By Eleni Pappas and Madison Fuson
Many romanticists are into daring love stories, especially the ones that keep the audience on the run with guns and robberies. When it comes to notorious romances, most think of Romeo and Juliet until he or she hears the criminal details in question. Then the focus may shift to Bonnie and Clyde.
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were born in Texas, around the 1900s. Bonnie was 19 and a waitress at the time when she first encountered Clyde, who was two years older. They met in January of 1930 through a mutual friend. Bonnie was known to be a good citizen before Clyde; however, she did have an abusive husband, whom she never divorced while with Clyde. Clyde was coerced into the crime life by his brother at an early age, through robberies.
The first true crime as “Bonnie and Clyde” was technically Clyde’s jailbreak. He escaped imprisonment using a gun Bonnie smuggled to him, already in love.
The crime spree truly began when they were joined in 1932 by gunman Raymond Hamilton, Raymond was later replaced by William Daniel Jones. On March 23, 1933 the gang was joined by Clyde’s brother, Ivan or “Buck,” having been released from Texas State Prison and granted full pardon by the governor. Buck’s wife, Blanche, joined as well, but later was captured when Buck was killed. However, the group had already made a stream of headlines with each daring robbery they enacted.
While Bonnie and Clyde were criminals, the media portrayed them to be that of superstars. A photo in which the couple posed with the rest of gang holding guns and cigars became famous and was used in many newspapers, showcased like the cover of a magazine. Not all media showed them favoritism, one in particular, New York Daily News did not mind to call Clyde a “kill-crazy youth” and Bonnie his “moll” (a gangster’s female companion or prostitute). Still, as with any celebrity, any press is good press and the pair flaunted having the spotlight.
The last crime they would commit before the day that their lives would end was in January, 1934. On this day, Clyde helped along with a jailbreak for Eastham, killing a prison guard and escaping with multiple convicts besides his friends. One in particular was Henry Methvin.
Later on April 1, the same year, with a posse led by Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, Barrow would kill two highway patrolmen in a pursuit in the area of Grapevine, Texas. After these two crimes and Methvin’s own murder acts after the pursuit, the foreshadowing events would lead to the fateful end of the duo and their gang.
Those events lead America to the day of betrayal and lives lost. Methvin’s father, for pardon of his son by the government for the crimes, would give Texas Ranger Frank Hamer the whereabouts of Bonnie and Clyde. On May 23, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down by Hamer’s hidden squad after driving down the backroad to pick up Methvin’s father beside a broken down truck. The couple did try to drive away in escape, but the hail of bullets killed them instantly.
The story of Bonnie and Clyde may not be as romantic as some remember; however, that does not mean one can not appreciate their daring tale. Go see “Bonnie and Clyde” put on by the Theatre Department this weekend and Sept. 1-3. Tickets prices can be found online at http://www.floydcentraltheatre.org.