You're Wrong About - Bonnie and Clyde (and Blanche and Buck) with Jamie Loftus

Episode Date: July 17, 2023

“Why don’t something happen?” Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow died in 1934, but their legend gets bigger every year. This week, Jamie Loftus brings us back to reality with a tale of prison breaks..., FBI malfeasance, love, guitars, and hot dog breakfasts.You can find Jamie online here. Support You're Wrong About:Bonus Episodes on PatreonBuy cute merchWhere else to find us:Sarah's other show, You Are Good[YWA co-founder] Mike's other show, Maintenance PhaseLinks: the show

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Starting point is 00:00:00 [♪ OUTRO MUSIC PLAYING [♪ Welcome to Your Wrong About I'm Sarah Marshall. It's the summer, and we are learning about crime. Every so often, we are a true crime show, we are also a history show, and the times when those things overlap are the best times. And in this case, we are talking a history show and the times when those things overlap are the best times. And in this case, we are talking today about Bonnie and Clyde with Jamie Loftus. She has a book called Rodog. She was a huge part of our spring tour and the magic that she and Carolyn brought to these
Starting point is 00:00:40 shows really defies words. But you know, it doesn't defy words, hot dogs, because she wrote a book about them. It's called Rodog. It's a Neartime's best seller. If you haven't read it yet, it is such a fun romp through America that actually shows you what America is made out of and it is made out of hot dogs for the most part as well as labor issues. So we recorded this in true hot dog adventure fashion right after seeing the Nathan's famous Fourth of July hot dog eating competition in Coney Island, New York and riding the cyclone. And I think you can really hear it. This is a story of depression era America and so it is violent, it is bloody and there is
Starting point is 00:01:29 a very significant amount of domestic abuse and violence against women. Speaking of trigger warnings, we have a bonus episode coming out soon with Carmen Maria Machado talking about flowers in the attic. The topic I believe she was born for. And you can find that soon on slash your wrong about or apple plus subscriptions. Thank you so much for listening. We hope you're having the best summer. Here are some hot dogs. We made them for you. Welcome to your wrong about the podcast where sometimes we are talking to you from a comfort in and sheep's head bay right after the 4th of July Nathan's famous hot dog eating competition
Starting point is 00:02:17 or is it Nathan's famous 4th of July? It's very tough. Nathan's face. No, you nailed it. This is perfect. If you don't know who Jamie is already or where to find her work, what are you doing with your life? But for people who don't know, where do we find you? You can find me, well, you can find me at your local bookstore. I wrote a book about hot dogs called Raw Dog. I would love if you read it. I had a really good time writing it. Or you
Starting point is 00:02:45 can find me online at Instagram or Twitter, I'm on Instagram at Jamie Christ Superstar Twitter at Jamie Loftus Help. I co-host the Bechtelcast with Caitlin Durante and I've done a bunch of limited series as well about Mensa and Lolita and Kathy Comics and Spiritualism. So if any of those things sound interesting to you, check it out. If they don't, then like, get a white babe. But I would love to start by telling everybody about our day. Oh my gosh. Our day has been really special.
Starting point is 00:03:18 Truly, like, I think it's so fun that we were recording this today, because I feel completely out of my mind. Oh my god, scared we weren't't gonna be able to make it back to see Joey Chestnut eat so many hot dogs because it was a whole day. It rained really hard. They were like, we're canceling the men's competition. Yeah, yeah, so yeah, it was like raining really hard.
Starting point is 00:03:39 I'm afraid of lightning and there was a lot of lightning and close and they just kept being like, we're gonna to work. I think George Shae was like, nothing will cancel the contest. And then the police were like, something could cancel the contest. And so they told everyone to leave, which we did happily. It was really scary out. So yeah, we thought the contest was rained out and then due to a tip from living legend, professional wrestler, professional eater veteran, mega bite Ronnie said, no, they are doing the contest. You've got to get back here. So we hauled as back to the contest. I ran faster than I've run since I was on the Traxican 8th grade, and we both got there just as it was starting. It was so awesome.
Starting point is 00:04:35 And it was so special to be there with you because I only know any of the things I know about professional eating or the Fourth of July hot dog eating competition because of your book. I was, I don't know, I was going into it just feeling like this is going to be this incredibly overwhelming thing. I'm going to be in a crowd. It's going to be hot. I'm, it's going to be stressful. There's obviously a ton going on, but it felt like this actually very familiar place. And like I knew who the main characters were. And the drama, the drama, they were bringing it this year. I didn't think they could top last year
Starting point is 00:05:14 when Joey put a protester into a chokehold mid contest while he had a broken leg. And that we don't have time to get into what was going on there. But it was really special to me that you were there because we've been traveling together so much and it feels like comfortable and nice and also to do a big weird thing. I don't know. It just feels right to do it with you.
Starting point is 00:05:40 I love to do a big weird thing with you and to be fair, we've never done a small normal thing. We've never tried. But we are not here to talk about big weird thing with you. And to be fair, we've never done a small normal thing. We've never tried. But we are not here to talk about hot dogs today. Correction. We are here to talk about hot dogs today, but only in the context of Bonnie and Clyde. That's exactly right. And that's what you call a pivot.
Starting point is 00:06:00 I, I, she's a pro folks. It's been said and it's true. I like that you tease the hot dog inclusion because I feel like there's just enough story to totally forget that there's hot dogs coming and then when they come and at that epivital moment in the story, you're gonna be screaming, cheering, throwing up, getting a nose blade,
Starting point is 00:06:21 you'll just be gushing. You'll be gushing something. It's a laughter's effect. I wanted to start by asking you how Bonnie and Clyde grabbed you, because I feel like there are figures in history and in American life who everyone knows. We all know the name of, even if you don't have a clear association, it's like, it exists as part of the culture. And I feel like those things can almost be harder to cultivate a personal interest in
Starting point is 00:06:47 because they can feel distant and historic and hard to access personally. And I wonder about kind of when they got hold of you in that way. But I think it was during my like intense hot dog history research because much like the hot dog, there are icons of the Great Depression and very recognizable, commonly misunderstood,
Starting point is 00:07:14 Great Depression figures. What was your like initial like impression of Bonnie and Clyde just cultural osmosis wise? 100% fade-in away in a cool hat. Totally, totally. I liked the movie, but I didn't ever really go back to it. Characters that are just so cool, I get kind of bored out.
Starting point is 00:07:37 Yeah. And not to say that the characters, as they are presented in the movie, are not flawed and don't have problems and all this stuff, but they were just so unbelievably cool. I think presented as masterminds that it was like, it's the same reason I don't like watching Iron Man movies where you're like, yeah, he's gonna figure it out, he's gonna look really handsome doing it. Why would I watch this? But then when I kept bumping up against them, I just did some light reading about them and it, like, why would I watch this? But then when I kept, like, sort of bumping up against them,
Starting point is 00:08:06 I just did some light reading about them. And I was like, oh, and I say this with a lot of affection, they were like unbelievable fuckups. The Bonnie and Clyde movie, for the most part, is the best press they could have possibly gotten because they were just, yeah, they fucked up constantly. But there's, I mean, there's a ton of songs about them. Yours is... Bonnie and Clyde by Serge Gainesburg and Brigitte Bardot, which if you don't know French, like
Starting point is 00:08:34 I don't know French, then you just know it as Bunnie and Clyde. Bunnie and Clyde. Mine was the Jay-Z and Beyoncé buying Clyde 03. For people who didn't grow up with the myth, I would say that the kind of Bonnie and Clyde legend is that they were this hot couple. They met somehow. They started on a crime spree. The details don't matter in this lecture.
Starting point is 00:09:06 And robbing banks, this is I think like the iconic line from the Arthur Penn movies, they're stopping getting gas or something, right? And Bonnie's, they're like, what do you all do? And Bonnie's like, we robbed banks. And she's got her hat on and you're like, and that they were like these, these like hot, not just that they weren't hot in real life, but that they were these like glamorous bank robbers who were on a crime spree that captivated America
Starting point is 00:09:34 and then, you know, it couldn't last and they were gunned down by the FBI, I think. So the two perspectives that I've generally seen on how Bonnie and Clyde are presented is the first one is just pretty much straight up the movie one where they are sexy and they're like a little bit troubled but they're very in love and they're really good at crime and outrunning the law. They somehow were born good at it, didn't have a learning curve. Exactly. And then the alternative,
Starting point is 00:10:06 what I think is a response to the movies, you know, inaccuracies, not that it is, needs to be a documentary, is that, oh, well, they were actually incompetent criminals who weren't actually that conventionally hot as movie stars and they actually weren't even that smart at all
Starting point is 00:10:24 and just totally make them out to be like, well, people just needed stuff to talk about during the Depression and that's the only reason that they were of note. But I think that like that second perspective, especially like really wax context of like why they were committing crimes in the first place, the sort of basic sketch of who they were. They were two poor kids from Texas. They were in their early 20s when they died. I think they were 23 and 24. They had grown up with essentially nothing. They went on a two-year crime spree after meeting at a party and were ultimately responsible for the death of nine cops and a number of civilians, which is more of what I think is the sad part,
Starting point is 00:11:07 and were, yeah, ultimately, super turbo-killed by the, I believe it was the Sheriff's Department that ultimately killed them, but it was like a collaborative effort between the FBI and the local authorities in Dallas, which is also where they are from. But I think what made them appealing to the general public because they were folk heroes for the majority of their crime spree. It's very, very late in their criminal tenure that the public turns on them.
Starting point is 00:11:40 But what made them different was like, it was presented as this love story and it was also, you know, at this point of like peak American gangster killings, it's presented as different because Bonnie's there and she's a woman and it's really unusual for a woman to be in a gang at all, much less appearing to be very influential. Obviously, you can't talk about Bonnie in Clive, but that would talk to you about Clyde. But I want to prioritize Bonnie in this, especially because I think most of the most of what I read about them, even with the books were pretty comprehensive word, extremely Clyde forward. Well, women don't have thoughts. We just have the sex and the city theme playing in our heads continually.
Starting point is 00:12:27 And Bonnie actually wrote that. But I, but Bonnie, I mean, I like Bonnie, obviously, you know, she's treated as an important character, but always a secondary character. When the reason that they're called Bonnie and Clyde is of Bonnie's making, everyone in their lives called them Clyde and Bonnie, but it's because of her writings and the fact that it just fucking sounds better. This poem she wrote towards the end of their lives called the story of Bonnie and Clyde is a huge reason that they are known in that order. Like she is very important in the story and my other favorite in this torrid tale is a woman named Blanche Barrow. I love Blanche Barrow. I love me some Blanche. Blanche, I think of everyone in Bonnie and Clyde's extended circle was the
Starting point is 00:13:16 most misrepresented in the Bonnie and Clyde movie. She was Clyde's sister-in-law. She was married to his older brother Buck, and she in Buck traveled with Bonnie and Clyde's sister-in-law. She was married to his older brother Buck. And she and Buck traveled with Bonnie and Clyde for a good portion of their criminal career. Blanche famously did not want to be a criminal. Essentially got tricked into joining this crime spray. Did not want to be there. This is presented as very unreasonable in the movie, which is wild.
Starting point is 00:13:47 You know, in the movie, Bonnie is played by Faith Dunnoay, Glamorous, very young, and in the movie, Blanche is played by Estelle Parsons, who is a Massachusetts legend. She's still with us, she's an icon, she's a legend, but she is older than Fade on the Way, and is really is made to seem older, less conventionally attractive, and like a shrill asshole, the whole, like she's constantly in the way, she's crying, she's whining, everyone's like, shut the fuck up, like that's how Blanche has treated the entire movie.
Starting point is 00:14:23 It is so unfair, I will die on this hill, so I will, I'm excited to talk how Blanche just treated the entire movie. It is so unfair. I will die on this hill. So I will, I'm excited to talk about Blanche in particular too, because spoiler alert, she's the only one in this fucking car who lives to tell the tale. So what now? But like, I don't know. I remember when I was first really into tiny harding research, one of the things that like I felt I wanted to emphasize was the extreme youth of everybody involved.
Starting point is 00:14:49 Tiny hearting was 23 Nancy Kerrigan was 24 like at the end of this great saga of them competing against each other for years. Tiny getting married, tiny getting divorced. You just kind of look at that. And I was about that age when I was doing that research, but I was like, I'm a baby. So clearly these girls are also babies. And it really makes you think about the
Starting point is 00:15:08 amount of pressure that they were under. Just because you had to live so much, very young does not mean that you need to be portrayed by someone much older. I actually don't know how old were, I guess we're in baby was 30, but they were like college age students. Like they were so young and they lived so hard and I have, I have a lot of love for them. They did some pretty fucked up stuff. No one I love has ever done anything. I just think that like, like a lot of people that you've talked about on the show over the years, it's like people who just like never had a chance. But first I want to tell you about Bonnie, my girl, Bonnie Parker. She's born in 1910 in Rowena, Texas. Born very, very poor. She has one younger sister,
Starting point is 00:16:01 whose name is Billie Jean. Her father dies when she's young and so her mom takes them. They move to the outskirts of Dallas to this place called cement city. It's like a lack of fear of naming the thing you're doing that I think is very charming. It's like, look, why try and hide that we make cement here? Exactly. You know, there's nothing shameful about it. So Bonnie is raised by a single mom. She has a really close relationship with her mom. That's something that comes up later when they're on the road. As Bonnie is always trying to give in to Clyde to come back to Dallas, even when it's really dangerous for them because she's so close with her mom. Her mom supports her inner sister as a
Starting point is 00:16:40 seamstress and she raises them. In a way that I've read presented as arrogant, I don't agree with that at all. She basically like Bonnie's mom Emma, raises them with a really high sense of self esteem, even though they're very poor. Oh, dare. I know, like, kind of tells them that they're like better than people, which is not great,
Starting point is 00:17:02 but like they basically raises her kids to believe that they can achieve more and they can get out of cement city. She really overworked herself to try to do this. She learned piano so she can teach the kids piano. She encourages Bonnie to join the local theater troupe, which she does. And Bonnie grows up kind of a bit of an art girlie. She loves writing, she loves photography, and she loves acting. And she had these, I don't know, like vague teenage girl aspirations. It's like maybe I'll be an actor, maybe I'll be a writer, maybe I'll be a photographer, but whatever I do, I'm not gonna be in cement city. And I really love it. There's this glamour shot that she has taken of her. When she's a teenager, it's very, very sweet.
Starting point is 00:17:51 She wants to move to New York. She wants to write poetry and act on Broadway. But this is just such an absurdly disenfranchised part of Texas. And at a time, we're only 8% of women would go to college at all. So her options are very limited. When she's 15, she gets married to a guy named Roy who is around her age but is just a spectacularly abusive person. He also is in and out of jail for the duration of their relationship, is physically abusive
Starting point is 00:18:27 to her, lies to her, and her mom is basically begging Bonnie to get out of this relationship. Something she and Clyde have in common that I think is just very sweet is that Roy is a horrible person. She does get his name tattooed on her. Clyde also has the names of two past girlfriends tattooed on him. And they just like, they love hard. And I feel very seen in that where they're like, I would not just have a boyfriend. So I all had to say she she her first relationship was extremely abusive. She's very traumatized by this. Her mom says dump him eventually Bonnie does. She never formally divorces him. This is why a lot of people think Bonnie and Clyde were married. They weren't. But Bonnie was always wearing a wedding ring.
Starting point is 00:19:19 She wore her wedding ring with Roy. She was gonna divorce him, but then he gets arrested before she can file the papers, and she's kinda like, well, fuck it. It reminds me of how the whole I haven't watched Twister in a few years, and I watched it a couple weeks ago, and how the whole premise of Twister is that Bill Paxing just needs Helen Hunt to sign these divorce papers, which is a nice role reversal
Starting point is 00:19:43 from how women normally are in 90s movies. God, it's amazing that the plot of Twister could be solved by Doc. You sound like a stone. Why? Also, like in the Blair Witch project, I was watching that this week. And I was like, boy, if we were making this today, I guess then, though, the witch could like destroy their phones. That's the thing.
Starting point is 00:20:03 But like, I guess I though the witch could like destroy their phones. That's the thing, but like, if you had a- I guess so. I believe in her. But yeah, so I admire her. I'm not saying Bonnie Parker only made good choices, however, neither do I. And like, I admire the fact that she like went forward and loved again. I really love that too.
Starting point is 00:20:23 And I feel like that is a testament to her and also her mom in spite of, I mean, there's a lot of my mom that I see in Bonnie in the way that she is like she loves really hard. And sometimes she's like, you know, will overextend herself for a relationship such as committing crimes and dying. But oh, among among us like there's just a number of Bonnie moments where I was like yeah, I would have done that too Especially if I was 19 But I think that there is this other side of her that has a really strong sense of self and To the very end just has like she has a lot of like hope that things are going to Change and that things are gonna turn around and obviously don't, but I think that that is like part of what helped sustain them for so long was that like she and Clyde
Starting point is 00:21:11 both had hope for the future for a really long time, which they should have. They were in their early 20s. Like it's just, it's wild. And this kind of your birthright, you know, unless you live in a society that takes it away from you. And I don't know, I feel like taking away the fate down a way archetype, like to me what changes everything in the story, the way you tell it, is like starting off imagining Bonnie as like a kind of dreamy, already frustrated teenager. Yeah. Which I would imagine was at one point the majority of this listenership. Like, I mean, definitely, if you were some other kind of teenager then you're presumably listening to the show
Starting point is 00:21:48 because someone you love has put it on and you're in a car with them. Hahaha. After the marriage falls apart, she's, I don't believe she finishes high school. She's working as a waitress. She gets in trouble forgiving away food to people who can't afford it because
Starting point is 00:22:05 we're heading into the depression years. And she was sort of known for just being very beloved and giving away food. She also keeps these incredible diaries. I love Bonnie's diaries so much. I have a lot of it written down, but the one that I really like to share always is she's just like living in the middle of nowhere with no money and she's fucking bored. And there's two entries in a diary that she also keeps very sporadically. She writes, why don't something happen? And she writes, this two days in a row.
Starting point is 00:22:40 I love her. I love her too. I just think she's the best because why don't something happen? You're like, but what if something never happened? Right. Nothing has happened yet. And she's surrounded and there's people in her life that nothing happened. And she really wants something to happen.
Starting point is 00:22:59 And in 1930, something happened. She meets Clyde Barrow at a party in West Dallas. Most people do describe this as like a very instant connection, a very love it for Sadie kind of thing. She doesn't know a lot about him. Bonnie didn't have any history of even petty crime prior to meeting Clyde. Clyde had done some petty crime, which we'll talk about in a second. They are very, very enamored with each other instantly. They start dating. So Clyde at this point was a year older than her and had a sort of string of petty crimes that were mostly survival. He stole chickens. He stole a couple of bikes. He had a-
Starting point is 00:23:43 It was all very Portland 2023. He stole a couple of bikes. He had a very Portland 2023. It's like yeah, like I mean for the most part he was stealing food And then he also started stealing cars. He wasn't the point is he wasn't hurting anybody And I think that that's what really frustrates me about the sort of born killer Narrative that surrounds Clyde as like all of his crimes were petty crimes that were majority intended for his survival at worst, stupid. He is arrested from Bonnie's house early in their relationship for stealing a car. He asks if she'll wait for him and she's like, yeah. But she's kind of back and forth on it. She really cares about him, but also she's already been in a really horrific marriage
Starting point is 00:24:29 with a husband who was in and out of jail. She's not sure if she wants to do it. And so she starts dating someone while Clyde is in jail, who, all the scripture, I feel bad for this guy. Or I peed at him, I'm assuming. It was a long time ago. But everyone describes this guy as a flop. They're like, Bonnie started dating this flop because he seemed safe while she continued
Starting point is 00:24:51 to write Clyde letters while he was in jail. Well, Bonnie has me, it's I guess. I get it. Sometimes you gotta date a flop for a while. Her letters to Clyde are very sweet. They rock. So this honey, I sure wish I was with you tonight. Sugar, I never knew. I really cared for you until you got put in jail. And honey, if you. So, Honey, I sure wish I was with you tonight. Sugar, I never knew, I really cared for you
Starting point is 00:25:06 until you got put in jail. And Honey, if you get out, okay, please don't ever do anything to get locked up again. Oh boy. And listen, Honey, boy, you started this and someone is sure going to finish it. Wow. But basically, I mean, she visits him,
Starting point is 00:25:19 she is sort of hedging her bets by being in this other relationship, but it seems like I think the longer he's away, the more she realizes that she really does want to be with him. So on one visit to Clyde in prison, and this is a like county jail. It's not a, he's soon going to go to essentially a work camp, but she goes to visit him at the county jail, and he asks her to smuggle a gun into the jail so he can bust out. So this is like a big turning point for Bonnie. She is an art teen who's working waitressing jobs and this is like sort of the first quote unquote bad thing that she's ever done. Clyde asks her to do this.
Starting point is 00:26:03 She's not sure. Then he passes her a note that says, you were the sweetest baby in the world to me. I love you. And she's like, I'll do it. Which I would also tell like for the right person who so she smuggles them the gun the same day. She keeps that note for the rest of her life. Oh, Bonnie. I know. Clyde busts out of jail. So the deal with Clyde, it gets hot dog adjacent because his name is Clyde Chestnut Barrow. I'm a scary. And we don't know how the rest of Joey's life is gonna pan out. So I think it happened. Joey passes me that note. Are you kidding? Clyde Chestnut Barrow was from an even poorer family in West Dallas. He's one of seven kids.
Starting point is 00:26:47 He and Bonnie are both very petite, which everyone seems to love to point out. Clyde's a short king. I love that for him. He's a real control freak, which I love less for him. But he has, I mean, even within the gang, he sort of has this cult-like presence where Bonnie and his brother and many of their associates are very like, they think Clyde knows best, we're gonna do what Clyde says. The only person who's like, fuck Clyde is my girl Blanche, who's like, why are we listening
Starting point is 00:27:18 to Clyde? We keep getting shot. Clyde also a very arty teenager. He loves music. He wants to be a musician. He played saxophone. He played Duke of Lely. He sang. He left school when he's a teenager with the hopes of becoming a musician, which was not possible. Again, I just think it's so sad and frustrating that Bonnie wanted to be a writer. Clyde wanted to be a musician. And they had these very pure aspirations. Another thing they had in common was they were both Clyde to, I think, a greater degree.
Starting point is 00:27:52 It was like, they were very ashamed to be poor. Something, and I think this is sort of tied into their legend is in spite of the fact that they were living in horrible conditions, they're living in a car, they're living in the woods, they have to be totally off the grid, but they always were for the most part, until the end, they were always wearing really nice clothes. They would always go out of their way to steal clothes because they didn't want to die in the class they were born in.
Starting point is 00:28:20 Failing that, they wanted to at least look like they weren't going to die in the class they were born in. So you'd have these very 20s, 30s, fashions, bonnies, like very flapper coated in her wardrobe choices. I feel like that's like one of the not take jump ahead too much, but comes into the question of why do stories fascinate people when they do? And you know, seeing it not as like, well the depression people were bored and so that was why they were big even though they sucked as criminals it's like no there's something more it's like they're compelling but there's something maybe about the time that like makes the mesh with the public imagination and I feel like being like a criminal on the road having a crime
Starting point is 00:29:00 spree in the 30s in the depression. Like one of the things about it, it seems like is that this is one of the only ways to transcend class. Usually. Yeah. Part of what makes them appealing is that they're also like saying fuck you to a lot of systems that are oppressing people across the country. The most obvious culprit is the police, but also like they're robbing banks because fuck banks and they're killing cops because fuck, I think that there was a very like cathartic element to following their crimes. And that's like part of why people liked them so much.
Starting point is 00:29:41 Like sure, everyone's bored, but like I feel like it's almost like You I already feel like we're hearing people characterize COVID like that Where you're like yeah people are kind of bored, but they're way more like mad And especially because of like the way that they were presented in the press as like these enemies of the police and enemies of the state at a time where like most poor people felt that the state was against them. And so it's like, well, yeah, I'm rooting for these guys because they're much more like me than the police are and in the government are. And especially the banks that just like lost everybody's money. You're like, I like my money, please. And they're like,
Starting point is 00:30:21 we don't have it. Sorry. The time when it gets harder for the public to embrace them is a combination of when the media narrative changed and no one was, like, how would you know anything except what the paps were telling you at the time, Barwin Newsies term, it was when they killed civilians that the public turned in them and that I Understand but anyways Clyde. Yeah Clyde wants to be a musician. He drops out of school to be a musician and he's supporting himself by working a string of low-paid jobs. He works at Westery Union He works at like I think a candy factory and to supplement this, he starts sealing chickens
Starting point is 00:31:06 and, you know, a string of petty crime across West Dallas. This obviously gets the attention of the Dallas police and there's a wife of a Dallas sheriff that later says, in regards to Clyde, if the Dallas police had left that boy alone, we wouldn't be talking about him today, which I think is really, really true and is obviously still a policing pattern now.
Starting point is 00:31:31 Clyde was caught doing a few petty crimes and then the police would never leave him alone ever. There's a number of times in his late teens, early 20s, before he's arrested that Clyde tries to have a job and have a life and like maybe steal a chicken or two here or fucking whatever, but the police would go to his place of employment and be like, hey, you really don't want this guy working for you, like he's gonna steal from you. And then he would lose his job. And so he reached a point where he felt there was no alternative because the police would never leave him alone. And in Dallas, from what I can tell, it was particularly bad.
Starting point is 00:32:14 Like these guys had nothing fucking better to do than just like harass a teenager who was trying to hold down a job at Western Union. It's ridiculous. This is sort of where Clid's at when he meets Bonnie. He's arrested. He says, you are the sweetest baby in the world to me. I love you. And now they're both crime and baby because she smuggles him a gun. He busts out. He is out for one week. And then he is caught again and sent to a far worse prison. Really, it's a place called East Texas Penitentiary. There's been a lot written about it because it was like, I mean, like many prisons,
Starting point is 00:32:53 but this was notorious in Texas. It was a work camp whose goal was to exploit labor and completely break your spirit. Like, there are long descriptions about it that I will not subject you to, but it's basically a torture camp. Its nickname was the Burning Hell. And this was like very well known in the community. Like, if you were loved one was sent to Eastham, Eastham, Texas, there was a very low chance that they would come out alive. Prior to going there, Clyde was a petty thief. He, once he gets there, is worked nearly to death along with all of the men at this prison.
Starting point is 00:33:33 He is routinely sexually abused by a fellow prisoner. This goes on for a long time. And eventually, the first person Clyde kills is his assulter. He kills the man who's been sexually abusing him for months and basically makes this deal with someone who is serving a 50-year sentence that this other guy is going to take the fall for killing this guy in exchange for Clyde who's in theoretically for 14 years. So he basically barters with this guy to say like,
Starting point is 00:34:05 hey, I have, or I've busted out a prison once before. If you take the fall for me right now, I will attempt to bust out again and I'll try to come back and help you basically. And this guy is like, yeah, I'm here for 50 years. What's a few more takes the fall. Clyde starts planning on ways that he can get out or at least transfer and a common way to not have to work in the fields all day in Texas was you would cut off your own hand, you would cut off your own foot, you would physically make yourself unable to work. In the meantime, Clyde's mom, who is the sweetest, she's this lady named Kimi, and she has another son who's in and out of jail, Buc, whose branch is eventually a blanchist husband, but she is appealing to the state like crazy,
Starting point is 00:34:57 trying to get Clyde out, but Clyde doesn't feel optimistic about it. So he cuts off two of his toes. So he doesn't have to work anymore. The little ones. I think it was like the middle, two of the middle guys. You know, that's smart. I stopped my, one of my pinkie toes really bad recently. And it is amazing how much work it's doing once. It's not able to.
Starting point is 00:35:20 And you realize how much you need. Middle seems smart. Well, yeah, Clyde walks with a slight limp for the rest of his life because of these missing toes. And then, in just an example of brutal irony, less than a week later, his mom's appeal to the state succeeds. And he is released from prison, which is great, but he's down two toes. So he does get out, but he gets out. Everyone in his life is like, he was a completely different person when he came out.
Starting point is 00:35:54 Wow, I can't imagine why. Can you imagine? Once he's out, he moves to Boston briefly. Because a friend of a friend is like, I can get you a job, I can get you back on your feet. But Clyde wants to be near his family, he bails. And once he's back, he essentially, he tells his mom, I'm, it's never going to be possible for me to have a normal life. I can't hold down a regular job. The Dallas police won't let me, and I don't want to leave Dallas, I should not have to. And so
Starting point is 00:36:19 I'm going to do something else. Of course, once he's out, the question is, are he and Bonnie going to get back together? Because Bonnie is still sort of working these, you know, just working waitressing jobs and doing the same thing, maybe dating a flop or two, who knows. But, you know, Clyde gets out sort of with this, I think, like as close as you could describe to like his missions and his life after he gets out of Eastham is that he never wants to go to jail again ever and he wants to bust people out of Eastham because of how poorly he was treated there. So those are sort of his two missions and also to be with Bonnie if she'll have him which she does. So there you go. Do you remember in the movie, Clyde is presented as impotent?
Starting point is 00:37:09 Yes. And that was actually, I've never seen the whole movie. I've seen like bits of it and I started watching it in high school because I got in a tape of it. And I got as far as that issue coming up. And I was like, if these two are not boning the whole time, I'm out. I'm going away. I'm gonna go watch True Romance and probably I did.
Starting point is 00:37:29 Completely reasonable, because why else would you watch something as a horny teenager? Like, and this was, I think it's such, that was like a Warren Beatty creative choice. This was really, yeah, this was not a thing. I'm gonna get amazed that if you're making a movie in 1967, you're like,
Starting point is 00:37:45 well, let's have less sex in it than the historical records of ports. I think it was like, I don't know, the compulsion of a hot guy to play against type. We got it, Warren Beatty. You have a mind as well. But what about the truth? Part of that, I think, was like Warren Beatty wanting to make a choice. But I also think like, oh, there were a lot of persistent rumors surrounding Clyde's sexuality in general. I haven't found that there's much to it. I think that it speaks to like at the time, a lot of the books I was reading, they're written in the 90s and early 2000s and just speaks like people's literacy on
Starting point is 00:38:26 consent because there's a lot of people that are like, well, Clyde was bisexual because he was sexually abused by a man and you're like, that's not what? I know sometimes it's like I really feel like, ah, the 90s were great. It was like a time of economic prosperity and we weren't obsessed with terrorism yet. And Jerry Seinfeld was on TV wearing giant sneakers and a slim waist.
Starting point is 00:38:55 And then you think about that and you're like, oh yeah, we didn't know anything. Yeah, Jerry Seinfeld was dating a teenage. Yeah. And then they were just bothered by that. And then they were like sexual abuse. Sounds like bisexuality dating a teenager seems good. It was just like, wow.
Starting point is 00:39:12 I think it's so bizarre that there's a hyper fixation around like, he was impotent when the reality appears to be that he was straight and fucked a lot, which is like, okay, and why complicate that? And do you feel like he was like as in love with Bonnie, that it was like an even love match there? Yes, I do think they had a very toxic relationship in a lot of ways. It's hard to kill civilians
Starting point is 00:39:38 during a totally healthy relationship, I think. But I think in that, they were perfectly fine. No, I think that that is like something that resonates with people about the story that does actually appear to be true is like they really love each other. I mean, yeah, they did love each other. I know at times that he was controlling. But there are just all these examples of things that they would do for each other where when Bonnie is injured later in the story, he carries her from place to place
Starting point is 00:40:09 for the rest of her life. Like, they would never abandon each other, except in this example I'm about to get. A lot of people present Bonnie as she had no idea what she was getting into. Blah, blah, blah. It appears she actually does fully know what she's getting into. She tells Clyde that she does want to come with him on this, like, I mean, they're not saying crime-spread, but like, she knows that they're going to be sticking up small businesses. That's another thing that I think I had a wrong idea about was like, they're robbing huge
Starting point is 00:40:37 banks. Right. That's what you, that's just the mental image of a bank robbery. Yeah. They were not robbing huge banks. They were robbing small banks, gas stations, and small businesses for very, very, very small amounts of money. So they weren't doing whatever, pretty boy,
Starting point is 00:40:54 Floyd numbers. They were almost universally robbing small businesses for small amounts of money. That was part of why they robbed so much. Like, because they just had to. They just had to. They're like, oh no, we only got $14 from that. And so I think it also speaks to like where they were traveling at the time.
Starting point is 00:41:15 They were like, they were robbing during the Great Depression. They were not often getting big sums of money. Right. Like who is going to have all these great sums of money for them to get? There's no strategy as the thing. I think that yeah, I feel like it would be dishonest to qualify Bonnie and Clyde as organized crime because there's no organization about it. Their gang was never larger than too carous full of people and that would even be unusual.
Starting point is 00:41:43 There's a rotating cast of people involved. There's and one is imagined as a catch all character in the Bonnie and Clyde movie. I think his character is called CW Moss. Is that Jane or Jean Wilder? No, that's Michael Pollard who's basically their teen ward. They did have a teen ward, his name was WD, but there's sort of this sort of rotating cast of people that they travel with, but it's all small time stuff. They didn't have the resources or the strategy or the experience or the infrastructure
Starting point is 00:42:18 to be able to pull off a huge bank ice because they have a forward, where they can put everything. Like I said before, it changes everything starting by framing it this way as like disenfranchised kids who basically don't know what to do with their lives and have run out of other options. Bonnie starts helping out with these crimes in one situation there running from the cops. Bonnie's kind of real first time encountering the cops. And she, because of the shoes she's wearing,
Starting point is 00:42:47 she gets stuck in a ditch. It's a real Jurassic World situation. She gets stuck in a ditch and Clyde fails. Flaves are, and I'm like, Clyde. They did have a contingency plan. That's how most of these books justify this happening. I'm like, he's still wrong for that though. Their plan was always like,
Starting point is 00:43:07 and I think that this is interesting because Bonnie is often presented. She's either presented in the media once they become famous as like an evil criminal mastermind or like this bimbo that Clyde Barrow travels with and nothing in between. And she is neither of those things. That's the thing.
Starting point is 00:43:23 I would love for women to be able to commit crimes and get a normal amount of credit. But they have a plan basically, like if you get caught alone, just play dumb. Well, that does work well for women. And, well, I don't, fortunately not for Bonnie, no, on this day. So, but she's arrested.
Starting point is 00:43:40 And she's in jail for a while. Oh, bye. She's in jail for less than a year. Way to go Clyde, get it together. Seriously. And meanwhile, someone's free and it's Clyde. And while she's in jail, she starts writing. She starts writing a semi-autobiographical novel about a romance.
Starting point is 00:44:00 I love her. She's about a romance between a con man and his girl who takes the fall for him. Which is beautifully passive aggressive. She starts writing this story called the story of Suicide Sal. It's because it's so wonderfully teenage, you know. Great. I mean, so just a quick passage from Suicide Sal. Yes, please. If he had returned to me sometime, though he hadn't to send to give, I'd forget all the
Starting point is 00:44:26 hell of it. He's caused me and love him as long as I lived. But there's no chance of his ever coming for he and his mall have no fears, but that I will die in this prison or flatten these long 50 years. And you're like, I love Bonnie. While Bonnie is in prison, Clyde kills his first person outside of Easttown, this is I think one of the ones that doesn't sit very well with people because it's a small business owner who he kind of knew. It's positioned as an accident, unclear what actually happens, but he's back at it. Bonnie gets out of jail in the summer of 1932, says that she's through with Clyde and 20 minutes later, she gets back with Clyde. And they're back on the road. They're doing crimes, several more murders. Most of them cops. Bonnie is often so painfully lonely for her mom
Starting point is 00:45:21 that even though Dallas is the most dangerous place in the planet they could be. That's another thing that I was like, Clyde really must have loved her because he does bring her back to Dallas all the time, even when it's dangerous. And he loves his family too. They have, and the Parker and Barrow families develop this code where the moms of call each other. Their code is, I've got a big pot of beans and some cornbread. And that means our children are back from being on the lamb. Let's have lunch. Oh my God, it's so, I don't know.
Starting point is 00:45:52 I love that so much. It just pulls them out of legion and you're right, like, right, like these are two kids with families and they're like doing their best. And to be clear, I don't advocate killing anyone. But I also really sympathize or empathize one of the pathizes maybe both with Clyde and just being someone who like had a chance to be someone who would have found it much harder to kill people and I think after his time in prison you know it
Starting point is 00:46:22 came out as someone for whom that was a lot more thinkable. Um, I think that's another thing. Bonnie, as far as everyone knows, never killed anybody, but she's like, you know, the fan us of accomplices living in a place like East Ham for two consecutive years and seeing people around you murdered constantly and being in a constant state of hyper vigilance, like that very obviously changed him. Like if we had the choice, we would all choose to not harm each other and to be able to live in the world in a way that we felt able to offer
Starting point is 00:46:58 and receive safety from other people. And that when we lose that ability, that that's not something that feels good, that nobody wants to be that way. That's what this whole show is about, is trying to say they weren't these as super competent criminals. They weren't evil losers who got more press and they deserved.
Starting point is 00:47:18 They were just people whose stories resonated so deeply with other Americans, I think, partly because maybe in ways they couldn't verbalize people saw themselves in that partly too. And in the feeling of life is so impossible for a normal person, like how many of us, how many people looked at Clyde and thought that could have been me in, you know, kind of longing for that freedom. And then that could have been me in terms of being pursued to the point where you can't stop running and where you become someone else than the way you started. Yeah. I mean, I think that that's what they true. And these meetings with their, usually their mothers is just like, their mothers are always
Starting point is 00:48:04 trying to say, like, please stop. Please stop this. Clives purpose, I think, when you know a little bit about them is very clear. And for Bonnie, I think she finds purpose for herself and like within this relationship in a way that is not the way she wanted to, but is successful. And it's like, I guess you can feel any which way about it, but I don't think that they were doing this for no reason. And it's sort of sometimes presented like for no reason. You know, say what you will about murder, but once Bonnie's associated with murder, suicide's that is published in the paper. So it's hard to get published. There. Oh, Bonnie, that's so great.
Starting point is 00:48:48 You know, it's like many of us have spent many years trying to crack into publishing. And if you got to take shortcuts, then, you know, she got her poem published on the front page of a newspaper. You got to kill someone to do that. It doesn't just happen. on the front page of a newspaper, you gotta kill someone to do that. You're really too. Doesn't just happen. Okay, so by the end of 32, they're well on their crime spree.
Starting point is 00:49:10 In 33, that's where my girly blanche becomes relevant to the story. Blanche Barrow, unlike the movie, which presents her as at least a decade older than Bonnie. Blanche and Bonnie are the exact same age, three, three months younger than Bonnie. Born in Oklahoma Bonnie are the exact same age. It's three months younger than Bonnie. Born in Oklahoma, raised mainly by her father, who was a farmer and a pastor.
Starting point is 00:49:31 Very bad relationship with her mom, but there's a lot of similarities to, I think it's really frustrating that in the most popular piece of media about Bonnie and Clyde is that Bonnie and Blanch are presented in opposition to each other. They hate each other. Bonnie thinks Blanche sucks.
Starting point is 00:49:46 She's annoying. And there's no mention of how many similarities. They're very, very different women. But they have a lot of similarities in their early lives. Blanche was also married off to a man when she was a teenager, when she was 16. And this husband was also extremely abusive. It's said that he was so physically abused by her first husband that she was unable to have
Starting point is 00:50:11 children by the end of the marriage. Her aspirations were not as, I think, like lofty or art-oriented as Bonnie or Clyde. I would describe Blanche's aspirations as not to be on the run with a group of disorganized criminals being hunted by the FBI. She just wanted to have like a stable normal life. So she runs away from her husband in 1929 and relocates to West Dallas after getting her divorce and she meets a man named Buck Barrow on the street. Another Barrow, another short king, Clyde's older brother, and sort of the one who first kind of got him into stealing chickens
Starting point is 00:50:52 and the like, they're very close. They fall in love very quickly as well. Three weeks after they meet, Buck is arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. They fall in love kind of through letters. She calls him daddy. He calls her baby. Buck escapes from prison three months later. The barrel boys are great at busting out of jail. And they get married in 1931 after her first divorce goes through. But they're
Starting point is 00:51:19 kind of having the early days of their relationship tacitly on the run from the Dallas police. And Blanche does not like this. Fair enough. This, I know, but in every piece of media, she's presented as like, what a bitch. You're like, she doesn't want to be on the run for her entire life. She's not a bitch. She's regular. She writes a memoir much later towards the end of her life.
Starting point is 00:51:46 Spoiler alert in the 80s. She lives in Epa. But she says, I love this man who was hunted by officers of the law. He said he loved me as I did him. He said he wasn't a criminal at heart. He said he was tired of that kind of life. Talk, talk, talk. She's sassy. I love her. After they get married and they've been moving around a lot, Blanche is like, look, I want you to go back to prison and finish your sentence. And when you get out, we will have a normal life together. And Buck agrees to this. And so Buck goes back to prison and Blanche works while Buck is in prison.
Starting point is 00:52:20 She works at this place called Cinderella Beauty Shop. She becomes a licensed beautician. I would watch a whole movie about this period of her life. And she does, like she waits for buck so that they can have a normal life. He gets out in the spring of 1933 while Bonnie and Clyde are already on the run. And my girl boss Blanche was a big part of making that happen. She's also constantly appealing to the state. It was rumored that Blanche would petition and manipulate Governor Ma Ferguson played by Kathy Bates in that horrible movie by bringing three children that were not hers
Starting point is 00:52:55 and would pretend to be pregnant to try to convince her that she had all these kids and fuck had to get out, she needed support, just random children. So good. I do want this movie. Right. Like she is a crafty lady. So Buck gets out. He's 30. She is younger than that. She says she's like 21. Blanche is like great. Let's go stay with my parents for a while. Let's get reacquainted. Let's go have sex for, you know, six weeks or whatever. But once Clyde hears the thugs out of jail,
Starting point is 00:53:26 he wants to go see him and talk to him. And so in the middle of the night, very, very soon after Buck gets out of jail, they wake up and Bonnie and Clyde are at Blanche's house and she is like, oh, fuck. No, she actually kind of isn't like that. She thinks Buck has made me a promise and I've been waiting for actual years.
Starting point is 00:53:47 Surely this will be fine. We're just gonna have a bit of that. Surely he's not gonna blow this whole thing. I can't with Buck. I mean, like, he's, you know, I lived a difficult life, but I'm like, Buck. Yeah. She worked at a beauty shop for two years.
Starting point is 00:54:02 She kidnapped children to dilute the governor and day one. It's just, it pisses me off. You're just a Kathy Bates for you. Oh my God. So, they're woken up in the middle of the night by Bonnie and Clyde. There's a very sweet scene, I think that like proves to me that Bonnie and Blanche were not at odds very often, at least.
Starting point is 00:54:24 Bonnie at this point, once she's been on the road for a couple of months, begins to develop an issue with alcohol abuse that is another thing that I think de-glamorizes the whole situation. It's like Bonnie is very, very, rarely sober because of the stress that she's constantly under. Yeah, I feel like if you're getting chased around
Starting point is 00:54:41 and shot at, you know. Right. I'm never in a chase and I still drink too much. So, but Bonnie comes and gets into bed with Blanche. She's drunk. Blanche says, I asked Bonnie to get in bed with me and try to get a little sleep. But Bonnie seemed to want to talk instead of sleeping. She said it was so good to have a woman she knew to talk to, adding that it was
Starting point is 00:55:02 so low on some for her, just being in the company of men all the time and never any women friends to talk to. I knew this was true because I had experienced a few months of that myself. She had often told me that she was happier when she had something to drink, so I did not blame her for staying drunk most of the time if it made her feel better. They weren't besties, but they were like, I don't know, I just hate the way that the movie frames them. Well, there's only the way that the movie frames them. Yeah. Well, there's only two women in the movie, so they better fucking hate each other. I think like the patriarchal myth that women hate each other is a smoke screen they've created so they can ignore the fact that we're all coming to get them or something.
Starting point is 00:55:38 Exactly. Any day now. Any day now. We're using this power with great discretion. Huge L for Blanche on this night. Because downstairs Clyde, through whatever magic cult of personality Clyde is in possession of, convinces brother instantly that just join us for a little bit. Clyde. You'll get a little bit of money and then you and Blanche can really start over.
Starting point is 00:56:01 Actually, it seems a little bit like gambling actually, right? Because if you're knocking over convenient stores and stuff they don't have much money in them, then it can cultivate the sense of like, okay, the next one. Now, Blanche is convinced by Buck. We're just going on the road with him for a couple of days. We'll be back in a couple of days. If you want insurance, bring the dog.
Starting point is 00:56:22 Which he does, she brings snowball. Oh my God, snowball lives lives but it's not great they are driving to Missouri they get a two-bedroom apartment they're hanging out Clyde and Buck are not enough convenience stores during the day. The problem is at this point Clyde's operation is responsible for killing six people. Oh boy. So Clyde's like escalating. Oh yes and it doesn't seem like he really has an interest in him stopping. He's very single-minded of like, I will do what is going
Starting point is 00:56:51 to keep me out of jail. And if that means killing someone, I don't care. And I don't care who it is. Yeah, which again, it's like, it's wrong to kill people. It's insane that I have to say that this much. But if you create an institution that someone comes out of so desperate to not return to, that they will do anything to not have to, then I don't blame the individual there.
Starting point is 00:57:15 Just speaking to the, it seems like abusive parts of Bonnie and Clyde's relationship, Blanche notes that while they're in drop-lin, they would get into arguments very often about how frequently Bonnie wanted to go back to Dallas and how much she missed her mom. Sometimes, Clybridge bring her back, but if he felt that the police were too hot on them, he would say no, they would get into physical fights, that he was the perpetrator of, and then there were two examples of her holding him at gunpoint being like, I am seeing mommy. Yeah, so that is an element of their relationship. I don't see it brought up very much, but it would feel weird not to mention it. So while they're in Missouri,
Starting point is 00:57:57 Blanche isn't nervous because she has no information. She's being actively lied to by her husband about how serious the situation has gotten. So Blanche is like, we're in vacation. We're gonna go home in a couple days. I've got snowball. They take these goofy pictures, Bonnie and Clyde had stolen this camera, and they take these very important,
Starting point is 00:58:17 culturally significant pictures, we're basically on the side of the road, they're like, oh, let's fuck around with this camera. And so they take this jockey picture of Bonnie smoking like fake smoking this big cigar and like hiking or skirt up a little bit. They take pictures of Bonnie and Clyde kissing. They take pictures of like Blanche and Buck hugging. There's a jockey picture of Bonnie like pointing a gun at Clyde and he has his hands up and it's all very like Kidlike, I mean it's like goofy kid vacation pictures While they're at this apartment in Missouri Clyde and Buck have stolen one too many cars and the police are on to them
Starting point is 00:58:55 An a were tips them off and they're surrounded Clyde kills a cop and Blanche's worst nightmare has begun because now they are all on the run. Days after Buck cut out of jail, it is so frustrating. Snowball, the legend, books it. He's like, fuck you guys. This family's a mess. I'm out of here. Snowball never seen again, but could be alive to this day.
Starting point is 00:59:23 That's what I choose to think. Yeah. So this is the moment where Bonnie and Clyde become famous in newspapers. They're like mentioned, mostly Clyde is mentioned because he's mostly doing the murdering at this house that they've just booked it out of. They find these jockey vacation pictures. And this is like hugely what makes them famous. Media climate of the
Starting point is 00:59:46 depression, people are more desperate to sell papers, very willing to sensationalize what if you know their joky pictures seems ridiculous to publish as fact, but it doesn't matter at this time and probably still wouldn't matter now. They become, you, say, because now people can know what they look like. They become famous, which they seem to kind of like, they kind of collected some clippings. And they first catch the notice of Jay Edgar Hoover, which is bad for them, because at this point, in his career, the FBI has recently been rebranded as the FBI, J Edgar Hoover's in charge, and he's looking for some early successes to sort of legitimize the operation.
Starting point is 01:00:31 I tried to watch that decaprio movie, J Edgar, and I just couldn't do it. It was so bad. He was doing this voice, we'd be like, you can't do it. Like it's just was, it was a flop. I also believed for years, for whatever reason Cheyenne was a Scorsese movie and like it's not right It's plenty of movie. It's such a relief to know that he didn't make it. I have projected too many feelings on to Marty
Starting point is 01:00:56 As is my right and what's the why does the FBI need to do this? What's their deal? Well, they don't need to do this need to do this. What's their deal? Well, they don't need to do this. They're reasoning that I've seen given is that J. Edgar Hoover had a huge interest in taking down gangsters and criminals that were becoming famous at this time. It seems that his primary interest in them was a combination of women have gone too far and they're famous and it will legitimize his operation that he's still trying to legitimize because of its relative newness to the public.
Starting point is 01:01:35 They're like, well, this FBI organization must be great. They're killing people we've heard of. Yeah, which remains true for that. I'm really fascinated by how, you know, in the 70s, the FBI made serial killers, their business and something that was very associated with them publicly, which of course, somebody needs to be catching serial killers. I'm not against that, but the timing was excellent
Starting point is 01:01:59 because going into the 70s, like a lot of Americans were not looking at the FBI as the good guys because they weren't. And, you know, if you're fighting serial killers, then you must be a good guy. If you're taking down the crime spree kids, then you must be good and powerful. Throughout the spring and summer of 1933, things just get worse and worse. Clyde takes a wrong turn off a bridge. Don't do that. His bad. But the car catches on fire.
Starting point is 01:02:33 I don't know. Bonnie is not able to get out of the car and she loses the use of one of her legs. It's really badly burned. It doesn't heal. Well, I mean, this is like one of the most brutal parts for me is not only is Bonnie's Leg injured because of this genuine accident. She is not able to go to the hospital Or she'll get arrested and even when she's in this like searing pain, she understands that and so when
Starting point is 01:03:02 Some local people come over to them and try to help and call an ambulance, Clyde is like, no, we can't afford it. Sorry. But like, can you help us? Do you have anything you can help us with? The family catches on anyways, calls the cops, Bonnie, and they kidnapped the cops and take the car. They were also known to take hostages on the road for stretches. That's the Gene Wilder sequins in the movie. Sometimes they would corner and kidnap the cops that were trying to arrest them or she'd have brilliant. I feel like they don't see that coming.
Starting point is 01:03:34 It's great. And Bonnie is said to also hold the cops at gunpoint. In spite of the fact, she's just lost the use of one of her legs and is in extreme pain. Anyways, things continue to get worse. Later that summer, there's a face-off in Platts City, Iowa, where they're living in the woods, they're trying to keep things on the low. At this point, it's barely possible, but Bonnie is not able to walk for the rest of her life. Basically, Clyde not able to walk for the rest of her life, basically, Clyde has to carry her everywhere for most of her life. And if she can walk, it's not for long.
Starting point is 01:04:10 It's 5 a.m. they sleep in shifts to watch for the cops. And their teenage ward WD is cooking them up a five in the morning hot dog breakfast. That you forgot there were hot dogs coming. Inception sting. But during Hot Dog breakfast, the police attacked them. They're not prepared for it. And Buck gets shot in the head. Like it's like part of his head is no longer on his head.
Starting point is 01:04:37 Blanche runs after him. Everyone thinks that Buck is going to die. She tries to bring him into a car to try to protect him. And this is, it's so frustrating to me that Blanche gets erased from this story all the time because Blanche is heroic. She gets her husband into this car. The police shoot the windshield of the car. Her eyes are filled with glass and she thinks that she will not be able to ever see again and is terrified, understandably, again, she's made out to seem hysterical in the movie.
Starting point is 01:05:09 They do manage to get away and they bring Buck to an abandoned amusement park and they think that this is like where he's going to die and so Clyde, I think kind of sweetly is like, I want my brother to be somewhere fun when he dies. Let's go to the subordinate amusement park. Again. They're kids.
Starting point is 01:05:30 They're kids. They're like, let's go to the roller coaster. He loves that. Or I don't even, I mean, that seems to be the logic. They just, they just wanted him to look at something nice when he died. Everyone keeps thinking Bucks about to die because he's missing a lot of his head, but then
Starting point is 01:05:46 he just keeps not dying. He lives for so long. It's like wild how long he lives. They're hanging out with this amusement park kind of forever and clients like WT, go get some chicken, Bucks loves chicken and WT is like, all right, he goes buy some chicken, comes back, Bucks eats all the chicken. I guess Bucks not dying today. We have to keep moving.
Starting point is 01:06:04 That is awkward because you're like, okay, Bucks, we planned a nice moment, but the clock's ticking. Yeah, exactly. And Bucks like, now, you know, bitch, I live to blanch washes the glass out of her eyes. She's lost the use of one of her eyes entirely and part, she can see partially out of one other eye. And that's true for the rest of her life. When they're captured, a few days later, Buck is still alive. Bonnie can't walk. Buck is almost dead. Blanche can't see.
Starting point is 01:06:34 So when the cops surround them again, there is also photographers, because they're so famous at this point. And a photographer takes out his camera and Blanche thinks that he's trying to shoot her at point blank range and screams. And there's this horrible picture of her screaming in these dark glasses because she thinks she's about to be killed. So when they're cornered this time,
Starting point is 01:07:00 Bonnie and Clyde get away, but Buck and Blanche are captured. Buck dies after another week. He lives so long with 1% of his head. It's wild. But Blanche is sentenced to 10 years in prison, which at this point she's kind of glad for a better than being on the road. She's obviously miserable about what happened to Buck. They get to say goodbye to each other, which is very sweet. about what happened to book. They get to say goodbye to each other, which is very sweet. She can't digestibles and learns how to dance in prison and reads a lot of books. So she's happy with that outcome.
Starting point is 01:07:32 However, she is questioned by J. Edgar Hoover himself and she does not crack. My Leonardo DiCaprio and a stupid little accent. But J. Edgar Hoover threatens to gouge out her other eye if she doesn't give him information about these kids he's trying to kill. At this point, W.D. Bales, it's basically down to Bonnie and Clyde. Bonnie writes that she blames the Texas police.
Starting point is 01:07:56 Police for quote, making Clyde what he is today. He used to be a nice boy. Folks like us don't have got a chance. Once Buck dies, I think both of them kind of accept that they will either be captured or killed and they decide they would rather be killed than captured. And I think just based on, especially Clyde, but both of their experiences in prison. And so when Bonnie asks to go back to the Dallas area, Clyde's like, Buck, we're approaching the end of the road anyways. Let's see our moms.
Starting point is 01:08:26 Oh, why? I know. Clyde's mom has just lost her son, Buck, as well. Their moms begged them to turn themselves in, but they're like, we're not gonna do that. So Clyde's mom, this breaks my heart, holds off on buying a headstone for Buck because she's waiting for Clyde to die,
Starting point is 01:08:44 and she can't afford to. Oh my God. It's so horrible. So one of the last things Clyde wants to try to do is his other mission busts some guys out of East Ham. And he does that. He busts four guys out of East Ham. I know he really rallies towards the end. That was going to happen He does he organizes a couple guys Bonnie helps Bonnie kind of cases the joint by pretending to visit a prisoner and Communicating information about like this is the plan So she's you know the the accomplice and and together along with a few other guys from Dallas,
Starting point is 01:09:25 they get four guys out of East Ham. And unfortunately, this new setup doesn't last long. Once the guys are out of prison, they don't want to continue lives of crime. And they don't want to draw attention to themselves after recently escaping prison. Pretty smart. Yeah, so they get out and they're like, thank you.
Starting point is 01:09:43 Bye. So they're back to square one. I just think it is nice that Clyde, at least partially accomplished, you know, he didn't burn the prison down. Would have been great if he did. He got four people. He got four people out. That's really impressive. I haven't broken anyone out of prison yet.
Starting point is 01:10:00 But the media tied turns on them after they shoot a rookie cop on their first day. So, okay, now we're in May, 1934. The closest thing they have to an ally right now is an old friend of Clyde's named Henry Methven. They've been hanging out with Henry and his family. Henry will help them do heists, Henry's parents are very sweet and welcoming to them.
Starting point is 01:10:24 The police, I think the FBI picks up on this and Henry is wanted as well. He has a rap sheet and could be taken to prison for a long time. So the FBI basically goes to Henry's parents and are like, if you set Bonnie and Clyde up, your son will never get arrested, ever. They offered that to them in writing. They're a good quiet. But they're basically desperate enough to improve their son's life that they agree to do this.
Starting point is 01:10:57 And eventually, Henry has made aware of it and also agrees to sell Bonnie and Clyde out. And so this brings us to the death scene, which is actually presented pretty faithfully in the movie. There's huge sting operation. I believe that the combination of sheriffs and FBI, the setup is that Henry's dad will be on the side of the road pretending that he needs help with his tire knowing the Bonnie and Piper stop
Starting point is 01:11:29 because they're his friends. Oh, God. So it happens they pull up, he runs away, they don't have time to figure out what's going on. And they are, there's 130 rounds shot into their car in 16 seconds, 130 rounds. into their car in 16 seconds, 130 rounds.
Starting point is 01:11:47 It's, I mean, it's just, I mean, it's horrible. And that is basically what's shown in the movie. They are, I believe Clyde dies almost instantly. Bonnie lives for longer. They die together. I think this is one of the most romanticized parts of their story. I think another bizarre thing about this is that that car still travels the museum circuit as an FBI success. It was in the Reagan Museum for recently. Unfortunate crossover as an example
Starting point is 01:12:21 of a huge FBI success. Yeah. Which is so ghoulish. It's like a slightly more sophisticated version of a head on a spike. Totally. And then charging admission, this guy, I mean, it's horrific what happens and Frank Hamer, a Kevin Coster, is said to have walked up to the car
Starting point is 01:12:42 after they're obviously dead and shoots Bonnie in the head one more time. Just as a fuck you, once people find out that Bonnie and Clyde have been killed and you're by the press, obviously, descends. There's a huge mob of press, but there's also a huge mob of just people who felt any way about them. It didn't matter if you were pro, if you were con, there's a description of souvenir hunters that kind of descend upon this car, 16,000 people, to the point where people start selling beer and cigarettes at this site of a recent murder. And also Frank Hamer takes some guns that Bonnie and Clyde had in the car. As Souvenirs his own, there's someone tries to cut off Clyde's ear, they steal parts of Bonnie's hair.
Starting point is 01:13:32 Like, it's just vulturi nasty behavior. They take, you know, they try to take her typewriter, and they try to take his guitar. Like, I don't know, that to me is so disturbing. When their bodies are removed from the car, camera people take pictures of their bodies naked and publish them in the paper. What? When they're taken to the funeral home, people mob the funeral home to see what the bodies look like to the point where the funeral director has to spray and bulming fluid into the crowd to get them to back away. Those are source full. Everyone is just absolutely fucking feral about it. But I think it really speaks to how impactful they were.
Starting point is 01:14:15 Like they were so famous. And in that crowd of 16,000 people, it's kind of hard to know who was on their side at that point, but everyone was there. But everyone is like on on their own side of as a memorabilia hunter. It's also like, you know, we talk a lot lately and justifiably about how the internet effects are behavior and our culture. And I think there are plenty of things that people do online that they would not do in person in public.
Starting point is 01:14:43 But there are also plenty of terrible things that people are fully willing to do in public. And they used to do a lot more of them in the 1930s. It's hard, because it's like, I don't want to say like everyone fucking sucked in that crowd. Because it's also like the way that Bonnie and Clyde had been presented to them was so free of context. And sometimes just straight up dishonest that any opinion someone had,
Starting point is 01:15:05 it would be really hard to have an informed opinion about them. But also, their moms have to bury them. Like Clyde's mom buys the headstone. It was one of Bonnie's last wishes with her mom that she'd be buried with Clyde. Her mom was like, nope. But just maybe a little disrespectful, but I'm like,
Starting point is 01:15:26 oh my get it. She said he had her for two years. Look where it got her. He's not going to have her anymore. She's mine now. It's so hard to be a mom. I know. And they have separate funerals as well, which thousands and thousands of people come to and is really, you know, heavily covered in the media. That is the story of Bonnie and Clyde, but it's not the end of Blanche's life. She's paroled in 1939. She moved Oklahoma to be with her dad and gets remarried. She's only 28 when this happens. Her soul is weary, but her skin is so good. Oh my God. So she marries this new guy in Oklahoma. Does not tell her anything about her past at all. She's like, no, you know, kind of been through it. Like, you know, you're 20s, who among us? And her mom at one point brings up this really famous period of her life in front of her new husband and Blanche scolds her mom for bringing up those,
Starting point is 01:16:27 quote, Sour onions and dirty shirts. Ha! Ha! Imagine referring to your time with the most notorious criminal element in the country as Sour onions and dirty shirts. I love her.
Starting point is 01:16:39 Mom, don't tell everyone about that gross apartment I used to live in. Let me live, mom. I just, I love Blanche. And she, she eventually does achieve her goal of living a normal life. It takes a long time and she almost doesn't make it out, but she does make it out. They live happily for a long time. He dies in the late 60s and Blanche is feeling lonely, she's feeling reflective and she reconnects with Bonnie's younger sister Billie Jean. They had met when Bonnie's leg got injured and they hadn't gotten along then because, I don't know, who would get along? I don't know. But as as older women they meet they talk I think that like this friendship allows Blanche to access this part of her life That she was suppressing for a long time and they become best friends. They like move to be close together and
Starting point is 01:17:33 their besties for the rest of their lives and she dies on Christmas Eve in 1988 Shout out to Blanche and Yeah, it was funny and clean. Funny and Clyde and Blanche and Buck. Yeah, I would put Buck last. He's my least favorite. I mean, I feel like it says to me so much about what the story is that one person of these four got to survive and live her dream and it wasn't wealth or fame. It was just a normal life.
Starting point is 01:18:05 Like everyone is supposed to be, allegedly, supposed to be able to have in America, but of course not in practice. Right, which is, I think what all of them want it. I mean, they want a different version of that. And that was our episode. Thank you for joining us. Stay cool out there, and if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, stay toasty. Thank you so much to Jamie Loftus for bringing us this story for everything that you do,
Starting point is 01:18:44 Jamie, you're the best. Thank you to Carolyn for editing this episode and for making this show possible. Carolyn Kendrick, thank you so much. And thank you to you, out there listening, doing whatever you're doing. It's the summer now, if you're listening in the present and the future, we hope it's a good one. Take care of yourself. We'll see you in two weeks. you

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