Raynors HCA 2019-05
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Absentee bidding for this session ends on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 11:00 AM EDT.
The live portion of this session begins on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 11:00 AM EDT
A four page promotion by Norman Film Mfg Co., Jacksonville, Fla., for the silent movie “The Bull-Dogger” featuring Bill Picket. The piece features 14 halftone images of the black cowboy in action. In the solicitation it is noted that “Don’t put me in a white house, I am for colored people” ... did you ever see real colored cowboys? Here they are. ... Bill Pickett will make money for you as he has for others.” Minor pink damp staining. The Bull-Dogger is a 1922 American five-reel silent western film starring Bill Pickett, an African American who is credited with inventing bulldogging or steer wrestling. It was filmed on location in Boley, Oklahoma. The film is presumed to be lost with only fragments known to have survived. During his travels throughout the Midwest, silent filmmaker Richard Norman happened upon an incredible scene – a rodeo starring a black cowboy who could take down a steer with his bare hands. Oh, and his teeth. A performer in the famed Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show, Bill Pickett was credited with inventing the bulldogging sport, the predecessor of modern-day steer wrestling. His performances involved Pickett jumping from the back of a speeding horse, grabbing a running steer by the horns, sinking his teeth into the steer’s lip and twisting the animal to the ground. Crowds roared and Norman knew Pickett had star power. In 1922, Norman cast Pickett in his first film, The Bull-Dogger. Posters lauded Pickett as “colored hero of the Mexican bull ring in death-defying feats of courage and skill.” The film and its promotional material played on Pickett’s international fame. The son of a freed slave, Pickett had performed for the King and Queen of England and enraged crowds in Mexico when he successfully bulldogged one of their fighting bulls. While The Bull-Dogger, shot in and around Boley, Wellington, Okmulgee, and Oklahoma City, OK, thrilled many audiences particularly those of African Americans who had never seen real-life black rodeo cowboys, it dismayed others. The full version of the film was five reels, but shorter versions existed too, primarily from censorship. For example, records show that Evalyn Frances Show, censor for the Ohio Department of Education, insisted upon all scenes involving actual bulldogging be cut from the film before screening in the state, reportedly at the behest of animal rights advocates. Media reports noted that despite the racist reality of the day, Norman “seems to have reached beyond the headlines and produced a hero his intended audience hungered to see and identify with.” Pickett’s star certainly shined – bright enough to attract the attention of then-President Theodore Roosevelt. Publicity for The Bull-Dogger quoted the president as saying, “Bill Picket’s name will go down in Western history as being one of the best-trained ropers and riders the West has produced.” Founded in 1916 Jacksonville, FL as Eagle Film City and purchased by Richard E. Norman in 1921, the Norman Studios was among the nation’s first to produce “race films” starring African American characters in positive, non-stereotypical roles. Today, Norman’s five-building studio complex survives in Jacksonville’s Old Arlington neighborhood.
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The Most Famous Black Cowboy - Promoting the Movie of Bill Pickett

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