Let’s Go to the Movies with Wyatt Earp

Few things have made such a huge impact on our lives than the movie industry. I don’t know about you but I love sitting in a dark theater and watching magic unfold on the screen. I’m drawn into the story and love watching how the actors chose to portray each scene. Some are excellent and I lose myself to the magic to the point where I’m up there in the story with them. It’s a beautiful thing and deeply personal.

Roundhay Garden Scene was the first recorded short silent film in 1888 by a Frenchman named Louis Le Prince. It’s definitely the oldest surviving one. Amazing!

Thomas Edison started capturing motion on film around that same time. Everything was very short, approx. a minute or two.

The first film with a sustained plot was a 12 minute one titled The Great Train Robbery. Suddenly America had a new form of entertainment. They called those early films flickers and I’ll bet you can guess why.

They were all silent as no one had figured out yet how to record sound. The theaters hired men and women to play the piano while the movie showed. Slow songs, fast songs, medium songs designed for the biggest impact.

They built huge movie palaces with ornate lobbies, crystal chandeliers, and luxurious carpet. Instead of hiring one pianist, they had orchestras and they hooked the American public.

I recently watched an eight part documentary that Robert Redford made called The American West and it was so interesting. I found it on Amazon Prime. Redford started at the end of the Civil War and showed each step in the progression of the settlement of the west. President Grant actually opened up the west and offered cheap land as a last ditch effort to keep another Civil War from starting and hold the country together.

I didn’t know that.

At the end of the documentary, was a clip of Wyatt Earp on a film set in Hollywood. He was 80 years old and a young John Wayne (21) was working as a prop boy. John Wayne was enamored by the man he idolized and hanging out with Earp forever changed John Wayne. He imitated Earp’s manner of walking and talking and he adopted the Code of the West that Earp lived by.

Wyatt Earp must’ve been drawn to movie making. I’d love to have known what he thought. He was often found on movie sets and that’s where John Ford, the director met him. Ford got Earp to draw on paper exactly how the gunfight at the OK corral happened and he used the sketch to film the gunfight scene in My Darling Clementine.

Wyatt died in 1929 in Los Angeles and cowboy actors Tom Mix and William S. Hart were pallbearers.

Can you imagine a world without cinema? I can’t. I’m sure glad they invented sound though.

Tell me—do you like to go to the movies? If so, what is it that draws you? Maybe it’s the popcorn. Or what is one of your favorite movies?  I’m giving away a copy of either To Catch a Texas Star or Gunsmoke and Lace to two people who comment. In addition to title, winner chooses either print or ebook. I’ll draw the winners on Sunday.


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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

58 thoughts on “Let’s Go to the Movies with Wyatt Earp”

  1. I love going to the movies. My parents never took us as kids, so I went with friends, and later dates, and finally my husband or girlfriends. Seeing a movie on the big screen is so amazing. And, adding a little movie theater popcorn is always a treat.

    I have always loved GONE WITH THE WIND. They had a special showing in theaters a few years ago, but unfortunately, I was away during that time, so I’ve never seen it on the big screen.

    • Good morning, Denise…….I’m happy to see you. Gone With the Wind must’ve been amazing on the big screen. I’ve never seen it either but I’d love to. My parents took us kids to the drive in movies quite a bit back when I was little. They loved John Wayne and westerns. Then I went to my fist walk in movie with my cousin who was babysitting me and my little sister. I still remember how awed I was. I can’t remember the movie though. Ahhh the memories.

      Have a blessed day!

  2. Very interesting post. I have not seen that documentary and will check it out with my husband. Would like to see the clip with Wyatt Earp. I enjoy movies but prefer to watch from home (with popcorn!). The Old West TV shows always fascinated me, as well as the movies. There’s Gunfight at the OK Corral of course, but one of my all time favorites is Red River with John Wayne, Montgomery Clift and Walter Brennan.

    • Good morning, Sally…….Thanks for coming to my party. Yes, do watch The American West. I learned so many things even though I’ve studied the west for years. I think you’ll enjoy it too. Those TV westerns were amazing. We had to go over to my aunt’s house though to watch them because we didn’t own a TV. I fell in love with all those cowboys in her living room! Red River was a great John Wayne movie. I think my favorite of his is The Cowboys. I sobbed when he died. I’ve never liked Bruce Dern to this day for killing him.

      Blessings, dear friend!

  3. In the 50’s (1950’s), I had a 50 cent allowance and chores. I got into the movie for 25 cents on Saturday afternoons. I loved the cartoons that were in color. Our TV was black and white, when we finally got one. The color fascinated me no matter what was showing.
    Thank you for the history lesson.

    • Good morning, Jerri…….I’m so happy that you enjoyed my post. The movie theater back then was really cheap and I’m sure the parents loved that it was a good place to leave their kids for an hour or two. I agree about color. That changed everything. When we got our first TV I sat up every night watching it until it went off at midnight. I couldn’t get enough and like you, I didn’t care what was showing. It was amazing and I was hooked.

      Have a blessed day and big hugs!

  4. I live to go to the movies. I love a great western, a funny comedy, romance, and mystery.
    Yes the Popcorn is one of my favorite things about the movie. I just don’t understand how they make popcorn taste so much better than making it at home. I bet it’s the ambiance.
    I saw the book club this year and laughed so hard. Did you see that one Linda?
    I hope you have a great day. ????

    • Good morning, Tonya…….YAY, I’m glad you’re here! Thanks for coming. Yes, I loved The Book Club! That was so funny and heartwarming at the same time. I don’t how those women are managing to look so young. I think you’ve stumbled onto the secret about popcorn. It’s that magic I was talking about. The whole atmosphere that’s charged with excitement…..AND the butter!

      Love you, sister friend!

  5. when i was younger Friday night we went to the movies.i remember wstching the Green Berets with John Wayne. watching this movie on the big screen it was like being there. then theres the pop corn its the best!

    • Good morning, Yvonne……..Thanks for coming to my party with the imaginary popcorn. Ha! The Green Berets was so good! I loved that one and every single one John Wayne made. Man, I miss him! Loved that man! He didn’t do half bad modeling himself after Wyatt Earp.

      Have a day of blessings!

  6. I LOVE a good western movie, growing up John Wayne was always on at our house . We couldn’t afford to go to movie, I actually only can remember going to the movies once when my grandfather took me to a Walt Disney movie. I still remember my grandfather laughing so hard, I was 7 and we shared our popcorn and had the best time !! My favorite western is Tombstone , the story of Wyatt Earp . That’s the BEST movie ever !! Movie theaters today are way better than we had, the sound effects alone feel like the horses are running through the theater.
    Well now I’m going to have to go to the movies , I can smell the popcorn ?

    • Good morning, Rose Ann……..Yes, the smell of popcorn is wafting over us. I’m using it to lure you to my post. Haha! What a priceless memory your grandfather gave you. And I love that your parents instilled a love for John Wayne and westerns in you. I think the best Tombstone movie version was the one with Kurt Russell. But I also loved Kevin Costner playing him too. Okay, step right up and get your free bag of popcorn! 🙂

      Blessings and hugs!

  7. I love movies, but don’t get to the theater often. My husband always complained about people talking or using their phones so I got tired of that. Plus, I have vertigo and if it’s an action film, the big screen makes me dizzy. We just got in the habit of renting movies when they come out and watch them at home. But I do miss the excitement of seeing a movie as soon as it’s released. I always like romantic comedies. What’s funny is my husband should have more of a love for movies and the theater as his grandfather had an important job working out technical stuff for movie theaters and even helped with the conversion from silent films to sound. He owned stock in all of the big production companies too that has been passed down to his mother. Only she knows what they are worth and she doesn’t talk about it.

    • Good morning, Janine………Thanks for coming! I can see how all the movement of action films would give you vertigo. That’s too bad. But at least you get to rent them. How exciting about your husband’s grandfather! Wow! He must’ve been a technology wizard. Your mother-in-law needs to hold on to that stock. That’s too cool!

      Have a blessed day!

      • Yes, my mother-in-law has held onto them. I’m sure they will be passed down to my husband and his brother when the time comes. I think for her right now, is it’s more about memories than money. My husband is really good with technology too, but in the form or an auto technician. There’s not many cars he can’t figure out and fix. His other grandfather invented some kind of coil spring that goes in a lot of machinery and is used even to this day. He made millions off it back in the 80s. Too bad some of that money didn’t get passed down to him. He has some very intelligent ancestors, so I can see why he is good at his profession.

  8. Wow, I had never heard the part about John Wayne and Earp!! I like the movies because of the huge screen and surround sound. It makes for a fun experience.

    • Good morning, Susan P……..You know, I never knew that either about John Wayne and Wyatt Earp meeting until I saw it on The American West. That jolted me and I had to do some online searches. It was amazing to me that Earp lived so far into the 20th century. I thought he died way before then. I agree about the largeness of the movie theater and the sound. It really puts you up there on the screen with the actors.

      Have a blessed day!

  9. I love movies but I’ve only gone to see animated and movies my girls like for their entire lives. The movies I want to see I have to wait for them to be on tv or for rent back in the day. Now I wait for tv or for them to be on Netflix or Hulu. Single mommas have to put their kids wants and needs ahead of her own. I love the animated and family movies just as much as others though. I can’t imagine the world without movies but maybe people would have continued to read more that past generations. Can you imagine being very rural and not even being able to afford books, no libraries anywhere near you?!?! That sounds terrible to me but way back then life was mostly about working on the farm/ranch from before sunup to at least sun down. Look at the world now. It’s very amazing. I can’t pick one favorite movie! Its too hard and too many genres too. Awesome blog I always learn so much from them! Hugs

    • Good morning, Stephanie……..I love the animated movies and I’ve been known to see them even without the grandkids. They have a great story line even though it’s simple enough for kids to understand. Some have even made me cry. I cried in Toy Story and Frozen. Some of these are a lot better than the adult ones with all the cursing and sex. No, I can’t imagine living far from town and being so isolated. That really would’ve been magical to go to the movie theater and to even go to a library. Those of us who live in the city really take a lot for granted. I agree about such an overwhelming number of movies. Hard to choose. One that really stands out for me was The Bridges of Madison County. I watched it twice and cried both times. The last movie I remember crying in was The Same Kind of Different As Me. That was such a good movie and based on a true story.

      Have a wonderful day and big hugs!

  10. I love going to the movies but I don’t often get a chance to go. When I was growing up in my small Kentucky community we didn’t have a lot of entertainment but we did have a movie theater and Saturday afternoons or nights were a chance to see a new movie. Yes, it was probably 9 months old but it was new to us! One of my favorite movies is An Affair to Remember, the 1957 movie starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. I’ve seen it more times than I can remember and it was mentioned in the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie Sleepless in Seattle.

    • Good morning, Connie……..Thanks for joining the party! An Affair to Remember was a great movie. But then I’ve loved everything with Cary Grant. Loved that man! Rural people really do have a disadvantage and miss out on a lot of things. But there are times when I’d gladly trade places and escape to that quieter life.

      Blessings and hugs!

  11. I love western movies. My favorite was Rio Lobo starring John Wayne, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson.
    I don’t go to the movies very often anymore. The actors and actresswa aren’t what they used to be, and there aren’t many westerns.

    • Good morning, Estella…….Thanks for coming. Rio Lobo is one of my favorites too. It had funny moments but it really tugged at your heartstrings too and put a lump in your throat. I agree that the movie industry has changed way too much and the actors aren’t what they used to be. A recent western I watched on the big screen was Hostiles with Christian Bale. It was pretty good. A lot better than most.

      Have a blessed day!

  12. I have to see that documentary. Sounds wonderful.
    I loved going to the movies when I was younger. Such glamorous theaters back then and only 25 cents to get in. Now you know my age 🙂 When my kids were small we went to the drive in. Easier to deal with 7 kids. Interesting info about Wyatt Earp. Thanks for sharing.

    • Good morning, Carol……..Hey, we’re about the same age. We could be sisters. Those theaters back then really were a work of art. So beautiful. I remember the theater in Abilene, Texas. It had the sky painted on the ceiling and when they lowered the lights, the star twinkled. The movie was The Apple Dumpling Gang with Don Knotts but I stared at the ceiling as much as I watched the movie. Just a gorgeous theater. Drive-ins were the thing for us too when I was small. I think it was $1.00 for a carload. You could even put people in the trunk. 🙂 With seven kids that would’ve been great for you. Plus most drive-ins had a little playground for the kids. Ours did.

      Have a blessed day!

  13. Hi Linda nice to see you. I haven’t been to the movies in years. Most of the movies I watch now come from Netflix or something on that order. My favorite movies are westerns of a good romance. I really don’t think they make good movies like they use to. So there is nothing out that I really want to see, most are just remakes of older stuff and they usually mess that up.

    • Good morning, Quilt Lady……..Thanks for coming! I agree about remakes. Nine times out of ten the original is the best out of all. There was a recent western at the movies that you might try called Hostiles. It reminded me of the old westerns and the acting was good. I watch a lot of Netflix too.

      Have a blessed day!

  14. I don’t get to the movies much. Lol can’t afford the prices. About 20 miles from me we still have a drive-in theater. Now them bring back great memories….

    • Good morning, Tonya Cherry……..I agree about the outrageous prices. You can sure spend $20 in a hurry. I’m glad you have a drive-in. I remember the fun times I had when I was young at the drive-in. I remember going to one after I got married with my husband. It was cheap entertainment.

      Have a blessed day, dear friend!

  15. Thank you for sharing your very interesting post. We love going to the movies but no scifi stuff for us. We love movies with a good plot, great characters, and action.

    • Good morning, Melanie…….No sci-fi for me either. I want normal and something with a good plot. Every so often I see a really good one. Most are those taken from true stories.

      Have a blessed day!

  16. How fascinating, Linda! I had no idea that Wyatt Earp met John Ford and John Wayne. No wonder those two were such masters of the western genre. I do love movies. I don’t go to the theater very often, but we splurge about 6 or so times a year. We still watch a ton at home on DVDs. We have a wonderful old theater downtown from the 1920s or 30s era that has been restored and often shows old movies. That’s my favorite place to go. So steeped in history.

    • Good morning, Karen……..I didn’t either. I got a big jolt when I saw that. I can’t imagine Wyatt Earp living so far into the twentieth century. I thought he died long before then. But then, Tombstone and all that happened near the end of the 19th century. I guess I never thought about that. They went to Los Angeles because that’s where his wife Josie was from. And they began visiting the movie sets.

      I know the Paramount Theater there in Abilene! I went there once with my mother-in-law when I was living there to see The Apple Dumpling Gang in 1979. The theater was breathtaking and it had the sky painted on the ceiling. When the lights dimmed, the stars twinkled. I stared up at that ceiling more than I watched the movie. I’m happy to know it’s still there and being used in some capacity. Wonderful news in fact.

      Blessings, dear friend!

  17. Great blog! Fantastic reading. My uncle who is with us watches all of the old westerns, unless the Cowboys are playing! Thanks for some great memories. Hugs, P

    • Hi Phyliss……..I’m glad you liked my post and thought it interesting. I was astounded to learn about John Wayne and Wyatt Earp. I never imagined they met, much less spent time together. Blew my mind. YAY for your uncle! He knows what’s good.

      Love you, dear friend!

  18. I enjoy movies and when I was young I loved going to the theatres in my city. The architecture, size and beauty was impressive and made the experience memorable. We paid 50 cents for a first run movie. I also went to double features which were wonderful and very reasonable. The movie houses are all gone now. I miss those days. Wyatt Earp is my hero. I enjoyed Tombstone. He was married to Josie Markus for many years and she buried him in the Jewish cemetery.

    • Hi Anne…….Hey, we must be sisters! We grew up around the same time. I loved those old movie houses and the cheap movies for kids. Yes, the reason Wyatt and Josie went to Los Angeles is because she was from there. Lots and lots of history.

      Have a wonderful day!

  19. I love movies, but not a big fan of going to the theater. I’ld rather sit home and be comfortable and be able to hear the movie. Its also easier to make your own snacks at home. I’ve watched a few silent movies before and find them fastinating. The suspence while watching. The first movie i ever saw in a theater was The Coal Miners Daughter with my mom. Which happened to be her first time going to the movies too. I think what draws me in is the plot and the actors.

    • Hi Charlene…….Home is more comfortable but the excitement and atmosphere is missing. I confess that I’ve only seen a few silent movies and those were Charlie Chaplin. They were sure interesting for people at the time. I watched The Coal Miner’s Daughter too and I loved it. Such a gritty story but told with much love. She totally embraced her roots, instead of hiding it like so many others did. I love the movies that are based on true stories because they have much more depth.

      Have a blessed day, dear lady!

  20. Your post today was captivating since Wyatt Earp is a legend and I have read so much about this larger than life character whose life I followed though books and movies. Westerns were what I grew up with during the 1950’s. Loved them all since men were men. Now I rarely if ever go to movies since I am very particular. I loved Cinema Paradiso and nothing is comparable at all. I tape or rent foreign films which are meaningful and unforgettable. I did go to movies when we were young kids which was a fun outing.

    • Hi Pearl…….I’m happy you liked my blog. Or maybe it was the smell of popcorn that lured you over. Ha! Wyatt Earp was surely a legend and a giant among men. I confess that I haven’t seen many foreign films. Maybe I’m missing out. I agree that movies just aren’t as good as they once were. I miss the great acting by those who came before. Maybe one day the industry will return to quality work instead of churning out stuff you can’t watch.

      Have a blessed day!

  21. Movies were an escape and I would go with friends. We would sit in the balcony and be transfixed with the shows that were available. I still remember the massive and elaborate theaters which gave me such joy. The Kent, Rialto, Westmount etc. all were renowned and well used. Wyatt Earp is a fascinating man who had morals and ethics. Tombstone was my favorite movie. I always watched Westerns. The West had its allure and now I live in the West which was never a thought in my previous life. My favorite movie is Il Postino.

    • Hi Sharon…….Thanks for coming. I’m so happy you liked my post. Those old movie palaces were sure something. They were very enjoyable to go to. I looked it up and Il Postino (The Postman) looks delightful. It seems a sweet story. I’m glad you found your way to the West! Welcome!

      Have a blessed day!

  22. I do not go to the movies too often, but once in a while it is a nice treat… I tend to eat my popcorn before the movie starts then forget about it while I am watching, LOL.

    • Hi Colleen………You have the right idea. Eat the popcorn before the movie! Maybe that’s best. I agree that movies are a nice treat and if you only go rarely it makes it that much more special.

      Have a lovely and blessed day!

  23. I haven’t been to a movie theater in a long time. I tend to wait now until they come out on DVD and watch at home. My all-time favorite movie would be Gone With The Wind. That used to be my favorite kind of books to read too, but now I’ve moved to more western and cowboy books. I have Wyatt Earp on DVD with Kevin Costner.

    • Hi Linda Orr……..Thanks for coming! I love that version of Tombstone with Kevin Costner. I’ve seen almost everything he’s been in. Wyatt Earp was sure a larger-than-life man and he left a huge legacy. I’m sorry he didn’t have a son. That’s a shame. Gone With the Wind was excellent. A real piece of cinematography that I doubt the likes of which we’ll ever see again. Yes, watching movies on DVD is the thing when you can’t or don’t want to go out. I hate to go to the movies by myself. It’s something that needs shared.

      Have a great rest of your day!

  24. I’m gonna try this again. I commented one time and it didn’t post.
    I don’t really have a “favorite” movie but alwaysliked the ones about the pioneer days! I know it was hard living in those days but things were so much simplier back then.
    sometime I think I was born in the wrong century!!

    • Hi Ruth…….Thanks for coming, lady! I’m sorry you had trouble posting. Pioneer life movies are my favorites too. People were a lot kinder and sympathetic to others back then. They knew how what was important and it wasn’t nail salons and hair dressers, although I do both. Ha! But I can do my own if I have to.

      Big hugs and have a blessed day!

  25. Linda, I agree! How I love movies! I had an older lady in my writing classes I taught several years ago whose parents had the most interesting love story! Her father had been a film operator–he traveled around to the different theaters with the movies and operated the projector in the theaters– and her mother was the piano player for the old silent movies. I didn’t know it, but I guess back then the larger theaters hired their own pianists to accompany the action in the movies. That was how her parents met and ended up dating and getting married.

    Great post. I’ve often wondered too about what Wyatt thought about the movies and I’m glad he got to be part of them–at least to see what was coming! That must have been quite a thrill for him.

    • Hi Cheryl…..Wow, what an interesting story! I remember those film operators who sat in a booth above the seats and operated the projector. Sometimes the film would break and we’d have to sit for a while until he got it spliced together. I didn’t know the piano player toured with the movie. Amazing. Yes, I’m glad Wyatt got to see a glimpse into the future and he was probably happy that stories of the West were going to be kept alive. Darn, I wish I could’ve talked to him!!

      Much love, dear friend!

  26. We haven’t been to a movie theater for years. We do watch a lot of dvd’s. I like to watch movies while preparing fruits and vegetables for canning and freezing. This week I watched “Forsaken” with Donald and Kiefer Sutherland playing father and son in a very well done western set 10 years after the Civil War. There are still some good actors making movies or at least made for tv movies

    • Hi Alice……..Thanks for dropping by. I’ll have to look for “Forsaken.” I’m always searching for good quality westerns. They are few and far between. I had hopes that Clint Eastwood’s son Scott was going to start making westerns but I really don’t see him playing in any or very many parts for that matter. Maybe the passion isn’t there.

      Hugs and have a blessed week.

  27. I really don’t like going to a movie theater. It is usually way too loud for me and I end up with a headache. I definitely prefer to watch movies at home. My kids though, love going to the movie theater. I think they like it because of the huge screen and the surround sound. 🙂

    That was interesting to read about John Wayne and Wyatt Earp. It is always great to learn something new. 🙂

  28. Wow, what a great post. I didn’t know about John Wayne and Wyatt Earp, and I’ve been interested in both for a long time. I grew up on TV and movie westerns, and of course John Wayne was a hero to me as a youngster. And “The Searchers,” one of the top-rated movies of all time, is one of most favorites. I also liked both “Tombstone” with Kurt Russell and “Wyatt Earp” with Kevin Costner, but think I like the Costner version better because it covers more of Earp’s lifespan. I’ve read a bunch on Earp as well.

    I’ve used to go to movies more than I do these days, but I suppose I haven’t kept up with all the younger actors, advanced animation and so forth. I see a few movies here and there, but not many. I watch more favorite old movies at home. (Not showing my age much, am I? lol)

    Sorry for the delay in answering; my own personal 9/11 this year was an odyssey to two different ERs on the same day, back to back, starting at 4 AM and ending at 11 PM, which I thought fit the story well, don’t you? Anyway, it’s all over now except for the shouting.

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