December 3, 2010

“Where the West begins” – and the East peters out…


THE FAMOUS COWBOY POEM:

“Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger,
Out where the smile dwells a little longer,
            That’s where the West begins;
Out where the sun is a little brighter,
Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter;
Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter;
            That’s where the West begins.”
       Arthur Chapman (1873-1935)
       American journalist, poet and editor
       His poem “Out Where the West Begins,” first printed in the Denver Republican, December 3, 1911.


WILL ROGERS’ QUIP:

“Fort Worth is where the West begins and Dallas is where the East peters out.”
       Will Rogers (1879-1935)
       American humorist
       A famous quip
generally attributed to Rogers. (Long ago, Forth Worth adopted the motto “Where the West Begins” and Dallas was dubbed the city “where the East ends.”)


A MORE RECENT TAKE ON FORT WORTH’S MOTTO:

“As Fort Worth has grown into a very big city, the cultural identity of our fair burg is changing. City leaders like to trot out ‘Cowtown’ and ‘Where the West Begins’ as cultural touchstones, but neither has been true for some time. We don’t slaughter cattle for beef anymore, and I don’t know where the West begins now, but it certainly isn’t here.”
       Dan McGraw
       Texas journalist
      
In his column in the Fort Worth Weekly, March 28, 2007


THE CUBAN VARIATION:

“First port of call, out where the wet begins.”
       Prohibition-era marketing slogan for Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Havana, Cuba 
       Noted in the excellent book Havana Before Castro by Peter Moruzzi


THE HAWAIIAN VARIATION:

“Out where the zest begins, in the Hawaiian islands, grow these royal pineapples...brought to you by Dole.”
       From an ad for Dole Pineapples in LIFE magazine, May 8, 1939


RINTY’S VARIATION:

“Where the North Begins”
       Title of the first film starring the first Rin-Tin-Tin, released in 1923. (A silent film set in the Great White North – the north woods of Canada.)

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Further reading and listening about Cowboy – and Cowgirl – poetry

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