The day the earth stood still -- Bill Jordan
Updated: Nov 19
Those of you old enough like me to have known Bill Jordan will recall a tall jokester and raconteur who was a real Southern gentleman. What we didn't know then, was this:
What also caught my eye, was the description of the revolver in the accident, and then the date, and they caused me to wonder: could Bill's enthusiasm for a K frame 357 Magnum revolver have been an indirect cause of the incident. I.e., without its invention, would the accident have happened anyway?
That caused me to go looking on the very good forum for S&W firearms, smith-wessonforum.com. I was a member so I asked a question on the right subforum there, of those who would know. It turns out it's quite likely that Bill's presentation revolver from S&W was the revolver with which he shot John Rector.
My thinking for that plausibility: indeed Bill received his revolver before the shooting:
And the article speaks of his comparing the actions of his revolver with another. And we would expect a presentation model for a real gunfighter to have an excellent action. And the article notes that the revolver in the shooting was in his desk drawer vs. in his holster. Perhaps that's where a very special revolver would be kept?
So I asked: had someone on the forum ever seen and handled the revolver -- and has it been fired? If it turned out to be a safe queen then my theory was out the window and I'd be quite happy with that. But even a single shot would have left a witness mark around the face of the cylinder.
And it turned out it had been fired, and in all its chambers. It was no safe queen although I expect its current owner keeps it in one! So it's plausible, that if Bill Jordan hadn't persuaded Smith & Wesson executives to create the K frame 357 Magnum that we know as the Model 19 today, John Rector would have lived. Bill wouldn't have had his recently received revolver in his desk drawer to compare, and then forget he had reloaded it, and shot John Rector.
Rector's daughter Penny in 1964:
And at some point she located a thread about Jordan on smith-wessonforum and left this post:
RIP the Bill Jordan we didn't really know. Deaf as a post, he told me once, "look me straight in the eye when you speak, boy. I read lips!".