With the Lone Ranger it was, "How did you get to be the Lone Ranger?"
With me its, "How did you become the King of Sting?" Well, it started very early in life for me -very early.
When I could barely speak or walk, my Grandma, Nanny Mary, took me to see the Disney movie OLD YELLER. Around 1958 or so. The picture starred Fess Parker (of Davy Crockett Fame), Dorothy McGuire, Tommy Kirk (Musketeers) and my favorite kid actor, Kevin Corcoran, a Disney super star at like age 9.
Chuck Connors (of Rifleman fame) had a small part in it. Chuck traded Kevin a puppy for a frog. And while Kevin’s dad, went off to sell cattle the boys stayed home to keep an eye on mom.
While Old Yeller kept an eye on them all.
There was lots of action, mean bulls and later a rabbid wolf that was loose on the prowl. Old Yeller was deeply loved by the family, especially Kevin. They even slept together. He was a wonderful, sweet dog. He even had a song about him they sang throughout the film.
I loved that song and I loved Old Yeller.
Who wouldn’t? He was everyone’s best friend.
As the film drew near the end, the rabid wolf came to kill the family and their livestock. He was mean, he was ugly and he was a killer! Old Yeller wouldn’t let that wolf harm the family he loved, so Old Yeller fought that wolf to the death.
Old Yeller won, but he was badly hurt though. He slowly got sick with rabies and Kevin wouldn’t hear of putting down the animal he loved so deeply. No way. He would mend Old Yeller back to health no matter how long it took. But it didn’t work out.
One day Kevin went into the cage to see if Old Yeller was better, but the dog was so sick he growled and even tried to bite the boy. Old Yeller was so ill, he didn’t recognize Kevin at first, but when he did he stopped. Kevin’s older brother saw this and knew he had to be the man of the family at 12.
He took the dog we all loved and shot him – he killed Old Yeller.
I cried and cried and cried.
I was so shocked that I asked my Nanny, "He’s not really dead is he?" She wanted me to stop crying and said, "No, its just a movie."
To me though it was real. I was sad for weeks.
I got a puppy, Tiger, and had him until I went away to college. I became a strong animal lover. I could never hurt an animal. They are so warm and nice, cats, dogs, horses.
Funny, I didn’t always feel that way towards people.
Once in a great while they play OLD YELLER on television and I still watch it. I watched it last year with my dog Junior.
No, thats not how I became the King of Sting, but it’s why I was not a killer.
I loved Old Yeller too much. When I hold my dog, I often think of Old Yeller, and what a great friend he was to those people and that kid.
Even ‘bad guys’ can have a heart….Merry, Merry Holidays to All of You!