Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Vint Bonner:

"Boyd, you know she didn't like working here."
Boyd Lively:
"She's a saloon girl; that's all she is!"
'The Restless Gun'


Vint Bonner was visiting Copperhead Wells, hoping for a rest.  But instead he got pulled into a quarrel over a saloon girl which led to perhaps one of the most unique ways to link plenty of TV Westerns together.....

Two businessmen in Copperhead Wells, Misters Hopper & Watkins, had been visiting San Francisco where they noticed a strikingly beautiful painting hanging behind the Paradise Casino bar.  It portrayed a naked woman whose body was tastefully draped with her long blonde curls.  (At least Hopper thought she was a blonde.  Watkins thought she had black hair.  Vint Bonner was familiar with the painting and even he couldn't remember the color of her hair.....)

"A saloon ain't a saloon without it's got
a good-looking woman over the bar

Hopper and Watkins got the idea that what the Sudden Dollar saloon in Copperhead Wells needed was a painting like that.  So with the reluctant agreement of the Sudden Dollar's owner, Juniper Dunlap, they commissioned the services of the artist who had painted that zoftig beauty for the Paradise Casino.

Stewart Woolsey was a celebrated artist from St. Louis, Mo., and he was willing to take on the assignment... especially after he met the former saloon girl Lucy Collins who nursed him back to health after a night of celebration with the men of Copperhead Wells.  Lucy was a strong-willed woman who was determined to maintain her independence.  She agreed to pose for the portrait even if it might bother the man she was supposedly stepping out with: miner Boyd Lively.

However, during the course of their sessions together, Lucy and Woolsey fell in love.  When Boyd Lively heard about this upon his return to Copperhead Wells, he tried to intervene by beating the artist to a pulp.  Unfortunately for the miner, Stewart Woolsey was skilled in the gentlemanly science of boxing according to the Marquess of Queensberry rules.  After taking a beating from Woolsey and a tongue-lashing from Lucy (who suffered a fist to the face from her former lover), a broken-hearted Lively begrudgingly stepped aside.

After the unveiling of the portrait, which was far more tasteful than anyone could have imagined (Juniper Dunlap proclaimed it acceptable enough to be seen by his own mother... and she was over 90 years of age!), Stewart Woolsey and his future bride Lucy Collins traveled back to St. Louis to live.  There Lucy held down two jobs - that of Stewart's wife, and as his model for all future portraits.  

"And of course you see pictures of her everywhere.
Look for them if you're in the right saloons.
You might enjoy them."
Vint Bonner

So there's the reason why I think Stewart and Lucy Woolsey will one day be in the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.  Unless otherwise stated within the dictates of the script, I'm going to claim that every painting we see hanging behind the bars of all those TV Western saloons was painted by Stewart Woolsey.  And if the woman depicted in such a painting is a blonde?  Then the model was none other than Lucy Woolsey.

Even if the model is seen as a brunette or a redhead, it could still be Lucy as the original inspiration.  Even if her facial appearance and even her body shape doesn't actually match, it could still have been Lucy who posed for it.  It kind of makes sense - Stewart might have been worried about some obsessive cowpoke trying to track down the woman in the pictures.  By altering her appearance, they could avoid such a dilemma.

Here's a theory of "relateeveety": Lucy Collins may have been the twin sister of a saloon owner named Fan.  We showcased her last week.......

Happy trails to you!

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