Monday, March 10, 2014

FUN TIMES WITH BONNIE AND CLYDE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Last week I told you TEN FUN FACTS ABOUT BONNIE AND CLYDE. This week I'll give you a taste of what it was like to run from the "Laws" with the Barrow gang. (What I would say as Bear-oh seems to be pronounced as Bear-uh by many Texans. I learned this from some homemade videos.)

I imagine the most well-known members of the gang besides Bonnie and Clyde were another Barrow, Marvin -- known as Buck -- and his wife Blanche. Buck was Clyde's older brother and is widely credited with leading Clyde into a life of crime.


Buck had been married and divorced twice and had three children when he met Blanche. They married in 1931. After Buck finished serving a prison sentence in 1933, the two joined Bonnie and Clyde. They were with the gang for all of four months.

Between April and June, Buck and other gang members killed three officers. On July 19, 1933, police had a shoot-out with the gang at a tourist court (the precursor to cheap motels) in Missouri . They shot Buck in the head and wounded Blanche, but the gang got away. Blanche had glass shards in her eyes from the windows of the car being shot out. She ended up blind in one eye. A mere five days later, a posse caught up to the gang again, shot Buck in the back, and captured Blanche.

In this rare action photo, Blanche screams at officers not to shoot the dying Buck again:


Blanche also cried out, Don't die, Daddy. Yes, she called Buck "Daddy". I think it's safe to say that Blanche had daddy issues.

Buck was hospitalized in Iowa. Police visited to interrogate him. He lived another five days -- long enough for his mother, Cumie (pronounced Coomie), and her youngest son, L.C., to make the drive from Texas to be with Buck during his last hours. Buck died July 29, 1933. Here's Buck in the hospital:


Dept. of Justice files read: "Due to the lack of medical attention, the wound in Barrow's head, gave off
such an offensive odor, that it was with utmost difficulty that one could remain within several feet of him."

Blanche was extradited to Missouri for participating in the shooting of an officer and sentenced to ten years. Here's Blanche's mug shot:


Blanche served six years. The entire time she was in prison she maintained that she had not participated in any crimes and was with the gang against her will. The pose helped her gain the early release. Although it seems to be true that Blanche didn't want a life of crime, she definitely worked with the gang, which she admitted later.

I don't want to bore you with an overly long post, so I'll tell you more about Blanche, definitely one of the most interesting members of the Barrow gang (probably because she managed to live longer than the rest) on another day.

Gene Hackman played Buck in the 1967 film that starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Here's some Bonnie and Clyde movie trivia from Internet Movie Database:

Gene Hackman was on the set one day when he noticed a guy standing behind him and staring. The man said, "Hell, Buck would've never wore a hat like that." Hackman turned around and looked at him and said, "Maybe not." He looked like an old Texas farmer. The man introduced himself and said, "Nice to meet you - I'm one of the Barrows."

I don't know how you feel, but being aware of Blanche and Buck's four-month sojourn with Bonnie and Clyde leads me to believe that joining a gang of criminals is not a good idea.

More about Blanche and other gang members on another day! Woo-hoo! Let the good times roll.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug, who can't sleep though it's very late on Sunday night because she's all messed up by DST and spending too many hours asleep earlier in the day, cuddled up next to the extraordinarily cuddly Willy Dunne Wooters

39 comments:

  1. That picture of Blanche with your narrative, is heartbreaking. I can't imagine watching a person I love getting gunned down. If I was Hackman, I would've crapped my pants. The most tragic thing in this post (which was fascinating) is that there's a person named "Cumie".

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    1. Yeah, I think I just might change my name.

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  2. Whew- they make most families look pretty tame. The 1930's were also a violent time.

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    1. A bad economy makes people more violent. People who think the world is so much worse than it's ever been before need to read some history.

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  3. Hi, Janie Junebug! I hope a shot of WDW-40 was the tonic you needed to recover from your "jet lag."

    This post is another reminder that Hollywood's poetic license whitewashes and sugarcoats the truth and that the rich, famous and beautiful actors cast in biographical movies usually bear little resemblance to the people they portray.

    I wish you and your dogs a very happy week ahead, dear JJ!

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    1. Blanche was horrified by the way she was portrayed. The dogs and I feel good today. It's warm and sunny on Lake Junebug.

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  4. I knew lots of stuff about Bonnie and Clyde but very little about the real Buck and Blanche. This was a very enjoyable post!

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    1. Not much I'd report here, except for a mild heart attack the week before Thanksgiving. I'm only getting around to telling most people about it now.

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  5. I didn't realize Blanche wrote a book about the experience. I've been wanting to read it since I saw the movie on the History Channel.

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  6. Crime certainly didn't pay for Blanche. It would today because she'd be on all of the talk shows.

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    1. Just think of the fortune she'd earn for giving an interview to The National Enquirer.

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  7. I enjoyed reading your informative post. I have to wonder what makes people pursue a life of crime like that. It's so senseless.

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    1. The Great Depression was on. Some people had more of a wild streak than others and became criminals. It seems to have been a time to get on the road and get moving for many people. Look at all the folks who left the dust bowl, thinking they'd have a better life in California.

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  8. I think Blanch was better looking than Bonnie... and it seems, smarter.

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    1. Blanche thought Blanche was better looking than Bonnie.

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  9. They're a good looking couple considering that he has a festering head wound, and she's in a mug shot.

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    1. Blanche was quite attractive. It's harder to tell with Buck. When Blanche was captured, she was down to 81 pounds. Life with Bonnie and Clyde took off the pounds.

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  10. What really struck me about this (and last week's post) were the photos. These people didn't look like my perception of "gang" members or thugs. They were just regular people (who made some pretty stupid choices, yes) trying to survive bad times. So much for the good ol' days being so good!

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    1. I know! They're just people. When I was married, I often felt caught up in events over which I had no control. I wonder if some criminals feel that way.

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  11. This is quite an interesting bit of history. I had no idea that Bonnie and Clyde had others join them, at any time. Whew, that head wound had to be pretty nasty if the smell kept people away. Yikes. I'm looking forward to reading more about Blanche.

    Steph

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    1. I decided to write more about Blanche for tomorrow's post. She's too interesting for me to leave her alone. The gang members were treating Buck's head wound before he and Blanche were captured. He took aspirin and they poured hydrogen peroxide on the wound, which exposed part of his brain. When he was taken to the hospital, the doctor was surprised by how clean the wound was. I think he received less care in the hospital, which led to the quick development of the odor.

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  12. Interesting post. Buck looked quite handsome from what one can see. I have no idea what Bonnie and Clyde really looked like. I guess I could Wikipedia them.....

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    1. Bonnie and Clyde were the subject of my post one week ago in TEN FUN FACTS ABOUT BONNIE AND CLYDE. You can see their photos there.

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  13. I went straight to Wikipedia after reading this. My take on it. Blanche looks more interesting than Bonnie, but then Bonnie was so young. I also think that Clyde looks sort of weak, his face is not strong. I would never have picked him for the gang leader he was. Buck looks much stronger, but also much more middle class. To me. And while I scrolled down to look at what you had, I saw your Nebraska review, which I will come back and read tomorrow. I have been inconsistent with my blog reading lately.

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  14. Blanche was quite young, too. Her mug shot say she's 22. Maybe Clyde became the leader while Buck was in prison. Buck was certainly the leader as the older brother when they were growing up. I love Nebraska. So does Willy Dunne Wooters.

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  15. Great posts. I have a headache from no food, so it's hard to compose.

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  16. Fascinating I must say ... from someone who, yes, hates chocolate.

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    1. Shocking! Hating chocolate! Perhaps you need professional help.

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  17. Hi Janie .. so interesting to read about the background to Bonnie and Clyde - fascinating to be able to read this .. cheers Hilary

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  18. Blanche seems to be the smartest of the lot--unlike in the movie! The smell of the rotting brain is what will stick with me--awk!! I always wondered if older brother, ex-con Buck didn't take over and get them killed. They seemed to be doing find robbing gas stations and the like before Buck, you know? I didn't know Blanche wrote a book!!

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    1. I think Blanche was fortunate to be captured. I don't think Buck took over. They continued murdering people after Buck died. When they were almost captured in Missouri and Buck was shot in the head, they left behind all their belongings, including a camera with pictures of themselves on it. When those photos were published in newspapers all over the country, they lost what anonymity they had. They couldn't stay in tourist courts anymore and it was difficult for them to get food. I want to read Blanche's book, but I'm suspicious about it because she wrote it when she was in prison and she wanted desperately to downplay her involvement in any crimes.

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  19. Now this was interesting I really enjoyed this post, didn't know that about Buck and Blanche

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    1. People are strange, and the stranger they are the more interesting they are -- sometimes.

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  20. That picture of Buck's head just lying there...in his mind he must be singing, "I.....ain't got no bo---dy...."

    -andi

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