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38

Montecito Magazine

Fall 2017–Winter 2018

WHEN JOHN REYNOLDS

died at his home in Montecito

in 2008,

his obituary noted that the retired TV executive had been working

with his son Bill on a documentary about Ed Borein’s early years.

Finishing up that Borein film is still on Bill’s agenda, after he

publishes his De Yong book. Like his father, the younger Reynolds is a

devotee of the Old West.

“For me, the cowboy has always been about the imagery of self-

reliance,” he says. Cowboy culture “is very American. It’s something

that we own as a country.”

While John was a broadcasting pioneer who rose to the top at CBS

and later ran Paramount’s TV unit, Bill is more of a print guy. In a

sense, he represents a return to the pre-Hollywood days when the

West was mythologized by magazines that featured illustrations by

Russell, Borein, Maynard Dixon—and Joe De Yong.

“It was all driven by publishing,” Reynolds says.

As De Yong was riding off nto the sunset in the ’70s, Reynolds

was just getting started. Emerging from California Institute of the

Arts in 1977 with a master’s degree in graphic design, he worked as an

art director for A&M Records and then went into advertising, with a

focus on the western and equestrian industry. Eventually shifting into

writing and publishing, he landed at

Cowboys & Indians

magazine

and later published the bimonthly

Ranch & Reata

. He is the author or

co-author of a number of books, including

The Faraway Horses

,

The

Art of the Western Saddle

and

The Cowboy Hat Book

. Appropriately

enough, a cowboy hat, modeled on Joe De Yong’s, will figure in the

promotion of his next book, the biography of the artist.

“Rand’s Hats of Billings, Montana, is making a limited edition of

his hat to coincide with the book launch,” Reynolds says.

Ranch & Reata

magazine ceased publication in 2016, but Reynolds

continues to focus on the Old West as an author, a journalist, a filmmaker

and an internet radio producer. Like Joe De Yong, he has served as a

technical adviser on Hollywood westerns, including Robert Redford’s

The Horse Whisperer

. And, also like De Yong, he is motivated in part by

an urge to document the cowboy ways before they are forgotten.

“That’s been my professional life,” he says.

The hallenge today is to make cowboy culture seem relevant to

young people who didn’t grow up on a diet of TV westerns and have

never seen a John Ford film.

“We are seeing a real demographic shift,” Reynolds says. “The

interest is waning, pretty dramatically. It’s a real problem.”

Earlier this year, Reynolds co-curated

In the Saddle: Horses, Santa

Barbara and the Way of the West

at the Santa Barbara Historical

Above – After Bill Reynolds found Joe De Yong’s letters and an unfinished autobiography manuscript, he began putting together a book, Joe De Yong: A Life in the West , the first biography of this neglected (yet highly collected) western artist. Top – Post Office mural in Gatesville, TX, Off to Northern Markets , 1939, by Joe De Yong.

From the

Texas Post Office Murals:

Art for the People

by Philip Parisi,

(2004) Texas A&M University

Press. The Texas Post Office Murals

was one of President Franklin D.

Roosevelt’s public relief projects

to inspire Americans to rebuild

their lives. Artists were employed

to beautify the walls of public

buildings with positive images of

American life and history.

PHOTOGRAPHER: WYATT MCSPADDEN / WILLIAM REYNOLDS.

____________

PHOTO BY STEVE THORNTON