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» Wednesday, April 30, 2008From Every Pore
When I finished with work today I did some tidying then sat down and watched part of a DVD I hadn't cracked since I bought it: the Disney Treasures set of Nine Lives of Elfego Baca and The Swamp Fox. Rusty at the hobby shop said he watched the latter a few weeks back, having loved it as a kid, and was so disappointed. I've never seen either, but understand Swamp Fox is pretty stodgy.
But I loved the first episode of Baca and the interview with Robert Loggia. Elfego Baca, like Francis Marion, was a real person with a rather amazing career. Of Mexican heritage and born in New Mexico in 1865, he was brought up in Kansas, but later returned to New Mexico after the death of his mother. One of his most famous exploits was his first: as a temporary deputy, he arrested a cowboy who was terrorizing the Hispanic businesses in his small town. The cowboy's Anglo pals were not amused, and when Baca defended himself after the cowboy was released from jail, the man's horse reared, threw him, and then fell on him. His companions, several dozen in number, chased Baca to a house, where he held them off for thirty-three hours until help arrived. The cowboys shot 4000 bullets into the house, threw dynamite in one corner, even attempted to set it on fire, and still Elfego Baca escaped. Word got around that he was like a cat, with nine lives.
He went on to have a colorful career that included being a sheriff while he read law, practicing law, even working as a school superintendent. He achieved his goal of gaining justice for Hispanics in a time when the white majority was against them.
Robert Loggia says in the interview that he insisted on showing Baca's ethnic heritage rather than making him a "whitebread" Hispanic and Walt Disney agreed. He was shown as an intelligent, resourceful, "mild-until-riled," virile man in an era when most Hispanics were still comic or lazy characters, so the show holds up well today. Not to mention that, damn, he was sexy. We are talking about yum factor from every pore.
Looking forward to seeing the other two. Hey, Disney, where's the other seven episodes????