Dizzy World of Gunplay in the Eisenhower Era

The Eisenhower era was the setting for the first generation of children to grow up shoulder to shoulder with that one-eyed monster glowing in the corners of living rooms across America.  We baby-boomers were a special lot, you know, pioneering players in that new American frontier.  And while we were busily playing our day-to-day roles in that vast wasteland, we later learned there had been strong-backed women out on the frontier among us– Jean Kerr, Erma Bombeck– dutifully scribbling in their journals, recording the bigger picture of the perils of conquering this new land called Suburbia.

TV captivated much of our attention.  Many of us could probably quote the weekly TV schedule.  Yet TV never held us captive inside.  Our world was still found outside.   But the one-eyed monster did whisper inspiration for outdoor play.  Crime dramas gave us plots, Our Gang comedies gave us impetus.

My neighborhood had concrete sidewalks on each side of the street.  These became our highways when we played our versions of Highway Patrol or Dragnet, with bikes and trikes doubling as squad cars and getaway cars.  Our curbside performances were legendary.  One neighborhood girl, Gail, was enamored with the role of the drunken gun moll.  She would wear her rummage-sale dress-up clothes and a smear of purloined lipstick.  She would rapidly spin behind a nearby bush until quite drunken.  At some point, she would stumble toward a parked “squad car,” toting an old discarded black patent leather purse, and start an argument with the “men,” wildly weaving, bellowing and flailing her arms.   Eventually, she’d reach into that purse and pull out a cap pistol!  Then the heat was really on!!!  I was usually the coroner.

Nowadays, Gail is a fine and respected second-generation pharmacist at the helm of the local still-family-owned drug store.

So much for the evils of childhood gun play–

Local Gun Moll Makes Good!