Tarantula 30: Oh Pancho Oh Cisco


by Larry Fyffe

Take a little stretch, and conjectured it can be that the following lines make reference to the sentimental western adventures of the Cisco Kid and his sidekick Pancho:

Pancho was very startled
& screamed "i'll give you a friend or doe, you freak"
& banged him with a judo chop
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

In a short story by William Porter (aka O. Henry), the (Fran)Cisco Kid is described as “a vain person, as all eminent assassins are …”

Therein, the Tex-Mex bandito sings to himself:

Don't you monkey with my Lulu girl
Or I'll tell you what I'll do
(William Porter: The Caballero's Way)

Cisco’s gal double-crosses her outlaw-boyfriend, but her new guardian-lover, a Texas Ranger, guns her down by mistake; in the twist ending, the Kid fools the lawman into thinking that he’s disguised himself by dressing up to look like her.

Cisco (played by Duncan Renaldo) gets a jovial partner named Pancho (after Villa?) who chops up the English language when the two are portrayed on radio and TV, and in movies, as humour-prone nice guys mistakenly believed to be outlaws.

Brings to mind the following song lyrics:

The only thing we knew for sure about Henry Porter

Is that his name wasn’t Henry Porter.

In O. Henry’s story, though she definitely does not do so intentionally, Cisco’s gal gives up her own life in order that the Kid can get away from the Texas Ranger who’s out to kill him.

As he rides off into the sunset on his horse Diablo, Cisco (or so it could be said anyway) sings the following lyrics to himself:

I always liked San Francisco
I was there for a party once
Maybe someday you'll see that it's true
There was no greater love than what I had for you

(Bob Dylan: Maybe Someday – the Untold edit)

Besides Charles Dickens, TS Eliot has a say too:

And the cities hostile and towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices
(TS Eliot: The Journey Of The Magi)

Oh Pancho. Oh Cisco!:

Through hostile cities and unfriendly towns
Thirty pieces of silver, no money down
(Bob Dylan: Maybe Someday)

Below lie the roots of another Bob Dylan song:

Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures 
piled up in the basement,
Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, 
just to see him pluck at his  beard with envy

(William Porter: The Gift Of The Magi)

As in:

Big Jim was no one's fool, he owned the town's only diamond mine ....
But his bodyguards and silver cane 
   were no match for the Jack Of Hearts
(Bob Dylan: Lily, Rosemary,  And The Jack Of Hearts)

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