Saturday, August 28, 2010

'YELLOW ROCK' EXCLUSIVE NEXT WEEK!

Howdy, readers!

Change of plans -- it's almost one a.m. on Monday -- which means it's really Tuesday, and I'm still not done with the YELLOW ROCK piece -- paying work keeps intervening. So, I'm going to put it off until this coming weekend, hen it will be a finely polished jewel of an article! Sorry for the delay!

CINECON 46 – CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL SEPT. 2ND-6TH

This 46th annual presentation of hard-to-nearly-impossible-to-see movies will be held Thursday through Monday, with screenings in Grauman’s Egyptian on Hollywood Boulevard. The dealer room for memorabilia collectors will be on the 3rd floor of the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, adjacent to the Hollywood-Highland Entertainment complex. There will be lots of screenings, celebrity events, a banquet, and of particular interest are a number of Western screenings. Tennessee's Pardner (1916), a rare 50 minute feature from the Bret Harte story [Friday Sept 3 at 10:55 AM], The Thrill Hunter (1932) starring Buck Jones [Saturday September 4, 10:20 AM], The Testing Block (1920) starring William S. Hart [Saturday evening at 9:45 PM], and From Hell to Texas (1958) starring Don Murray--who will be in attendance [Sunday September 5, 1:55 PM]. Also on Saturday they’ll be showing THE THIEF CATCHER, a recently rediscovered Keystone Charlie Chaplin comedy from 1914! There are nearly forty films screenings and all different packages available. For more information, CLICK HERE.

IDA LUPINO FEST AT MOMA

Now through September 20th, under the title ‘MOTHER DIRECTS’, the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, will present a large variety of films either starring or written by or directed by that unique talent, Ida Lupino. Although there appears to be only one Western in the bunch, LUST FOR GOLD (1949) shows Saturday September 4th at 5 p.m., there are a slew of noirs that are well worth seeing. LUST stars Lupino and Glenn Ford, was directed by S. Sylan Simon from the Ted Sherdeman, Richard English screenplay from Barry Storm’s novel. For more information, CLICK HERE.

3D FESTIVAL AT FILM FORUM, NEW YORK CITY

During the Film Forum William Castle retrospective, a 3D Western and a 3D Eastern: Friday & Saturday, 9/3 and 9/4 JESSE JAMES VS. THE DALTONS
(1954) Brett King believes he’s the son of the notorious bandit, and hooks up with the Daltons to try and learn the truth. But 3-D’d sexpot Barbara Lawrence is raison d’être enough for this Castle oater. Color; Approx. 65 minutes. 6:30 ONLY

Sunday & Monday 9/5 and 9/6 FORT TI (1953) Rare French and Indian War Eastern, with colonial George Montgomery teaming up with the Redcoats as they go toe-to-toe against those Frenchies at Fort Ticonderoga. Color; Approx. 75 minutes. 6:30 ONLY


SCREENINGS

‘LOST’ JOHN FORD, ‘UPSTREAM’ SCREEN AT ACADEMY


As detailed in the June 11th Round-up (CLICK HERE to read it), a treasure-trove of 75 American movies, all thought to be lost, were discovered in the New Zealand Film Archive. On Wednesday, September 1st, at 7:30 p.m., the Academy will screen one of the gems from this collection, John Ford’s ‘UPSTREAM’, one of his last silent films, focusing on a love-triangle involving a vaudeville knife-throwing act! Also to be screened will be the trailer for John Ford’s STRONG BOY (1929), and the trailer, alas, is all that survives of said film – time to check those New Zealand Archives again! Musical accompaniment will be by Michael Mortilla. Tickets are $5, $3 for Academy members and students, and are available HERE.

WESTERN DOUBLE BILL AT THE NEW BEVERLY CINEMA

Sunday and Monday, September 5th and 6th, The New Beverly will present ULZANA’S RAID (1972) directed by ROBERT ADRICH from ALAN SHARP’S script, and starring BURT LANCASTER, and TELL THEM WILLIE BOY IS HERE (1969), directed and scripted by ABRAHAM POLONSKY from HARRY LAWTON’S book, and starring ROBERT BLAKE as Willie Boy and ROBERT REDFORD as the lawman trying to track him down – and KATHERINE ROSS as Lola. For more info, CLICK HERE.

GENE AND ROY AT THE EGYPTIAN SEPT 15TH

On Wednesday, September 15th, at 7:30 p.m., The Egyptian Theatre will mark the 75th Anniversary of Republic Studios with a special program: "Meet the Stars #7: Meet Roy Rogers," 1941, Republic Pictures, 10 min. Dir. Harriet Parsons. "It’s a Grand Old Nag," 1947, Republic Pictures, 8 min. Dir. Robert Clampett, probably the only cartoon Republic ever made, UNDER WESTERN STARS, 1938, Republic Pictures, 54 min. Dir. Joseph Kane. This is the one that started it all for Roy Rogers – Gene Autry was on strike, and Republic re-tailored the script, about a cowboy elected to Congress, fighting for his constituents’ water rights, to fit Roy. There are tons of parallels with MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, which came out a year later! The listing says 54 minutes, but I’m betting they’ll show the version shown recently at the Autry, with the missing scenes back in place. SOUTH OF THE BORDER, 1939, Republic Pictures, 70 min. Dir. George Sherman. It is the eve of World War II, and Federal agents Gene Autry and Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnett) head to Mexico to foil the schemes of a fleet of foreign spies at a submarine base.

LIVE EVENTS


OLD FASHIONED THRESHING BEE – TEMPLETON Sept. 4

Visitors can see how, in the early 1900s, wheat was bound in sheaves, threshed, fanned and augered into burlap sacks on a real working farm; help grind the grain into flour; and sample freshly-baked whole wheat bread. Jack Creek Farms. (805)239-1915 jackcreekfarms.com

STAGECOACH DAYS – BANNING Sept. 9-12

Parade, carnival, ranch rodeo, historical encampments, Wild West gunfighter competition, blacksmithing contest, food, entertainment, carnival, kids’ zone. A.C. Dysart Park (951)922-3241, banningstagecoachdays.com

OLD WEST DAYS – RANDSBURG Sept. 18

Western and bluegrass music, pancake breakfast, antiques and collectibles, food vendors and reenactments in this “Living Ghost Town” of the high desert. Downtown (760)371-0965, randdesertmueum.com

CIVIL WAR REENACTMENTS – LEBEC Sept. 19

Union and Confederate Army encampments, battle demonstrations and living history presentations. Fort Tejon State Historic Park (661) 248-6692 forttejon.org

GRAND WESTERN GRUB FEST – SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO Sept. 26

Chili cook-off, vendors, country music, Old West shootout, food, beer and wine, carnival booths, dunk tank, pie-eating contest, kids’ activities. Proceeds benefit U.S. military troops and their families. St. Margaret’s Episcopal School at Gateway Field. 949) 248-9468 gwgf.org


FREE WESTERNS ON YOUR COMPUTER AT HULU


A staggering number of western TV episodes and movies are available, entirely free, for viewing on your computer at HULU. You do have to sit through the commercials, but that seems like a small price to pay. The series available -- often several entire seasons to choose from -- include THE RIFLEMAN, THE CISCO KID, THE LONE RANGER, BAT MASTERSON, THE BIG VALLEY, ALIAS SMITH AND JONES, and one I missed from 2003 called PEACEMAKERS starring Tom Berenger. Because they are linked up with the TV LAND website, you can also see BONANZA and GUNSMOKE episodes, but only the ones that are running on the network that week.

The features include a dozen Zane Grey adaptations, and many or most of the others are public domain features. To visit HULU on their western page, CLICK HERE.

AROUND LOS ANGELES

THE AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER

Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. Currently they have THE ART OF NATIVE AMERICAN BASKETRY: A LIVING TRADITION, through November 7th. I've seen the show three times, and am continually astonished at the beauty and variety of the work of the various tribes. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.

HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE MUSEUM

Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, this building, once the headquarters of Lasky-Famous Players (later Paramount Pictures) was the original DeMille Barn, where Cecil B. DeMille made the first Hollywood western, The Squaw Man. They have a permanent display of movie props, documents and other items related to early, especially silent, film production. They also have occasional special programs. 2100 Highland Ave., L.A. CA 323-874-2276. Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for senior, $1 for children.

WELLS FARGO HISTORY MUSEUM

This small but entertaining museum gives a detailed history of Wells Fargo when the name suggested stage-coaches rather than ATMS. There’s a historically accurate reproduction of an agent’s office, an original Concord Coach, and other historical displays. Open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Admission is free. 213-253-7166. 333 S. Grand Street, L.A. CA.

ON TV

TV LAND - BONANZA and GUNSMOKE

Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They run a GUNSMOKE Monday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m., and on Friday they show two, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. They're not currently running either series on weekends, but that could change at any time.

NEED YOUR BLACK & WHITE TV FIX?

Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run THE LONE RANGER at 1:30 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.

That's it for this week, and next week I'll have details about the Republic Pictures 75th Anniversary Celebration!

Adios,

Henry

All contents copyright August 2010 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved

Sunday, August 22, 2010

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF DUNCAN RENALDO!









After I ran my review of THE CISCO KID radio shows (CLICK HERE if you missed it), I received a nice e-mail from Harlan Zink of Radio Archives. Modesty forbids my quoting his compliments, but he added… “One correction: the original Cisco series, starring Jackson Beck in the title role along with Louis Sorin as Pancho, originated out of WOR New York and was aired live for about a year. The subsequent series, from which our CD sets were taken, was produced by the Frederick Ziv Company out of Cincinnati, Ohio but was recorded in Hollywood.”

(Photos: top left, Warner Baxter, top right, Cesar Romero, below, Duncan Renaldo as Cisco at Monogram, Gilbert Roland, Duncan with producer Philip Krasne, Duncan with Marcia Mae Jones, Leo Carrillo and Duncan)

Actor Duncan Renaldo, the man almost everyone thinks of at the mention of The Cisco Kid, had one of the most amazing roller-coaster careers of any actor in Hollywood. After making a big impression in THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY (1929), he was cast as ‘Peru,’ the young friend of Harry Carey in MGM’S TRADER HORN (1931), which was the first talking-picture shot on location in Africa, directed by W.S. “One-take-Woody” Van Dyke. Duncan and the female lead, lovely Edwina Booth, attended the premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. He was lucky he got to attend, because he’d been arrested a few days earlier.

Duncan and Edwina both were married when they left for Africa, but both were quickly divorced shortly after their return. Actually Edwina managed to have her marriage annulled on the grounds that she was under-age when she married in 1927 – a good trick, considering that she was young, but only underage if you go by the fake studio biography that claims she was born in 1909, not 1904.

In September 1930, Suzette Renaldo, now divorced from Duncan for six months, filed a $50,000 alienation of affection suit against Edwina. Duncan countered by threatening to have ex-wife Suzette declared mentally unfit to be custodial parent to their four-year-old son. Then Suzette played her trump card: she informed U.S. Emigration that Duncan had entered the U.S. illegally.

Suzette’s case against Edwina went nowhere: there was no proof against her. The sanity hearing against Suzette would be funny if it were not so tragic: she claimed under oath that Duncan was a member of a Chinese gang, and that his grey fedora possessed occult powers. And sadly, Duncan, as he would later admit, was guilty as charged. Orphaned at an early age, he had no memory of his parents or where he was born, but he believed it was Spain or Romania. A merchant marine (I’ve been unable to find out from what country) from the age of 13, the ship he was on burned in the Baltimore harbor in 1921. He simply stayed here. To make matters worse, he falsely testified that he was born in Camden, New Jersey, and was additionally charged with making false statements to obtain a passport. He was sent to prison.

According to Philip Kranse, producer of all the non-Fox Cisco Kid films and the TV series, Duncan credited his salvation to an unnamed U. S. Prosecutor. Poking through files out of idle curiosity, the prosecutor stumbled upon the case, and saw a great miscarriage of justice. He went to bat for Duncan, and his pleas eventually reached First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Duncan was freed after eighteen months, and instead of being deported to God knows where, F.D.R. declared him an American citizen by Presidential Proclamation!

Now a free man, Duncan went to the studios looking for work, and found it: as a janitor. But he started picking up bits and supporting roles in mostly poverty row pictures, and at least one at MGM. The real turning point came when Herbert J. Yates, President of Republic Pictures, heard about his situation, and placed him under contract. Renaldo called Yates, “The man who saved my life!” Soon he was playing ever-larger roles in Republic Serials, Red Ryder films, and co-starring in Three Mesquiteers Westerns.

The role of the Cisco Kid came to Duncan Renaldo in the midst of World War II. 20th Century Fox had made three ‘A’s with Warner Baxter in the role, and six ‘B’s with Cesar Romero, the last in 1941. Though popular in many quarters, the Romeros were not that popular amongst fans of traditional Westerns, because too much time was spent on romance that could be better spent shooting and fighting. But the objections in Mexico were far greater – they despised the films, finding the general portrayal of Mexicans insulting, and complaining that Romero dressed more like a ballet-dancer than a caballero. Incredibly, in the midst of World War II, these films, and the idea of making more of them, had actually strained international relations at a time when it was crucial for The United States, Mexico, and the nations of Central and South America be united in their fight against fascism.

Philip Krasne had obtained the rights to Cisco Kid from 20th, and sent Duncan, who had signed on as an associate producer, to Mexico, to meet with the Inter-American Relationship Committee. According to Duncan, after days of fruitless discussion, he’d been inspired: he wanted to base Cisco and Pancho on Cervantes’ DON QUIXOTE, and Sancho Panza – ‘Pancho’ actually be a combination of syllables from that name. The idea was that, rather then being bandits out for themselves, they were out to good-naturedly right wrongs – while not being crazy like Quixote. Duncan pitched this idea to the group, and they bought it. This was not the first Duncan had been involved in writing stories – under the names Duncan Renault and Renault Duncan he had scripted several Western films.

Krasne set up the Cisco Kid films at Monogram, signed Martin Garralaga to portray Pancho, and made three Ciscos with Duncan in 1945. And here, the story gets a bit more mysterious. In 1946, the fine actor Gilbert Roland took over the role of Cisco for the next six movies. Then in 1948, Duncan Renaldo returned to the role, as Krasne moved the series from Monogram to United Artists, and added Leo Carrillo as Pancho. So, why did Duncan Renaldo suddenly leave the role he’d fought so hard for? Nobody’s saying. But if you can lay your hands on a VHS double bill from RKO, DON AMIGO (a.k.a THE GIRL FROM SAN LORENZO) and STAGE TO CHINO, a George O’Brian western, the films are preceded by Duncan Renaldo’s narrated telling of the history of the Cisco Kid films. After describing his dealings with the Inter-American Relationship Committee, he says, “During the war I was busy working for the government, so Gilbert Roland played in five (actually six) pictures for Monogram.” What work for the government? Considering he’d had to bow out of starring in a half dozen movies, after all the trouble he’d been through with them, it must have been something important, but I can find no reference to that work anywhere. If you know anything about what government work Duncan Renaldo was doing, PLEASE put it in a comment or e-mail me!

If you want to hear Duncan in his own words, DON AMIGO/STAGE TO CHINO double-bill is available for rent in VHS at Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee. Eddie’s is the unofficial film and TV archive that all the studios rely on. They’re at 5006 Vineland Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91601. 818-506-4242. They’re open Tuesday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you'd like to read more about the Cisco Kid or Duncan Renaldo you can visit the excellent site THE OLD CORRAL at B-WESTERNS.COM, CLICK HERE. And if you'd like to read the O. Henry story that started it all, CLICK HERE.

DVD REVIEW – CLASSIC TV WESTERNS

If you want to see GUNSMOKE or BONANZA, you haven’t got a problem. They’re shown every day on TV-Land and other channels. Other popular Western series like HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL and THE VIRGINIAN are available on DVD. But most Western series are a lot harder to locate, especially those in dreaded black and white. SHOKUS VIDEO, long a purveyor of quirky fare, especially television from the 1950s, has a series of ‘sampler’ western DVDs entitled CLASSIC TV WESTERNS which will, depending on when your childhood happened, either bring back fond memories, or introduce you to some of the best of children’s television – from when children’s television involved a lot of riding and fighting and shooting bad guys.

Volume I features episodes from four different series, and two of them, THE RANGE RIDER (1951) and BUFFALO BILL, JR. (1955), come from Gene Autry’s FLYING ‘A’ stable. Range Rider stars Jock (here credited as ‘Jack’) Mahoney as the title character, and Dickie Jones as his youthful sidekick Dick West. Jock, who had graduated from stunt-doubling Gene, John Wayne and Errol Flynn (and being the romantic interest in Three Stooges shorts) plays a much revered cowboy detective. After 78 episodes Jock would leave and become first YANCY DERRINGER, then one the of the screen’s most athletic Tarzans. Dickie, 23 when the series started, but small, and playing younger, had been the voice of PINOCCIO, and was an accomplished trick-rider and athletic stuntman. One of the real pleasures of watching Jock and Dickie in action is that the camera is up close because no one had to double either of them, and their riding and fighting are a joy to behold. This particular episode, about the fight to keep a freight contract, features crotchety Raymond Hatton, whose screen credits started in 1909, and ended with 1971’s IN COLD BLOOD, plus villains Kenne Duncan (the tough) and Jim Bannon (the suave) – the last of Hollywood’s Red Ryders. It’s directed by John English, who, with William Witney, directed the finest of Republic Serials – he definitely makes the show MOVE.
In BUFFALO BILL JR., Dickie has become Dick Jones, turned 27, but still convincingly plays the teen older brother of a girl named Calamity (Nancy Gilbert), both of them watched over by kindly-but-gruff Judge Ben ‘Fair-And-Square’ Wiley (Harry Cheshire). This episode features a re-telling of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and stars Walter Reed as Wyatt Earp and James Griffith as Doc Holliday. Directed by action whiz Ray Nazarro, Dick is more athletic than ever, doing running mounts, fighting and endlessly diving through windows!
THE GABBY HAYES SHOW (1951), is an interesting novelty of early TV. Opening with impressive footage of everyone’s favorite toothless sagebrush raconteur riding through the desert, Gabby is next seen sitting on a porch, telling a tall tale directly to camera. He then introduces a story about a town that doesn’t have a bank – and suddenly we are smack in the middle of a movie starring Buster Crabbe, Al St. John and Kermit Maynard! Each episode of The Gabby Hayes Show would take a feature-length PRC Western and cut it down to about 22 minutes, ending with Gabby summing up the plot and telling another tall tale. Although obviously truncated, here you can at least follow the plot of the movie-within-a-movie -- which was not always the case with this series. Although, in preserving the plot, they’ve let a lot of action go by the wayside. When characters say, “Don’t you ever hold up the stage-coach with me on it – you might have shot me!” or “Thank you for saving me from that run-away horse,” you wish you’d seen those scenes.
Finally, Bill Williams stars in THE ADVENTURES OF KIT CARSON (1951) with Don Diamond as his Pancho-like sidekick, El Toro (best remembered as Crazy Cat on F-TROOP). To the best of my knowledge, this series had nothing to do with the actual historical Kit Carson, but Williams is a solid actor, with a Hoppy-like smile, and good with the action. This story involves the challenge of keeping an outlaw in custody in a town without a jail-cell.

CLASSIC TV WESTERNS III will really bring back the memories, as it contains not only four shows, but all of the original commercials – if you’re trying to introduce young kids to early TV, they usually get a big kick out of the ads.
First up in another KIT CARSON (1952), this one featuring guest star John Dehner, radio’s Paladin, and a very popular western guest star. The Pepsi ads feature a bunch of well-dressed, pop-guzzling teens being regaled with Western lore by frequent movie sidekick William Fawcett. Next up is THE ROY ROGERS SHOW (1954), with all of the Post Cereal ads, and featuring Roy, Dale, Pat Brady, Bullet and Trigger, and their attempts to saved an innocent man who’s been framed. For my money, Roy will always be the King of the Cowboys, and his show tops them all. THE CISCO KID (1952) stars Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo as Cisco and Pancho, and their attempts to help a New York cop save a woman from being swindled out of her property. Although CISCO was one of the first series to be shot in color, this is a black and white TV print, from the days before TV could in fact show color, but it has its Weber Bread ads, and even a neat PSA with Cisco and Pancho at the end! Finally, WYATT EARP (1955) rounds out the set, and is the only show not specifically aimed at kids – although it features the kid-friendly story of Earp, played by Hugh O’Brien, getting roped into judging a beautiful baby contest. And the guest star is Touch Connors, who later became Mike Connors, the star of MANNIX.

Shokus Video offers two other CLASSIC TV WESTERN volumes, for $14.95 each, as well as volumes of THE CISCO KID, BUFFALO BILL JR., THE GABBY HAYES SHOW, and several volumes each of ANNIE OAKLEY and ROY ROGERS. CLICK HERE to go to their western page. They also offer a wide variety of mystery and comedy shows, and their SHOKUS INTERNET RADIO -- CLICK HERE -- is a 24 hour mix of music, comedy and interview programs: my favorite is Stu Shostak’s daily interview show from 4 to 6 p.m.

SCREENINGS

IDA LUPINO FEST AT MOMA

From August 26th through September 20th, under the title ‘MOTHER DIRECTS’, the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, will present a large variety of films either starring or written by or directed by that unique talent, Ida Lupino. Although there appears to be only one Western in the bunch, LUST FOR GOLD (1949) showing Friday August 27th ay 4:30, and again Saturday September 4th at 5 p.m., there are a slew of noirs that are well worth seeing. LUST stars Lupino and Glenn Ford, was directed by S. Sylan Simon from the Ted Sherdeman, Richard English screenplay from Barry Storm’s novel. For more information, CLICK HERE.

3D FESTIVAL AT FILM FORUM, NEW YORK CITY

Jumping on the 3D bandwagon, the Film Forum is having a two week festival of many rarely seen films in 3D, and a surprising number of Westerns are included!

WEDNESDAY 8/25 INFERNO (1953) Directed by Roy Ward Baker, and starring Robert Ryan as a millionaire dumped in the desert by his scheming wife and her lover. And as an added attraction...you know Harold Lloyd as a great comedy pioneer, but did you know he also pioneered 3D photography? Mostly of women sans clothing! Between showings of INFERNO, a selection of Harold Lloyd's 3D nude slides will be shown! I wish I was in New York right now!
THURSDAY 8/26 SANGAREE (1953) directed by Edward Ludwig, set in post- Revolutionary Georgia, starring Fernando Lamas as a doctor during a plague outbreak, and Arlene Dahl is the beautiful heiress. New 35mm 3-D print courtesy Academy Film Archive. Color; Approx. 94 minutes, plus 10-minute intermission. 5:30, 9:45, AND ARLENE DAHL WILL ATTEND, AND PARTICIPATE IN A Q&A FOLLOWING THE 5:30 SHOW!

And coming in September, during the Film Forum William Castle retrospective, a 3D Western and a 3D Eastern: Friday & Saturday, 9/3 and 9/4 JESSE JAMES VS. THE DALTONS
(1954) Brett King believes he’s the son of the notorious bandit, and hooks up with the Daltons to try and learn the truth. But 3-D’d sexpot Barbara Lawrence is raison d’être enough for this Castle oater. Color; Approx. 65 minutes. 6:30 ONLY

Sunday & Monday 9/5 and 9/6 FORT TI (1953) Rare French and Indian War Eastern, with colonial George Montgomery teaming up with the Redcoats as they go toe-to-toe against those Frenchies at Fort Ticonderoga. Color; Approx. 75 minutes. 6:30 ONLY


FREE WESTERNS ON YOUR COMPUTER AT HULU


A staggering number of western TV episodes and movies are available, entirely free, for viewing on your computer at HULU. You do have to sit through the commercials, but that seems like a small price to pay. The series available -- often several entire seasons to choose from -- include THE RIFLEMAN, THE CISCO KID, THE LONE RANGER, BAT MASTERSON, THE BIG VALLEY, ALIAS SMITH AND JONES, and one I missed from 2003 called PEACEMAKERS starring Tom Berenger. Because they are linked up with the TV LAND website, you can also see BONANZA and GUNSMOKE episodes, but only the ones that are running on the network that week.

The features include a dozen Zane Grey adaptations, and many or most of the others are public domain features. To visit HULU on their western page, CLICK HERE.

AROUND LOS ANGELES

THE AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER

Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. Currently they have THE ART OF NATIVE AMERICAN BASKETRY: A LIVING TRADITION, through November 7th. I've seen the show three times, and am continually astonished at the beauty and variety of the work of the various tribes. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.

HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE MUSEUM

Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, this building, once the headquarters of Lasky-Famous Players (later Paramount Pictures) was the original DeMille Barn, where Cecil B. DeMille made the first Hollywood western, The Squaw Man. They have a permanent display of movie props, documents and other items related to early, especially silent, film production. They also have occasional special programs. 2100 Highland Ave., L.A. CA 323-874-2276. Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for senior, $1 for children.

WELLS FARGO HISTORY MUSEUM

This small but entertaining museum gives a detailed history of Wells Fargo when the name suggested stage-coaches rather than ATMS. There’s a historically accurate reproduction of an agent’s office, an original Concord Coach, and other historical displays. Open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Admission is free. 213-253-7166. 333 S. Grand Street, L.A. CA.

ON TV

TV LAND - BONANZA and GUNSMOKE

Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They run a GUNSMOKE Monday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m., and on Friday they show two, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. They're not currently running either series on weekends, but that could change at any time.

NEED YOUR BLACK & WHITE TV FIX?

Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run THE LONE RANGER at 1:30 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.


I'll have some more stuff tonight or tomorrow, and coming soon, interviews with Earl Holliman and Ty Hardin! But for now, Adios!

All Contents Copyright August 2010 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved

Monday, August 16, 2010

BEST OF THE BADMEN: A CHAT WITH MORGAN WOODWARD










(Updated Tuesday 8/17/2010 - see Screenings)
I first met Morgan Woodward in 1978, in Phoenix, on the set of my first movie with a writing credit, SPEEDTRAP. The hero of the piece was Joe Don Baker, and the more gravitas the hero has, the stronger the villain needs to be. Morgan Woodward, as the corrupt Police Chief, was plenty strong, with a presence that grips the attention.

Although I’ve enjoyed Morgan’s work since then, I hadn’t seen him in person for more than thirty years, when I ran into him at an autograph show in Burbank a few weeks ago. He kindly agreed to sit down and talk about his long screen career in the saddle. Not surprisingly, he’s a Texan by birth, born September 16th, 1925. “I was born in Fort Worth, only because we didn’t have a hospital in Arlington, fourteen miles away.” Naturally, I assumed he plays a cowboy so well because, being a Texan, he did so much riding as a kid. “Nope, I did not. I learned to ride when I came to California.” Well, at least I was right about his always liking western movies. “Oh sure – every kid likes westerns! Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, Buck Jones.”

Interestingly, his first love was not acting, but aviation. “We had an Army airfield six or seven miles from Arlington and my family would go out there on weekends, and watch the weekend warriors fly the airplanes, and I was just always interested in airplanes. Most kids my age were interested in planes, back in the 1930s.” He first flew a plane when he was sixteen, and continued to fly until just a few years ago.

Graduating from High School in 1944, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps Training Program. “We went through basic training, ready to go to pre-flight. But they didn’t have room for us, so they sent us to CTD – College Training Detachment. I went to the University of Arkansas for about six months, and they still didn’t have room in preflight, so they sent us to Pampa Army Airfield, to do all the jobs the enlisted men wouldn’t do. (laughs) We saw the handwriting on the wall, because a lot of flyers were coming back from overseas, they had nothing more to do than chase pretty girls in West Texas. One morning we were told that the commanding General of the Flying Training Command said all flying training had stopped. The war was going too well, and they didn’t need any more pilots. That was the end of my hope for getting my wings in the Army Air Corps. I was sent to Scott Field, Illinois, to radio school, and I stayed until they decided we aviation cadets were just surplus, so they got rid of us just before Christmas of 1945.”

After the war he entered Arlington State, majoring in music and drama, planning on a career in opera. “I gave it up because I had a sinus condition, still do, that would not allow me to be a consistent singer. So I traded Grand Opera for Horse Opera.” In 1948, he transferred to the University of Texas at Austin, a drama and music minor, majoring in business administration. Among his classmates were Fess Parker, Jayne Mansfield, Rip Torn, L.Q. Jones, and Pat Hingle. Not all of them seemed marked for greatness. “Jayne Mansfield certainly didn’t stand out at the time. L.Q. wasn’t in the drama department – L.Q. was the cheerleader. He didn’t get into movies until Fess Parker sneaked him in to see a director. L.Q. is so crazy; he convinced the director that he ought to be in the picture. Pat Hingle was a fine actor. Rip Torn was a good actor. Then he was Elmore Torn.”

In 1951, just as he was entering law school, Morgan was recalled to active duty. He finally got overseas. “I was in the Military Transport Command; we were flying between Japan and Korea. I was happy to be up in the air, and we didn’t get shot at.” When he was back stateside, he decided against going back to law school. “World War II and the Korean War, I thought, Hell, although I was only about 26 years old, I’m getting too old to go to school. Fess Parker at that time was Davy Crockett. And Disney was getting ready to do THE GREAT LOCOMOTIVE CHASE. So Fess told Disney he knew this guy who would be just absolutely great as this wild-eyed Confederate Master Sergeant. So that’s how I got my ‘in’. I went to California to do a screen test for Walt Disney, and I was signed to a three-picture contract.”

(Photos top to bottom: Morgan Woodward portrait, with Hugh O'Brien on WYATT EARP, with John Wayne on THE LUCY SHOW, with Audie Murphy and a scared saloon girl, between takes on FIRECREEK, with James Arness in MATT DILLON MUST DIE.)

Henry: Did you meet Walt, himself?
Morgan: Yes, as a matter of fact, the first day of shooting, when I went on the set, he came down to see this guy who had come out from Texas and was going to be in his first motion picture job. He was a great guy, great guy. Anybody’s a great guy who’ll sign me to a three-picture contract!
H: The next one was WESTWARD HO, THE WAGONS!
M: Right, and then ALONG THE OREGON TRAIL, a short film.
H: With WESTAWARD HO, you were with Fess Parker and Iron Eyes Cody.
M: Oh yes, Iron Eyes was a great friend of mine, just a splendid guy. In the words of the Indians, a straight arrow.
H: Your director, William Beaudine, used to be Mary Pickford’s personal director in silent movies.
M: That’s right, Bill Beaudine was just great. No bullshit, and he was terrific.
H: From 1958 through 1961 you had your first regular character, on WYATT EARP, as Shotgun Gibbs. How did you get that role?
M: I did an episode of WYATT EARP the year before, as Captain Langley of the Texas Rangers. The producers loved the character, so they had Stuart Lake write in a character somewhat like this Ranger Captain, Shotgun Gibbs, and I was on that until 1961. He was a wonderful writer.
(Note: Stuart N. Lake, a writer in the film business at least as far back as 1916, wrote the book WYATT EARP, FRONTIER MARSHAL, on which virtually all Wyatt Earp films, and the TV series, were based. He was nominated for a Best Story Oscar for THE WESTERNER (1940), about Judge Roy Bean.)
H: How did you like playing a recurring role, as opposed to playing a different character each time?
M: I loved it: I got a check every Friday.
H: Obviously, you worked a lot with Hugh O’Brien. What was he like?
M: He was a nice fellah. He was not the easiest fellah in the world to get along with, but he and I got along – we were together for over three years, got along fine.
H: What sort of a shooting schedule would you have for an episode?
M: We shot five days a week, Monday through Friday, usually shot three days on the set, at Desilu Studios, two days on location, out at Melody Ranch.
H: There were a lot of interesting guest stars on WYATT EARP, like Andy Clyde, and semi-regulars like Lash LaRue.
M: Well, Lash is a real character. And I working with Andy Clyde, because Andy Clyde was an icon. I also worked with Anna Mae Wong on WYATT EARP. I worked with Kermit Maynard, a lot of guys who weren’t stars anymore, and they were old, but it was quite something to work with them.
H: What are your best memories of working on that show?
M: It was the first time I had a regular series, and the producers of WYATT EARP were going to do a series on Sam Houston, called THE RAVEN, and they selected me to do Sam Houston. Unfortunately, the producer had a heart attack, and the show was put on hold for a while. Then he got better, we started to get into production, he had a another heart attack and died, and that was the end of that.
H: In the late 1950s you were doing a lot of western TV episodes. ZANE GREY THEATRE, CHEYENNE, SUGARFOOT, BROKEN ARROW, RESTLESS GUN, BAT MASTERSON
M: That’s right, I think I did every western there was.
H: Were any of them particularly memorable?
M: They were all memorable because I got paid, I had a job. I remember all of them – I’ve never forgotten anything I ever did. Because actors never know when they’re going to work again.
H: You did GUNSIGHT RIDGE with Joel McCrea, Mark Stevens and one of my favorites, L.Q. Jones.
M: Mark Stevens – he had a fairly good career going at that time. Why is L.Q. Jones one of your favorites?
H: Because he’s one of those actors that just grabs the eye and makes you follow him.
M: Always playing crazy guys. (laughs) That’s what L.Q. does. We’ve been friends for over sixty years.
H: How did you like working with Joel McCrea?
M: He was terrific.
H: You did a couple of films with Audie MurphyRIDE A CROOKED TRAIL and GUNPOINT. GUNPOINT was directed by Earl Bellamy, who we both know from SPEEDTRAP. What was Audie Murphy like?
M: Well, very distant. He was so distant it was hard to figure him out. He had a few very close friends, and that was it. I guess they were close. I remember GUNPOINT. In RIDE A CROOKED TRAIL I don’t think I had that great of a part. Walter Matthau was in it. He was very amenable. Henry Silva they brought from New York – it was popular at that time to bring New York actors out to California. Henry got his start on Broadway, you know. In ‘A HATFUL OF RAIN’, he played a character called ‘Mother.’ He and I became good friends.
H: You did about a dozen episodes of WAGON TRAIN. In the ALEXANDER PORTLASS STORY, you kidnap Robert Horton and help Peter Lorre search for Maximillian’s gold. And you got killed by Peter Lorre for your trouble. What was Lorre like by this time in his career?
M: Well, I didn’t get to know Peter very well. When we were not working together, we weren’t social. (laughs) All I can tell you is he was kind of a strange little man.
H: That’s what he played to perfection.
M: Himself, I think.
H: Because you were playing different characters in a dozen episodes of the same show, was there ever concern about your becoming too recognizable? Sometimes you had big scars, and sometimes you had an eye-patch. Was that to try and make you look different?
M: Well, it concerned me. I certainly didn’t want people recognizing me, saying, ‘There’s that character again.’ I hope I got away with playing the different characters.
H: You were usually a bad guy, but not always. In the JED POLK STORY, you’re a survivor of Andersonville Prison Camp. It was a very emotional part – very intense. Any particular memories of doing that episode?
M: Not really. I have all my scripts – I’d have to go back and read the scripts.
H: You did so many – which were your favorite WAGON TRAINs?
M: Well, I got to work with Polly Bergen, and that was interesting. We got to know each other, and as a matter of fact saw each other socially a few times after that.
H: What was Ward Bond like?
M: Very rough, very gruff, very profane. But in a kind of a lovable, likable way.
H: Kind of like his characters in John Ford westerns?
M: That’s right – that was Ward Bond.
H: Of course, in the middle of the series, he died, and was replaced by John McIntire. Did that change the show a lot?
M: Yuh, because they were two different types. McIntire was a very different type than Ward Bond. So it changed the character of the wagon master, but I don’t know that it changed the show a lot.
H: Over the years there were a lot of regulars who came and went. There was Robert Horton, Terry Wilson, Frank McGrath, Robert Fuller, Denny Miller.
M: Bob Fuller is one of my best friends. He’s bought a ranch in Texas, and he came out for that big autograph show two weeks ago. We were sitting side-by-side. Peter Brown was just down the row.
H: I saw Peter Brown – maybe Robert Fuller was at lunch when I came by.
M: He probably was in the bar (laughs). And Denny Miller was there. I was hoping Clint Walker would be there. I like to see those guys that are still alive. We’re all getting old.
H: In the 60s you did a lot of western series, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, BIG VALLEY, RAWHIDE, BRANDED, DEATH VALLEY DAYS, IRON HORSE, CIMMARON STRIP, VIRGINIAN, HIGH CHAPPARRAL – like you said, you did all the westerns.
M: Yuh, I did.
H: What were your favorites?
M: Oh, GUNSMOKE, of course. I did more GUNSMOKES than any other actor in the world. I say in the world because they had people come over from Europe to do the show. I did nineteen. Plus the GUNSMOKE movie in ’91 or ’92. It seems like yesterday but, my God, it’s been twenty years!
H: I was just watching MATT DILLON MUST DIE; that’s a terrific show.
M: I enjoyed making that particular show. We shot that in Utah, in the mountains.
H: The story is a variation on MOST DANGEROUS GAME. (SPOILER ALERT) And your wife’s death fills you with such overpowering rage that you’re murdering indiscriminately. Eventually your own sons. It’s a real heartbreaker of an episode, and you bring great humanity to a character that could have seemed very one-dimensional. How do you prepare to play a role like that?
M: I just read the scripts and conjure the character in my mind. I read the script until I almost read the print right off the page. I spend hours and hours and hours, over and over and over reading the script, filming the show in my mind.
H: I was just talking to Earl Holliman last week –
M: He was at the autograph show. We spoke. I remember I worked with Earl several times, in the show with Angie Dickinson, POLICE WOMAN, and then GUNSMOKE.
H: He said there was an episode that you two did on GUNSMOKE called HACKETT. He said that it was one of his favorite shows because you switched roles.
M: Yeah, two or three days before we were to shoot the show, the producer called and said, “Look, you guys are gonna switch parts. I want Morgan the bad guy to play the coward, and I want Earl Holliman to play the bad guy.” That may have been one of the few times that Earl got to play a bad guy.
H: Which episodes are your favorites?
M: There was a segment called LOBO. I was watching it in my home, by myself, and all of a sudden I realized that I was watching me, and I didn’t know that I was watching myself. I was so engrossed in the show, then all of a sudden I snapped to, and I thought, “But that’s me!” So I figure, if I can fool myself, that I might be pretty good.
H: Any other episodes?”
M: Well, HACKETT, and then MATT DILLON MUST DIE.
H: How’d you like working with Jim Arness?
M: No better person to work with in the world than Jim Arness! He’s a good friend of mine, and I still call him about every week.
H: I understand he had a wonderful deal on the show where they would shoot his scenes for several episodes back to back, and he’d go off surfing, and they’d shoot around him. Did you have to deal with that kind of a situation, or was he usually on the set?
M: I never had to deal with that, and if it would inconvenience any other actor I don’t think Jim would allow that.
H: How about the other actors? Amanda Blake, Milburn Stone.
M: Oh, they were all great characters. GUNSMOKE was a dream to work on. The producers were great, the actors were great, they always had great cast members. They were all good scripts. Great show to work on – a happy show.
H: How many times did Matt Dillon kill you?
M: (Laughs) You know, I don’t remember. But I usually got shot. Or beat up.
H: You also did eight episodes of BONANZA.
M: Yes, I did. I liked it very much. David Dortort (the show’s creator and producer) was a favorite of mine. Dan Blocker was a good friend of mine – fellow Texan.
H: Did you have a favorite episode?
M: Oh, it may have been FOUR SISTERS FROM BOSTON, with Vera Miles.
H: In 1966 you guested on THE LUCY SHOW, in the famous LUCY AND JOHN WAYNE episode.
M: That was great fun.
H: Had you worked with John Wayne before?
M: No, I had not. I liked working with him very much. I had an opportunity to work with him again, but I screwed that deal up because I didn’t like the part that they offered me, and I turned it down. And that was one of the few mistakes – because I almost never turn down a part. But I just didn’t like that part at all.
H: What movie was that?
M: I think it was TRUE GRIT.
H: Well they’re doing that one again. I think they just wrapped shooting, with Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn.
M: Jeff’s a good actor, but I’m sorry they’re doing TRUE GRIT again.
H: How did you like working with Lucille Ball?
M: She was wonderful. Very professional, but at the same time, a great lady.
H: Had you done much comedy at that point?
M: No, but L.Q. Jones and I did a comedy on WAGON TRAIN. CHARLIE WOOSTER: OUTLAW. It’s the one where Charlie (Frank McGrath) gets kidnapped by this woman, and L.Q. and I play her two crazy sons.
H: In 1968 you did FIRECREEK with Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart.
M: Great cast, Jack Elam – just look at the cast list on that picture. God, it was just amazing to get all those people together.
H: Often people with small parts, like Ed Begley, Inger Stevens. It’s dark movie, not a very happy one.
M: No, it’s not. It is a dark film.
H: You and the rest of the gang are together, and Henry Fonda is off with Inger Stevens.
M: He was wounded, and Inger Stevens was taking care of him. You got the idea there was something going on between the two of them, or there could be. (SPOILER ALERT!) And then of course she winds up killing him.
H: You and your friends kill the town simpleton, you kick his dog, you get shot by Jimmy Stewart and dragged to death by your horse.
M: (laughs) I got my comeuppance!
H: Did you do any of that drag yourself?
M: No. Well, I started the drag, and then they cut to a stuntman.
H: Now your director on that was Vincent McEevety, who had done a lot of westerns and, like you, a lot of sci-fi.
M: I worked with Vince a lot on westerns – I can’t tell you which ones. I worked with him before and I worked with him afterwards. I did a STAR TREK with him, DAGGER OF THE MIND.
H: In ‘69 you were with Richard Widmark and Lena Horne in DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER. It’s quite a good film, which is a surprise considering the credited director is Alan Smithee, the pseudonym directors use on films they’re ashamed of.
M: No. Robert Totten started directing it, and he didn’t like the fact that Lena Horne was the leading lady, and that here was a racial (element) to the story, and he kept griping. And finally Lew Wasserman fired him and Don Siegal took over. So they used the phony name Alan Smithee. Turned out pretty good.
H: For several years you were in DALLAS, sort of a modern Western. That was an incredibly popular series.
M: Yes it was.
H: Did you have a good time on that?
M: Oh, I certainly did. I was a regular on it for three years. So ’86, ’87, ‘88 I didn’t do very many (other) shows. As a matter of fact I was doing DAYS OF OUR LIVES, the daytime soap opera, at the same time.
H: I understand that with soaps, you have to learn an incredible amount of dialog with every episode. Were the pressures of doing that kind of show very different from doing a regular show?
M: I hated it. If I hadn’t have been dedicated – I simply wouldn’t walk off a show, or say I don’t want to do it anymore. But if I had to do it again I would. I didn’t like it at all. I just didn’t like daytime soap opera. I didn’t have time to prepare, I didn’t like the cue cards, I thought the dialog was asinine. But I must say I certainly met some good actors on soap opera. Some weren’t, but there were some really fine actors.
H: You’ve done THE A TEAM, where you’ve done comic western episodes. Did you enjoy that show?
M: Oh yes, oh yes. God, that was a lot of fun. George Peppard was a very nice fellow.
H: The last western-ish thing you’ve done was play bounty hunter Sam Travis in THE BOUNTY HUNTER’S CONVENTION episode of THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY JR.
M: That was not a favorite of mine, and it was not a favorite because I didn’t do a good job on that show. I was off-center, and I don’t know why. The show, I guess, was alright, but I was not at all satisfied with my performance.
H: I just watched it this week, and I found it very funny, and I found you very good in it.
M: Thank you – I’m happy to hear you say that.
H: In addition to Westerns, you’ve had an extensive career in science fiction. STAR TREK, PLANET OF THE APES, LOGAN’S RUN, BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, X-FILES, MILLENIUM. What do you prefer – science fiction or westerns or something else?
M: Well, it all depends on the script. If it’s a good show like the X-FILES, I love doing that, and I love doing westerns. It all depends on the script.
H: You’ve been acting in television for over forty years. You started near the beginning of the industry. What sort of changes, good and bad, have you seen over the years?
M: Well, I retired in 1997. My first professional job was with the Gulf Oil Theatre in Dallas, Texas. We had the first theatre-in-the-round in America. That was 1947, I was going to school in the morning, working in the afternoon and the evenings in the theatre. So in 1997 that was fifty years. And I thought, fifty years is enough, and I retired. And one of the reasons I retired is because I got tired of going in and interviewing with people who were very young, and were apparently young in the business, and they had not done their homework. And they’d say, “What have you done?” And I thought, for God’s sake, I’ve been in film for over forty years, and I have to go through the same routine all the time. It just became not that much fun, not that interesting. And some of the parts that were offered, even if I got them, they weren’t that interesting.
H: Overall, which are your own favorite Western performances?
M: Like I told you, the episode of GUNSMOKE, LOBO, when I was watching myself and didn’t realize it. And then, MATT DILLON MUST DIE, I liked that very much. I did a picture for Disney called THE WILD COUNTRY with Vera Miles and Steve Forrest.
H: Is that the one with Ron Howard and Clint Howard?
M: Yes, that was a favorite of mine. Robert Todd directed that.
H: What are your favorite westerns of other people?
M: Well, remember the series that Sam Peckinpah wrote, was it called THE WESTERNER (1960)? It didn’t last very long. With Brian Keith. That was good. THE ROUNDERS, Max Evans wrote that, with Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford. Then later on Max wrote THE HI-LO COUNTRY. The director of that was a fine English director, Stephen Frears, but he didn’t know what the Hell he was doing. He wanted to direct a western, and somebody wrote a bad script. And he shot a lot of pretty western scenes. The leading man was the guy from CHEERS, Woody Harrelson. But it was not a good picture.

In preparing for this interview, just about every movie and TV show mentioned was made available to me by EDDIE BRANDT’S SATURDAY MATINEE, where they’re all available for rent. Eddie’s is the unofficial film and TV archive that all the studios rely on. They’re at 5006 Vineland Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91601. 818-506-4242. They’re open Tuesday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The GUNSMOKE episode entitled HACKETT, a favorite of both Earl Holliman and Morgan Woodward, airs on TV-LAND tomorrow, Tuesday, August 17th, at 8:00 a.m., but check your local listings – sometimes they vary.

FIRST LOOK AT ROOSTER AND LITTLE SISTER

Okay, it’s not your first look – I’ve been posting them as quick as people leak them. But here is the first officially released photo of Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn, with Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross in he Coen Brothers' remake of TRUE GRIT. (see photo)

PALEFACE – AND THEN SOME – TO BE SEEN BY FIRELIGHT IN COWBOYS AND ALIENS

Those folks that enjoy gazing at beautiful naked women (yes, my hand is up, too) will be happy to know that Olivia Wilde has bared it all by campfire light (this is definitely not what the Campfire Girls were taught) in the upcoming Western sci-fier.

Her co-star, Adam Beach says, “We just finished shooting Olivia Wilde naked in front of a bonfire in front of 500 Apache warriors. That was beautiful. You won’t get to see what I saw, but you’ll get a glimpse.” Ms. Wilde describes filming the scene as, “Pretty amazing. Pretty interesting.” She adds, “I love doing action movies! This movie is so much fun for me. I kick ass in this!” Kick some and show some. (Photo - Olivia Wilde finally gets around to reading script, learns about campfire scene)

MORE MUSICAL SADDLES AT THE BARKLEY RANCH

As the feature version of THE BIG VALLEY continues to roll, there’s been a switch in the casting of Audra Barkely, the daughter of Victoria, played on TV by the blonde and beautiful Linda Evans. Blonde and beautiful Jennifer Nicholson is out, replaced by blonde and beautiful Sara Paxton. Sara has been seen recently in the TV series THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE (2009) and the recent remake of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2009).

SCREENINGS

3D FESTIVAL AT FILM FORUM, NEW YORK CITY


Jumping on the 3D bandwagon, the Film Forum is having a two week festival of many rarely seen films in 3D, and a surprising number of Westerns are included!
WEDNESDAY 8/18 DOUBLE FEATURE -- GUN FURY (1953) directed by Raoul Walsh, starring Rock Hudson, Donna Reed and Lee Marvin, with THE NEBRASKAN (1953) directed by Fred Sears, starring Phil Carey, Roberta Haynes and Lee Van Cleef. Lee Marvin and Lee Van Cleef -- both in 3D!
THURSDAY 8/19 DOUBLE FEATURE -- THE STRANGER WORE A GUN (1953) starring Randolph Scott, Claire Trevor, Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine, and directed by Andre de Toth, who directed at least two 3D movies but who, having only one eye, couldn't get the 3D effect, and DRUMS OF TAHITI (1953) directed by William Castle, starring Patricia Medina and Dennis o'Keefe as a 19th century gun-runner (see, it's kind of like a Western)
WEDNESDAY 8/25 INFERNO (1953) Directed by Roy Ward Baker, and starring Robert Ryan as a millionaire dumped in the desert by his scheming wife and her lover. And as an added attraction...you know Harold Lloyd as a great comedy pioneer, but did you know he also pioneered 3D photography? Mostly of women sans clothing! Between showings of INFERNO, a selection of Harold Lloyd's 3D nude slides will be shown! I wish I was in New York right now!
THURSDAY 8/26 SANGAREE (1953) directed by Edward Ludwig, set in post- Revolutionary Georgia, starring Fernando Lamas as a doctor during a plague outbreak, and Arlene Dahl is the beautiful heiress. New 35mm 3-D print courtesy Academy Film Archive. Color; Approx. 94 minutes, plus 10-minute intermission. 5:30, 9:45, AND ARLENE DAHL WILL ATTEND, AND PARTICIPATE IN A Q&A FOLLOWING THE 5:30 SHOW!

And coming in September, during the Film Forum William Castle retrospective, a 3D Western and a 3D Eastern: Friday & Saturday, 9/3 and 9/4 JESSE JAMES VS. THE DALTONS
(1954) Brett King believes he’s the son of the notorious bandit, and hooks up with the Daltons to try and learn the truth. But 3-D’d sexpot Barbara Lawrence is raison d’être enough for this Castle oater. Color; Approx. 65 minutes. 6:30 ONLY

Sunday & Monday 9/5 and 9/6 FORT TI (1953) Rare French and Indian War Eastern, with colonial George Montgomery teaming up with the Redcoats as they go toe-to-toe against those Frenchies at Fort Ticonderoga. Color; Approx. 75 minutes. 6:30 ONLY


FREE WESTERNS ON YOUR COMPUTER AT HULU


A staggering number of western TV episodes and movies are available, entirely free, for viewing on your computer at HULU. You do have to sit through the commercials, but that seems like a small price to pay. The series available -- often several entire seasons to choose from -- include THE RIFLEMAN, THE CISCO KID, THE LONE RANGER, BAT MASTERSON, THE BIG VALLEY, ALIAS SMITH AND JONES, and one I missed from 2003 called PEACEMAKERS starring Tom Berenger. Because they are linked up with the TV LAND website, you can also see BONANZA and GUNSMOKE episodes, but only the ones that are running on the network that week.

The features include a dozen Zane Grey adaptations, and many or most of the others are public domain features. To visit HULU on their western page, CLICK HERE.

AROUND LOS ANGELES

THE AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER

Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. Currently they have HOMELANDS: HOW WOMEN MADE THE WEST through August 22nd, and THE ART OF NATIVE AMERICAN BASKETRY: A LIVING TRADITION, through November 7th. I've seen the basketry show three times, and am continually astonished at the beauty and variety of the work of the various tribes. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.

HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE MUSEUM

Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, this building, once the headquarters of Lasky-Famous Players (later Paramount Pictures) was the original DeMille Barn, where Cecil B. DeMille made the first Hollywood western, The Squaw Man. They have a permanent display of movie props, documents and other items related to early, especially silent, film production. They also have occasional special programs. 2100 Highland Ave., L.A. CA 323-874-2276. Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for senior, $1 for children.

WELLS FARGO HISTORY MUSEUM

This small but entertaining museum gives a detailed history of Wells Fargo when the name suggested stage-coaches rather than ATMS. There’s a historically accurate reproduction of an agent’s office, an original Concord Coach, and other historical displays. Open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Admission is free. 213-253-7166. 333 S. Grand Street, L.A. CA.

ON TV

TV LAND - BONANZA and GUNSMOKE

Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They run a GUNSMOKE Monday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m., and on Friday they show two, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. They're not currently running either series on weekends, but that could change at any time.

NEED YOUR BLACK & WHITE TV FIX?

Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run THE LONE RANGER at 1:30 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.

As I said above, on Monday I'll have the Morgan Woodward interview up.

Adios!

Henry

Copyright August 2010 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved

Sunday, August 8, 2010

SPEILBERG TAKES 'COWBOYS AND ALIENS' TO WESTERN SCHOOL







(Updated Tuesday 8/10/2010 -- see Screenings)

COWBOYS AND ALIENS co-screenwriter Robert Orci, speaking at the San Diego Comic Con, says the producer insisted he, co-writer Alex Kurtzman, and director Jon Favreau study the Western movie form before diving into it. “He literally showed us a brand new print of THE SEARCHERS, and he commented throughout the whole thing. We had…Steven Speilberg...take us to Western school. That was the first one we saw. And then he…gave us a list, and we saw a couple of movies after that every weekend. And we just saw SHANE, THE PROFESSIONALS, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, HIGH NOON… but THE SEARCHERS was the first one, and that’s the one that really stuck in our minds. It’s a dark film, but very emotional. That moment when John Wayne picks up that girl (Natalie Wood), you know…it gets you.” To see more of the interview, courtesy of io9, CLICK HERE.

Among those who showed up unannounced at a panel discussing the film was Harrison Ford – in handcuffs! The word at Comic-Con about COWBOYS AND ALIENS is very positive. The clips that were shown were said to look great. The film, starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell is set to open on July 29th, 2011. To see a nearly 8 minute clip of the panel discussion at Comic Con, CLICK HERE. (warning, just as a clip from the film is being introduced, the footage ends.)

(Photos - Daniel Craig in COWBOYS AND ALIENS, Jack Mather, Radio's CISCO KID)

AUTRY EXPANSION ANNOUNCED

The Autry National Center of the American West announced this week that they have purchased a building in Burbank, which they will be calling the Autry Research Center. The 100,000 square foot building on Victory Boulevard will, “…provide the space and state-of-the-art museum-quality conditions to properly care for our collections and libraries, paving the way for us to modernize and increase our galleries within the existing walls of the building in Griffith Park.”

Many of the collections currently housed but not displayed at the Autry, and many collections now stored at the Southwest Museum, will be relocated to the Autry Research Center, which will make it possible to expand the Griffith Park Museum’s displays without expanding the building. For several years, the Autry has been stymied in their plans to expand the museum by people who object to their taking over more park land. Similarly, their work at the Southwest Museum has been made difficult by local ‘activists’ in that area.

REVIEW – CISCO KID ON RADIO

Like most Californians (and most city-dwellers, for that matter) I spend an inordinate amount of time behind the wheel, but going nowhere. One of the truly enjoyable activities one can safely indulge in at such a time is listening to ‘OTR,’ or old time radio. One of the very enjoyable Western programs is The Cisco Kid, and Radio Archives is currently offering a set of twenty half-hour shows on ten CDs.

“O. Henry’s Robin Hood of the old west,” who we know and love, has very little resemblance to the character described in O. Henry’s original story, THE CABALLERO’S WAY. Originally he was an American outlaw who blithely killed Mexicans, and was a clever but thoroughly bad guy. He became a lovable Mexican bandito when portrayed by Warner Baxter in IN OLD CALIFORNIA (1928), for which he won an Oscar. (Actor, later turned director, Raoul Walsh was originally cast in the part, but was replaced when he lost an eye in a car accident.) Baxter played the role twice more, then Cesar Romero took over for six films, the last in 1941. In 1946 the character moved from 20th Century Fox to Monogram, and Duncan Renaldo played him three times, with a mustache, then Gilbert Roland played him six times. Then in 1948 the character moved again, this time to United Artists, where Duncan Renaldo played him for five more outings, without a mustache, but with Leo Carrillo as Pancho. They would co-star in 156 TV episodes as well, shows which were of much greater long-term value than most contemporary shows, because they were produced in color. It’s said that Renaldo sometimes got impatient with Carrillo’s scene stealing, but he also admired that Carrillo was still riding and fighting and shooting at the age of 75!

Starting in 1947 and continuing for nearly a decade, The Cisco Kid radio shows were recorded at New York’s WOR Studios, starring Jack Mather as Cisco, and Harry Lang as Pancho. A mix of action, adventure and humor, the half-hour shows are very much like the TV episodes in tone and style. But the opening narrations give a little historical perspective, and the action can be a little darker than the TV version: Cisco and Pancho still shoot to disarm, but the bad guys can and do kill people.

About 600 radio episodes were produced over the years. The remarkable thing about this collection of shows is the stunning quality of the sound. Most OTR shows were aired live, and not professionally recorded – the majority of existing radio-show recordings come from amateur collectors. As a result, many shows don’t exist in any form, and many that do are in terrible shape, and painful to listen to. The Ciscos sound incredibly crisp and clear – and for good reason: according to Radio Archives, a veritable treasure-trove of 16” vinyl transcription disks – many never played, were discovered in Des Moines, Iowa. The more OTR you’ve heard, the more you’ll appreciate the outstanding audio quality of these shows. And if OTR is new to you, it’s a great introduction.

As an added temptation, when Harry Lang became ill, that great Loony Tunes voice Mel Blanc took over as Pancho’s cousin Profiro, who is, incredibly, not as bright as Pancho. The collection, which sells for $29.98, is available at their website, HERE. Incidentally, next week I’ll tell you a little more about the Cisco Kid movie saga, and hope someone out there can solve a Duncan Renaldo mystery!

SCREENINGS

ANNE JEFFREYS IN PERSON AT THE AERO

On Wednesday night, August 11th, at 7:30 p.m., The Aero Theatre at 1328 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, will show a double bill of Anne Jeffrey movies, and she will be discussing the films between the screenings.

First up is TRAIL STREET (1947) co-starring Randolph Scott as Bat Masterson, trying to clean up Liberal, Kansas (after which it became Conservative, Kansas). Also featured are Robert Ryan and Gabby Hayes, directed by Ray Enright, script by Norman Houston and Gene Lewis.

Next up, RIFFRAFF (1947), isn’t a western, but it’s a delightful, fast-paced caper about attempts to take over a Panama oil field, and stars Anne Jeffreys with Pat O’Brien.

SAM FULLER’S ‘FORTY GUNS’ AT L.A.C.M.A.

Friday, August 13th, at 7:30 p.m. Sam wrote, directed and produced this thrilling western, which stars Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Dean Jagger, John Ericson and Gene Barry. Can Sullivan, the Marshall, tame Stanwyck the Land Baroness? Let him try!

ROY ROGERS IN 'UNDER WESTERN STARS' AT THE AUTRY

On Saturday, August 14th, from 1:30 to 3:30, The Autry will present the movie that made Leonard Slye (Roy Rogers) a star: UNDER WESTERN STARS (1938). Just think -- if Republic hadn't been having disputes with Gene Autry -- whom this picture was originally written for -- we might never have had The King Of The Cowboys! Jeffrey Richardson, Associate Curator of Film and Popular Culture, will discuss the film's production and the museum's recent acquisition of key artifacts relating to Roy Rogers. A variety of Rogers's artifacts, including his one-of-a-kind plastic Rose Parade saddle, will be on display throughout the museum. The 35mm print is from the UCLA Archive, and admission cost of $9 includes admission to the museum.

THREE FREE WESTERNS SATURDAY AT SPUDIC’S!

On Saturday, August 14th, Eric Spudic’s Movie Empire will be hosting a free western triple bill! At 6:30 p.m., they’ll begin with FOUR OF THE APOCALYPSE (1975), directed by Lucio Fulci from a Bret Harte story, and starring Fabio Testi, Michael J. Pollard, Tomas Milian and Lynne Frederick. At 8:00 p.m. it’s VALDEZ IS COMING (1971) Edwin Sherin directing from the Elmore Leonard story, and starring Burt Lancaster, Susan Clark, Jon Cypher and Richard Jordan. THE THIRD MOVIE WILL BE SELECTED FROM SEVERAL OPTIONS BY YOU, THE ATTENDEES! Spudic’s Movie Empire is located at 5910 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91401. They sell all DVDs for $5 and all VHS tapes for $2, and are open from noon to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

WILLIAM S. HART DOUBLE-BILL UNDER THE STARS!

On Saturday, August 14th, Friends of Hart Park will present HELL'S HINGES and THE TAKING OF LUKE MCVANE, at Wm. S. Hart Park - Hart Hall, at 24151 Newhall Avenue, in the city of Newhall. Additionally, there will be a WESTERN SILENT AUCTION, at 6 p.m. EVENING TOURS and patio seating, 7 p.m. BBQ DINNER FROM RATTLER'S. Tickets are $50 a piece, with reserved tables of ten for $500. You can find out more, and order tickets by calling 661-254-4584, or clicking HERE. They say this event sells out, so if you want to go, reserve now!

SILENTS UNDER THE STARS AT PARAMOUNT RANCH

On Sunday, August 15th, BEGGARS OF LIFE (1928) Directed by William Wellman, starring Louise Brooks and Richard Arlen, will be screened at the historic Paramount Ranch. It's not a Western -- it's the story of a girl who runs away from her abusive father to ride the rails as a hobo, passing as a man. And it's a rare chance to visit a historic Western location. In fact, there's a historic tour at 5:45pm, followed by the movie at 7:30. Tickets are $6.00 for adults, $5.00 for members of Hollywood Heritage. Children under twelve are $3.00, under three free.

Picnicing is encouraged -- there are clean restrooms and free parking, but it gets dark, so bring a flashlight!

Directions:

The Paramount Ranch
Take the Ventura Freeway (101 north) to KANAN ROAD offramp. At light make a left turn onto Kanan Road going south. Cross the freeway to Agoura Road. Cross Agoura Road and shortly make a left turn onto CORNELL ROAD. (watch carefully, it is a small sign and small road) Follow Cornell Road about a couple of miles to the PARAMOUNT RANCH driveway, marked with large signs. Make a right turn into the driveway and down into the ranch. Look for signs as to where to park. The signs will say "Silents Under the Stars- Parking."
Official Website

SIGNINGS

EARLY WARNER BROTHERS HISTORY AT LARRY EDMUNDS


On Thursday, August 12th, at 7 p.m., Hollywood historians par excellence, co-authors Marc Wanamaker and E. J. Stephens, will be signing their latest book, EARLY WARNER BROTHERS HISTORY. The great movie bookstore is located at 6644 Hollywood Boulevard, L.A., CA 90028. (323) 463-3273. And you can visit info@larryedmunds.com to learn more.

I'll be back in a couple of hours with that Cisco Kid radio-show review. And I've been fortunate enough to meet and interview some very interesting people. In the coming weeks I'll be running interviews with Earl Holliman and Morgan Woodward, and several more western favorites!

Hasta manana,

Henry

All contents Copyright August 8th, 2010, by Henry C. Parke. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

WILLIAM BONNEY UP FOR PAROLE!





(Updated Wednesday 8/4/2010 -- see WOODY STRODE below)

No, I’m not kidding. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is considering granting a posthumous pardon to Billy the Kid. Among those objecting most vigorously to the historical whitewashing are three grandchildren of lawman Pat Garrett. Garrett, who had at one time been a friend to Bonney, shot and killed him on July 14, 1881, following the outlaw’s escape from the Lincoln County Jail, an escape that left two deputies dead.

A letter sent to Richardson this week by three Garrett grandchildren stated that to grant the pardon would represent an "inexcusable defamation" of the lawman. "If Billy the Kid was living amongst us now, would you issue a pardon for someone who made his living as a thief and, more egregiously, who killed four law enforcement officers and numerous others?"

Among those being brought into the debate is a descendant of Bonney’s employer, rancher John Henry Tunstall, whose 1878 murder ignited the Lincoln County War. Hilary Tunstall-Behrens, a great-nephew of the rancher, who came from London to meet with Garretts, is taking sides against Bonney. "I wouldn't join the cause. There is so much strong feelings."

Personally, I am never happy to see people blithely rewriting history. I understand in the case of Dr. Mudd. His name became synonymous with ‘traitor’ – as in ‘his name was Mudd,’ – after he treated John Wilkes Booth’s wounds without turning him in. An argument can at least be made that he didn’t know his patient was Lincoln’s assassin, and if his descendants feel better with his pardon, fine. You might expect me to support Bonney, us both being Brooklyn boys, but while there is some doubt whether he murdered as few as nine or as many as twenty-one before he reached his majority, the fact is he was a prolific killer. He was guilty as charged. If there is a Hell, and if Billy is currently burning in it, I doubt the authorities there will be much impressed by the authority of Governor Richardson in the matter.

If you’d like to read an excellent article on the subject by Barry Massey for the Associated Press, CLICK HERE. If you’d like to get Pat Garrett’s own perspective, CLICK HERE to read his fascinating biography of Billy the Kid.

AND PLEASE WEIGH IN WITH YOUR OWN OPINION – MAKE A COMMENT BELOW.

BIG VALLEY CASTING SWITCH

Not long ago, Susan Sarandon was out and Jessica Lange was in as Victoria Barkley, the role made famous by Barbara Stanwyck. Now, in the role of Charles Crocker, the real railroad magnate, Richard Dreyfus is out and Sam Neill is in. Unlike the fictional Barkleys, Crocker was a real man. He, Mark Hopkins, Collis Huntington and Leland Stanford formed ‘the big four,’ built the Central Pacific Railroad, which became the western section of the Transcontinental Railroad.

(Pictures, top left to bottom: Pat Garrett, William Bonney, Charles Crocker)


FREE WESTERNS ON YOUR COMPUTER AT HULU


A staggering number of western TV episodes and movies are available, entirely free, for viewing on your computer at HULU. You do have to sit through the commercials, but that seems like a small price to pay. The series available -- often several entire seasons to choose from -- include THE RIFLEMAN, THE CISCO KID, THE LONE RANGER, BAT MASTERSON, THE BIG VALLEY, ALIAS SMITH AND JONES, and one I missed from 2003 called PEACEMAKERS starring Tom Berenger. Because they are linked up with the TV LAND website, you can also see BONANZA and GUNSMOKE episodes, but only the ones that are running on the network that week.

The features include a dozen Zane Grey adaptations, and many or most of the others are public domain features. To visit HULU on their western page, CLICK HERE.

WOODY STRODE DAY AT TCM!

Every day in August for several years, TCM has featured a single actor's movies for a full day and night. For the first time to my recollection, they are featuring a full day of Woody Strode movies on Thursday -- yes, tomorrow, August 5th! In addition to BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY and TARZAN films, and more 'classy' fare later on, they are showing, starting at 9:15 a.m., SHALAKO, at 1:00 p.m. THE LAST REBEL, at 3:00 p.m. TWO RODE TOGETHER, and at 5:00 p.m. SGT. RUTLEDGE. THESE ARE ALL PACIFIC TIMES -- CHECK YOUR LOCAL SCHEDULE! How cool that Woody is finally getting his due!

AROUND LOS ANGELES

THE AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER

Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. Currently they have HOMELANDS: HOW WOMEN MADE THE WEST through August 22nd, and THE ART OF NATIVE AMERICAN BASKETRY: A LIVING TRADITION, through November 7th. I've seen the basketry show three times, and am continually astonished at the beauty and variety of the work of the various tribes. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.

HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE MUSEUM

Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, this building, once the headquarters of Lasky-Famous Players (later Paramount Pictures) was the original DeMille Barn, where Cecil B. DeMille made the first Hollywood western, The Squaw Man. They have a permanent display of movie props, documents and other items related to early, especially silent, film production. They also have occasional special programs. 2100 Highland Ave., L.A. CA 323-874-2276. Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for senior, $1 for children.

WELLS FARGO HISTORY MUSEUM

This small but entertaining museum gives a detailed history of Wells Fargo when the name suggested stage-coaches rather than ATMS. There’s a historically accurate reproduction of an agent’s office, an original Concord Coach, and other historical displays. Open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Admission is free. 213-253-7166. 333 S. Grand Street, L.A. CA.

ON TV

TV LAND - BONANZA and GUNSMOKE

Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They run a GUNSMOKE Monday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m., and on Friday they show two, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. They're not currently running either series on weekends, but that could change at any time.

NEED YOUR BLACK & WHITE TV FIX?

Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run THE LONE RANGER at 1:30 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.

I guess that'll have to do for now.

Adios!

Henry

Copyright July 2010 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved