Eons ago I watched on TV the two-part miniseries “The Alamo: 13 Days To Glory.” At the time I thought it was pretty good; much later I realized how dumb it was: Civil War-era uniforms for Texan officers in 1836? Brian Keith as Davy Crockett?! Texan volunteer from Tennessee William Cloud falling for a young Mexican senorita whom he marries the night before the final attack?! Alec Baldwin as William B. Travis?! Baldwin’s Travis standing on top of a well and dying there during the fall of the fort?! Stock footage a go-go from the classic Alamo flick The Last Command edited in?! Lorne Greene as an old, drunken, cowardly Sam Houston?! I could go on and on, people. If you ask me, Burt Kennedy was somewhat pedestrian as a director, at least on this turkey.
However, I did also discover it had taken some of its title from a non-fiction book it had been –extremely- loosely based on; this non-fiction book.
First published by McGraw Hill in 1958, Tinkle’s book is a journalistic job whose author takes pains to point out where he had to make assumptions in the narrative, which is engaging, brisk, and lively, beginning with the arrival of Santa Anna’s army in San Antonio, through the fateful siege, and the tragic final act, with notes on the sources at the end rounding things off.
I will grant some will claim the book is inaccurate due to –supposed- evidence that purports that Davy Crockett was captured and executed and did not die fighting, and that Tinkle’s depiction of General/President Santa Anna having married a woman in San Antonio just to have her for company is incorrect due to the unreliability of his source, a Mexican sergeant in Santa Anna’s army.
Nevertheless, I believe it is a must read for those interested in the Alamo, as well as Texan lore in general. Just avoid the miniseries, which has been dubbed by Texas War of Independence re-enactors as “The Schmuckamo: 13 Daze To Boredom.”