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Not 1st Rodeo, Nor Last Picture Show. Wi-Fi Guy Passes By

January 19th, 2015 · Tags:Arts · Cities · Wi-Fi


ARCHER Michelangelo sized


There are wine stores, and there are wine cellars.

There are bookstores, and there is Booked Up.


Like some quaint, dark, quiet tasting room, Booked Up is filled with racks and racks of aged, premium, rare and limited edition treasures … lots and lots of old books … classics and not-classics. Something for every palate.  Booked Up began more than 30 years ago in Washington, D.C. before moving to … well … almost the middle of nowhere.


Have you been there? Moreover, have you been to Archer City? The town has been on that list of cool small Texas places circulating on Facebook as of late, largely I am sure, because it is the boyhood home of Pulitzer-winning, Oscar-toting, Larry McMurtry and the location of his bookstore(s). Booked Up is slightly off the beaten path in the not-so-thriving not-so-Metropolis rural heartland, about 25 miles southwest of Wichita Falls? You know Archer City … that Texas Town where Cybil Shepherd first caught everyone’s attention with her diving prowess in The Last Picture Show. That Archer City.


What a great destination for a ride on the bike. (It’s about two hours from Fort Worth.)


ARCHER Aged Books sized


Wi-Fi Guy Pass By


I would have been disappointed had there not been dust blowing, as I blew into town. I expected to be greeted by some big ol’ tumbleweeds too, but not this time. Even better though, Archer City is one of those small towns where people who don’t know you wave to say “howdy,” anyway. Love that. Anywho … the dust blowing seemed right out of one of McMurtry’s novels or films.


ARCHER Oscar Reflect sized


Hud a.k.a. Horseman Pass ByThe Last Picture ShowCuster … and arguably the best cowboy saga ever — Lonesome Dove (Pulitzer). The titles raced through my thick skull. I had forgotten that McM had also written the screenplay for arguably the most controversial “western” ever as well … But his Golden Globe and Oscar for Brokeback Mountain are on display … not that there’s anything wrong with it (to borrow a Seinfeldism). LOL. Ha … the trophies are like right there, in a case out in the open. I thought surely the awards were replicas. But the staff assured me the trophies were the real deal.


ARCHER Picture Show Seating


The layout of the book store is somewhat like a small community college with several buildings around downtown. There is a large collection of books on the east side of Center Street, and a smaller collection across the street in a few more store fronts. And on the north side of the great courthouse, on Main, there is another Booked Up annex or two, although closed for now. I spotted the defunct Booked Up first, and thought I had made the trip for nothing … even though I looked at the Website first.


The Archer City streets must look very similar to The Last Picture Show – lots of big storefront windows, in old brownstone retail structures, leftover from another era. Needle-less cactus thrives in a few sidewalk planters around town. (Opuntia ellisiana for those gardening along at home.) The old courthouse from 1892 seems a bit extravagant or maybe sanguine for the tiny county seat, with its massive three stories of huge sandstone blocks, assembled to honor Romanesque Revival architecture.


ARCHER Skulls sized


Inside there are random Western movie posters, saddles, artifacts, tractor seats made into clocks, and a birdhouse decorated with witty handwritten lines from “Lonesome Dove.” The staff is helpful and friendly … ready to help look up a title or direct you to the appropriate section … in the many nooks and crannies. Ha … I think it was take your daughter to work day, that day (or possibly every day), in Archer City … judging by the mother-and-daughter team managing the shop. There are various special themes here and there. A cow skull hanging near a book on The Apaches. Old wooden bench seatings from some antique picture show here and there. I couldn’t resist looking, but no, my Nolan Ryan book was not in the store. Ha … I did find a book on Picasso filed away next to a book on Diana Ross, which I thought spoke loudly of the bookstore’s funky, random persona.



Proprietor McMurtry was in Arizona. Boo. And, I looked for Wi-Fi, but that was a bust too. I was so ready to sit down and blog. But, Booked Up, I suppose, is all about the reading. Who don’t like sifting through and sampling literary treasures? 6 pings, a near perfect score for Booked Up.


ARCHER Hud sized



Check out some of the rare, valuable titles on line at:


Booked Up


Hmmm … no Wi-Fi … so what am I supposed to write about. I guess my favorite McMurtry quips. First up, his son the American music legend James McMurtry. I have only seen him perform once in concert, but won’t hesitate if I ever have another chance.


James is represented well in the bookstore, by the way. Several of his CDs are for sale and there are numerous newspaper clippings on the wall. Proud Papa! Also — most interesting, there is a printout about a fellow musician — a peer of James McM — who was questioned about his association with James McM before he was authorized to play at a George W. Bush event on the Bush ranch. James is known for his pot-shots at the former president … in song. So, to say the least, I am torn. One of my favorite artists hates one of the best presidents. Oh well … I will sing the praises of James McM anytime I hear his “Choctaw Bingo” or whenever I ride over the bridge at Lake Eufala … regardless of his politics.



I digress …


Back to the singer, at that one show I attended, at Dallas’ Sons of Hermann Hall (the venue, a story in itself), I met two JMcM groupies who had traveled all over the country to attend his shows. They were from New York … I guess there are country music nuts everywhere.



My oldest McMurtry story dates back to The Last Picture Show. The film came out when I was a kid. All I knew about the movie was that it was supposed to be too racy and that’s why I couldn’t see it. So, imagine how confused I was when my boyhood pastor announced that either his mother (or perhaps his mother-in-law) was in the flick! I later learned she played the keyboards in a church scene … but … at the time I was so confused.


Hmmm … I guess this would qualify for a McM story. I loved every minute of the TV series, Lonesome Dove and still binge watch it on occasion. A few years back, I watched it again and thought “Where have I seen Newt before?” I knew Ricky Schroder played Newt and I am familiar with Schroder’s body of work before and after Lonesome Dove … but it wasn’t that.


Finally, it donned on me. I did a little Googling and just as I thought. Newt has a doppelgänger. (See below.) What do think?


Colt McCoy Newt


Know what I sayin?