David Stevens, editor of the Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune in New Mexico, in a column said he had a few questions for potential interview subjects about long-ago local issues. Stevens’ wish list had some urgency because all the people “are getting old,” he said.
- I want to know about Tucumcari in 1959 when he lived there six weeks filming “Rawhide.”
- I want to have lunch with him at Del’s and ask if the food was better then or now.
- I want to know what he thought about Route 66 in those days, if he even had a thought about that historic highway we’d all like to revisit, complete with its neon lights and hotel rooms with garages attached.
- I’d like to know if he remembers hearing about the 13-year-old Quay County boy walking into his parents’ bedroom that summer and shooting them with a deer rifle. Gordon Ellis’ father died a few days later.
- And I want to know how actress Kipp Hamilton ended up hospitalized for two days after accidentally stabbing herself in the foot with a knife while filming.
Actors and technicians arrived in Tucumcari on Aug. 10, 1959, for six weeks of work, the Tucumcari Daily News reported.
The show’s stars included Eastwood, Eric Fleming and Sheb Wooley. Guest stars also popped in and out of town for brief appearances.
The paper reported scenes were filmed at three Quay County ranches. The cast and crew, about 65 in all, were seen regularly around town and became regular patrons at Del’s Restaurant.
Eastwood is 84 years old and has gained considerable acclaim — and Academy Awards — as a director in recent decades. His mother lived to 97, so perhaps her son isn’t at death’s door (in fact, he directed another film this spring). But Stevens’ point is made — the urgency for having these questions answered is clear.
Perhaps Eastwood or one of his assistants will read this and be happy to oblige at least two curious journalists.
(An image from “Rawhide” by Peter Renshaw via Flickr)