Cinema Purgatorio CP07

cinema7
Cinema Purgatorio #7 regular cover, art by Kevin O’Neill

Annotations for “After Tombstone” 8 pages in Cinema Purgatorio #7

Writer: Alan Moore, Artist: Kevin O’Neill

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Go to Moore-O’Neill Cinema Purgatorio stories annotations index

Note: Some of this is obvious, but you never know who’s reading and what their exposure is. If there’s anything we missed or got wrong, let us know in comments.

General: This issue is largely concerned with the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral; partially as an 1881 historical event, but more with its many film adaptations, especially these three classic westerns:

In broad brushstrokes, the gunfight took place between two sides:

  • The victors, portrayed as the good guys: lawman Wyatt Earp (the hero/protagonist of all these films) – accompanied by his brothers and his gambler friend Doc Holliday
  • The losers, portrayed as the bad guys: cattle rustler Ike Clanton, his sons, and the McLaury brothers. Billy Clanton and both McLaury brothers were killed.

Cover

  • The lower half of the cover are characters from various movie versions of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral; these are in slightly blue tones.. The upper half of the cover are an audience of movie goers; these are in warmer black/white/gray tones.
  • For the lower half, here are the characters (top to bottom in three columns left to right)
  • Left Column: (facing right)
Victor Mature as Doc Holliday
Victor Mature as Doc Holliday
  • Center Column: (facing mostly away)
    • Front (far) row, with hat and mustache appears to be the real life Wyatt Earp.
Henry Fonda and Cathy Downs
Henry Fonda and Cathy Downs
John Ireland as Billy Clanton
John Ireland as Billy Clanton
    • Right top, expressionless, facing forward –
      DeForest Kelley as Morgan Earp
      DeForest Kelley as Morgan Earp

      Possibly DeForest Kelley as Morgan Earp in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). (DeForest Kelley is, of course, best known for his role in the original Star Trek. In the third season episode, “Spectre of the Gun”, he is involved in a science-fictional version of the OK Corral.)

    • Right center, with staring eyes and string tie –
      Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday
      Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday

      Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).

    • Bottom right corner,
      Robert Ryan as Ike Clanton
      Robert Ryan as Ike Clanton

      with bullet hole in forehead –  Robert Ryan as Ike Clanton in Hour of the Gun (1967).

    • Right, between Kirk Douglas and Robert Ryan, with beard
      Walter Brennan as Newman Clanton
      Walter Brennan as Newman Clanton

      and cowboy hat – Walter Brennan as Old Man Clanton in My Darling Clementine (1946).

  • Thanks to commenter Charles for helping identify these.

Page 1

panel 2

  • “Smackula” references actor Bela Lugosi, best known for his 1931 portrayal of Dracula, who was addicted to a variety of drugs in later life.
Cat from Cinema Purgatorio #1 P1,p2 - art by Kevin O'Neill
Cat from Cinema Purgatorio #1 P1,p4 – art by Kevin O’Neill

panel 4

  • The large man in the next row with the cat (statue?) next to him may be Sidney Greenstreet, known for his role in The Maltese Falcon.
  • The cat may be the same one that appeared in CP#1 P1,p4. Guesses as to why a cat or cats might be in purgatory?

panel 5

Page 2

panels 1-2

  • “Tombstone” refers to Tombstone, Arizona, the town where the gunfight took place in.

panel 3

  • The rider is Morgan Earp (see P3,p3 below) apparently based on DeForrest Kelly’s portrayal in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). Morgan Earp appears in all these movies, but in modest supporting roles.
  • Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine
    Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine

    The seated man is John Gray. See P3, p2 below.

  • Gray’s posture echoes that of Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine (1946).
  • The stranger’s horse (and John Gray), though acting normally, has many exposed muscles and bones. This will be true of all the horses (and many of the people) in this story.

panel 5

  • “These bluffs and mesas look like Tombstone to you?” refers to the area around Tombstone, Arizona being largely flat, with the Rockies visible to the west. The scenery depicted on this page is more typical of Monument Valley (see note on next page).

Page 3

panel 1

  • Monument Valley is a scenic area on the border between Arizona and Utah where many famous western movies were filmed. Its distinctive geology has become iconic of the American West, even though its confined to a very small fraction of that region.

panel 2

  • “John Gray” would appear to be John P. Gray, a purported witness of the gunfight (as he claims on P6p1), but one whose testimony seems largely discounted. That may be why Moore chose him as a guide, since Moore seems to have him deliberately contradict the historical record several different times. An unreliable narrator for a tale about unreliable narrations?

panel 3

  • Morgan Earp was a Tombstone special policeman. He and his brothers were part of the gunfight.
  • “Tombstone on the Utah border” references how, as mentioned above, Monument Valley is on the border of Arizona and Utah; the historical Tombstone is located on the other side of Arizona entirely.

panel 4

  • “walls gone soft wi’ rain, what you can poke your finger through” – Probably a reference to this Tombstone being almost entirely movie setpieces, not “real” architecture. See also P4p1.

panel 5

  • “Baths” –
    Baths sign
    Baths sign

    Seen in My Darling Clementine (1946) outside the barber shop where the Earps get a shave.

  • “City Hal[l?]” – Common location in westerns. (referring to specific film?)
  • “Jail” –
    Jail sign
    Jail sign

    Sign outside the Marshall’s office in My Darling Clementine (1946).

  • The chair (shown at a leaning angle) is the one Henry Fonda sits (and leans) in in My Darling Clementine (1946) – see P2,p3 above. The leaning chair also features in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) where Burt Lancaster and a fellow lawman sit and lean while watching over Dodge City (this trope could be a homage to Clementine).
  • “James Earp 1864-1882” –
    James Earp grave marker
    James Earp grave marker

    Grave marker seen in My Darling Clementine (1946), where his murder eventually leads to the gunfight (as it did also in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).  There was a historical James Earp, but he was not involved in the gunfight at all and these are not his dates.

  • “Allen St” is where the O.K. Corral was located.
    Allen Street sign
    Allen Street sign

    The sign is as depicted in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). The historical event did not take place in the corral, or even on Allen St.

  • “Clanton Ranch” is believed to be the local center of activity for the Cowboys.
    Clanton Ranch sign
    Clanton Ranch sign

    The sign is from Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).

  • “William Clanton” – William “Billy” Clanton was killed in the gunfight. His body was displayed in its coffin, but the historical coffin did not match the one depicted here.
    Caskets of dead Clantons
    Caskets of dead Clantons

    It does match the one shown in Hour of the Gun (1967).

  • “Mansion House” –
    Mansion House sign
    Mansion House sign

    The Mansion House hotel was a prominent location in My Darling Clementine (1946).

  • “Office of City Marshal” –
    City Marshal sign
    City Marshal sign

    Sign from Hour of the Gun (1967). Historically, Virgil Earp was city marshal at the time of the shootout.

  • Boot Hill” – A graveyard in Tombstone, where several victims of the conflict were buried.
    Boot Hill sign
    Boot Hill sign

    This sign is from Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).

Page 4

panel 3

  • Vigilantes were a part of Tombstone’s history — and even more a part of its mythology. Historical data is hard to google, as the results are swamped by Tombstone Vigilantes, Inc., who perform lighthearted mock lynchings to amuse the tourists several times a month.
  • “Silver minin’ in the seventies” – Tombstone was founded by silver miners in the late 1870s. It was a boom town, and by 1881 had a population of over 7,000, and had numerous brothels.
  • “The town’s gamblin’-den owner” – Wyatt did not actually own the Oriental Saloon, but he certainly was a professional gambler there.
  • Wyatt Earp” and “Virgil Earp” were more Earp brothers, lawmen who took part in the gunfight. Mr. Gray is simplifying the matter of who held what office when (much as Hollywood generally does); historically, the various Earp brothers were in and out of many different jobs during this period.
  • “They was corrupt an’ unpopular” refers to allegations that the Earps would bend the law in their own interest. They were unpopular with (broadly speaking) rural southern criminals, while being popular with (again, simplifying) northern city businessmen.
  • In front of barman is John Ireland as Billy Clanton in My Darling Clementine (1946). (See notes to Cover for photo.)
  • Next to Ireland, with mustache, should be another Billy Clanton, but none of the three film’s Billy actors has a mustache.
  • Behind Ireland, bareheaded with beard stubble appears to also be John Ireland, from a few years later, playing fictional Clanton gang member Johnny Ringo in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).
    John Ireland as Johnny Ringo
    John Ireland as Johnny Ringo

     

  • Behind Ireland with beard and hat – Walter Brennan as Old Man [Ike] Clanton in My Darling Clementine (1946). (See notes to Cover for photo.)
  • Gray-haired man near lower left – Robert Ryan as Ike Clanton in Hour of the Gun (1967). (See notes to Cover for photo.)
  • Dark-haired man in lower left – ???

panel 4

  • John Ireland” – See above.
  • “Two Ikes” are Brennan and Ryan in p3 above.

panel 5

  • “Plain truth was, the Clantons knew about Earp’s crimes, an’ he’d victimized ’em for that.” – Historical truth is often contentious, but Wikipedia’s account is very nearly the exact opposite of this: the Earps knew of the Clantons’ crimes, which is why the Clantons made multiple death threats against the Earps.

Page 5

panel 1

  • In the background, we can see the two Billy Clantons(?) turning from the bar.

panel 2

  • In the foreground, we can see the two Billys and an Ike leaving. (The other Ike is probably mostly off-panel on the left.)
  • “Holliday robbed a stage…” – Holliday was accused of this crime, and the Earps did help him get cleared. But all evidence points to it being a frame by a political enemy. The district attorney threw out the charges, calling the case “ridiculous”.

panel 3

  • Left, with staring eyes and shotgun – Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). (See notes to Cover for photo.)
  • Bottom center, facing away with shotgun – Unknown.
  • Off-panel right, with long-barreled pistol –
    Long-barrelled gun
    Long-barrelled gun

    Possibly Burt Lancaster from Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). He has a pistol like that in one scene, though not at the climactic Gunfight.

  • Far right, with light hair and mustache – Possibly Jason Robards from Hour of the Gun (1967). (See notes to Cover for photo.)
  • To the left Jason Robards, wearing hat with strings – Victor Mature as Doc Holliday in My Darling Clementine (1946). (See notes to Cover for photo.)
  • To the left of Victor Mature, with cowboy hat
    Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp
    Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp

    and mustache – Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp in My Darling Clementine (1946).

  • To the left of Henry Fonda, with string tie – ???

panel 5

Page 6

panel 2

panel 3

  • The Clantons, half drunk” – Ike Clanton had been drinking heavily all the previous night and into the morning. Billy, however, doesn’t seem to have been drinking much, if at all.
  • “and right away starts shootin’” – The question of who shot first is deeply contested.
  • “Whole thing takes about five seconds” – Historically, the fight took about thirty seconds.
  • The OK Corral sign
    OK Corral sign
    OK Corral sign

    in this panel is from Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).

Page 7
panel 1

  • “The West got invented…” –
    based on fact
    based on fact

    Hour of the Gun (1967) begins with the statement “THIS PICTURE IS BASED ON FACT. THIS IS THE WAY IT HAPPENED.” While this film was more historically accurate than any previous, it did, of course, deviate from fact in several places, including the very scene that this statement appeared in.

  • “Bill Cody” AKA “Buffalo Bill“, was one of the most famed heroes of the Old West, whose “adventures” were almost entirely fictional.

panel 2

  • “By ’83 … all we’d got was tourists” – Silver mining actually continued many years past that, though in decline. It’s unclear exactly when Tombstone became a tourist destination; the gunfight didn’t start to seriously enter pop culture until the 1920s. Tourism based on the gunfight is a major business in Tombstone today.

panel 3

  • “Within six months…” – Virgil Earp was shot on December 28, 1881; though badly wounded, he largely recovered, and lived until 1905. Morgan Earp was shot and killed on March 18, 1882. Wyatt Earp did live until 1929.
  • Tom Mix was a hugely famous cowboy actor in the early 20th century. He was friends with Wyatt Earp, and even a pallbearer at Earp’s funeral.
  • John Ford was the director of My Darling Clementine (1946), a major source for this issue.
  • The man in the hat with the curved grey mustache and stubble on the bottom right is
    Ward Bond as Morgan Earp
    Ward Bond as Morgan Earp

    actor Ward Bond who played Morgan Earp in My Darling Clementine (1946). (Thanks commenter Charles!)
    Ward Bond played minor roles in two earlier film versions of the OK Corral, both named Frontier Marshal, in 1934 and 1939. He was also in Dodge City (1939), which was loosely based on Wyatt Earp’s life.

panel 4

  • “lighting out to our ensanguined sunset.” – It was customary to the point of cliche that Westerns would end with “riding off into the sunset.
  • This may also be a reference to the novel Lights Out for the Territory by Iain Sinclair (a friend of Moore’s), which title itself refers to the end of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain.

panel 5

  • This OK sign
    OK sign
    OK sign

    is from Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).

  • two families” – Considerably more than two families were involved, though attention does tend to focus on the Clantons and the Earps.

Page 8
panel 1

  • The woman pictured here is the “limping usherette”.

panel 2

  • “Joan Sims – Carry on destitute” – Joan Sims was a British actress, best known for her work in the “Carry On” series of comedies. See also panel 5.

panel 4

  • “The Family Weigh” is probably a riff on the 1966 comedy The Family Way.

panel 5

>Go to Purgatorio Annotations Index
>Go to Cinema Purgatorio #8 Moore and O’Neill annotations

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11 thoughts on “Cinema Purgatorio CP07

  1. Page 5 Panel 3
    “See across the street, there? That’s a couple o’ Hollidays, a pair o’ Wyatts, Even a Virgil and Morgan or two.”

    In profile on the right standing just next to the old man are Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp
    and Victor Mature as Doc Holliday taken straight from John Ford’s 1946 film about the O.K. Corral gunfight ‘My Darling Clementine’ on the left is Kirk Douglas who portrayed Doc Holliday in the 1956 movie ‘Gunfight at the O.K. Corral’ and the unseen man (with the long pistol that is almost identical to the pistol that Henry Fonda’s Earp is holding) just off panel to the right of the old man is likely Burt Lancaster who played Wyatt Earp in the same film, unless he’s the man with his back to us in the hat with the rifle.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t suggest any actors, but Kevin does love to draw Victor Mature. He’s been in half of these horrible films already. Poor bloke, wonder what he did that was so wrong?

    Like

  3. BTW for next month’s matinee, we might want to look up Max Fleischer. That’s his Felix there, and I’ve half a recollection he wasn’t treated very well. Good ol’ Disney has plenty of sins, so maybe he’s in it.

    Like

  4. Cover: Every gunslinger on this cover is from some Hollywood film version of the O.K. Corral gunfight.

    You can make out a sinister looking Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday on the right of course with his six shooter from the 1956 movie ‘Gunfight at the O.K. Corral’ and also Victor Mature as Doc Holliday from the iconic 1946 John Ford film ‘My Darling Clementine’ on the left in profile holding a double barrel shotgun.

    Also from ‘My Darling Clementine’ are the couple with their backs to us watching the slaughter on the screen, Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp and actress Cathy Downs as Clementine Carter.

    Close by Douglas; the old man with the beard in the coat who is getting shot is actor Walter Brennan who played ‘Old Man Clanton’ who headed the Clanton family in ‘My Darling Clementine’ and was the last Clanton member who was gunned down during the gunfight.
    (At least in that movie, as opposed to actual history.) 😉

    Also does anyone besides me think that O’Neill’s Kirk Douglas on this cover looks somewhat like Daniel Day Lewis’s character Daniel Plainview from the movie ‘There Will be Blood’?

    Could be coincidence I suppose.

    Like

  5. Page 7 Panel 3:
    The man in the hat with the curved grey mustache and stubble on the bottom right is actor Ward Bond who played Morgan Earp in ‘My Darling Clementine’ (1946)

    Like

  6. Trivia

    Page 5 Panel 5

    “Could I have been Morgan in a film?”

    Not to mention Tom McLaury in a tv series. 😉

    Interestingly DeForest Kelly was also in another depiction of the O.K. Corral gunfight just a little over a decade later, this time in Season 3 of Star Trek the original series (1968) in the episode
    ‘Spectre of the Gun’,

    As Kelly’s most famous character Dr Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy along Captain Kirk and Mr Spock and company were forced by an alien to reenact the O.K. Coral Gunfight with Kirk and his crew in the role of the Clantons having to go up against the Earps and Doc Holliday with six-shooter revolvers instead of their usual phasers.

    Like

  7. Cover:
    IMHO the man in the hat with the mustache sitting in the front row just about in front
    of Henry Fonda & Cathy Downs is the real Wyatt Earp.

    If you go to Wikipedia and type in ‘Wyatt Earp’ you’ll see an original photo of the man himself with a mustache that is just about identical to the one the man in O’Neill’s cover is wearing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cover: Notice that cold faced man in the audience on the screen sitting in front of those two screaming blood splattered women?
    That man just above Walter Brennan’s hat on screen?
    The man that Kirk Douglas’s hat rim is in front of?
    That man is the only member of the audience that isn’t screaming or being shot or reacting and panicking in anyway whatsoever unlike everyone else on that screen getting blasted.

    IMO he might be actor DeForest Kelly who played Morgan Earp in The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
    Although it’s not a perfect likeness.

    Like

      1. One clue on the cover, regarding the side of the screen: The film characters have a subtle blue hue. The audience has a slightly warmer straight-up black/white/gray. The DeForest Kelly character has the in-film blue.

        Liked by 1 person

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