Downtown Wichita Falls, Texas, in the mid 1940’s was a bustling metropolis for a boy of 7 just away from the farm and ranch community where he was born. My father, a cook and cowboy by trade, had just started as one of the first cooks for the Casa Manana restaurant in 1947. He moved us to an apartment on Ohio Street, right across from the Gem Theater, between 7th and 8th Streets. It’s here that we would stay for the next three years. The Gem Theater became a magic palace for a young mind. But it had to share that distinction with the rest of the magic that was Wichita Falls. I attended San Jacinto and Carrigan elementary schools, as well as Reagan Junior High, and belonged to the Boys Club on 6th Street. Please join, and share your stories and pictures through a Guest Blog, of early Wichita Falls - or your home town. Contact me at or leave a comment. We could use old pictures of movie houses, drive-in theaters, and other nostalgic pictures related to our youths.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Western Comic Books

Comic books were essential reading when growing up. To be honest, they gave me the desire to read more. And if it hadn’t been for a comic book, which a teacher caught me reading, she would not have suggested I read a novel. The book was DOCTOR HUDSON’S SECRET JOURNAL by Lloyd C. Douglas. I was fascinated and wanted more to read. That began a 64-year reading spree that is still going on today.

The comic books offered everything a young boy or girl wanted in visual literature, action and adventure, science fiction, romance, super heroes, and even horror. With the Gem Theater showing double feature western fare most Saturdays, it wasn’t a surprise that I bought a few western comic books as a child; there were many great titles back then.

Favorites, I guess, were heroes from the cinema, like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Lash LaRue. But we had others that vied for our dime, like The Lone Ranger, Silvertip, and Kid Colt. My first piece of fiction was a comic book story when I was ten years old. No need to say more (ha). Since then I have written two western comic book stories, however, which were pretty good. Both were published in prose, though the comic book folded before the stories were published as visual stories. I’ve also written a number of westerns over the years, all due to my early interest in western comic books as a child.

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