HOLLYWOOD -- Snuff Garrett is a 42-year-old Texas good old boy and Hollywood urban cowboy who makes millions from country music and the nation's insatiable appetite for nostalgia.
He is riding the western music craze with Tanya Tucker's 'Pecos Promenade' and such other current country chart favorites as Merle Haggard, the Statler Brothers and Ronnie Milsap.
His sale of some 800 old movies on video cassettes brings in $2.3 million a year. A growing new enterprise, autographed posters _ selling for $100 a pop _ also swells the Garrett coffers.
Additionally, and most important to Garrett, is his deal to provide the music scores for Clint Eastwood's and Burt Reynolds' movies, including 'Every Which Way But Loose' and 'Smokey And the Bandit 2.'
Garrett himself is a colorful character in the Texas style. He's a hyper, balding, bearded dude with a down home country accent, given to homilies and not above whipping out a $5,000 wad of bills for betting purposes.
His name is a familiar switch to Texans who grew up seeing billboards advertising Garrett Snuff.
Obsessed since childhood with music and western movies, Garrett's hustle and business acumen have allowed him to fulfill his youthful fantasies.
Garrett owns 250 pairs of cowboy boots. He favors blue jeans and open sports shirts and gives the appearance of having just dismounted a cow pony _ which is probably the case.
He lives on a six-acre ranch in the San Fernando Valley with his wife, two daughters and six saddle horses. He helped design his distinctive adobe, pueblo-style ranch house.
Garrett's offices occupy an entire floor of one of Hollywood's most expensive high rise buildings. His own richly rustic office looks as if the interior decorators might have been Bronco Billy Anderson and Tom Mix.
Its walls are weathered barn siding on which hang costly western art, a buffalo head, a whitened steer skull, a mirror framed by antelope antlers.
Significantly, his 10th floor windows look down on landmarks from his hand-to-mouth past.
Garrett pointed to buildings where, fresh from Texas back in 1956, he had sought work.
'That's where Nickodel's restaurant used to be,' he said. 'And over there was Coffee Dan's where I hung out. And on the corner was Music City where I sold records near Sy Devore's where Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin bought their stuff.
'And right down there was George Jay's music company. I packed records for him. I like to look back on those days to see what I've accomplished since.'
Garrett singled out another building, former headquarters for Viva Music and Amigo Studios which he established with $9,000 in 1967. Three years later, Garrett, then 30, sold out to Warner Bros. for $2.25 million.
In 1970, after a year of inactivity, he formed Garrett Music Enterprises on which he's built a new empire. This year he will gross $4.5 million.
'I grew up in the 1940s when my life was devoted to watching cowboy movies,' Garrett drawled. 'Roy Rogers was my idol and now he's a close friend. I wrote a hit song for him, 'Hoppy, Gene and Me' six years ago. I produced his poster and I own all 88 of his movies and show them in the theater at my ranch.'
Four years ago, when home video recorders were still in their infancy, Garrett bought cassette rights to the old RKO and Republic Studios films for a pittance.
Today he sells the cassettes for about $55 a copy. Most are horse operas starring John Wayne, Rogers, Monte Hale, Wild Bill Elliott, Rex Allen, Lash La Rue and Sunset Carson.
He also does a brisk business with classics _ 'Citizen Kane,' 'King Kong,' 'Gunga Din,' 'The Informer' and 'High Noon.' Garrett's catalogue includes old horror films, Laurel and Hardy comedies and Astaire-Rogers musicals.
'Nobody wanted cassettes four years ago,' Garrett said. 'It wasn't the first time people called me crazy. It was a hobby with me which became big business.
'I still love to watch the old westerns when I get home at night. You don't have to be a rocket ship scientist to figure out the plots. You always know who'll win in the end.
'Nostalgia is very big in this country. That's the reason country music is riding high. And people who want to see old cowboy stars and western serials have no place to go except to buy cassettes.
'They aren't making new westerns for theaters or television anymore. The old ones still hold up and they sell real well.'
A composer himself (The Night Has a Thousand Eyes), Garrett is busy writing and producing the score for Reynolds' new movie, 'Cannonball Run,' and he did Reynolds' recording of 'Let's Do Something Cheap and Superficial.'
'I look out this window to remind myself where I came from and to think about where I am today,' Garrett said.