Other Cowboy Stars — Sunset Carson and Lash La Rue in “Alien Outlaw”

August 24, 2011

File this one under “CODA.”  It’s Sunset Carson’s last ‘big’ screen appearance and one of Lash La Rue’s final films as well.

This is one of those cheapy horror sci-fi films that popped up with great frequency during the Eighties.  A local production featuring mainly non-actors and laughable special effects.

It’s 1985 and Sunset Carson hadn’t worked since 1950.  That year marked his final film with the equally cheapo Yucca Pictures.

He has maybe two minutes in this film but he still gets his (gross!) trademark “cluck cluck” in twice!  Sunset plays the role of Sunset, a scout for the Diamond theatrical agency.  He clucks when he checks out the female lead’s legs and clucks again as a sort of fond “good luck” farewell.

“cluck cluck”

He looks good for a man of his age (65.)  He’s still got that personable, like-able quality that typified his films with Republic in the late 40’s.  In a bonus feature on the DVD, he sits on apple crates with fellow actors and interviews them for his cable access TV show.

In the film, Jesse Jamison is an 80’s Annie Oakley who is poised to become star of “the greatest gun show of all time” as her new management tells her.  Unfortunately, an alien shows up.  An Alien Outlaw.

Lash La Rue is the lead. The lead!  He plays the uncle of Jesse’s missing assistant.  He helps Jesse take out the bad monsters and get her guns back for the big show.

Lash sports a Stephen J. Cannell look in the film.  He’s pretty fit but do we really need to see him with his shirt off?

No.  We don’t.

{no photo here cuz my mama brought me up right}

The big question is: does he use the whip?  No, but he does get his ass kicked pretty good.

There is one more final film appearance, and it one of the saddest cameos in the history of film.  Frederick Penniman was a part-Indian cowboy who made a sorta living in rodeos, Wild West touring companies and doing stunts in movies.  The stage name he chose is Wild Bill Cody, which is equal parts real-life cowboy and B-Western movie star — Bufallo Bill Cody and intermittent B-movie star Bill Cody; Wild Bill Hickok and Wild Bill Elliot.

In 1972, Sunset gave him a role as an Indian Chief in the doomed “Marshal of Windy Hollow”, a film which was never released.

In “Alien Outlaw”, his final role finds him as a withered and bent pervert sitting on a park bench.  He’s ogling girls.

He seems to be suffering from some form of throat cancer. When his dog bolts after the foxy Jesse, he croaks out a single line, “Hey, you can’t bring it back!”

He died three years later.

A final note: the film may exist now as mainly a curiosity showcasing a couple of aging cowboys, but it also turns out to have been a wonderful moment in a English kid’s life.  Check out this happy tale from the IMDB comment section:

I watched the filming, 19 April 2008
Author: barke_p from United Kingdom

I have happy memories of a teenage summer staying near Sparta, NC, on one of the locations that this film uses. Specifically, in the film it was the farm house of the character played by Lash La Rue. I was staying with the family that owns that farm. The “barn” you see in some scenes there was actually the family’s garage.

The film crew were there for several days and I joined in the shoot as a sort of unpaid runner, carrying things around. It was quite odd, not to say surreal, at times: a fifteen year old kid from the UK sitting on the porch chatting alternately with a grumpy B-western star, then the long legged heroine (they were FANTASTIC legs), then the “aliens”, without their helmets. At lunchtimes we had fried chicken, mashed potato , biscuits and gravy I seem to remember. Tasted very good! At one point I overheard the director say something particularly uncomplimentary about his own film. He struck me as someone who could have made much better films if he had had the resources.

I just got the DVD, having never watched the film and it really is difficult to say anything positive about it as a piece of cinema. As a memento of the best summer of my life though it is priceless.

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One Response to “Other Cowboy Stars — Sunset Carson and Lash La Rue in “Alien Outlaw””

  1. Glen Burleson said

    In the late 1940s, I lived with a cousin who owned a store just outside Albemarle, NC. I was working alone one day and a big bus with Sunset Carson painted on the side stopped and in walked Sunset and his crew for some drinks and nabs. I could hardly believe my eyes. He was really tall and handsome. I had seen his movies many times.

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