Where’s Charley?

July 6, 2009

This framed poster is for sale at the Autry Museum of the American West.

Charles at the Autry 001

Let’s examine a sampling of the stars we have here, and count their contributions to the great film library of Columbia studios.

Jane Wyatt made 2 films for Columbia.

Hugh O’Brian was also in a grand total of 2 films for Columbia.  Like Wyatt, neither were westerns.

Alan Hale Jr. was cast in 5 films for the studio, 2 of which were westerns.

Terry Moore did 6 films for the studio.  Number of westerns = zero.

Walt La Rue made an appearance in 8 films, primarily as a stunt man.

Clayton Moore appeared in 10 films for Columbia, playing second-fiddle to Charles Starrett in 4 of them.

Gail Davis was under contract for Columbia for 2 films, both as the love interest in a Charles Starrett vehicle.

Question: where’s Charles Starrett?  Where is Durango?  Starrett was the star of 135 films for Columbia,  and appeared as the Durango Kid in the longest running western series that the studio ever had.  As I’ve noted elsewhere in this blog, Charles’ films make up nearly FIVE PERCENT of the entire Columbia film library.

And his autograph doesn’t rate?  Is this justice, I ask!

The final insult is that Charles’ stunt man for years and years, Jack Mahoney, is proudly featured here.

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5 Responses to “Where’s Charley?”

  1. mike newton said

    This poster was obviously signed at film festivals where these people were guest stars. Charles Starrett only made one guest appearance at a Raleigh, N.C. film festival in 1986. His eyesight was so bad that they had a special signature stamp made for him. I have a couple of items which I sent to him to sign, but his wife included a note implying that I should be very grateful (which I was) because he had difficult in seeing. Just because the other people’s names appeared on the poster was no indication that their Columbia output was any indication of their fame.

  2. stevesomething said

    Mike, you just have NO sense of fun, do ya?

    • John Hall said

      I do have an actual autograph from Charles Starrett and it is one of my prized possessions.
      I attended the Memphis Film Festival when Charles appeared there. I’m not sure what year it was but my guess is 1984 or 1985…I have a bunch of festival schedules around here.
      I didn’t have a lot of money to spend and I eked out $30 or so to buy a insert poster of “The Desert Horseman” for Charles to sign. At a screening of the original “Durango Kid” film, Charles mentioned his fading eyesight before the film and told us he’d enjoy “hearing” our reactions.
      Afterwards, I got in a long line and got Charles to sign my poster. He laid the poster on the table and put his face down close to the artwork and looked it over. After giving the poster a quick once-over he mentioned “Oh, Produced by Colbert Clark! A nice guy, Cheap with a Buck…but a nice guy”. He then smiled at me and asked me where I wanted him to sign. I pointed to an open area near the top of the poster and he signed it as Charles “Durango” Starrett.
      What a charming guy! He was great…If you’d like, I’ll try to get a picture of the poster and send it to you.

  3. stevesomething said

    A picture of a signed poster of Charles Starret would be wonderful, John. Especially since I like the film “Desert Horsemen”. I would portray that here with pride (with your permission.)

    BTW: I spoke to someone who would know, and she says that the above framed “Columbia” item is a reproduction, and issued by the studio. He thinks that the explanation for the lack of Charles’ autograph is that they don’t have his on file. (And your story goes a long way to explaining why.)

  4. John Hall said

    Send me your e-mail address and I will get some pictures of the “Desert Horseman” poster and autograph to you.

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