Friday, August 15, 2008

51. In Search of Lost Treasure

This is quite possibly the most thrilling image I have ever stumbled upon in my internetly wanderings. It was taken at Steel Pier in Atlantic City, though I don't know the date or who the rider is.

The movie "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken" was sort of a secret indulgence of mine some time ago. I've always had an obsession with horses beyond any hope of recovery, but even if I didn't, it was still amazing. I knew that it was based on a true story, but until I began reading everything I could find on horse diving this morning (prompted by the photo above), I hadn't realized the film was based on Sonora Webster-Carver's autobiography.

Sonora was the first woman ever to high dive with a horse. Even after being blinded in a diving accident, she continued. She is the poster girl for getting back on the horse and trying again, literally and figuratively speaking. I find her infinitely inspiring.

I immediately went Barnes & Noble's website to snag a copy of "A Girl and Five Brave Horses", but they didn't have any. And apparently neither does anyone else. After checking, Ebay and countless used book resellers, I have only been able to find a handful of old library copies priced in the $395-500 range. I even searched the online card catalogs for libraries in my area, to no avail.

I am so sad. The book hasn't been printed since the first edition came out in 1961. The copyright is still owned by Doubleday & Company, and I can't understand why it wouldn't have been reprinted for the film's release in 1991, exactly thirty years later. It would have been perfect.

Soren found one website where you can read books online, but it turned out that in order to purchase a membership, you had to prove you were either a) immobile, or b) in possession of a qualifying learning disability. And if you made it that far, the membership itself cost $75.


I finally just emailed Doubleday asking why they haven't ever reprinted. It was a sad little last ditch effort; I don't honestly expect any reply...

I suppose the moral of this story is that books, like rare photographs, are precious things, not to be taken for granted or tossed aside. Because once they're gone, it may be forever. If anyone out there has a copy I could borrow, I promise I'll bring it right back when I'm done.


Janieac said...

No, I think the moral of this story is that you have incredibly expensive taste.


I keed.

Very interesting story. Horse diving sounds insanely dangerous and horribly ill-advised ... and how does one reach the conclusion that jumping from a high dive would be a logical feat for a horse (and its rider) to accomplish?

In any event, the photograph is very shocking. And awesome.

Françoise de Fleur said...

Love the photo. Love that you too loved that movie as a kiddo.

Let's have a Wild Hearts slumber party!

The Boognish said...

They used to do this at Six Flags when I was a kid, although I think it was a donkey or Jack Ass but I'm not sure how to tell the difference.