Wyatt Earp in Hollywood – Courtesy of True West Magazine and Bob Boze Bell

The below feature is from True West Magazine by Bob Boze Bell.  Much more information is available at http://www.truewestmagazine.com

In a letter, written in December 1928, the 80-year-old frontiersman Wyatt Earp opined that perhaps “my health will be back to normal when this story business is all done with.”

He was wrong twice.

Less than a month later, Wyatt was dead, and his legend was on the cusp of exploding. Some outlaws were about to become very rich from his story, but Wyatt never made a dime on any of it. This is the story of how that happened.

The Last Outlaw Town

Four outlaws* got off the train. In the distance, a windmill squeaked ominously. They appeared to be ready for a showdown, but High Noon was decades away. The four outlaws were running from the old ways…and Thomas Edison. Especially Edison.

Starting in 1908, Edison led a gang known as the “Trust.” He and his waspy, East Coast cronies controlled the fledgling movie business by owning all the important patents on projectors and film stock. You couldn’t show a film in the United States without paying them fees.

Plus, Edison and his gang hated films from France, the birthplace of cinema. They didn’t want France’s “star system” to invade our shores, so they banned anything they didn’t like or that they didn’t think America should see. That turned out to be quite a bit.

The outlaws who got off the train in Hollywood liked the sleepy California town because if hired thugs from the Trust showed up, the gang could load their sets and equipment on trucks and head for Mexico. In no time, the town was filled with riffraff and ruffians, con men and criminals.

Wyatt Earp fit right in.

*The four outlaws were Adolph Zukor, Carl Laemmle (who faced 289 indictments from Thomas Edison’s film company), Jack Warner and Wilhelm Fuchs alias William Fox. Zukor helped start Paramount Pictures, Fox founded Fox Film (later 20th Century-Fox), Warner and his brothers birthed Warner Bros. and Laemmle helped create Universal Pictures.

Continue reading this story at http://www.truewestmagazine.com/wyatt-earp-in-Hollywood/