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Bonnie and Clyde
|Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow
Bonnie and Clyde in March 1933 in a photo found by police at the Joplin, Missouri
Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (October 1, 1910 – May 23, 1934) and Clyde Chestnut Barrow a.k.a. Clyde Champion Barrow (March 24, 1909 – May 23, 1934) were American criminals who traveled the central United States with their gang during the Great Depression, robbing people and killing when cornered or confronted. At times, the gang included his older brother Buck Barrow and his wife Blanche, Raymond Hamilton, W. D. Jones, Joe Palmer, Ralph Fults, and Henry Methvin. Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the "Public Enemy Era," between 1931 and 1935. Though known today for their dozen-or-so bank robberies, the two preferred to rob small stores or rural gas stations. The gang is believed to have killed at least nine police officers and several civilians. The couple were eventually ambushed and killed by law officers near the town of Sailes, in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Their reputation was revived and cemented in American pop folklore by Arthur Penn's 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.
Even during their lifetimes, their depiction in the press was at considerable odds with the hardscrabble reality of their life on the road, especially for Bonnie Parker. She was present at a hundred or more felonies during the two years she was Barrow's companion, but she was not a machine gun-wielding killer as depicted in the newspapers, newsreels, and pulp detective magazines of that time. Gang member W. D. Jones later testified he could not recall ever having seen her shoot at a law officer. Bonnie's reputation as a cigar-smoking gun moll grew out of a playful snapshot police found at an abandoned hideout. It was released to the press and published nationwide. While Parker did chain smoke Camel cigarettes, she never smoked cigars.
- "[Hamer's, Simmons's, Jordan's and Hinton's] various testimonies combine into one of the most dazzling displays of deliberate obfuscation in modern history. Such widely varied accounts can't be dismissed as different people honestly recalling the same events different ways. Motive becomes an issue, and they all had reason to lie. Hamer was fanatical about protecting sources. Simmons was interested in resurrecting his own public image ... Jordan wanted to present himself as the critical dealmaker. Nobody can account for Ted Hinton's improbable reminiscences ..."
- In December 1967 Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot recorded the song "Bonnie and Clyde", which conveys a highly romanticized account of the pair, the lyrics borrowing heavily from Parker's "The Story of Bonnie and Clyde." The song, one of Gainsbourg's most famous and popular ones, was released in January 1968 on the LP Brigitte Bardot et Serge Gainsbourg, Bonnie and Clyde (Fontana 885529). The recording, with its hypnotic, repetitive string motif and eerie vocals and sound effects, has been sampled widely. The English-language version of the track is sung by Gainsbourg alone.
- In 1967 Georgie Fame released a single called "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" (UK #1), whose lyrics tell of Bonnie's and Clyde's exploits. This song was inspired by the movie about them.
- In 1968 Mel Torme wrote and performed the song "A Day in the Life of Bonnie and Clyde", featured on his album of the same name.
- In 1968 Merle Haggard recorded "The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde".
- In 1996 the German punk band Die Toten Hosen released the song "Bonnie & Clyde" on their seventh album Opium fürs Volk.
- On November 20, 2009, La Jolla Playhouse presented the world premiere of the musical Bonnie & Clyde. The production was adapted from the book by Ivan Menchell with music written by Frank Wildhorn and lyrics by Don Black. The cast was led by Laura Osnes as Bonnie and Stark Sands as Clyde. The musical won the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle's Award for Outstanding New Musical and director Jeff Calhoun was honored for Best Direction of a Musical.
- The next production ran at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida from November 12, 2010 through December 19, 2010, directed again by Jeff Calhoun. In this production Laura Osnes starred once more as Bonnie (for which she has received a nomination for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the 2011–2012 year) and Jeremy Jordan starred in the role of Clyde, Melissa van der Schyff as Blanche Barrow, and Claybourne Elder as Buck Barrow.Bonnie & Clyde began previews on Broadway on November 4, 2011, with an official opening on December 1, 2011. The show closed on December 30, 2011 after 69 performances.
- In the TV film, Bonnie & Clyde: The True Story (1992), Tracey Needham played Bonnie while Clyde was portrayed by Dana Ashbrook.
Bruce Beresford directed a television miniseries, Bonnie & Clyde, which aired on Lifetime, History Channel, and A&E on December 8 and 9, 2013.
- In March 2009 the pair were the subject a program in the BBC series Timewatch, based in part on gang members' private papers and previously unavailable police documents.
- The Barrow gang's criminal career was featured in Season 28 of American Experience episode 'Bonnie & Clyde'.
- In the episode "Last Ride of Bonnie & Clyde" of the TV show Timeless, Bonnie was portrayed by Jacqueline Byers while Sam Strike played Clyde. The title of this episode rhymes 'Last Ride of Bonnie & Clyde' in order to signify the poems that Bonnie Parker would write.
Boessenecker, John (2016). Texas Ranger: The Epic Life of Frank Hamer, the Man Who Killed Bonnie and Clyde. ISBN .
- Barrow, Blanche Caldwell and John Neal Phillips. My Life with Bonnie and Clyde. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004.) .
- Burrough, Bryan. Public Enemies. (New York: The Penguin Press, 2004.) .
- Guinn, Jeff. Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009.) .
- Knight, James R. and Jonathan Davis. Bonnie and Clyde: A Twenty-First-Century Update. (Austin, TX: Eakin Press, 2003.) .
- Milner, E.R. The Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996.) .
- Parker, Emma Krause, Nell Barrow Cowan and Jan I. Fortune. The True Story of Bonnie and Clyde. (New York: New American Library, 1968.) . Originally published in 1934 as Fugitives.
- Phillips, John Neal. Running with Bonnie and Clyde, the Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996, 2002) .
Ramsey, Winston G., ed. On The Trail of Bonnie and Clyde. (London: After The Battle Books, 2003). .
- Steele, Phillip, and Marie Barrow Scoma. The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde. (Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, 2000.) .
- Treherne, John. The Strange History of Bonnie and Clyde. (New York: Stein and Day, 1984.) .
Webb, Walter Prescott. The Texas Rangers: A Century of Frontier Defense. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1935.) .
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