LEGENDS IN LEATHER
Red Ryder cost me my first job. In was in the early 1950's and I was working as a paper boy's helper and I came up against the supreme choice. TV was in its infancy and Saturday afternoon came and I had to either keep my job or catch William "Wild Bill" Elliott who was bringing his role as Red Ryder to my very own living room! In my twelve year old mind, Wild Bill was the ultimate cowboy with his pair of staghorn sixguns worn backwards in leather carved holsters and his special way of saying "I'm a peaceable man". I picked the Red Ryder movie and experienced being fired from my first job and thereby losing three dollars per week.
Many a kid that grew up watching the Western movie Saturday matinees in the thirties and forties or catching them as I did on TV in the fifties, will be happy to know that many of the wonderful gunbelts and sixgun rigs worn by our favorite stars of cinema and later TV Westerns are now available from Legends In Leather.
There are any number of genius leatherworkers out there giving us the best in modern leather as well as traditional leather from the last century but I do believe that Jim Lockwood of Legends In Leather is the only leather carver offering replica rigs of the likes of Hopalong Cassidy, The Durango Kid, Paladin, Wild Bill Elliott, and the samples I had honoring The Duke, Roy Rogers, and Bat Masterson.
Jim Lockwood grow up with those western movies of a by gone day and began collecting Western movie memorabilia and attending Western Movie Festivals. Somewhere along the way he met amd became a close friend of the man responsible for many of the western rigs that were seen on the silver screen. Bob Brown began making fancy western movie rigs back in the 1930's and all of us have seen examples of his work worn by such western heroes as Hopalong Cassidy, The Durango Kid, Wild Bill Elliott, Lash LaRue, Sunset Carson, Buck Jones, Rex Allen, and John Wayne.
Lockwood was given permission by Brown to use many of the old original patterns and carving designs which have now been incorporated in Legends in Leather. A glance through Legends catalog, (the pictures of Wild Bill Elliott and his gun rig is more than worth the price of admission) gives western movie buffs a look at rigs called The Hondo, The Bar 20, The Durango Kid, The Tombstone, The Red Ryder, The Vera Cruz, The King Of The Cowboys, and The Bat Masterson. Lockwood sent samples along of copies of the rigs worn by Roy Rogers, John Wayne, and Gene Barry as Bat Masterson. The King Of The Cowboys rig goes back to the original design by Ed Gilmore in 1938. All of the leather worn by the movie cowboys before the advent of such fast draw names as Arvo Ojala and Andy Anderson, was made of a softer leather than the quick draw rigs that arrived with the T.V. western of the 1950's and are much more comfortable and practical for extended wear.
Lockwood's work is well crafted and well researched. Rigs not mentioned in the catalog proper are also available. Lockwood says Legends in Leather can reproduce any rig worn by any movie or T.V western star. Contact him for information and pricing.
The 1930's to the 1950's were a great time for kids to grow up and have heroes and dreams. Any kid of those decades could not only recognize his favorite movie heroes instantly but he also knew each and every gun rig. Hamilton Bowen is now working on a matched pair of .44 Special Blackhawks by rechambering and re-boring a pair of my .357 Flat-top Ruger Single Actions. Wouldn't they look grand with stag grips and carried in a Red Ryder rig as worn by Bill Elliott?
I am one who firmly believes that the main use for guns is fun. Yes, they do have a very serious side and I do have guns strictly for self defense and serious hunting and competition. But most of my sixguns are for pure enjoyment. We seem to have lost much of the fun aspect of guns, the great times with family and friends that great guns afford. Legends In Leather can give us a little of that feeling back.