Born June 29, 1919, Slim Pickens would be 84 years old today.
Do we need any more excuse than that to put up this iconic image?
I didn’t think so.
Mr. Pickens spent time early on as an actual cowboy. Then he got into acting. He looked and talked so perfectly cowboy that he fit right in. He became a fixture of bunches of Westerns.
His main interest to most of us now, however, comes from his later comedy work. He had a very natural comic flair, and was an icon of Western movies- yet he was perfectly happy to jump into stuff John Wayne would never have touched in life, starting obviously with Dr. Strangelove.
Obviously we would be remiss to neglect his classic comically evil turn in Blazing Saddles. I particularly cherish the early scene where he tries to show the black guys how to sing “Camptown Races” minstrel stuff- right before the brothers break into some sophisticated harmony singing Cole Porter.