Mavericks: A Gallery of Texas Characters

Paperback | March 1, 2008

byGene Fowler

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Texas has been home to so many colorful characters, out-of-staters might wonder if any normal people live here. And it's true that the "Texian" desire to act out sometimes overcomes even the most sober citizens—which makes it a real challenge for the genuine eccentrics to distinguish themselves from the rest of us. Fortunately, though, many maverick Texans have risen to the test, and in this book, Gene Fowler introduces us to a gallery of Texas eccentrics from the worlds of oil, ranching, real estate, politics, rodeo, metaphysics, showbiz, art, and folklore.

Mavericks rounds up dozens of Fowler's favorite Texas characters, folks like the Trinity River prophet Commodore Basil Muse Hatfield; the colorful poet-politician Cyclone Davis Jr.; Big Bend tourist attraction Bobcat Carter; and the dynamic chief executive of the East Texas Oil Field Governor Willie. Fowler persuasively argues that many of these characters should be viewed as folk performance artists who created "happenings" long before the modern art world took up that practice in the 1960s. Other featured mavericks run the demographic gamut from inspirational connoisseurs of the region's native quirkiness to creative con artists and carnival oddities. But, artist or poser, all of the eccentrics in Mavericks completely embody the style and spirit that makes Texas so interesting, entertaining, and culturally unique.

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Texas has been home to so many colorful characters, out-of-staters might wonder if any normal people live here. And it's true that the "Texian" desire to act out sometimes overcomes even the most sober citizens—which makes it a real challenge for the genuine eccentrics to distinguish themselves from the rest of us. Fortunately, though,...

Gene Fowler grew up in a Dallas showbiz family and has been writing and performing for theater since the 1960s. His previous books include Border Radio, Mystic Healers and Medicine Shows, and Crazy Water.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:179 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:March 1, 2008Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292718195

ISBN - 13:9780292718197

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Sintesi TexanaPart One: A Gallery of Performance Folk-Artists1. Commodore Hatfield: Prophet of the Trinity2. Cyclone Davis Jr.: "Bewhiskered Dervish"3. Port Arthur's Popeye, Bet-a-Million, and the Brownie Man4. Governor Willie5. Bobcat Carter6. William F. Drannan: A Hero, or "Nothing but a Damn Liar"?7. Madam Candelaria: "Most Outstanding Female Character of San Antonio History"8. Three Rode for Texas9. Wild Bill's Final Performance10. Sain-toh-oodie Goombi and Two Braids Tommy11. Hondo Crouch: "Imagineer"12. Trek Stars: Hickey, Hoopie, Plennie L. Wingo, and Others13. Arizona Bill14. Bicycle Annie15. Moses Evans: "Wild Man of the Woods"16. Robert Hall: Sharp-dressed Frontiersman17. Anthony Banning Norton: "Full-blown Eccentric"18. O. L. Nelms: The Most Thankful Millionaire19. Jim "Silver Dollar" West20. Bozo Texino21. Ray's Ornamental Gardens22. O. T. Nodrog, the Outer Dimensional Forces, and the Time Ark Service ModulesPart Two: Other Texas Characters23. A Pair of Snake Kings and One Snake Queen24. Giants25. Big Sam26. Stout Jackson27. Milt Hinkle: Aerial Bulldogger28. Booger Red: "Ugliest Man Dead or Alive"29. Buck Gunter: Raisin' Hair and Ridin' Broncs30. Samuel E. "Doc" Asbury: Texas Nativist31. Quinta Mazatlan: Adobe Outpost in the Rio Grande Valley32. Four Great Ladies33. Five Aces of Magic34. MysticsAppendixesAppendix A: The Zeb Crawburg MemorialAppendix B: Astro Turf RanchetteAppendix C: Western ArtAppendix D: Break on ThroughAppendix E: Zaney Blaney and the Beat

Editorial Reviews

Texas has been home to so many colorful characters, out-of-staters might wonder if any normal people live here. And it's true that the “Texian” desire to act out sometimes overcomes even the most sober citizens—which makes it a real challenge for the genuine eccentrics to distinguish themselves from the rest of us. Fortunately, though, many maverick Texans have risen to the test, and in this book, Gene Fowler introduces us to a gallery of Texas eccentrics from the worlds of oil, ranching, real estate, politics, rodeo, metaphysics, showbiz, art, and folklore. Mavericks rounds up dozens of Fowler's favorite Texas characters, folks like the Trinity River prophet Commodore Basil Muse Hatfield; the colorful poet-politician Cyclone Davis Jr.; Big Bend tourist attraction Bobcat Carter; and the dynamic chief executive of the East Texas Oil Field Governor Willie. Fowler persuasively argues that many of these characters should be viewed as folk performance artists who created “happenings” long before the modern art world took up that practice in the 1960s. Other featured mavericks run the demographic gamut from inspirational connoisseurs of the region's native quirkiness to creative con artists and carnival oddities. But, artist or poser, all of the eccentrics in Mavericks completely embody the style and spirit that makes Texas so interesting, entertaining, and culturally unique.Although other books exist on Texas characters, they are fluff. Fowler's book is much more solid and extremely well researched. I like his take—it's serious as well as refreshing. . . . There's a fair amount of appeal here to a general readership, especially given that cool photographs back up the fun stories. The pictures are a major plus. - Anne Dingus, writer-at-large, Texas Monthly