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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid

Late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning, Deb and I returned home from almost a week in Asheville, North Carolina. For most of the trip we stayed at the Grove Park Inn, a retreat for F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1935 and 1936, and not far from the sanatorium where, in 1948, Zelda Fitzgerald perished in a fire. All of which, of course, reminded me of Paul Nelson, who adored The Great Gatsby.

Anyway, when I finally crawled into bed at around 2:30 or so, I turned on Turner Classic Movies and discovered that Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid was about halfway over. And of course, what with Dylan playing a role in the film and providing the soundtrack, thoughts once again turned to Paul.

The next day, I pulled out his notes from 1973 for (to the best of my knowledge) an unfinished review of the film. He had a particular fascination with the Pat and Billy mythology and often referred to it in his writings.

Later in his notes, he wrote: "James Dean is Billy: Marlon Brando, Garrett. When James Dean died, I resolved to take his place (as in Jackson Browne's song). Now I don't want to be James Dean anymore, but I don't want to be Marlon Brando, either."

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