13 April 2009

Charlie Russell Is The Bloomin' Hero

New Play By A Former Great Falls Man, The Scene of Which Is Laid in Montana and Charley Russell Is the hero--It Will Shortly Be Produced.

[Note: Has anyone ever heard of this play about Charlie Russell? This story appeared in the 16 August 1906 Great Falls Daily Leader]

At last Charles M. Russell, cowboy artist, horse wrangler, sculptor, story teller and all-around good fellow, has been handed a bunch of real fame. A play has been put together by a couple of enterprising young men of St. Paul, which threatens to be produced on a real stage with Russell as the hero.

Russell is the only artist living who can reproduce the real west of the past, on canvas, and once upon a time he consented that a cigar be named after him; that was supposed to be the limit, and “C. M. Russell, the Cowboy Artist,” decided then and there to go out of the fame business. But the cigars were as smoke compared to the latest, a four-act play of the wild and woolly kind, with Indians, cowboys and different varieties of jiggeroos, written by a former Great Falls man on an inspiration furnished by Russell. At least that is the way it is advertised in the St. Pul Dispatch’s dramatic news. Mr. Thode, author of the new play, was formerly a resident of this city, and his mother and brother make their home here at the present time, the latter being engaged in the express business. The Dispatch says:

“A play written by two St. Paul men and submitted recently to George Fawcett has evoked a very favorable opinion from that experienced actor and director. The new work, a four-act comedy drama, was written by Alfred J. Thode and Stanley E. Hills. They have entitled it fetchingly, in this day of wild west drama, “The Cowboy Artist.”

“Unlike Clyde Fitch and many other native dramatists who have put the west behind the footlights, Messrs. Thode and Hills know the people and the life that they describe. They lived long among the miners and the ;cow punchers.’ It was the sight of C. M. Russell, the ‘cowboy artist,’ in a Montana saloon, surrounded by Indians that suggested the theme of the new play. The authors have placed the action in and around Helena, Mont. They have chosen a recent but picturesque period--the outbreak of the war with Spain.

“Mr. Fawcett, who was pleased especially with the correctness of the western life and characters, believes that the play would require merely a few technical changes for transformation into a possible Broadway success.”

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