PRESENTATION: MUSEUM THEATER - FRIDAY OCTOBER 5th @ 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
“Writing a Western” in the Twenty First Century with Scott Harris and Wyatt McCrea
The “Western”, as a genre, is uniquely American and an icon. Images of the Old West are burned into our psyche through film and books. No doubt, some of what many of us accept as fact, is more legend or myth, but no less powerful as a result – and certainly no less entertaining.
The West is something that floated throughout our history. To those who first landed here, having sailed in on the Atlantic, present day Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee represented the West. As we rolled westward as a nation, so did our idea of where the West is, until it bumped up against the Pacific Ocean.
But for most of us, when we think of the West, we think of a time following the Civil War and ending right around the beginning of the 20th century. From north to south, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas are the beginning of the West. No doubt, most of our first thoughts go to cowboys on horseback and that certainly was the reality for many, but not all. Every walk of life was represented in western towns and cities, many of which sprouted with the discovery of gold or silver, and died off just as quickly. Indians, now known as Native Americans, played a huge role in our “taming of the West.”
If we look at the traditional Old West and we think of the great writers, many of us turn to Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour who were the giants of the western novels. But there were others. Larry McMurtry, the Elmores (Kelton and Leonard), Luke Short, Robert B. Parker and Charles Portis, among dozens of others.
In the Twentieth Century, Westerns were critical in the emerging film industry with Hollywood capturing—or maybe creating—the myths and putting them on film. The Western has at times been the most dominant genre (television in the 1950’s and 1960’s) and has also faded. But it always seems to come back (think Kevin Costner and Dances with Wolves) and is currently experiencing a bit of a resurgence with major motion pictures, a variety of cable television shows, and exploding book sales.
Scott and Wyatt will talk about these challenges and opportunities and how they—and so many others—are working to keep the genre alive.
About Wyatt McCrea
Wyatt McCrea is the oldest grandchild of the late actor Joel McCrea and his actress wife Frances Dee. He is the co-owner of Third Point Productions. Wyatt served as Associate Producer for the series “Gen’s Guiltless Gourmet”, formerly featured on the ION Network, and he serves as Executive Producer for several projects currently under development or in production, including the 2017 release of the documentary – “Floating Horses – The Story of Casey Tibbs”.
Wyatt was featured as Deputy Walt Tyler in the 2015 western feature “Canyon Trail”. He has appeared in both print and internet advertising, on the cable series “Call 911”, on the History channel’s series “Big History”, as well as various local and regional commercials.
He is a two-time Western Heritage Awards co-emcee with Ernest Borgnine and Lou Diamond Phillips and a two-time Western Music Association Awards co-emcee. Wyatt enjoys participating in various film festivals and giving presentations in an ongoing effort to preserve the history of his film making grandparents. Over the years, Wyatt has also been active in the family ranching and farming interests. He is a founding member and board president of the Joel and Frances McCrea Ranch Foundation; serves on the Board of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; is a past member of the Executive Committee of the Golden Boot Awards; is a Board Member of the Will Rogers Ranch Foundation; a Board Member and past board president of RideOn Therapeutic Horsemanship; member of the American Quarter Horse Association (Life Member), NMMI Alumni Association (Life Member); and a member of the Advisory Board for the Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo, CA.
In 2013, Wyatt worked with biographer, Tony Thomas to bring us Joel McCrea: A Film History; a biographical essay and comprehensive filmography on one of Hollywood’s finest actors, Joel McCrea. In 2016 Wyatt partnered up with Writer and Historian, Ed Hulse to publish Francis Dee: A Film History about his grandmother and one of Hollywood’s most talented and beautiful actresses.
About Scott Harris
Award-winning and best-selling Western author Scott Harris is a lifelong Western enthusiast who traces his love of Western fiction back to his childhood days of reading Louis L’Amour novels.
Harris has published four novels this year, along with a collection of short stories, and variety of other fiction and non-fiction Westerns. Harris, who loves nothing more than settling into his hammock with a glass of bourbon, a cigar and great Western, has created a Western world filled with fascinating and exciting characters. The Brock Clemons Western series follows the tale of Brock Clemons and his journey into the West accompanied by his horse, “Horse,” and wolf, “Wolf.” The Brock Clemons story, especially when he is joined by his new wife Sophie and his adopted son Huck, is one of bravery, adventure and romance, transporting readers back to a time when chivalry, courage and gun fights ruled the day in the West.