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Monday, 29 June 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping (40 years in retailing), the golden age of Hollywood (including westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. I wrote a book on retailing, on dealing with job losses and a biography of Stephen Boyd.

This is a series of very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #72 – 29 June 1919

Born on 29 June, 1919, Louis Burton Lindley Jr, better known as Slim Pickens, was a star of films, television shows and rodeos.  Most of his screen work was in westerns.  He enhanced many a cast with his distinctive face and slightly hoarse, twangy voice.

His most famous film is not a western but he dressed as if it was one when he played Major ‘King’ Kong in the black comedy Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1962), directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Peter Sellers who played three parts.

The sequence where Major Kong rides a nuclear bomb as if it was a rodeo horse is memorable and it boosted his career.

My favourite Pickens role is in Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson.  There is a very moving scene when his character, Sheriff Baker, is shot.  He makes his way to the river followed by his wife, played by Katy Jurado.  The sadness is enhanced by Bob Dylan singing Knockin’ on Heaven’s door.

A little piece of trivia.  Slim had a brother, Samuel Turk Lindley, who chose the professional name Easy Pickens.

Slim Pickens died at 64 in 1983.

As Major 'King' Kong

Sources: Various

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