Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bonnie & Clyde Days 2011 (Photo/Video)

B&C Sign

Pilot Point is located less than an hour's drive to the northeast of Dallas. On October 8, the city held its second annual Bonnie and Clyde day festival. I missed last year's so I was very anxious to not miss this one. I also saw on a provisional schedule author Jeff Guinn was scheduled to appear in the afternoon. Jeff's book on Bonnie and Clyde (along with a history channel special) is what sparked my interest in the dastardly duo.

Bingo Sign

Believe it or not, there's still some hard feelings towards our bank robbing bandits. Descendants of those who'd had unpleasant encounters with the couple tend to hold a grudge. Also, it's still strictly verboten to show any condoning of the pair's behavior especially now that we've been educated the only good thievery is done through a hedge fund and not through direct stick ups. (Every time you fill up your tank with gas you're being robbed. If you only knew!)

Sign B&C

But Pilot Point has brushed aside those concerns and embraced its outlaw heritage however tenuous it might be in reality. Clyde committed no robberies in the town in real life (though he meant to) but the 1967 film most certainly staged a robbery here. With rumors the couple often passed through the town it was enough for Pilot Point to declare a day of celebration and use the couple's celebrity to draw visitors to town.

Lowbrows Horses

The Pilot Point area is horse country pure and simple. The gentle hills and small towns occupying them draw you in like a soft breeze, making you wish you could stay forever. One fellow told me his wife holds corporate retreats just down the highway. Uninitiated clients turn their nose up at first at the prospect of a boring time in the country. But once visited, they can't wait to get back to the relaxing atmosphere and nature's serenity.


Though some modified more than others, many of the buildings in the town's classic town square are the same as when Bonnie and Clyde peered upon them in the early 30's. One has to wonder what they're reaction would be to a day celebrated in their name. I think they would very much like it and revel in the attention. But really, it was about more than just them, it was about the times they lived in.


Booths lined all four corners of the square, hawking everything from old fashioned sodas to pet blankets and art prints. In the bank (now an art gallery) robbed in the movie, the UNT Television Department staged their own robbery complete with cops and guns, chasing cars and lingering smoke in the air. But before all the fireworks a parade ran throughout the square, the kind you're only going to see in a rural small town.

Booths 2

I thought the turnout was very good though the numbers did thin out by the middle of the afternoon. Jeff Guinn was not able to make an appearance after all as he was out promoting his new book. But there certainly was much to take in during the course of the day, even hearing the story of a hitchhiking boy picked up by Bonnie who revealed a BAR gun covered in her lap. Overall it was a blast and I definitely plan to attend next year. Be at the square or be square!

Below are a few photo essays (I made up my own stories):

The Robbery!

Bank Customers Close
Unsuspecting customers enter the bank!

Paper Boy Cops
A paper boy sees cops only as potential customers

The Laws!
But "the Laws" aren't going to tolerate any tomfoolery!

Film Getaway
The bank's been robbed ! They're getting away!

Copper's aimin' to stop them cold!

Cops Chasing
Police are in a high speed pursuit, but alas, Clyde's Ford V8 was just too quick.

G Man and Cops
A "G-Man" from the fledgling FBI is on the scene. He's the only one authorized to track Bonnie and Clyde from state to state.


Man in orange co-emceed the event.

Tough guys for tough times.

Film actress looking very much the part hanging out in the UNT film control tent.

A prison break was staged

Paper Boys
Wish I had gotten a better shot of the depression era boys as they were clearly the most charming of all.

Town Square:

Barber Shop
Straight out of central casting for old time barber shops!

Don't make doors like this anymore.

Sign Flophouse
Close up of the sign.

Bank Bleachers
The bank before filming

Bank Mural
Eve mural on the side of the bank

Old fashioned cafe.

And just in case you had any doubts we were in horse country:

Horse Evidence

Click here to view the entire set.


Here's the entire parade. The two girls with the professional camera sitting just below me are UNT students. It's highly recommended to watch this and the next one on full screen.

Here's the robbery of the bank:

No comments: