When I first met Craig, I was honored to be invited to contribute to his new online network. Then I found out, when it came to television and film, he’s like Stewie reincarnated with the spirit of Roger Ebert—a film prodigy at birth. Instantly I was intimidated.
JUSTIFIED's Leonard, Olymphant and series creator Graham Yost
You see, when I was born my only quest was to get on the back of a horse. Forever. Plunked at birth into the teeny town of McGregor, Iowa, this was probably a good thing. We could have been featured on Hee Haw. You remember, “Salute!” And if you don’t recall that (and thanks for aging me) compare it to Mayberry, RFD. We lived and breathed RFD. And if you’ve never heard of any of the aforementioned, then I’ve gone bust on making my point that it was a one-horse town (a horse I wished I owned) but more importantly, a one theater town – The Strand. That was until the owners closed down and someone started showing porn. The city council couldn’t touch them because of that free speech and “other things you like to show freely behind closed doors,” thing, but upon a lawyer’s advice, the city ignored the escapade and enough people did too that it soon closed.
Eventually we were left with the only option to drive across the bridge into Wisconsin to the Metro Theater to watch one feature at a time on one big screen. If Star Wars came to town, we saw it. If it didn’t, oh well.
McGregor's main street - "Actually misleading because there are only two other actual streets in town" (CF)
Television was even more limited. The only programming we had in the valley was sponged off a cable Cyril Lloyd installed on top of a cliff and fed to the minions below. And because I always broke the knob off our television set, we had only a few of three channels we could turn to with pliars, until the teeth wore flat and Dad was the only one strong enough to turn the post to a channel. I was that precious.
My point is, Craig grew up with a love for media, which we’ve all had the privilege of sharing, and I grew up with little access to it.
Fast forward to me, a few months ago, picking my topic of “books to movies” for Craig’s network and starting specifically with the adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s character Raylan Givens from the novels Pronto (1993) and Riding the Rap (1995) and his short story Fire in the Hole (2001) for the FX series Justified. Could I have started with a more infinite topic? To be thorough, I wanted to read all of Mr. Leonard’s stories featuring Raylan. And not just because I was home alone. Yes, that’s an innuendo. I’ve filed a petition to have Timothy Olyphant considered one too.