Thanks for the description, Fred. Below are the Bart Moore Bowie knife, a blade that the Moore family says was given to an ancestor of theirs by an ex-Mexican soldier and the IRON MISTRESS film knife, designed for the film of the same name and used in THE LAST COMMAND, THE ADVENTURES OF JIM BOWIE TV series and THE ALAMO (1960). The Musso Bowie, shown at the bottom of the photo, has been scientifically dated back to the year 1830. Joseph Musso talks about Bowie Knives seen in THE ALAMO (2004) From thealamofiolm site, October 28, 2004
MESSAGE FROM JOE MUSSO:
As you know, I was contacted several times from the Alamo 2004 film company
regarding bowie knives and the Mexican Army, first by Thel Reed when Ron Howard
was helming it and then by Don Miloyevich when John Lee Hancock took over.
Don eventually commissioned Tony Swatton of the Sword and Stone in Burbank CA
to make Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett's knife used in the film based on knives
in my collection. Bowie's knife as used by Jason Patric was based on the
original brass-backed knife, termed the Musso Bowie by others. The Crockett knife
that Billy Bob Thorton used was based on two other originals in my collection
The blade is from one previously owned by the American officer, Elisha Kent
Kane, and was made by the Philadelphia cutler, Henry Schively, who also made a
knife that Jim Bowie's brother, Rezin, presented to Jesse Perkins in 1831.
Kane's knife is in the same blade shape as Rezin's, except that it's 12" long,
compared to Rezin's 10 1/4" long blade. During the Mexican War, Kane captured
and later befriended the Mexican General Antonio Gaona, whose 1st Infantry
brigade and de La Pena stormed the north wall at the Alamo. Kane later went on
two arctic expeditions in search of the British explorer, Sir John Franklin,
and had the handle replaced with a reindeer antler found at the gravesite of
Frankilin's crew. He then presented it to the first president of the American
Geographic Society, Henry Grinnell, for financing the Expeditions. Since we
know that Crockett received a knife from the Whig Party in Philadelphia in 1834,
it's quite logical that this knife was made by the Phiadelphia cutler
Schively. Rather than go with a handle like Schively made for Rezin, however, John
Lee preferred to match the half-horse, half-alligator handle on another knife
from my collection that was also on display at the Texas State History Museum
Crockett Exhibition in Austin. Even though this handle design was not
incorporated on the bowie knife until 9 years after the Alamo fell, John Lee
obviously felt that it befitted Crockett's brag that he was "half-horse,
half-alligator and a little touched with snapping turtle."
Tony Swatton, also made versions of the Musso Bowie, which has a 13 3/4" long
blade, for the now defunct Texas Adventure Theater. His website is http://www.swordandstone.com/knifes/alamobowie.html
Other custom knifemakers who specialize
in exact replicas include Joseph Kesslar in Almo, Ky, phone: 270-753-7919, and
Gil Hibben in La Grange, KY, phone: 502-222-1397. This style is also offered
in slightly smaller and cheaper versions by Atlanta Cutlery of Conyers, GA,
phone; 800-883-0300, as "Primitive Bowie" with a 13" long blade for $89.95 and
Dixie Gun Works of Union City, TN, phone: 800-238-6785, as "Alamo Bowie" with a
12 1/2" long blade for 99.95.
Since you can't copyright historic designs, anyone can make up versions of
these historic knives without anyone's permission. Hence, contrary to the
belief of some, I get absolutely no royalties from any of these makers or firms.
So those interested, can choose what they like depending on their interest for
accuracy and finances.
On a sad note, Fred Landesman, whose book, "John Wayne Filmography," just
came out and helped me on The Alamo Journal-Waynamo boxoffice article, died
suddenly on October 22 of a sudden heart attack. He was 54.