Jun 26, 2012

Cowboy and Indian Toys

When I was a kid in the 1960s, cowboys and Indians were has-beens.  Older kids watched Western tv and remembered six shooters and Davy Crockett hats, but my friends and I played at being spies, Jonny Quest and Hadji, or space explorers.  Still, Indians had a penchant for nudity, like Johnny Crawford and his brother Bobby in Indian Paint (1965), or the god Wisakeha, who Bill and I saw in real life at the Pow Wow in 1969, so when a clueless adult happened to give me a cowboy-and-Indian toy, I made good use of it.

Indian action figures were usually naked except for loincloths, making them the second most reliable source of beefcake in toys (Tarzan was first).

Books about Indians were always good for beefcake photos.

Rock Island was the site of Saukenauk, where Chief Black Hawk ruled over the Sauk and Fox Indians, so his picture was everywhere.  This statue, with a phallic spear extending from his belly,  looked over Chippianoc Cemetery ("City of the Dead" in the Sauk language).  It was lit up with red and blue neon at night.

I got in trouble in school for drawing it in my notebook.  My teacher called it "smut," thinking that the phallic symbol was a real phallus.

I didn't really know who the Lone Ranger and Tonto were, but the idea of cowboy-Indian boyfriends was appealing.  Their arms could be bent, so they could put their arms around each other and kiss.