The Book of Bill by Tom Crisp Bill de-Constructed
A nickname is the heaviest stone that the devil can throw at a man.
- WILLIAM HAZLITT, essayist
the name of the game
Billistics: the science and collection of all things Williamish.
to name a few: BILL that ordinary boy from showboat THE CONTINUING STORY OF BUNGALOW BILL the beatles ( MY BOY BILL) SOLILOQUY rogers & hammerstein BILL & BEN catherine wheel WILD BILL JONES stanley brothers LONESOME COWBOY BILL velvet underground TELL OL' BILL bob dylan BILL SO HORNY 2 live crew DON'T MESS WITH BILL the marvelettes WHERE THE HELL IS BILL? camper von beethoven WEDDING BELL BLUES ( MARRY ME, BILL) laura nyro WON'T YOU COME HOME BILL BAILEY hughie cannon BARNACLE BILL THE SAILOR and BILLY BOY, BILLY BOY
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In the language of flowers of the Victorian era, Sweet William represented gallantry. Sweet William is also the hero's name in many an old English folk song. In a more recent musical tribute, Van Halen gallantly noted that Big Bad Bill is Sweet William Now ...
The story of a vigilante "half-breed" American Indian, Billy Jack wreaked havoc to the tune of Coven's One Tin Soldier - later subtitled The Legend of Billy Jack. The film is one of the top 100 grossing ever, and the song is one of radio's "most requested" of all time.
Bobbie Gentry's mutiple Grammy-winning Ode to Billie Joe was one of the most controversial - and oft-recorded - songs of the 60s. It spawned a movie in which Robby Benson jumped off that Tallahatchie Bridge.
The "S" in William S. Hart was for Surrey, but might as well have been Though he made his first movie at age 49, William S. Hart went on to star in
for another William - Shakespeare. Hart was a prominent classical actor on Broadway before becoming a great star of silent films, helping to create the classic western genre. over 75 films, and to direct more than 50. His "natural", rough cowboys went out of style for a while, replaced by the smoothies like Gene Autry, only to return a generation later.
THE SHOWMAN AND THE POKER PLAYER
Buffalo Bill Cody took the west east with his extravagant shows celebrating cowboys, Indians, and one cowgirl: Annie Oakley. On screen great actors like Peter Coyote, Dennis Weaver, Charlton Heston and Louis Calhern have played the hunter-turned-showman. Also Joel McCrea, Richard Arlen, Brian Keith, Guy Stockwell and a certain Clayton Moore, later to become TV's Lone Ranger.
James Butler Hickock was nicknamed "Duckbill" as a young man, thanks to his ski-slope nose. He adjusted the name, but not the proboscis, and became a legend. As a character he's shown up in more than 60 films and TV shows. Gary Cooper went Wild in The Plainsman; some other Bill Hickocks include William S. Hart, Jack Cassidy, Sam Shepard, Sam Elliott, Howard Keel, Forrest Tucker, Robert Culp and Josh Brolin. Lloyd Bridges played him in 1964, Jeff Bridges in 1995.
TV's Superman, George Reeves, was Buffalo Bill in Pony Express Days (1940); and TV's Batman, Adam West, was Wild Bill in 1960 on the series Overland Trail.
Keith Carradine has filled the boots of both Cody (opposite Jeff Bridges in Wild Bill) and Hickock (in Showtime's Deadwood).
Above, the genuine article. Below, Paul Newman in Buffalo Bill and the Indians. Guy Madison was Bill Hickock on TV, seen below astride Buckwheat and beside Andy Devine.
Roy Rogers made over 100 movies and was nicknamed King of the Cowboys. He was also the only actor to score this cowboy hat-trick: portraying Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill and Billy the Kid.
Rogers was featured in 1940's The Dark Command, with John Wayne and Walter Pidgeon, who starred as William Quantrill, "The Bloodiest Man in America" and leader of Quantrill's Raiders, .
In 1929, industrialist Harvey Firestone returned from Liberia with a gift for President Calvin Coolidge: a wee 600-lb hippo named Billy - soon to be re-christened William Johnson Hippopotamus by some reporter. Billy lived until 1955 at the Smithsonian National Zoo, and is believed to have sired most Pygmy hippos in US zoos today.
Grand Honors
Entertainment
Sport
Nobel Prize
Nineteen times Stockholm has invited Williams, Wilhelms, a Willem and a Guglielmo to pick up the world's most famed prize. Marconi, Faulkner, Yeats, Lipscomb ...
Pulitzer Prize
We can report that 58 of these have gone to Bill, including Saroyan, Inge, and William Carlos Williams. Novelist William Faulkner, cartoonist Bill Mauldin, composer William Schuman and editor William Allen White each were honored twice. Photographer William Snyder got into the Pulitzer picture 3 years running.
Movies
Oft-confused (by others) directors Billy Wilder and William Wyler dominated Academy Award recognition for decades. Wyler has the record for Best Direction nominations at 12, with three wins. Wilder won the most Oscars by anyone in a single year, as he took best Picture, Screenplay and Direction statuettes for The Apartment in 1960. He had 2 other writing wins. From William Goldman to Billy Bob Thornton, Bills have 14 Screenplay Oscars.
Kennedy Center Honors
Billy Wilder, composer William Schuman, Willie Nelson and Bill Cosby have all sat alongside Presidents to be honored. Nelson has also racked up 10 Grammy awards for his writing and recordings. Cosby has 6 himself, for his comedy records, as well as 4 Emmys.
Baseball
By 2008 the Baseball Hall of Fame held 19 of our men, but Willies - Mays, Mccovey, Stargell, Hernandez and McGee - shut out the Bills as Major League Baseball MVPs.
Basketball
What need we say about Bill Russell beyond his FIVE-time NBA MVP honors?
Football
The Heisman Trophy has had Billy written all over it: Vessels, Cannon and Simms.
Hockey
Hall of Famers: 20 Williamish men in all.
Tennis
Big Bill Tilden, 7 times the #1 player in the world, helped change the game from polite to powerful.
The oldest steam locomotive in the world is the Puffing Billy, built in 1813 and in service until 1862 in Northumberland county, England . You can still see him at the Science Museum in London.
The BILLY CLUB's name may be a variation of bully club, an etymologically self-evident derivation. Or it could come from the French billet, meaning document, letter or ticket, which has leant itself to English words including the billet that means housing a soldier (thanks to the paper order by that name) or the billet that was a document for arrest. That circles us neatly back to the police, the usual suspects when it comes to wielding sticks in the name of the law.

An abbreviated French billet is also at the root of the Bill of Sale, Dollar Bill and Phone Bill.

But when you agree over the phone to pay "five bills" for that used Oldsmobile, remember that on the street a bill ain't a buck - it's a C-note: $100.

Male goats were "bucks" until the 12th century, when with typical medieval certitude they were re-named "he-goats". But about 600 years later all heck broke loose, and along came that boisterous bovine, the
Billy Goat.
Since the 1890s, Bill the Goat has been the mascot of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis MD ... and he still looks like a kid.
BILLISTICS
TOMCRISPONLINE
The Book of Bill: Choice Words Memorable Men - by Tom Crisp - Andrews McMeel Publishers
Site Contents c.2009
Tom Crisp and/or Visogno Design