Thursday, October 20, 2011
THE LEGENDARY JACK SCHAEFER
When discussions, either verbally or online, come around to the subject of great Western literature, the book you see here now is always talked about. I understand that in some schools, SHANE is – or was – considered required reading. Not in my own schools, so I didn’t get around to this one until the early 1980s.
It goes without saying that the movie version struck a chord with people, too; it helped immortalize Alan Ladd and, to as great a degree, Jack Palance.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Jack Schaefer in 1986. He was in Dallas/Fort Worth that year to address the WWA convention. I do not recall if he was awarded anything or not, but he did spend some time with a group of us (see photo below) afterwards.
(From left to right: Loren D. Estleman, Jack Schaefer, Jory Sherman and some inconsequential nudnik named Mike Madonna. Summer, 1986)
Mr. Schaefer was very kind and personable and, as I interpret it now, a bit mystified as to why we were all making such a fuss over him. He didn’t let on if he understood that we all felt we were in the presence of greatness. He signed the above copy of SHANE for me as well as A COMPANY OF COWARDS.
Unfortunately I did not have a copy of MONTE WALSH at the time, or I would have asked him to autograph it as well.
It was a proud moment in my life and one that will stay with me for however many days I have left.