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Friday, 31 October 2008

Buffalo Bill

I've been doing some research on Buffalo Bill for a story I've got in mind and I was amazed to find that in 1904 his Wild West Circus played in Aberdare, a Welsh valley town that is only ten miles away from me.

It seems incredible to me that Bill, Annie Oakley and others walked the same roads as I myself.

I'm trying to find out anything I can about the visit, speaking to some old guys from the village. And one man say's his grandfather told him of seeing the show. He's got an old photograph of his grandfather, twelve years old with the great cowboy. I'm going up to see it tomorrow and will scan it for a future post I've got planned on the Wild West Circus' time in South Wales. I've written to the local newpapers to see what material they have in their archives and I'm quite excited about this.

Imagine what it must have been like to be a twelve year old valley's boy in 1904.

Then the valleys would have been eternally grey - rows of terraced houses carved into the mountainside, mountains blackened and scarred from the endless excavations for coal, rivers that ran thick and black like tar.

Everything - the cobbled streets, the shops, the people even would have been covered in a thin dusty residue which was the result of the thick black smoke the numerous mines pumped into the skies.

Buffalo Bill must have glowed.


Charles Gramlich said...

Sure would have been cool to see on of those wild west shows.


I believe there is some film footage held by the buffalo bill museum in Cody

Harp of Hyperion said...

I think a "western" set in *Wales*, with Buffalo Bills troupe using their frontier skills to solve some sort of problem, would make for a *brilliant* story! We often forget that the "Old West" was not hermetically seal: Tesla lived in Colorado, Dickens toured through the era, and its always fun when genre writers reflect that reality.

Michael Martin said...

Fancy a photo (it's a rickety bound volume) of the editor of the Boys' Friend storypaper advertising the tour?


Michael - tell me more