On a plot of land that until recently was an orchard, on the edge of the Urano section of the town of Espulgas, two hundred meters from the Carretera de Madrid a Barcelona and a mere five hundred from the ‘chic’ restaurants on Diagonal, rifles and pistols are scattered under the benevolent gaze of the Civil Guard. We are in what is called Espulgas-City; One hundred and fifty meters of the American West of the last (19th) century, with the smell of dust and a stable, with a jail, a blacksmith shop and a saloon, in addition to some other ‘grocery’ (is very crowded).
Espulgas City, as a western town, that has practically no defects. The wooden houses completely mask the landscape of old Espulgas, with its plots of secondary orchards, on the edge of Barcelona.
Well - they tell us-. Detail had to be taken care of. Hide modern visuals, that wooden water tower, on the roof of the house on the corner, hides a T.V.Y. antenna from the eye of the camera. that chimney on the sheriff's roof hide a power pole.
But Robert Woods, who is tall as a basketball player and walks bow-legged like a cowboy, tells us:
“I was born in Colorado. There we conserve some towns of the time of the colonization. They are… like authentic historical museums. And, truth be told, this is not very different from that. It seems entirely convincing to me.”
Woods wears the hero's dusty outfit.
Are you a real cowboy?
“Me? I'm an actor. He played a cowboy as well as a banker. When the day’s shoot ends, well, when I leave this fake street, once I finish work, I walk like everyone else.”
Woods is tall, thin and cute. He is married but his wife is not in the film profession.
“No! My wife -Wood reassured us-, she is a housewife endowed with two extraordinary virtues: she cooks very well and takes care of me with great affection.”
Robert has done so much T.V. as he wanted.
“I don’t think there has been a cowboy series in the last few years in which I haven't starred in
Also, he has done musical comedy and is a good horseman.
There in front of the saloon, whose porch houses the cameras, an outlaw, dressed in black from top to bottom, whips a settler who threatened him with his Winchester. The one with the whip is a circus artist who doubles the bad guy. On the seat of the wagon, full of family belongings. The mother, shaken, hugs her little son. A classic situation.
Norman Preston takes refuge next to us, in the protective shade of this veranda full of onlookers. He is Italian, a professional actor and his real name is Nino Persello. Like many who use a pseudonym, he has retained his authentic name and surname initials. He is kind, talkative and knows the cinema by heart. In addition to being an actor in sixty films, he has been a producer in South America. Now, in “El Rancho de los Implacables” ($5,000 on One Ace), which is shot in Espulgas City, he is the gypsy Jack.
“The genre of the West” he tells us, “is highly desired by the public. People need to relax of the burden of the atomic age. And on the other hand, you can't always be watching Antonioni or Fellini's movies.”
Is it difficult to see yourself in a cowboy movie?
“No, if you have some experience. And besides, there have been so many.”
And Espulgas City, what do you think?
“It lacks the rains of October and the rigors of winter so that it ages a little. Then everything will be perfect.”
Next to the blacksmith shop is the stable. A real stable, with half a dozen mourning horses that serve as mounts for the cowboys on duty.
He informed me of those who dare in Spain to fall dead from the horse and perform those horse stunts that characterize Western films.
“They are specialists. A good group. Many of them, gypsies; connoisseurs like nobody else on a horse.”
They invite us to refresh ourselves. We went to the saloon, with its authentic nineteenth-century windows (from a demolition in Barcelona), but it seems that the place lacks liquor. The real canteen is behind the wooden wall of a house that has no roof. A fictitious house like those children's plastic revolvers that Norman Preston uses, so that they don't weigh him down, in the general shots.
But the soda was good.
The most real elements of Espulgas-City are the sun and the dust.