Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22361 – 825:
Here’s the haps:
My dear fans, friends, fiends, foes, foundlings, frolicking freaks, and other nice assorted people,
I went looking back to find the post where I tried my hand at writing a poem in the villanelle form. Some of you have been with me for the long haul and I thank you very much and so I didn’t want to just re-post that since it was less than six months old. Besides, I wanted to try it again. The post I was looking for was called The Much Promised, Highly Vaunted Villanelle and I felt like I had done a fairly adequate job with a form that was new to me. Then, according to my nature, I decided that a good subject would be a villain named, “L,” i.e., Villain L, but it didn’t really just catch my fancy, either. All of the villains I could think of were either too dark or had the wrong initials. Then I got to thinking about the old cowboy cliffhangers where the good guy always wore a white hat and the bad guy wore a black hat and the good guy was a really good guy and the bad guy was really a bad guy. And this song by the Coasters, epitomizes every Saturday matinee cliffhanger. The villain, Salty Sam, trying to get the deed to Sweet Sue’s ranch only to be thwarted by Jones!
One of the most villainous villains I could think of, who fit all of the stereotypes necessary, was Snidely Whiplash. Voiced by Hans Conreid, Snidely had it all when it came to villainy. Tying women to railroad tracks and stealing little old ladies’ lunch money and foreclosing on penniless widows. Only to be thwarted by the pure-hearted Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties.
The Villain L
The vile, villainous Leroy caught sweet Nell
He twirled his villainous mustache and laughed
“Where is the hero who can save you now, pray tell?”
Valiantly across the plain rode Bill
He would head the bad guy off at the pass
“Sign over the deed now,” L said to Nell
“There was a reason you weren’t in the will.
Grandpa knew you’d subdivide the ranch
While he knew that I would never sell.”
“I’ll throw you off the cliff at the pass, Nell.”
“Give up and run away while you’ve the chance
Or you will certainly have to face Bill.”
“Bwahaha! Your hero’s far away still.”
Just then a shot rang out across the pass.
There astride his mighty steed was Bill.
Leroy’s face turned green, he was so ill
“Curses! Foiled again!” He said at last
The vile villainous villain let go of Nell
And a happy ending is all we can tell
If you want to wear a white hat you should obey the Cowboy Ten Commandments. By most of the accounts I have read, Gene Autry tried to live this way in his private life as well as his public life.
Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code
The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
He must always tell the truth.
He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
He must help people in distress.
He must be a good worker.
He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
He must respect women, parents, and his nation’s laws.
The Cowboy is a patriot.