National Geographic Channel and Executive Producer Kevin Costner Share the Exclusive Story Behind the Billy the Kid Photo Everyone is Talking About
Photo Has Been Independently Appraised and Insured at $5M
Billy the Kid: New Evidence Premieres This Sunday, Oct. 18, at 9/8c
WASHINGTON -- National Geographic Channel (NGC), in partnership with Leftfield Pictures and executive producer Kevin Costner, traces the origins of the rare tintype making headlines around the world this week; a photo that authenticators say is of famed fugitive William H. Bonney - aka Billy the Kid. The two-hour special Billy the Kid: New Evidence premieres this Sunday, Oct. 18, at 9/8c on the National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 44 languages. For more information, visit our press room at foxflash.com and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/NGC_PR.
It's the story that sent shockwaves around the world. An old tintype, purchased for $2 at a California memorabilia shop in 2010, is believed to be only the second known photograph of Billy the Kid, and the first to include his notorious gang the "Regulators" - a find with the potential to rewrite history and make its owner, collector Randy Guijarro, a millionaire. Now, with exclusive access, NGC's Billy the Kid: New Evidence tells the story of the tintype's fortuitous discovery and investigates its origin and authenticity using cutting-edge photo forensics and time period recreations to piece together a mystery more than 130 years in the making.
The two-hour special brings together an unforgettable cast of current and historical characters, weaving together a suspenseful and high-stakes story that could leave Guijarro handsomely rewarded. After enlarging the image, he saw what looked to be a familiar figure - Billy the Kid - playing croquet with members of Regulators, including the Kid's best friends Tom O'Folliard and Charlie Bowdre. As the gravity of the discovery began to set in, Guijarro initiated a chain of events that would lead him on a painstaking journey to verify the photograph's authenticity.
The authenticity of the photo was called into question by the very experts who had authenticated what was previously the only verified photo of Billy the Kid known to exist. The stakes are incredibly high. The previously authenticated photo sold in 2011 for $2.3 million to billionaire William Koch.
But Guijarro remained determined. He enlisted a vintage-photo expert to assess the authenticity of the photo and hired a private investigator to pore over the area of Lincoln County, New Mexico, that resembles the terrain in the photo. Their hope was to find definitive proof of where the photo was taken and then to pinpoint where Billy the Kid and the Regulators were purported to be at the time in 1878.
And the quest to prove the photo's origin has seemed to pay off. Kagin's Inc. of Tiburon, California, has agreed to handle the sale of Guijarro's tintype and has had it independently appraised and insured for $5,000,000. Now the only question is, will someone buy it?
Billy the Kid: New Evidence will not only highlight the work of the authenticators and investigators, but could also reveal new information about Billy the Kid and his infamous posse. One burning question they hope to answer: While running from the law during the Lincoln County War, when could the most notorious bandits in American history have had time to play croquet?
Billy the Kid: New Evidence is produced by Leftfield Pictures and 18THIRTY Entertainment for National Geographic Channels. Executive producer is Kevin Costner. For Leftfield Pictures, executive producers are Brent Montgomery, David George, Shawn Witt and Philippe Denham. Jeff Aiello is executive producer for 18THIRTY Entertainment. For National Geographic Channels, executive producer is Michael Kovnat, vice president of production is Matt Renner, and president of original programming and production is Tim Pastore.
National Geographic Channels
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in nearly 90 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 45 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com.
About Leftfield Pictures
Leftfield Pictures, part of Leftfield Entertainment, an ITV Studios company, is best known for producing the breakout hit "Pawn Stars," delivering record ratings for History and spawning the "hidden treasures" genre of programming. "Pawn Stars" spinoffs include "American Restoration," "Counting Cars" and the game show "Pawnography," as well as international formats in the U.K., Australia and South Africa. Leftfield Pictures also produces "Blood, Sweat and Heels" (Bravo), "Alone" (History), "Cutting It" (WEtv), "New Money" (E!) and "Lachey's: Raising the Bar" (A&E). Leftfield Pictures has additional series in production and development with networks including Bravo, National Geographic, History, Lifetime, Discovery, VH1, FYI, E!, Animal Planet, HGTV and more. Other Leftfield Entertainment companies include Sirens Media ("Real Housewives of New Jersey"), Loud TV ("Tiny House Nation"), Outpost Entertainment ("Icons") and Riot Creative.