall concepts ingrained in the Code, as the above about the woods and the campground clearly shows, especially so under the auspice of my Uncle, permeated my early childhood.

Well before I even reached the age of entering kindergarten my mother's health began to deteriorate, eventually reaching a point that she was unable to care for herself let alone my two brothers and me. At the same time, my father began putting in more and more hours working in order to pay for mounting medical expenses. As my mother's condition continued to go downhill, almost under pure necessity, my father began placing my brothers and me more and more under the care of others. First as needed using day-by-day babysitters, then overnight with grandparents or neighbors, then for whole weekends. One day a childless husband and wife couple who were really good friends with the neighbors next door suggested to my father having one of us boys come live with them until things improved. After thinking it over my father agreed and for whatever reason the couple selected me.

Me ending up living with the couple was the first in a series of me staying on-and-off with a whole string of foster couples and relatives up through high school, none of the stays lasting much over a year and some less than a few months. In the first case it was a half a year then I was dumped off unannounced by them at my grandmother's on my father's side.(see) I was there for only a short time, then sent to live with my grandmother on my mother's side. After that it was one miscued adventure after the other from me being found wandering in the desert after the suicide of an uncle to running away from home while living with foster couples.

What does any of it have to do with the Cowboy Code of the West? Everything. First, although my dad wasn't from the west nor was he a cowboy, he traveled throughout the west as he was growing up. During the Great Depression, after dropping out of high school leaving home at age 16, he went all over the west riding the rails, living in hobo camps and doing odd jobs. He eventually landed a job working as a carny in a traveling circus before settling on running his own life in the gold fields as a prospector on both sides of the High Sierras and into the Mojave Desert. My grandmother used to tell me the man he was right after my mother died was nothing like he was really like. It took a couple of years to get straightened out, but he was, she said, always a man of his word, honest, respectful and trustworthy. All the things found in the Cowboy Code of the West. Second, like my dad, the adults I ran into who knowingly or unknowingly ascribed to the tenets of the Code and last, my incredible naivete. Starting below, right after the two graphics, are five examples in quotes wherein I, as a very young boy, alone and unattended, found myself at the mercy of strangers, mostly men, and how, because of their tenets to the Code everything ended up OK --- something that might be questionable in today's world:



My dad left home some years prior to the Great Depression at age 16, hitting the road as a bindlestiff, riding the rails, never going back. He spent a good portion of his travels with the Hagenbeck and Wallace Circus as a roustabout, carny, and barker as well as several years working the gold fields in the High Sierras before settling down and marrying my mom 10 years later.

His prospecting got him really close to being rich, that is until one of his two partners ran off with most of the gold, only to die trying to bury it. If my dad hadn't caught him in the process it could have ended up being gone forever in one of those infamous lost treasure stories of the old west that you always hear about The thing is, my dad was able to catch up with his partner and get the gold only to end up being caught in the same oncoming snow storm. Because of the weight of the gold and facing the same circumstances as his partner, nearly freezing, my dad burried most of it somewhere along his route trying to save his own life only to be saved by his other partner.

Considering what the two of them got for the amount of gold they carried out compared with what he had to leave behind, the left behind gold would be worth around $7,000,000 in todays market. With his stories over our campfires at night and what I heard most of my growing up life as far as I know the gold is still there.

"Why did my father never go back and get the gold himself. Two reasons, but mainly because of the Cowboy Code of the West. First, he and King Barton made a vow that one would never go to retrieve the gold without the other, and secondly, my dad never wanted to go there and find the gold gone with King Barton being the only person knowing where it was. He always said he would rather never have the gold than to know Barton took it. Besides he said, if he went to the spot to get the gold in violation of their vow and it was still there, he would be setting himself up to such a terrible dilemma he didn't want to face it."



"In the meantime an old man driving a jeep on the way back to his home located far away somewhere out in the middle of desert found me walking all alone along some road.

"When my grandmother came to get me the sheriff said he had personally known the old man and woman for a very long time and that both were fine and good people. The man was a rough and tumble old guy who was known to have been a onetime muleskinner or swamper for the 20 mule team borax wagons that used to make the trek up and out of Death Valley and across the desert. Now days the sheriff said, the old man spent most of his time in one fashion or the other participating in Native American sweat lodge ceremonies and most likely I did too. The sheriff assured my grandmother there was no need to worry about anything related to my overall well being during the time I was in their company. According to the sheriff the two just didn't experience the passage of time like others seemed to. The period of days or weeks I was with them was really no more than just a matter of them coming into town relative to their needs."(source)

"The last time I ran away from the flower shop couple I ended up missing enough days of school that someone came to see why I was no longer attending. The couple told the school they had not seen me for several days and did not know where I was. The school inturn called my grandmother, the emergency contact listed on their paperwork. My grandmother came looking for me and eventually located me in my old hometown of Redondo Beach, California, staying with an only just recently discharged World War II ex-Marine taxi driver that had fought his way up through all the islands in all the major battles in the Pacific from Guadalcanal northward.

"Some people have asked just who was the marine? After all I was just a kid and he was a grown man. Was he a friend of the family, a relative, somebody I knew from the past? The answer is he was none of those things. I basically just met him out of nowhere --- fate as some might say."(source)

"Knowing that both my stepmother and Pancho Barnes were 'rich,' seeing dollar signs and showing an excessive interest in the Colt, the man suddenly became my best friend. He told me he had to deliver the horses by sunrise the next morning to a place way out in the desert north of Adelanto near where Highway 395 and the 58 cross, but after that he could take me to Pancho's which was basically due west across the desert from there."(source)

"Next thing I knew I was in the glare of another set of headlights, this time head-on, with someone slightly shaking me, offering me water from a tin cup and asking me if I was all right. The man shaking me was a Native American and one of a group of three traveling in two vehicles that came upon the wreck and began lending assistance. The man shaking me said the driver was in pretty bad shape and one of his companions was taking him to the hospital and wanted to know, after stumbling across me laying face down in the dirt and seeing I was still alive, if I needed medical attention as well. I said I was OK so, after he checked me over himself and not finding any blood or broken bones, he waved the headlight glaring vehicle to take off leaving us in the stark darkness of the desert night. He told me the horses had freed themselves from the trailer and taken off but another friend was trying to catch them before they hurt themselves in the dark."(source)

"When I got back to the curandero's, reeking with the smell of creosote, we unloaded the truck pushing all the bushes into a pile. The curandero began spreading the creosote from the pile into more or less the shape of a large rectangle ten times my body length at 40 feet or more with the center dirt area swept clean. He had me sit in the center as he completed the sides and ends of the rectangle. Before the curandero was able to do whatever he was going to do Freddie came upon us. He was furious. I thought he was going to kill the curandero and put me into chains the rest of my life. Instead he called the police then my dad, yelling at the top of his lungs telling my dad how screwed up I was, as though I had fallen under some spell of the curandero. My dad told Freddie he would send my godfather down to take me to my grandmother's in the mountains for a few days or forever if need be. Almost as soon as Freddie slammed down the receiver he started building a tall wire fence between the yards. The police came and talked to the curandero telling Freddie there was nothing they could do in that in my case, even though I was a young boy, I insisted everything that I participated in I did so of my own freewill and that the curandero never crossed any lines into an untoward area."(source)

"When I was a young boy in the fourth or fifth grade or so, two of my grade-school buddies and I used to pull a Radio Flyer through the alleys around the neighborhood collecting pop and beer bottles for the deposit. After we collected a wagon load we would turn them in various places around of which one was a bar. In the process of pounding on the back door I got to know the dishwasher there, an elderly (to me) Chinese man.

"As a kid without a lot of experience in the matter and always alone, I used meditate in the alley with the old man, sitting in the shade on the back steps amongst the garbage cans and flies in the back alley while drinking hot tea out of tiny little cups with no handles in a near ritual-like tea ceremony he insisted on."(source)

"Mid-evening on the night of the-unknown-to-anybody at the time up-coming crash I had gone to bed in the bunk in my compartment and as far as I knew had fallen fast asleep. Sometime during that period, between the time I fell asleep and the crash occurred, I found myself neither asleep nor in my bunk but outside of the train standing barefoot on the desert floor in the middle of the night in my PJs some distance off from a set of railroad tracks, my hand being held by an elderly Native American man.

"No sooner had I been standing there than in the distance to the east I could see the headlight of a locomotive heading in our same direction. Within seconds the train was parallel to where I was standing and then, almost as though in slow motion the train began coming off the tracks with the engine barely moving on it's side pushing huge mounds of dirt in front of itself with cars slowly going everywhere and the headlight low to the ground glowing through the dust and piles of dirt. The light completely dimmed, then went out leaving everything around me engulfed in an incredible silence and darkness. The passage of time that seemed to be only creeping or limping along, slowly, then more so quickly, returned to normal."

The Native American, still holding my hand, walked me over close to the now stillness of the crumpled cars, which by then people were either being helped out of by other passengers or scrambling on their own away from the wreckage. He left me standing a safe distance from the milieu with a small gathering of others accessing their status and searching for loved ones. Turning away from me and the wreckage, he disappeared into the full moon darkness of the desert. The next time I saw him was several hours later in the hospital waiting area when he was looking for me --- quite clearly one would think, AFTER my uncle would have contacted him, as in theory it is not likely my uncle or anybody else would have had foreknowledge of the crash for the spiritual elder to have been led there ahead of time. For the complete story regarding the spiritual elder and myself and what happened after the crash please see:


What I am getting at here, and hoping what is coming across to you as a reader of my works, as the above examples express, and although sometimes it doesn't seem like it, there are good and decent people out there --- all over the place in all walks of life.

I was a very young boy, finding myself out in the big world, often alone and unattended, just as often finding myself at the mercy of unknown strangers, mostly men, and how, because of their underlying tenets to the Code of the West, whether personally prescribed to or innate from their goodness as man or upbringing, everything ended up OK --- something many might find questionable in today's world.

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Not a cowboy western hero, but a comic book hero nonetheless, before he ever became Captain Marvel, as depicted in Captain Marvel: His Origins, Billy Batson was met by a phantom-like stranger and of his own accord traveled via a mysterious subway to a deep underground cavern ornately carved with the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man. All seven, Pride, Envy, Greed, Hatred, Selfishness, Laziness, and Injustice, are the antithesis to the Code of the West --- that is to say, combating or eliminating one, any, or all by promoting their opposite as a way of life would formulate the basis encompassing the precepts of the Code.

The Captain Marvel origin story showed up in Fawcett Publication's Whiz Comics Volume 1, Number 2 in February 1940 around the same time all of the cowboy western heroes were coming onto the scene. Notice in that era the writers and publishers had no problem coming up with a story line that depicted the young boy, Billy Batson, as it being OK to go off with a total stranger --- and a strangely garbed one at that. Equally amazing, at least as it would appear today, the writers and publishers had no problem presenting it to their young readers as if it was OK as well. The precepts of the Cowboy Code of the West permeated a much wider sphere it those days and was a given as to one's conduct. As a side note please notice how well mannered and polite the young Billy Batson conducts himself, respectively calling the stranger "Sir."

Several years out of my life as a young boy I lived on a ranch in the Mojave Desert owned by my Stepmother, who at the time was quite wealthy. The school my brothers and I attended was far enough from the ranch that in order to get back and forth we rode the bus. However, regardless of the distance, sometimes after school we walked or got off the bus at some other kid's place, then walked home.

On one of the days we were walking back a bunch of us kids of various ages and grade levels stopped by the Palmdale Pharmacy, the only drug store in town. Some of us had money, some of us didn't. After we left the store one of the boys my age I knew for sure didn't have a penny on him was eating a Hostess cake --- a sort of sweet folded over sponge-like half circle cake filled with some kind of unnamable white cream. When I asked him where he got the money to buy it he told me he just took it by stuffing it in his shirt when nobody was looking and walked out without paying, a trick his older brother taught him. Not only had I never heard of such a thing I never thought of such a thing --- and if my older brother or cousin did such things they never shared it with me.


Anyway, some days later, back at the drug store and without ever discussing it with anybody, from that germ of an idea from my schoolmate, in a complete betrayal of all the precepts I learned and practiced relative to the Cowboy Code of the West up to that time in my life, I stuffed the comic book, a brand new copy of Captain Marvel Adventures, Number 97, June of 1949, in my shirt and walked out --- in turn resulting in all the downstream ramifications. My uncle, after learning what I did, made me go back, return the book, apologize, and work it off most of the day Saturday around the drug store cleaning up and doing odd jobs. For more please see:




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As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.


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Just for the record, for those of you who may be so interested, there is a little known incident that occurred in Sanderson, Texas circa mid-1920s that involved a Texas Ranger as well as my uncle and the yet to be cowboy western author of over 100 books Louis L'Amour, the results of which actually show up in L'Amour's autobiography Education of a Wandering Man. See:


The Texas Ranger involved in the L'amour incident was the infamous Rufus Van Zandt (1895-1981). Van Zandt had been sworn in as a Texas Ranger in 1921, being promoted to rank of Captain in July of 1922. Sometime after a woman by the name of Miriam 'Ma' Wallace became governor of Texas in 1925 Van Zandt resigned his position for reasons undisclosed, but most likely because of differences of opinion (it has been said Ferguson used the Rangers as a political tool for dispensing patronage. On February 20, 1925, she reduced the five companies of Rangers, limiting the remaining Ranger authority to the counties along the southern border. If Van Zandt, with the rank of Captain, was caught up in that reduction or resigned because of the reduction is not known).

In 1926, within months of leaving the Rangers, Van Zandt became a Special Agent for the U.S. Treasury Department. The Special Agent position carried the full credentials and powers of a federal law enforcement officer including the right to carry a badge, gun, and arrest authority --- duties of which were loosely bracketed around the area of border enforcement. Van Zandt did not resign his position as a federal agent until sometime in 1928, making him effectively in play as a law enforcement officer in Texas from 1921 to 1928.

Why he pretty much falls into the more-or-less infamous column is because of his recruitment as a spy during World War II. In the book COLLECTIVE HEARTS: Texans in World War 2, edited by Joyce Gibson Roach (1996), the first essay in the book, "Night of the Yaqui Moon," by Jane Pattie, is based on a story on Van Zandt. Pattie writes:

"Van Zandt spent a lot of time hunting bears and big cats in Mexico and became friends with the fierce Yaqui Indians, a tribe the Mexican government had tried its best to exterminate.

"When the war began, the U.S. government asked Van Zandt to keep his eyes and ears open for Japanese or German activity south of the border. He did and found a considerable Japanese presence on the west coast of Mexico.

"Eventually, according to Van Zandt, he participated in a raid by Yaqui Indians on a clandestine Japanese submarine refueling point on the Pacific side of Baja, Calif. He said a submarine and two trawlers were sunk and a fair number of Japanese were killed."


When I was around eleven years old my Stepmother took me to meet a childhood hero of mine, the cowboy western movie star Roy Rogers. She made the arrangements for the meeting through a good friend of my grandmother's by the name of Andy Devine, the legendary movie sidekick. I always liked Devine for that, and because of him, as a kid, I made an extra effort to watch The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok every week on television. The series, which started in 1951 and ran at least five years, starred Guy Madison in the title role and Devine as his able yet bumbling sidekick. Until I started watching the series with Guy Madison starring as Wild Bill I had never heard of a person with the given name "Guy" before.

I only mention it because during the time the TV series was on I met a man named Guy and thought it odd at the time because prior to that, except for Guy Madison, I had gone my whole life without hearing of a person named Guy. See:



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In the Gene Autry version of the Cowboy Code of the West, number 5 reads: "A cowboy is free from racial and religious intolerances." With that in mind, a quick jump will take us from the comic strip above and all its images to what I call a rather interesting phenomenon, and that is, every one of the the Cowboy Codes found in the main text and so presented by all of the western notables, albeit different individually on a specific basis, have a universal theme or thread that runs through them. Even Billy Batson on his way to becoming Captain Marvel, as depicted above from his origins, was paraded through a cavern graphically carved with the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man.

As an example, and with absolutely no intention toward proselytizing or preaching, but only to illustrate the universal similarities most of the Codes, if not all, align in some way to the following precepts as laid down by the Buddha thousands of years ago please note how close the The Five Hindrances are with the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man as found in Captain Marvel. So too, check out the following precepts known throughout history as the Noble Eightfold Path and their comparisons with the Cowboy Code of the West:

  • RIGHT UNDERSTANDING: Understanding the true nature of existence, and the moral laws governing the same.

  • RIGHT THOUGHT: A pure state of mind, free from from ill-will and cruelty; in other words, thoughts of goodness and mercy.

  • RIGHT SPEECH: Consists of words which are not false, not harsh, not scandalous, not frivolous, i.e. truthful words, mild words, pacifying words, and wise words.

  • RIGHT ACTION: Abstaining from intentional killing or harming of any living creature, abstaining from dishonest taking of others' property.

  • RIGHT LIVELIHOOD: Participating in such a livelihood that it does not bring harm and suffering to other beings.

  • RIGHT EFFORT: The effort we make in overcoming and avoiding old and fresh bad actions by body, speech and mind; and the effort which we make in developing fresh actions of righteousness, inner peace and wisdom, cultivating them to perfection.

  • RIGHT MINDFULLNESS: Alertness of mind. It is the ever-ready mental clarity in whatever we are doing, speaking, or thinking and keeping before our mind the realities of existence.

  • RIGHT CONCENTRATION: Maintaining a mental concentration directed towards a morally wholesome object, always bound up with right thought, right effort and right mindfulness.


Several 1940s superheroes gained or enhanced their powers by traveling to the Far East, most specifically to Tibet and brushing up against the edges of Buddhism, Batman and the Shadow being the two most memorable. The Shadow worked his way up through the Siddhi-chart fairly high, being able to "cloud men's minds" and all. Batman to a lesser degree, mostly martial arts related with their accompanying attributes such as agility, endurance, discipline, etc. Neither of them as written refined the depth of their abilities to the point they could fly.

Another person that gained powers after having been Tibet and the Himalayas was the person who was to become the Black Condor, albeit unlike the Shadow and the Batman who traveled there, he was raised there early on from an infant. According to the storyline, like Tarzan being found as a baby and being raised by Apes, the Black Condor, within hours of his parents being killed, was found and then raised through to young adulthood by a flock of mysterious giant birds that inhabited a remote section of the Himalayas in Tibet, developing in the process the ability to fly. Later, as a young man he was taken in and tutored by a hermit-like monk, learning spirituality and the ways of man and civilization.

There was as well another 1940s superhero who DID refine his abilities to the point that he acquired not only the ability to fly, but also super strength and invulnerability --- even to having bullets bounce off him a la Superman and Captain Marvel. That superhero was the Green Lama. Captain Marvel had always been billed as the "World's Mightiest Mortal," however, as it was, the Green Lama was also a mortal, being one Jethro Dumont, a rich New York City resident and man about town, who, if necessity demanded it and he recited the Jewel Lotus Mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum", Dumont, not unlike Billy Batson saying Shazam and becoming Captain Marvel, underwent a startling and dramatic change after repeating the Mantra, becoming the Green Lama, gaining super strength, invulnerability, and the ability to fly.


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Possibly veering way off base to some or staying on track to others depending on what they know about Siddhis or how they view them, even the highly controversial author Carlos Castaneda, who wrote a whole series of books surrounding his meeting and apprenticeship under a mysterious old man said to have been a Yaqui shaman he calls Don Juan Matus, wrote about the Seven Component Themes of Shamanism. Now, while the Castaneda seven are not specifically one-on-one divisible into being just the opposite of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man, if you go through his explanations of the seven it is easy to eek out imbedded into them the opposites, that is the Enemies, and the requirement for them to be counteracted. Castaneda writes:

"The goal of my teachings is to show how to become a man of knowledge. The following seven concepts are its proper components: (1) to become a man of knowledge is a matter of learning; (2) a man of knowledge has unbending intent ; (3) a man of knowledge has clarity of mind; (4) to become a man of knowledge is a matter of strenuous labor; (5) a man of knowledge is a warrior; (6) to become a man of knowledge is an unceasing process; and (7) a man of knowledge has an ally."(source)

There is some controversy if Don Juan Matus was a real person or a composite of several different people, but one or several, most agree Castaneda's observations regarding shamanism remain valid. In his works Castaneda says that a sorcerer's power, that is, a Shaman's power, is "unimaginable" and to learn that power there are seven components must be followed or mastered.


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After the death of my mother, as a very young boy, following a series of events that for me were both fortunate and unfortunate and of which are fully articulated in M.V. Tulagi and elsewhere, I was left off alone and totally unannounced at my grandmother's on my father's side in Pennsylvania --- a grandmother I had never met nor ever even heard of.

I am not sure how long I was there, but I am sure it was more like a few days or weeks, not months. From there I was eventually returned to the west coast to be with my grandmother on my mother's side. It was during the return trip to my grandmother's in California that another interesting aspect in my young life unfolded.

Sometime around the very last day of June or so 1944, I was put on a passenger train in Pennsylvania headed toward Chicago, traveling with who I do not know. If it was or was not the couple described in The Last American Darshan who took me to India without approval of my family and then just left me in Pennsylvania has never been determined.

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In Chicago I boarded the Number 19 Santa Fe Chief westbound to Los Angeles. Toward midnight of July 3, 1944, between Flagstaff, Arizona and Williams, on a high speed downhill run and behind schedule, the Chief's locomotive, a powerful Baldwin built 4-8-4 Northern with 80 inch drive wheels and clocking out at over 90 miles per hour, hit a marked 55 mph speed limit curve, with the locomotive derailing and sliding in the dirt on it's side off the tracks for well over 500 feet before coming to a stop. The rest of the 14 car train ended up in various stages of derailment and wreckage on and off the track, some cars remaining upright with two actually staying on the tracks undamaged. The fireman and three passengers were killed. 113 passengers along with 13 train employees injured, among them the severely injured engineer.

Although I was unhurt, the person or people I was traveling with was among the injured and taken, with me along with them, to either Williams or Flagstaff. Because of the nature of their injuries, whoever I was traveling with was held-up under doctors care for several days, leaving me without direct adult supervision. My grandmother, who had been contacted by the railroad, called my uncle in Santa Fe. He inturn contacted a nearby tribal spiritual elder to oversee me until someone figured out how to get me to Los Angeles Union Station and thus then, my grandmother's home in California.





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One of the most famous Texas Rangers of all time was John Reynolds Hughes. Hughes was born in Illinois, left for Texas and began ranching. There were problems with cattle rustlers and John used his natural abilities to track them down. Future Texas Ranger Hall of Famer Ira Aten was so impressed with Hughes that he offered him a position with the Texas Rangers. By enlisting in the Frontier Battalion, Hughes realized that he could track down fugitives and get paid for it at the same time. It didn't take long to make the decision. On August 10, 1887, Hughes signed on, mustered in by Adjutant General W. H. King at Georgetown, Williamson County. Now in the Frontier Battalion, John R. Hughes would hunt down murderers, smugglers, and sheep, cattle and horse thieves along the Rio Grande, recovering thousands of dollars of property. He would also have to kill in the line of duty on more than one occasion. It was dangerous work.

The exploits during his long career are varied and hair raising. Along with other Rangers, Hughes' active career was spent chasing border ruffians, escaped criminals and rustlers. The famous western writer Zane Grey spent some time with Hughes while he was on the job. Later, Grey wrote the famous book The Lone Star Ranger and dedicated it to Hughes and the Texas Rangers. Because of many analogies found within the text of Grey's book that parallel any number of positive aspects and attributes of the Lone Ranger it has been suggested historically in many circles that Hughes was the real life role model for the Lone Ranger character made famous by radio, TV, and movies. See:


The above information on John R. Hughes adapted from The Story Behind The Photo by James Van Richards grandson of former Texas Ranger Alonzo Van Oden.

The following paragraph, as quoted below, can be found in opening segment at the top the main text above. The paragraph, which lists all kinds of cowboys, superheroes, et al, in one form or the other, have had some kind of connection or impact on my life, be it major or minor, positive or negative. For those who may be so interested, those connections and how they relate back to me, can be found by going to the linked list immediately below the paragraph, that is, if you can get past Dale Evans, Queen of the West:

"Like so many young boys growing up during my era I loved cowboy-western movies and the actors that showed up in them. As well, right up there with westerns were Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies, especially Tarzan and the Huntress, Warner Brothers cartoons, Leonardo Da Vinci, astronomy, the cosmos, rockets to the Moon and Mars, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, along with a myriad superheroes, especially the 'mortal' type such as the Spirit and Captain Midnight. But still it remained, the cowboy western movie stars and heroes such as the Durango Kid, Lash LaRue, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers, their horses Champion and Trigger, and their sidekicks Smiley Burnette, Gabby Hayes, and Andy Devine were the ones that in the end interacted in my life in real life."

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