"The Politically Incorrect West" - Article by John R. Erickson in American Cowboy Magazine

Thursday, June 25, 2015 | By Maverick Books staff

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Hi Hank-fans! 

We thought you might enjoy this great article by John Erickson about Hank's early experience with television. And, as always, we'd love to hear what you think in the comments below! 

From the American Cowboy magazine article:

"In 1984, I received a phone call from a man who worked for a major television network. He said they wanted to turn my first Hank the Cowdog book into a 30-minute animated cartoon. He said, “We love this story.”

That made me proud. I had self-published the book in my garage after collecting rejection slips for 15 years. It was an innocent, funny story about a ranch family and their dog, but it also gave an accurate, loving description of life and work on a typical cattle ranch in the Texas Panhandle during the decade of the Seventies.  

I had gone to a lot of trouble to capture the details of Hank’s little world, drawing on memories from the seven years I’d spent working on ranches in Texas and Oklahoma.  I felt it would make a beautiful cartoon about a piece of America that was close to my heart. 

When the Hank program aired on national television in May 1985, I was mostly pleased with the animation and the voice talent, but puzzled by some changes they had made to my story.

First, they had altered the location. The Texas Panhandle had morphed into a postcard panorama of Monument Valley. Second, the family (husband, wife, two kids) had vanished. Sally May, the ranch wife in my books, had become the boss, and she and two hired hands were living together in the same house—no wedding rings, no children. It seemed an odd arrangement to be putting into a family-friendly Saturday morning time slot. And third, there were no cattle. The ranch had become “El Pollo Loco,” a chicken farm.

The network had erased three important motifs that were embedded in my story: a powerful sense of place, a husband and wife working together for a common purpose, and the tradition of cattle ranching that had been in my family since 1859..." 

Read the entire article HERE on American Cowboy's website.  


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