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20ogBook Reviews121 in syndication for.decades. (The series so pervaded public consciousness that an article in Boy 's Life commented tiiat die definition of a "highbrow" was someone who could listen to die William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger.) Another series named Tales ofthe Texas Rangers ran in the latter half of the decade for five full seasons. The Rangers were also not forgotten on the big screen; at least sixteen feature films on them were produced during the 1 950s. O'Neal accounts for the subsequent decline in the popularity of the Texas Rangers (and Westerns generally) as film subjects in the 1960s and 70s as a byproduct of die times, affected by changing societal attitudes in the wake of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights struggle. The early 1 980s appear to have been equally sparse in regard to new feature productions based on the Texas Rangers, but the numbers are deceiving. Aldiough there were only five such productions, the fame, acclaim, and cultural impact of the television miniseries Lonesome Dove must be noted. The success of Lonesome Dove led to a resurgence in the use of the Texas Rangers as a topic for popular media in the 1990s. There were at least fourteen feature films and television miniseries, in addition to the wildly popular Walker, Texas Ranger television series, which ran for eight seasons and still airs in syndication today. The first decade of the twenty-first century has already seen more than half a dozen films and television programs featuring Texas Rangers as central characters, and countiess others that either make passing references to Rangers or include them as minor characters or in subplots. O'Neal notes that most of these nearly two hundred popular media productions were purely fictional (despite claims to the contrary by some in the opening credits) but that the image of the Texas Rangers depicted therein created "a formidable portrait that audiences sensed was close to reality." (48) A discussion of the effect of entertainment on public memory is clearly outside the scope of Reel Rangers. However, O'Neal's acknowledgement of the issues surrounding historical fact versus fiction, combined with die sheer volume of fictional Ranger television and film material O'Neal has documented here (particularly in comparison to the relatively paltry amount of non-fiction historical programming on the topic) certainly sets up such a discourse. Texas State University-San MarcosJody Edward Ginn Branding Texas: Performing Culture in the Lone Star State. By Leigh Clemons. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008. Pp. 186. Illustrations, notes, index. ISBN 9780292718074, $40.00 cloth.) Leigh Clemons of the theatre faculty at Louisiana State University has written an interesting book, parts ofwhich have been presented earlier in a different format . "Texan cultural identity," a form of national identity, is the core concept used to show the origin and evolution of the Texan, and many of his characteristics including attitudes, values, influences, and consequences as portrayed in a wide variety of mosdy theatrical performances. According to Clemons, die Texan cultural identity was initially formed in Texas revolutionary history, specifically by events at the Alamo, Gonzales, Goliad, and San Jacinto. These events and the 122Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly roles played by Bowie, Crockett, Houston, and Travis set die mold diat is pervasive today. The mantra is "bigger, badder, better" (8) and the values include bravery , honor, a stoic fighting spirit, patriotism, and a fierce love of freedom. The Texan culture identity is also firmly sexist and racist, no women, Blacks, Native Americans or (especially) Mexicans (however defined) need apply, although these "others" are essential as foils or impetus for Texan performances to play their pedagogic role. And that gets us to a major contribution of this study, Clemons uses the settings, historical and contrived—pageants, historical dramas, plays, films and TV shows—to show how performances create and maintain regional identities, in this case the Texan cultural identity. The number and range of performances in this analysis is impressive and includes several of the Alamo films, the film, the play and the book The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and various movies including The Last Picture Show and The Texas Chainsaw...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 121-122
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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