Bonnie & Clyde: America’s First Tabloid Couple

Bonnie & Clyde Color Pose
America’s first tabloid couple of the modern era – Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow

“Some day they’ll go down together
And they’ll bury them side by side
To few it’ll be grief, to the law a relief
But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.”

– Bonnie Parker, excerpt from her poem, “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde”, written just a few weeks before she and Clyde Barrow were gunned down by law enforcement agents in rural Louisiana on May 23rd, 1934.

Even if there are those unfamiliar with the details regarding this notorious pair, nearly everyone in the present day has at least heard of “Bonnie & Clyde”. The first celebrity criminals of the modern era were also this country’s first tabloid couple, given the two were romantically linked together. Not surprisingly, the law breaking lovers whom most of Depression Era America secretly rooted for were two people that were astrologically made for each other, since Aries Clyde Barrow and Libra Bonnie Parker were born beneath each other’s polar opposite sign.

Their story may have been romanticized in film, theater, and song, but the life of the real Bonnie and Clyde  is, in actuality, a rather sad tale of a low level thug and his girlfriend that murdered both civil servant and civilian alike during one of this country’s most difficult economic time periods, all for the purpose of petty thievery and localized popularity.

When they died in a hailstorm of bullets in 1934, she was 23 and he was 25. What fueled the legend behind this dastardly duo which in turn made their reputation so wildly popular was the overt nature of their polar opposited attraction to each other. So much so, the couple’s blatant sexual chemistry became the launching pad which skyrocketed the glorified idealism regarding Bonnie and Clyde’s relationship into the stuff of both romantic and criminal legend.

Despite their romantic attachment being elevated to mythological status, the core fact remains that Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were two people so attracted to each other they were willing to stay together no matter the repercussions, with both fully intent on facing their ultimate demise together as a unified team.

In order to fully grasp the polar opposited force of magnetism that was Bonnie & Clyde, we must first analyze the two separately by virtue of each of their individual Sun signs. We’ll start with the sign that starts all the Zodiac by reviewing the actions and behavior of the Aries portion of the criminal couple, Clyde Barrow.

Born March 24th, 1909 Clyde Barrow was the 5th of 7 children born to a poor farming family in rural Texas. Aries is known as the “leadership sign” and despite not being born the eldest, Clyde was the designated leader of the “Barrow Gang“, a small group of petty criminals which included Clyde’s older brother, Marvin and his younger brother, Leon.

Aries is the sign most associated with impulsive behavior and being ruled by the planet named after the Roman god of War, Mars, many born beneath this sign have combative natures and are susceptible to fits of rage.

Clyde Barrow was no exception to this astrological rule.

Clyde Barrow Mug Shot 1926 age 16
Clyde Barrow’s first mug shot looking much younger than his actual years at the age of 16 in 1926.

First arrested at the age of 16, Clyde cracked safes, robbed stores, and stole cars despite having legitimate employment. After his 3rd arrest for multiple car thefts and subsequent escape from jail for which he was caught a week later, Barrow was sentenced to 14 years hard labor at Eastham Prison located in Lovelady, Texas in April of 1930.

It was during his time at Eastham that Barrow transformed into a hardened criminal, displaying the most unevolved behavior of his Aries personality. There, Clyde committed his first murder after crushing the skull of a fellow inmate with a lead pipe.  Wishing to be excused from his work detail in the fields, Barrow acted out of pure impulse by convincing another inmate to cut off two of his toes with an axe. Unbeknownst to Clyde, his mother had successfully petitioned his release six days following his act of spontaneous desperation.

The Aries’ sense of spontaneity would soon enough put a price over his head as a highly sought after fugitive.  In August of 1932, Clyde and two other members of his posse went to a community dance in Stringtown, Oklahoma. While drinking alcohol in the assembly hall’s parking lot, the local sheriff and his deputy approached the men to investigate, given Prohibition was the law of the land at that time.  The officers hadn’t even reached the Barrow Gang before Clyde broke out his automatic rifle and open fired on impulse, gravely wounding the sheriff and killing the deputy.

This would be the first of nine law enforcement officers that Clyde Barrow would slay, eventually murdering 13 people in total.

Human rage is at its worst when fueled by revenge. Clyde Barrow claimed his crimes weren’t committed for the purpose of either fame or fortune, but rather as acts of vengeance against the Texas prison system for the abuses he had suffered while serving time.

Clyde may have been born beneath the sign of self but his law breaking behavior didn’t come about as an isolated phenomenon.  The bad boy which loomed within Barrow was fostered with plenty of encouragement and assistance in the form of an attractive Libra girl named Bonnie.

Whereas Aries is the sign of Me, Me, and a lot more Me, its polar opposite sign of Libra functions best whenever actively involved in a close one on one partnership. What many born beneath the sign of the Scales tend to forget is a solid sense of self must firmly be in place before any kind of close relationship should be established.

Bonnie Parker was no exception to this astrological rule.

Few realize at the time of her death, Bonnie was wearing a wedding ring and the coroner was surprised to discover a tattoo etched with a man’s name and her own placed on her inner thigh.

Neither of which having anything to do with Clyde Barrow.

Bonnie Parker with first husband Roy ThorntonBonnie Parker and her husband Roy Thornton. The two married when Bonnie was 15 and like Clyde, Roy ended up a convicted criminal. Thornton didn’t live long past his deceased wife after being shot to death while trying to break out of jail at the age of 28.

Born October 1st, 1910 and married at the age of 15, it appeared as if the Libra barely spent a minute being single. Dropping out of high school in her second year, Bonnie Parker married fellow drop out, Roy Thornton, who like Clyde Barrow was a petty criminal.  Their life together as a married couple would be short lived due to Thornton being given a sentence of 50 years in prison for robbery and burglary. Ironically, Roy Thornton would die at the age of 28 after trying to escape from the same institution of incarceration Clyde Barrow ended up in –  Eastham Prison.

With her estranged husband being a convicted criminal, Bonnie Parker clearly had a penchant for bad boys. The Libra was prime for the picking upon being introduced to a 21 year old with an arrest record born beneath her polar opposite sign named Clyde Barrow in 1930.

It’s generally believed that Bonnie Parker played an active role in the crime sprees performed by Clyde Barrow and his gang.  So much so, Bonnie’s criminal persona as a machine gun toting murderess took on a life of its own after her death, most especially in the 1950’s when the fictitious film entitled “The Bonnie Parker Story” was made. While on the run from the law with The Barrow Gang, Bonnie Parker did have a price on her head and was wanted for murder alongside a bounty for Clyde, but by all accounts the woman born beneath the mild mannered and non-confrontational sign of Libra never harmed anyone directly, nor actively took part in any of the acts of violence associated with her posse.

Bonnie Parker Story PosterA 1958 movie poster telling the fictitious story of the “cigar smoking hellcat of the roaring 30’s” that being Hollywood’s made-up and highly idealized version of Bonnie Parker.

Parker was, however, according to Wikipedia.org, “an accomplice to 100 or more felony criminal actions during her two-year career in crime including eight murders, seven kidnappings, half-a-dozen bank robberies, scores of felony armed robberies, countless automobile thefts, one major jailbreak, and an episode of assault and battery.”

It was previously mentioned that Clyde Barrow was sent to Eastham Prison after escaping from jail while brandishing a gun and being caught on the run a week later. Barrow was given access to the gun in question by none other than Bonnie Parker, who smuggled in the deadly weapon while visiting the Aries behind bars.

And here is where the Aries and the Libra must be analyzed together through their power of attraction to each other.

Much like oppositely charged magnets, people born beneath polar opposite signs attract.  Even with that being the case, the attraction between Libra Bonnie Parker and Aries Clyde Barrow extended far beyond the norm.  The potent magnetism experienced by the gangster couple was so noteworthy, an emotional disorder was named in honor of crime’s most well-known lovers, “Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome”.

Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome, also known as “Hybristophilia” is defined by Psychology Today as the following mental condition: “a sexual paraphilia in which an individual derives sexual arousal and pleasure from having a sexual partner who is known to have committed crime, such as rape, murder, or armed robbery.” 

Bonnie Parker 1920's.jpgEven while on the run from the law, Venus ruled Libran Bonnie Parker was extremely concerned with her looks and fastidious about maintaining a “pretty” public appearance despite having a portion of her right leg burned to the bone by battery acid from a car crash while escaping police.

Fascinatingly, it was Bonnie’s Venusian proclivities which catapulted the namesake hybristophiliac and her criminal boyfriend into national prominence. When the hunt first began for the law breaking pair, police in Joplin, Missouri came across photos left behind in an abandoned hideout as the couple hurriedly escaped on the run from the law. The photographs were playful poses taken by Barrow and Parker, clearly exhibiting that not only  were the two lovers but quite obviously sexually active together. The material was released to the press and the romanticized legend of the gangster lovers living high against the two things which people resented most those days, banks and the police, better known as “Bonnie & Clyde” was born.

Bonnie & Clyde Joplin photoOne of the playfully posed photos Parker and Barrow left behind in an abandoned hideout in Joplin, Missouri displaying a fictitiously cigar smoking, gun wielding Bonnie.  The Joplin police, in turn, released the photos to the press and the highly glamorized tabloid legend of “Bonnie & Clyde” was born.  The American public first learned of Bonnie Parker with the words the press first used to describe her – “the cigar smoking gun moll”, a phrase which mortified the aesthetically sensitive Bonnie.

Clyde Barrow may have been the ultimate bad boy that overtook all of Bonnie Parker’s good girl’s sensibilities, but unglamorous truth be told, the Texas thug who toted a Browning Automatic Rifle with the serious rage issues would have remained a small scale petty thief known only among local authorities if the Aries had never crossed paths with his Libran lover.

It was the polar opposited attraction shared between the lawless pair that captured the attention of America in the midst of the Great Depression which in turn inspired the early years of the 1930’s to become otherwise known as the “Public Enemy Era“.  According to historian Jeff Guinn:

“John Dillinger had matinee-idol good looks and Pretty Boy Floyd had the best possible nickname, but the Joplin photos introduced new criminal superstars with the most titillating trademark of all—illicit sex. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were wild and young, and undoubtedly slept together.”

The public’s reaction to Bonnie and Clyde’s death unto itself was the stuff of legend. Mobs of thousands gathered in and around the funeral home where the couple’s bodies were brought with many attempting to steal Bonnie and Clyde’s hair/clothes/body parts as souvenirs. The tabloid legend of Bonnie and Clyde had already begun immediately following their deaths and was proving to be far bigger than their actual selves.

The gangster couple may have gone down together in a hail storm of bullets but the two weren’t laid to rest as Bonnie’s poem stipulated “side by side”.  The Libra’s mom never approved of her daughter’s Aries boyfriend and actively prevented Bonnie’s body from being buried next to Clyde’s.

That, and their bullet riddled bodies not being able to hold in any embalming fluid certainly didn’t help things either. 

May the real story of Bonnie and Clyde and not their tabloid legend stand as a universal warning that it shouldn’t matter how loved or attractive another person can make us feel, each of us must stay true to our own sense of individual identity.

Film footage of Bonnie and Clyde’s bullet riddled car with their dead bodies still in the automobile taken a few minutes following their ambushed death in rural Gibsland, Louisiana on May 23rd, 1934.

 *Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc.  is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.

Brad Kronen’s guide on Astrology and Relationships “Love in the Stars” for purchase on amazon.com

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