The Bunfight at the OK Corral
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“You tell 'em I'm coming.... and Hell's coming with me!”
The Bunfight at the OK Corral refers to the now famous event which took place October 26, 1881 in a small western town in Arizona. Portrayed in an increasing number of films, the events have come to represent the epitome of shameless slapstick across the world.
This historic battle between the Marx Brothers and Tombstone Kops has formed the basis of every subsequent overblown comedic encounter from The Three Stooges through to Godzilla. With weapons ranging from custard pies to garden rakes left in a frankly dangerous attitude, the methods employed by the protagonists left no cliché unturned and were far reaching in their impact.
The rebel "Cowboys" led by Rufus T. Firefly had ended up in the Tombstone area having chosen to go West in the spring of 1875. Originally immigrants from Freedonia, they settled in the outlying valleys near Tombstone where they bred horses for the feather pillow industry.
Their title of "Cowboys" was in fact a misnomer, as the brothers had a keen interest in all aspects of animal husbandry, which covered a wide variety of species. The two Johnnies and Karl ran a successful factory producing quality biscuits for animals, as well as a popular brand of tinned soup.
At the time of the Bunfight the key members consisted of:
- Rufus T. Firefly (alias Hugo Z. Hackenbush, alias Otis Driftwood, alias Wolf J. Flywheel)
- Johnny Ringo-Starr
- Johnny Lenin
The Tombstone Kops
The "Kops" were the self-appointed lawmen in the town, who acted like they owned the place, mostly because their names seemed somewhat familiar. They were generally mean, lean and, disappointingly to the local prizefighter, not "grilling-machines". Their primary weapon of choice was the custard pie because it combines optimum embarrassment with minimal effort and was sanctioned by the US Constitution, Second Amendment, under the right to bear milk-based pudding-projectiles.
Their ranks remained flexible, but at the time of the Bunfight, they included:
- Right Twerp
- Camp Cassidy - Butch's less than macho sibling
- "What's Up" Doc Holliday
- <<insert gently lilting piano music>>
It started as a quiet day in Tombstone when Ethel Merman, landlady at the Birdcage Saloon asked two of the locals, Dummo and Karl to move a piano upstairs. Her request did not initially have the desired response. Karl replied that in a properly regulated society keyboard-based instruments would rise up by themselves and Dummo merely looked at her Boobs and honked his horn.
They were eventually swayed by the promise of free sasaparilla and <<Accelerando with many comic boings>> started pushing the piano from opposite directions, falling over (a lot), hitting their heads on the chandelier, stepping into buckets of glue and finally leaning on it so that it rolled through the saloon doors into the path of Camp Cassidy's horse, Hi Ho Silver Lining.
<<Dramatic chord>> Silver reered, causing Cassidy to get dust all over his brand new maroon Moroccan leather chaps (Cassidy was very fond of chaps) and he ran off to get assistance from the Kops, leaving Silver to keep an eye on the "ruffians".
<<Musical tension builds >> As Karl ranted about his oppression by large masses, Dummo summoned help by holding Karl's mouth shut and honking his horn in an agitated manner. Help arrived in the guise of <<Ta Da!>> Rufus T. Firefly who took one look at the situation announced "Hello, I must be going" and walked staight into Ethel Merman's watermelons. "This town ain't big enough for the both of us...you really should go on a diet" he quipped, slamming the lid down on the pianist's fingers, much to the relief of everyone with musical taste.
Rufus knew they were short on time - either that or his watch had stopped. "Quick," he said "Fetch me every can of custard, jello and whipped cream you can muster, we ain't a gang to be trifled with."
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
Sales of "Arizona Cream Teas" from the Tea Bar Ranch were poor. Doc Holliday had already attempted blending the clotted cream with rye whiskey and adding gunpowder to the strawberry jam. He had only one hope remaining...he would bake a fresh batch of scones. Recruiting Right Twerp as helper had been a mistake. His misinterpretations of phrases such as "find me the flour","When I nod my head, you hit it" and "Just let me have it", had only succeeded in covering the entire kitchen with discarded ingredients. Holliday had his head in a barrel of molasses as Cassidy minced in screaming "Won't you just look what those mean old Marx brr-utes have done to my outfit!", knocking a bottle of Acme Super-Hot Chilli Sauce into the scone mixture.
The ensuing explosion, with mandatory flying kitchen utensils, was heard throughout the state. As Holliday purposefully wiped the dough from his eyes he faced up to Cassidy and uttered the immortal line "Ok, Cassidy, go round up a posse."
Cassidy's reply was not recorded, but I think you can insert your own innuendo here.
The Kops rallied to the call, their ranks swelling with the likes of Buster "Stonewall" Keystone, Charlie Chaplin, Sheriff Roscoe P Arbuckle, Wild Bill Hiccup and the newly recruited diminutive
red indian native American scout, Lowerwatha. A priority order was wired to Acme Corp, and soon the gang was armed with buckets of wallpaper paste, 8 foot planks, exploding cakes, sawn-off scones and the ever deadly custard pies.
It was high noon as the brothers hied to a hideout.
They dismissed the Majestic Corral as too pricey, the Piss Poor Corral as too sleazy, but the OK Corral was "just right" and they began digging themselves in for the showdown ("I said showdown, Dummo, not hoedown").
Their complex system of defences, including teeter-totter planks, jars of honey perched above door frames, a bath tub and large areas scattered with thumb tacks had to be constructed with military precision and timing.
Unfortunately, since the death of Old Pete "Zippo" Best in a freak fart-lighting incident, the Brothers had relied on Johnny Ringo-Star as time keeper, and he sucked. With just seven, no I mean nine, no it was twelve minutes to go the traps were barely finished, Dummo had eaten most of the honey, and Rufus was feeling grouchy.
"A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do," he muttered, ducking under a plank as Karl swung it to the left, catching Dummo squarely in the honey pot.
Smoke signals rose in the distance, indicating that Lowerwatha had set fire to the blanket again, and a metallic clang rang out, followed by a flock of small bluebirds flying in circles overhead. The Kops were coming, and they had buns.
We would like to remind patrons that a selection of hot and cold snacks is available in the foyer area. We suggest that you stock up on popcorn and any other suitable projectiles. The article will now recommence.
Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling
Fearing a messy ending, several of the Kops took the opportunity to say farewell to loved ones. As Cassidy was saying "so long" to his horse, he was saying "so long" to his horse and Buster was on bended knee before his sweetheart. As he presented her with a wild bunch of primroses from Boot Hill (having dismissed the idea of an old boot from Primrose Hill), a guest of wind blew the carefully prepared caption cards out of the camera assistant's hand. He scrabbled to pick them up, but the damage was done. His heartfelt plea,
"I can never love you" (3) "A worthless heap of cow dung"(6) "as you deserve to"(4) "hang in the morning."(2)
"But I don't care."(7) "My Darling I think I shall"(1) "love. Your sister she calls me"(5) "And agree to marry me!"(8)
caused his love to flee with Buster in hot pursuit.
As he dashed past the Brothers on a handcart, he was struck in the jaw by a giant cream-covered bannock, earning him the nickname "The Great Scone Face". He continued heading west, his epic chase by steamboat, train and cruise ship, meaning that Keystone escaped relatively unscathed from the showdown. He was finally able to talk to his sweetheart in 1927, promptly realised that she had a chronic lisp, so decided to marry his horse instead. He died in Rome in 1966.
With all their pies, the Kops had amassed a huge arsenal, and as far as they were concerned, the Brothers could kiss it goodbye. As they gathered around the stockade a single bell tolled out from the church tower and folk slammed shutters and barricaded doors. The tumbleweed stopped tumbling and a wizened, bearded, elderly figure dressed in just a set of red combinations, 10 gallon hat and boots ran through the street shouting "The Kops are coming!" for no good reason. The scene was set, and unfortunately, so was the jello.
Not much has been recorded about the actual battle, since the only witnesses to actually enjoy it were not yet out of pre-school. A contemporary account, written in crayon by a 9 year old, Zane Grey, survives in the Museum of American Slapstick, along with a preserved banana peel alleged to have caused the hilarious downfall of Karl Marx.
It was great cos that funny guy with the mustash did fell over in the pie and then the beardy one shouted out stop stop stop we must unight brothurs and the mean kops pants fell down and they all laughed becoz he wuz wearing ladies underwotsits and then a dog ran away with the sausages and they all shouted and falled over and one of them was hit by a frying pan and and this is the best bit because they was all got covered in treekle and stuff and then the fuzzy haired one honked his honker thing and then the fevvers cam down and they were all stikking to them and it was great
Historians remain divided about the overall effect that the Bunfight had upon the Wild West, and Hollywood in particular, although it is widely believed that the discarded comestibles initiated childhood obesity on an unprecedented scale. Tourists still flock to the previously unremarkable town where they happily pay over-the-odds for jello models of the main protagonists. These are usually topped with whipped cream and thrown at the locals, who respond either by playfully flicking the cream back at their attacker, or more usually by letting down their tires in the parking lot.
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