The first time I saw this picture, I thought it was another one of those pictures where the people were acting for the camera, only the person in this one appeared to be giving first aid to someone who was injured. It had to be acting, because the person who was giving first aid was smiling, and tending to an injured person really isn’t a laughing matter…especially when the injured person appears to be unconscious…or was he?
Old black and white pictures fascinate me. You have to look carefully to see the whole picture sometimes. Upon closer scrutiny of this picture, it occurred to me that maybe this wasn’t exactly the picture I though it was. My eye caught something that didn’t look quite right, and when I zoomed in on it, I could se that the man lying in the dirt was actually getting…or supposed to be getting a shave, with a straight razor…in the dirt!!
I’m beginning to think that some of my early relatives were really comedians. If the man in the dirt was getting a real shave, why would he be lying in the dirt to get it? And if he was getting a real shave, why was the shaving cream all over his face…including above his eyebrows? If he was getting a shave, was he crazy to be letting this person give him that shave…with a straight razor? If you ask me, I would say that if this was a real shave, both of these men were crazy!!
My guess is that this was all another of those goofy scenes that seemed to be all the rage in those days. When I look at the pictures from the current day, I have to think that maybe we could learn a little bit about what is funny from these guys, because their shots are a whole lot funnier than ours are, in my opinion. I suppose it all depends on what you draw from. We have seen so much on television that there isn’t much left that hasn’t been done already, but they were taking the rough and wild daily lives of living in the old west, and adding a little humor to it to get a laugh that would last for years to come. While, I’m pretty convinced that this picture was another of those staged comic shots, it did depict the way people did things back them. We still shave today, of course, but I’m thankful that a straight razor in not what we have to use to get a close shave these days, because that could lead to the injury kind of close shave, when placed in the wrong hands.