THE FUTURE BUTCH CASSIDY
ROBERT LEROY PARKER
Robert Leroy Parker (April 13, 1866 – November 7, 1908), better known as Butch Cassidy, was a notorious American train robber and bank robber, and the leader of a gang of criminal outlaws known as the "Wild Bunch" in the American Old West.
After participating in criminal activity in the United States for more than a decade at the end of the 19th century, the pressures of being pursued by law enforcement, notably by the Pinkerton detective agency, forced Parker to flee the country with an accomplice, Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, known as the "Sundance Kid", and Longabaugh's girlfriend Etta Place. The trio traveled first to Argentina and then to Bolivia, where Parker and Longabaugh were supposedly killed in a shootout with Bolivian police in November 1908; the exact circumstances of their fate continue to be disputed.
Parker's life and death have been extensively dramatized in film, television, and literature, and he remains one of the most well-known icons of the "Wild West" mythos in modern times.
I think the impact from the movie "Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid" made the prospect of a TV show with them as the regular characters too daunting. How could you compare to Newman and Redford? (Although Tom Berenger and William Katt did a pretty good job in depicting their early years.) Roy Huggins got around that by creating two new characters that could be seen as being inspired by Butch and Sundance: Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, 'Alias Smith And Jones'.
But here are the televersions of Butch Cassidy compiled by Wikipedia:
- 1958: In the Tales of Wells Fargo (October 13) episode "Butch Cassidy," Butch Cassidy is played by Charles Bronson.
- 1969: In the Death Valley Days episode "Drop Out," a young Butch Cassidy is played by Michael Margotta.
- 1994: The Gambler V: Playing for Keeps is a film about a fictionalized adventure where the main character finds out his son is running with the Wild Bunch. Butch Cassidy is played by Scott Paulin [pictured right].
- 2006: The Legend of Butch & Sundance is a film that has David Clayton Rogers as Butch, Ryan Browning as Sundance, and Rachelle Lefevre as Etta Place.
- 2013: Goodnight for Justice: Queen of Hearts is a film that has a fictionalized version of Butch, played by Kerry James.
- 2014: In the PBS: American Experience episode "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". (This should be shipped off to the realm of documentaries if there is one. I think this episode can exist as a documentary in the real world and all of the Toobworlds.)
There are plenty of TV dimensions out there, and they all need a Butch Cassidy. So I would first off relegate all but one of the various TV movies to other Toobworlds in order to share the wealth. (This would include the TV movie "Mrs. Sundance" in which Butch and Sundance don't appear but it is about Etta Place, the Kid's girlfriend.)
Butch Cassidy, as played by Joe Sawyer, can be found in two TV shows which are not included in that list above and I disavow this portrayal as well:
- The Outlaw Legion (1958) ... Butch Cassidy
Stories of the Century
- The Wild Bunch of Wyoming (1954) ... Butch Cassidy
(O'BSERVATION: 'Frontier Doctor' was broadcast four years after that episode of 'Stories Of The Century' but took place before it on the Toobworld timeline.)
I pay no attention to any of the stories depicted in 'Stories Of The Century' because it's O'Bvious that railroad detective Matt Clark is as bad a liar as the Orange One. There's no way he could have been involved in all of the captures or killings of so many of the legendary bad men in the wild wild West. (In a perfect Toobworld, Clark would have taken credit for defeating Dr. Miguelito Loveless time and again.) Matt Clark is just a teller of tall tales on a par with Somerset Frisby.
But we'll have more about that Butch Cassidy impostor later this month.
In the meantime, there are three recastaways of Butch Cassidy in that list above who belong in the main Toobworld - as played by Charles Bronson, by Michael Margotta, and by Scott Paulin. Even though there are marked differences between the three actors, there are certain rules and loopholes that allow them all to stay within the world of Earth Prime-Time.
Allowances for Aging - Toobworld Central accepts recastaways in order to show a previously established character at a younger age, or when they are far older. (Sometimes it's preferable to seeing the original actor in bad makeup.)
So Michael Margotta portrayed Robert Leroy Parker as a young man of twenty in 1886, whereas Scott Paulin was Parker - now known as Butch Cassidy at some point after 1906. ("The Gambler V: Playing For Keeps" takes place after "The Gambler Returns: Luck Of The Draw" and that ended with the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.)
Point of View by Other Characters - Sometimes the appearance of a character is affected by the perspective of some other character, whose viewpoint is the one shared by the Trueniverse audience. (I usually reserve this for only the historical characters rather than tossing out every historical recastaway that comes down the tube.)
So with Butch Cassidy as seen in the 'Tales of Wells Fargo' episode, his rough-hewn look was the image that Jim Hardie saw whenever he looked at the outlaw. (I get the feeling he didn't like Butch very much.) And so that's what we in the real world saw as well.
We're early days in our celebration of 'Death Valley Days' this month, so I can't say for certain, but this is going to be one of those rare episodes of the show about an oft-portrayed historical figure which can remain in the main Toobworld. Had they portrayed Butch Cassidy at an older age, without benefit of an established character's P.O.V., it might have been a different story.
And since it was Michael Margotta's televersion of Butch Cassidy on which we focused, here's one last picture of him in the role: