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Bonnie and Clyde strike Pilot Point's historic town square again

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Kyle Martin, Staff Writer

Police responded to two bank robberies in the 100 block of East Main Street in Pilot Point on Saturday. Well, not really. It was fake. 

Pilot Point residents celebrated their eighth annual Bonnie and Clyde Days in the town square on Saturday, the same place where director Arthur Penn featured the town in a bank robbery scene 50 years ago for the Warner Bros. 1967 Hollywood blockbuster film, Bonnie and Clyde. 

Although the Pilot Point Farmers and Merchants Bank  actually never was robbed by the infamous duo of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, legend has it that Pilot Point and other surrounding towns were the "stomping grounds" of the couple and their troupe of criminals, the Barrow Gang. 

In 1966, the town hosted the Hollywood filmmakers, who fancied their downtown bank as the perfect place to stage a bit of history. 

"It was a great, great time for our city," said Dwayne Edwards, a Pilot Point resident who played the role of Mayor George Hilz during the afternoon's re-enactment. "[The film] came at a time and season in our country where it was really edgy to do it, and that's why it's amazing that here they allowed that scene to happen."

Edwards wove for the crowd the story of when Mayor Hilz got the call from filmmaker Warren Beatty asking the mayor to allow his crew to film at the bank. By the time the filming was over, a few Pilot Point residents were given roles in the movie, and the town had made its Hollywood appearance. 

Saturday's re-enactment crew consisted of a Bonnie, a Clyde, a Marvin "Buck" Barrow, several fake police officers, fake prop guns and classic cars. The guns shot blank bullet casings, which shook the crowd, and by the end of it, Bonnie and Clyde had gotten away again, driven to safety by none other than Clyde's brother, Barrow, who was played by Pilot Point resident Antonio Kheir. 

"This is my first time acting, [and] it was awesome," Kheir, 18, said. "There's not a whole lot of scripts or anything, so you kind of improvise a lot." 

Kheir shot a fake revolver at the officers before getting away with the thieves, much to the delight of the onlooking crowd. He said this was his first time out to the event, but he hopes it won't be his last.

Around the event, passers-by were able to hear and watch live performances on the event stage, including performances by the Denton Community Theatre's recent summer musical cast of Bonnie and Clyde.  Folks were able to enjoy the sunlight, shade — if they could find it — kettle corn and $4 beer, among other things. A pie-eating contest and a soap box derby challenge were among the main events for the day. 

Nancy Quin, a Pilot Point resident of 26 years and a Pilot Point Elementary teacher for 23 years, said she enjoyed the afternoon's festivities and is looking forward to more events at the historic town square. Next week's festivities include the Rodeo for Jesus Roundup and the high school's homecoming parade. 

"Every event seems to draw out more and more people," Quin said. "We love it. We love the small-town feel." 

KYLE MARTIN can be reached at kyle.martin@dentonrc.com or via Twitter at @Kyle_Martin35.