Rudy D'Angelo was born in Pratola
Peligna, in the Abbruzzo region of Italy, in 1944 and came to the
United States with his mother and younger brother in 1952.
His father had already left Italy in 1947 to look for work and had
come to the United States by way of Venezuela in 1950. The
family settled in Hartford, Connecticut, where Rudy and his
brother (and later, two sisters) attended public and parochial
Rudy's love of history began early
in life, and by the time he graduated Hartford Public High School,
he had sailed through five courses of it. A history and art
major, he became interested in our nation's western history as he
was exposed to growing up with the TV westerns in the 1950s and
early 1960s, and playing with the very same cap guns that are the
subject of this study. After service in the army, he
returned to Connecticut, where he works as a private detective,
his profession for the past 30 years. Always a collector of
antique weapons and militaria, it was finding one of the many cap
guns that he used to play with some 15 years ago, that sparked the
wide-eyed youngster from within to start actively collecting,
studying, and researching the cap guns and rifles.
"My parents gave me values,
guidance, discipline, love and plenty of cap guns to play
with," recalled D'Angelo, "We were poor by today's
standards, but I never knew it."
His love of TV westerns got him to
write to the western stars of the 1950s and early 1960s, who sent
him autographed photos, letters, and short film biographies, all
of which Rudy cataloged, and painstakingly saved for the past 40
years. This book and the memories of his youth, his family,
and the cap guns that are passionately collected today by many kids
of the 1950s and 1960s is the culmination of a love affair and a
dream he had harbored for decades. Rudy has one of the best
and most complete collections of TV western character cap pistols
and rifles in the country, but he is always looking for that
elusive western character that has yet to surface.
As a military historian and writer,
Mr. D'Angelo has collaborated on 23 books, and has written over 90
articles on military history, weapons, and militaria. He
also writes on family, social issues, and the highs and lows of
his profession as a free-lance writer for several papers and
magazines. Mr. D'Angelo continues to reside in
Up! Rudy, with his Roy Rogers
cap gun, disarms Louy, who drops his Gene
Autry cap gun (note blur!!!)
1956: Diana blasting
away at her brothers
with her Dale Evans cap pistol.
1960: Anna Maria,
drop on her brothers with the Fanner 50.