THE OLD WEST: LANDSCAPE OF THE AMERICAN IMAGINATION
The Wild American West is our Brigadoon. It is the quintessential American myth, the dream we write of who we were, and more importantly, who we are to become. It is amid this landscape of the American imagination that Legends and Stories emerge and our Heroes evolve. It is where our ancestors speak to us of the Great Adventure and share their dreams. It is where we try on our cowboy hats and six shooters and dream we are one with them. And perhaps, young and old, we are.
This page was orginally intended as a tribute to the stories of the MGM television series, The Magnificent Seven, and to its seven heroes,
who flickered "once upon a time" after the Civil War in a town with no name,
somewhere among the Ghost towns of the American Southwest.
The Magnificent Seven and CBS
The Magnificent Seven television series first aired as a midseason replacement on CBS in January 1998. It continued to air sporadically, and was removed from the schedule numerous times until it was finally cancelled in 1999 because of "poor ratings."
In truth, The Magnificent Seven's ratings
were virtually no different than any other program aired during that timeslot within the
surrounding two-year period. But the decision to cancel it did coincide with a
trend in which the networks began to own more and more of their own programming under the
auspices of deregulation. The Magnificent Seven was produced by Trilogy
Entertainment, an independent production company. Since the Telecommunications Act of
1996, many independent television production companies have either gone out of business,
entered into joint ventures or strategic alliances, or affiliated with a major network.
Today, CBS and other major American networks own most of the programming they regularly
Syndication and Beyond
Fans of the show were delighted to hear that The Magnificent Seven would be aired by the CBS-owned Nashville Network (TNN) in 1999. Circa 2001, its run expired, ironically, along with TNN, which morphed into the Network for Men. The Hallmark Channel picked up the series a year later, but stopped airing it in January 2004. As a result, The Magnificent Seven is not currently in rotation on any U.S. cable station at the moment, though it continues to garner a loyal, loving, following as it staggers around the globe.
MGM has now released both seasons on DVD, the pair of which are available on Amazon.com.
The Magnificent Seven series aired at a time when Internet discussion group technology had graduated from primitive listservs to more GUI-driven and user friendly methods, largely due to the financial support of commercial advertisers. As a result, it became more accessible to basic Internet users. People in the mainstream of society were only just beginning to realize the potential of a technology that offered a way to unite disparate persons with common interests across a vast array of cultural spectrums and geographical boundaries--in order to achieve a common goal, in real time.
The Magnificent Seven inspired one such group to attempt one of the first, of only a few, successful "Save Our Show" Internet campaigns. That campaign helped to land the series a second season before it rode off into its own small corner of media history, leaving the Internet-based "Viewers for Quality Television" and a few other dark horses in its wake.
Today, mass media continue to explore the interrelationship between traditional media and the Internet, trying to understand it with an eye to exploitation--but they aren't the only ones. Political campaigns, nonprofit organzations, marketing gurus, terrorist organizations, and just about every other type of entity imaginable has tried to one extent or another to harness the potential of the Internet in order to make a difference, a profit, or to achieve some other purpose for good or evil. The expansion of our own 21st-century Frontier is still in its infancy, and holds the many of the same metaphorical promises and perils as its predecessor.
In Conclusion: About This Page
When this page was first constructed, "Mag7" was deep in the fight for its second season, and there were literally hundreds of Web pages dedicated to the show on the Web. Surprisingly, many are still around today, and new ones continue to emerge.
The fact that the twenty-two-story legacy of The Magnificent Seven" is alive, well, and prolific in the thousands of stories, writers and readers it continues to inspire every day--long after the ashes of most other cancelled television shows have been relegated to dust--speaks to its overwhelming resonance.
The series certainly re-ignited my own passion for our distinctly American mythology and inspired me to launch this Web page in tribute--one of my first--back in 1998. Originally, it contained links and pages about art, music and organizations that were inspired by the rich imagery of the American West.
Since that time however, other major life projects took precedence over my time to update this page. I am hoping someday to complete a digital collection of quality links and online resources related to the American West that I've gathered over the years.
In the meantime, below are what remain of the original links I had herewith--updated where possible, or deleted where necessary. But aside from the content; the design and overall look of this page have not been changed--as it now bears witness to an additional legacy; that of a time when the Internet was wilder, wide open and freer than it is today--truly, a wild, wild, west.
Long live The Magnificent Seven..
-LB, Updated, 7.1.2004
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN LINKS, FANSITES:
The Magnificent Seven General Fan Site
National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City
Stormwind.com--A nonprofit educational site with many Mag7 pages for study
Women Artists of the American West--An internet course and multidisciplinary resource, complete with lectures and a public discussion list hosted by Purdue University.
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth
Buffalo Bill Historical Center
Heard Museum: Native Cultures and Art
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution
Images of the Southwest
Photo Images of the American West: National Archives
"A Literary History of the American West": Complete Online Text
"An Interview with Louis L'Amour"
"Romancing the Indian: Sentimentalizing and Demonizing in Cooper and Twain"--Paper
The Geography of Zane Grey's Writing"
Willa Cather, "Oh Pioneers"
Jame Fennimore Cooper, "Last of the Mohicans"
Zane Grey, "The Lone Star Ranger"
Jack London, "Call of the Wild"
Owen Wister, "The Virginian"
Multimedia: The Lone Ranger WebTV and Classic Radio Broadcasts Online (Scroll Down for links)
Webcasts online: Western Radio Classics--Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, et. al.
Webcast: Cowboy Life: "Spirit of the West" weekly radio webcast archive, Alberta, Canada
Western Epic: The Last Silent Westerns and the End of the Old West--Essay
Essay on the Production and Distribution of B-Western Films
New Western History--Internet Resources on a Multicultural West
New Perspectives on the West: PBS Series Site
Westweb: Online Study Resource
Nativeweb: Online Info for and about Indigenous Cultures of the World
Autobiography of Calamity Jane
Geronimo: His Own Story
MYTH, NATURE AND THE AMERICAN WEST
Henry Nash, The American West as Symbol and Myth, Synoptic Hypertext
Daniel P. Barr, "A Monster So Brutal:" Simon Girty and the Degenerative Myth of the American Frontier, 1783-1900--Paper
Nature and the American Identity: A Brief History of Nature and the American Consiousness--Paper
Richard W. Etulain: Re-imagining the American West, Excerpt
Michael Agger: Route 66: Crusing The American Dream: Westering in the Age of Automobiles--Paper
Art used with permission of Zedcor, Inc.
Copyright L. Best, 2000-2004
All content on linked pages remains the copyrighted property of the authors.