Although I've been more focused on an erotic romantic suspense series, The Rainbow Detective Agency, lately, I've written and published many western mm romance books and stories and it's really my favorite when it comes to writing historicals. But this post is about the upcoming mini-series, Texas Rising, on the History Channel, with Trevor Donovan playing Texas Ranger, Kit Acklin, and I don't want to digress.
The interesting thing is that even though the press release went out last year for Texas Rising with the disclosure Donovan would be in the series, if you do a search for photos of Kit Acklin you'll mostly find Donovan playing him. Donovan's been working very hard on this one, and I think that adds more to the anticipation of the series, because there really weren't many photos taken back in those days. It also adds more exposure to the real Kit Acklin who didn't have much out there until recently. Those photos that were taken in the 1800's were either lost, destroyed, or are not very clear now...if any were ever taken. But more than that, I think having some kind of visual adds to the romance that surrounds stories of the old wild west.
And by romance I don't mean simplistic romance novels with happy endings. That's a completely different thing than the kind of romance I'm talking about. The folklore, the stories, and all that's been passed down since the days of the old wild west create the kind of romance I think is defined best in Dictionary.com as being...
Two of the four rangers were facing the most terrible fight of their lives--topping even Ackland's famous knife fight with a Comanche chief in the battle of Bandera Pass." While Carlin and Dunn were bathing in a creek that fed the Nueces, Acklin and Perry got into a horrific fight with the Indians. "The Indians fired at him (Acklin), bullets and arrows. He was hit twice in the body and an arrow battered out teeth and ripped through his cheek." "But he (Acklin) didn't stumble." "...he snapped off a shot (with his 5-shot revolver)...and stood his ground." The paralyzed Perry rolled over and also shot at the Indians. The Indians briefly lost the trail of the injured rangers and Acklin managed to carry Perry to a hiding place.
This personal memoir from Capt'n C.R. Perry that mentions Kit Acklin is even more interesting:
We was joined there by Acklin when he pulled the arrow out of my shoulder leaving the spike in which was cut out two years after. I caught hold of one of the horse's tails and went across, but I fainted again. Carlin took my gun and pistol to load them when the Indians made a second charge on us and they run off and left Acklin and me taking my gun pistol with them. They had their horses about that time I come too and ran to a dense thicket where I lay down with the wound in my face down in the dust and little sticks, it stopped the blood. I did lay long before the Indians got all around the thicket that I was in I could hear them talk and knock on the brush. They stayed but a short time then went away. I remained until dark when I started to the water about 200 yards away. I had to crawl on my hands and knees for I lost so much blood that I would faint and fall to the ground. It took me from dark until day light to get to the water.
In any event, this is only a sample of these stories so rich with American History you don't hear about often. Texas Rising has been in the works for a long time, and it's finally going to be aired on May 25th this year. As for the historic accuracy, I can't tell at this point. But frankly, when it comes to things like this I'm not always a stickler for too much historic detail. I want to know the basics and I also want a compelling story line, not just a lesson in history that will please the history police. I can take a that boring course with that boring professor if I want that. With this, I want entertainment. From what I gather, Texas Rising promises to be compelling.
You can read more here, for the basics. The central theme of TR revolves around the Texas Revolution with Mexico and how the Texas Rangers were formed.
Here's a link to a great photo shoot that's focused on Trevor Donovan while he was still in character for Texas Rising. I think long time fans of Donovan will be surprised at how much he put into this role. The comments are interesting, too. One mentions how Donovan looks younger. I think the guy is only like 29 or 30. How much younger should he look?
Here's a web site I didn't even know existed where you can see more photos of Donovan as Kit Acklin.
And, there's a google blog about Trevor Donovan playing Kit Acklin.
In 1836, if west of the Mississippi was considered the Wild West then Texas was hell on earth. Crushed from the outside by Mexican armadas and attacked from within by ferocious Comanche tribes – no one was safe. But this was a time of bravery, a time to die for what you believed in and a time to stand tall against the cruel rule of the Mexican General Santa Anna. From General Sam Houston, to rag tag Rangers to the legendary "Yellow Rose of Texas" - this is a story of the human spirit rising in the face of insurmountable odds and claiming a piece of history for all eternity.
The only thing I haven't heard is that there will be full frontal male nudity in Texas Rising, which is a shame because we need so much more of that (smile). Maybe if it becomes a full series we'll see some of that. You can't blame people for wondering. And they did a great job of male full frontal in Boardwalk Empire. So it can be done.
Liz Smith Candid Interview and Gay Stars
There's a fascinating interview with 92 year old Liz Smith where she mentions something interesting about stars who were/are allegedly gay...or not gay...and how she handled it in her column. It's not an "outing" story by any means. The entire interview is excellent, I've been following Liz Smith's column since I was in college, and the part about how people reacted to her possibly talking about gay rumors in her column really hits home...it's still relevant. This happened in the late 1990's. Not much has changed since then in that department. And I LOVE what she says about good old trustworthy Barbara Walters. Hey, Liz is 92, let her speak up now, which is exactly what she's doing. And you don't need fishing boots to read it.
You grew close to many other well-known people over the years. Do you keep in touch with Barbara Walters?
Well, it turns out Barbara Walters can do without me, though I still consider her a friend. She has done so much for me through the years. But when I lost my column and my power, she kind of lost interest in me. When we run into each other now, she loves me; she's always saying, "Let's get together," blah, blah, blah. But I rarely hear from her now. That's OK.
Were there others who dropped you?
In this job, you don't have illusions about people you cover. I don't mix with a lot of celebrities these days. I know Oprah, to say hello and kiss her and genuflect. Helen Mirren, Renee Zellweger, people like that. But I don't see them often. The truth is, everyone around me is dropping like flies, so I don't have many friends left. My best friends are Mary Jane McDonough and Dennis Ferrara, who put out the column with me every day.
In 1997 you caused a furor when you wrote that a certain star was about to come out of the closet.
Oh, yes, and it wasn't just Oprah who was furious with me about that. [Media had gossiped at the time that the mystery star was Winfrey.] Rosie [O'Donnell] was as well.
Here's a little comment about Oprah...oh, and her best friend, Gayle.
But Oprah still felt compelled to put out a statement denying she was gay.
I was amazed by the blowback from that story! It was harmless. The gist of it was, "Better pay attention, readers, because gay people are popping up everywhere!" Despite all that hoopla, Oprah went right on being friends with Gayle King, and I always admired her for that, because she easily could have just rejected Gayle when rumors about them started spiraling.
You'll find the rest here, with a video. I highly suggest checking it out just for the fact that Liz Smith is, indeed, an icon who has not been forgotten by people like us. There are great photos of her, too, and she didn't use Oprah's photo shop guy to try and look as if she's thirty years old.