The American Dental Association And Early Television Westerns Conspiracy

Wish I Had Perfect Teeth Like The Television Western Men

Are you a Western buff? A person who had rather sit in front of a 52 inch LG Plasma television any day (or night) of the week and watch a black and white Western than be chained to a routine of soaking in what ESPN and their battery of sports reporters are telling you what you read in that morning’s sports pages?

I confess. I am a Western buff. From the word go. I love the original black and white Westerns with stars such as Ward Bond (Wagon Train); Rory Calhoun (The Texan); Chuck Connors (The Rifleman); Clint Walker (Cheyenne) and of course, Chad Everett (The Dakota’s). What times I had as a youngster when Westerns were THE thing to watch. It was a Saturday ritual to grab some snacks, tune in CBS or some local affiliate, keep the siblings far away, and enjoy an hour or two of good old-fashioned, wholesome family entertainment that only Westerns could provide.

I, and probably you, would openly cheer for the guys in white hats and thrill when the outlaws, in black hats, would be apprehended and sent to jail. Yes, these were classic tales of good versus evil with good always coming out the victor. Oh how I wish it were that simple today in 2011. In today’s so-called Westerns, there is such a gray area that makes it hard for me to tell who is the good or bad guy for they all act pretty much the same--low morals, bending the law to suit their needs and giving our impressionable youth a seriously-mixed message about who is good and who is evil.

Enough soapbox speeches. I want to talk for a few moments about some unnoticeable glitches that were evident in most Westerns--unseen by us, the faithful viewer, but never hampered the outcome of each Western show. And when I get to the next few paragraphs, hopefully you will see what I am talking about. (I love to build suspense in my readers).

Take your garden variety Western. You have the good guys, faithful friend to all, and neighborly-type who mind their own affairs and then you have the evil influence--the men who wear black all over--from hats to pants, black. Obviously a signal is being sent here. The good guy is preparing to help a local cattleman drive his herd of prize steers to Abilene, Texas so he can bring home a huge amount of money for himself and his drovers. (Drover is a man who rides and guides the herd along the trail).

Somewhere at midway of the cattle drive, disaster hits in the form of the bad guys in black--all of them, who are preparing to zoom in like an eagle after a rabbit on foot, and take charge of the cattle and what money the good guy and the drovers might have on them.

Okay. The bad guys wait until dark when the cattle are sleeping and things are settled. Then as the good guy and the drovers settle in for a long nap (after a rib-sticking supper of beef stew), the bad guys move in. Now you have the classic scene in most Westerns--the bad guys holding Colt .45’s on the innocent good guys with her hands in the air and demanding the cash that might be available. Okay. Nothing mysterious so far. But you have probably missed the main glitch in this Western that I am talking about as the camera’s have already shown close-ups of the faces of both good and bad men and what one thing did you see that both sides had in common? Give up? They all had super-pearly-white teeth! Yes, pearly-white teeth that shined brighter than the moon. Watch your next Western and you will see that no matter how shabbily-dressed, unshaven and non-bathed as the evil guys are, their teeth are in perfect condition.

I can somehow see a glimmer of sense in the good guys having good teeth, that is if they live in a town, but how on earth did the likes of Jesse and Frank James, John Wesley Harding and Billy The Kid manage to get super-white teeth on the lamb after robbing banks by the dozen and shooting down people as they rode to their escape? Can you tell me that?

Did the outlaws take dentists hostage when they needed a check-up? Or did they burst into the dentist’s office and force him to give their teeth a good cleaning? I am still in wonder about how these highwaymen of the Wild West maintained such great teeth. Now don’t try and throw your common sense at me by telling me it was their food that made their teeth white, for I ask, “What kid of food (besides gravel), would make a bad man’s teeth white?” And you seldom seen the bad guys use a toothpick--except on the rare occasion when they would infiltrate a peace-loving town and use a clever disguise, most times a traveling preacher, then eat at the local cafe where they sometimes are seen leaning back in wooden chairs gazing at the pretty hostess all while picking their perfect white teeth. Amazing what a wide range of work that the American Dental Association has made with the oral health of outlaws.

Another classic glitch is the always-entertaining shoot-out scene that most Westerns live and die by. Usually, it’s an humble group of people heading West by wagon train that is being escorted by men of good reputation for safety. And yes, just as reliable as a Saturn Five rocket, here are some more bad men (with perfect white teeth also), who must attack the wagon train to see what ‘freebies’ they can garner. And may I add that even if it is savage Indians like the Apaches, even all the Indians had perfectly-white teeth. And no medicine man in business in this time frame could lay claim to giving the warriors perfect teeth--no matter at the magic spells and potions he gave them. Still, it was a mystery of how the Apaches always had great teeth.

The wagon train’s leader, or wagon master, would bark to his second-in-command, “Get them wagons in a circle. Now!” This was also a classic move--circling the wagons for extra protection. And the women, who were brave enough, would be used to fetch (get) ammo for the good men with guns who were defending the wagon train against the oncoming outlaws. Shot after shot and one by one, a bad guy would hit the ground and then a good guy would get only wounded. The producers had to keep the deck stacked in the good guys’ favor you know. And all the time this long, drawn-out shoot-out was going on, did you see just one time, the good or bad guys stop to use the restroom? Or their horses? I find this very mysterious. Did the good guys as well as the outlaws all have perfect bladders to match their perfect teeth? I could go mad if I so desired at these unanswered questions. And another glitch was always hidden from our view: Did you ever see the bad or good men stop to reload their guns? Very, very seldom did the producers allow any man with a gun to go without ammunition. And we bought it. Sidewalk, storefront and stock of the store. All at one time without as much of a gasp of the question, “Why?”

And if these glitches aren't enough, here is my final Western observation that will open your eyes--wide to the fact that I DO know what I’m yakking about. Did you ever wonder when a band of savage outlaws (is there any other kind?), robbed a bank and then made off on their fast horses, why the sheriff and deputies didn't just shoot the horses from underneath them? No, the good-hearted, God-fearing sheriff and his men just shot at the men on top of the horses. Gone. Out to only God knows where leaving the good sheriff and deputies looking confused and stunned and sometimes one good old Western man might remark, “Didn't hit a one of ‘em, sheriff!” Well, if you had listened to me you would be the toast of town by having enough sense to shoot the horses down giving you the outlaws, buddy.

Now in the modern police shows and movies, Dirty Harry for instance, they always shot at the automobiles that carried the villains, right? Why didn't Western producers them adapt or rather, pioneer this novel style of catching crooks in the Old West? Were the producers working in fear of some special interest group like the ASPCA, which hadn't been formed yet, or someone who just didn't want to see the horses shot? Again, friends, I am stuck only to wonder.

And to really get my furnace really hot . . .

all of the horses in each Western show and movie had perfect, white teeth.

Hm-mm, maybe, just maybe, the American Dental Association were the ones who underwrote these early Western shows. That might explain all the Colgate commercials.

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