Beau L’Amour and
Paul O’Dell met in the summer of 1976 on a ranch just outside
Durango, Colorado that was originally intended to be the
location for the Louis L'Amour town of SHALAKO. Beau was
dating Paul's younger cousin Devon, a native of Durango,
who invited Paul to the L'Amour's summer picnic.
time I met Beau, I got shot. Shortly after our introduction,
I was placed on horseback, guided back up into the hills
to an old cabin, dressed in a Confederate soldier's uniform
and summarily shot . . . both with blanks and 8mm film.
Beau and I have been great friends ever since! "
. . Paul J. O'Dell
Though Beau was
living in Los Angeles and Paul was in Denver they managed
to overcome the barriers of time and distance and were soon
making Super-8 movies together, driving decrepit cars at
dangerous speeds, and causing more trouble together than
was expected of either one of them individually. They visited
on and off through their collage years, finally renting
an old house in the San Fernando valley. Beau was finishing
up at California Institute of the Arts and Paul, a recent
graduate of Lewis and Clark College was looking for work.
They were the perfect
team; Beau who could think up things that no one else would
bother doing and Paul who could actually make them work. With
clear-eyed determination, they set out to conquer the mean
streets of Van Nuys, California.
Together they worked on student
films and eventually moved on to different jobs in the Motion
Picture industry. Paul's degree in Technical Theater and
Performance led him to a position at the Ben Nye Theatrical
Make Up company. He quickly worked his way up through the
ranks, managed several departments, represented the company
nationwide at trade shows and seminars and wrote and produced
a series of "How-To" instructional videos. Beau
worked for several different TV production companies before
leaving the movie business behind (actually it left him
behind, 18 months of 16 hour days will do that) to work
overseeing various aspects of book production for Louis
of Beau's many responsibilities was to work with Bantam's
fledgling Audio Publishing group, supervising the production
of several Louis L’Amour short stories on audio
tape. These stories were to be dramatized, like old
time radio shows, with specially adapted scripts, casts
of up to a dozen actors, sound effects, and music. The able
crew of David Rapkin and Charles Potter were to execute
the recordings in New York City and Beau to supervise the
scripts from Los Angeles.
to learn everything he could about this medium, and in order
to better understand the problems involved in producing
an audio drama, Beau decided that he should write and direct
one of the shows. Knowing that Paul had extensive radio
production experience from his stint at KLC, his college's
radio station, the two began yet another collaboration.
Beau adapted the story and wrote the script for the audio
production of “Unguarded
Moment” ( from the short story collection: The
Hills of Homicide). He assembled and directed a cast
of actors that he and Paul had met while working in the
film industry. Paul produced and edited the one hour drama.
In 1988 Louis L’Amour passed away.
Paul came on to help organize Louis’ library and personal
papers. Paul worked many long hours with the L’Amour family
and a few helpful friends to sort through the incredible
volume of materials left behind.
As this project drew
to a close Beau and Paul began work on another audio program.
This one “Merrano,
of the Dry Country” (from the short story collection:
Strong Shall Live) was intended to stretch the boundaries
of the medium as far as they could figure out how to take
them. Working with cutting edge material (this is Beau praising
his own writing), modern equipment (now, hopelessly outdated),
and a fine cast, the two created another ‘experimental’ audio
Over the next few years Paul worked
for Billboard Magazine and The Software Labs and Beau began
restructuring Louis L’Amour Enterprises to help it continue
to exist without Louis' presence. The company experimented
with several different ventures in the mid nineties including
a successful fiction magazine (closed down when Bantam,
Doubleday, Dell sold the division) and a syndicated radio
show, Louis L’Amour Theater. Thirty, carefully edited (by
Beau and Paul over a lot of late nights, cheetos and Diet
Coke), versions of the Bantam audio programs appeared as
weekly episodes on over 200 stations nationwide in 1993
In 1994 Paul left Los Angeles
to manage The Software Labs office in Seattle, Washington
and Beau made another brief but unsuccessful attempt to
figure out how to work in both movies and publishing at
the same time. Eventually The Software Labs reorganized
and Beau realized that the gulf between making movies and
getting movies made was far too wide. Both needed something
to do so that they could justify staying up far too late,
pushing buttons and staring at blue light (Computer Monitors).
Through the miracles of modern
technology we are back together here on this website and
on louislamour.com, trying to make available everything
that you would ever want regarding Louis L’Amour and his
work. Not only do we sell all the books and tapes but we
will also create new products, many of which Louis envisioned
but never had time to develop.
Paul still lives in the gloomy
northwest, is happily married and the proud father of an
active boy. Beau is just waiting for an excuse to move away
from the oppressive stench of melting egos and fear that
permeates what passes for air in Southern California.