The Man in Black

by Mike Newton
(Hamilton)

To set the record straight, Lash LaRue was not the first cowboy hero to wear black instead of white. Hopalong Cassidy was, starting all the way back to 1935. He sometimes wore a light grey shirt with the black trousers and peaked Stetson...Later in his United Artists series, he sometimes wore a flat crowed Stetson (like a modern rancher would wear), light colored shirt and slacks. With his black gun belt with white bullet loops, he definitely did not make the same impression as he had in years past. Lash once told the story of working at a convention, signing autographs. He was deaf in one ear so he didn't hear the conversation going on between the young girl waiting for his autograph and his dealer partner. After the girl left, the dealer told him that it had been Johnny Cash's daughter. Lash said "What did you say to her.." The guy replied, I told her that you were the original Man in Black." Lash responded, "Well, that wasnt very nice..what did she say." The guy replied, "Yes, we know." Lash showed up on the set of the remake of Stagecoach which starred Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristophenson. Publicity came out from the fact that Johnny Cash said that Lash had been his boyhood hero. Lash also got to play a bit part in the movie.

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