November 28, 2011
Six minutes into this 1973 film, the camera follows a bank guard across the lobby of the small town bank that Walter Matthau and his gang are about the rob. He’s an older gray-haired man. There’s nothing much about him to catch your eye. Unless you happen to notice the pearl handled six-shooter in his belt.
Matthau pulls a gun on the bank manager, a masked accomplice bonks the guard on the head and he goes down. Moments later, the guard takes advantage of a commotion outside to grab his gun and shoot a robber, before he’s cut down in a hail of bullets.
And thus ends the second-to-last role of Bob Steele’s long career. The former B-Western star would play another uncredited role in the cheapo horror “Nightmare Honeymoon” before hanging up his six-guns for good.
“Charley Varrick” is directed by Don Siegel, who directed Audie Murphy in “Duel At Silver Creek” early in his career. Was his casting of Steele here, and the anti-poetry of his death, an homage to the dying breed of cowboy stars? Or was he giving an old guy a day’s work?
For me, Bob Steele’s final role will always be his touching performance in a 1970 episode of TV’s “Family Affair.” We miss you, Chaps Callahan.
November 17, 2011
HOMES OF THE WESTERN STARS
THE GUNSMOKE TOUR
SPECIAL GUEST BLOGGER
On June 3, 2011 America lost one the greatest western heroes in television history – James Arness, who for played Matt Dillon, the marshall of Dodge City, on ‘Gunsmoke’, which ran for twenty years, making it the longest running tv series of all time, until recently, when ‘Law And Order’, replaced it.
How Arness won the role of Matt Dillion is well known, but is worth repeating. When the producers decided to bring the famous radio show to television they wanted a bigger than life actor to play the lead role of Marshall Matt Dillon. William Conrad had starred in the role on radio but he didn’t look the part. So, it was offered to John Wayne. The Duke wasn’t ready to give up his screen career for the boob tube, but he knew someone who would be perfect for the role and told the producers to check out James Arness, which they did, and the rest is history. Another television show that was popular during the 1960s and 1970s was ‘Mission Impossible’ starring Peter Graves, the kid brother of James Arness. Graves died on March 14, 2010.
This tour is both a tribute to James Arness and ‘Gunsmoke’, the radio and television series. I’ve been unable to find where some of the stars used to live at, or where they are buried, but they are listed just the same for being apart of history.
This is your tour guide – Shug Fisher.
The tour guide stagecoach that will take us to where some of these great radio and tv stars once lived is getting ready to leave. Keep your arms inside and don’t feed any Hagin’s that you might see wondering about. Once you’ve given anything to a Haggen’s they never go away.
Here we go. First stop – the radio series history.
That way to Dodge City….
THE RADIO SERIES
APRIL 26, 1952 – JUNE 18, 1961 – 413 EPISODES
In the late 1940s one of radio’s most popular shows was ‘The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe’, and one of its biggest fans was CBS bigwig, William S. Paley.
Paley told chief of programming, Hubell Robinson, to put together a hardboiled western series with the main character an old west Philip Marlowe type. Robinson handed the job over to the West Coast Vice President of CBS, Harry Ackerman, who had developed the Marlowe series.
Ackerman auditioned two of the stars of radio shows already being aired on CBS, Michael Rye, star of ‘Michael Shayne’, and Howard Culver, star of ‘Straight Arrow’.
Culver was just what the producers were looking for, but, since he was busy on his series and unable to star on another show, the series was shelved for the next three years, until 1952. It aired on April 26.
WILLIAM CONRAD AS MARSHALL MATT DILLON
4031 LONGRIDGE ROAD – SHERMAN OAKS
John Wayne lived here and when he decided to move to Newport Beach he sold the house to Conrad, who lived here until his death.
FOREST LAWN, HOLLYWOOD HILLS
PARLEY BAER AS CHESTER PROUDFOOT
4967 BILMOOR AVENUE – TARZANA
FOREST LAWN, HOLLYWOOD HILLS
HOWARD MCNEAR AS DOC ADAMS
LOS ANGELES NATIONAL CEMETERY – WESTWOOD, CA.
GEORGIA ELLIS AS KITTY RUSSELL
JAMES NUSSER AS LOUIE PHEETERS
More in Part Two.
This is the end of the line for the first part of our tour. Your new tour guide is Gabby Yakalotz. Inside you’ll find drinks and hot grub.
Your next tour coach will be ready to board soon.
Listen up tourists. On the menu is steak and eggs. The only drinks we have is beer, whiskey and water.
So sit down and you’ll be served shortly.
We’ll hit the road as soon as I finish doin’ the dishes.
THE TELEVISION SERIES
SEPTEMBER 10, 1955 – MARCH 31, 1975 – 635 EPISODES
The first episode was introduced by John Wayne.
JAMES ARNESS AS MATT DILLON
45 NORTH BEVERLY GLEN BOULEVARD
176 GRANVILLE AVENUE – LOS ANGELES
790 RANCH LANE – LOS ANGELES
830 BROOKTREE ROAD – PACIFIC PALISADES
FOREST LAWN, GLENDALE
JENNY LEE AURNESS
In 1975, the twenty – five year old daughter of James Arness, committed suicide.
FOREST LAW, GLENDALE – THE GREAT MAUSOLEUM
AMANDA BLAKE AS KITTY RUSSELL
24962 EL DORADO MEADOW ROAD – HIDDEN HILLS, LOS ANGELES
5105 EAST EXETER ROAD – PHOENIX, ARIZONA
Cremated and scattered
MILBURN STONE AS DOC ADAMS
11100 MT. CASTLE DRIVE – NORTH HOLLYWOOD
EL CAMINO MEMORIAL PARK – SAN DIEGO
DENNIS WEAVER AS CHESTER
SAM MC CLOUD
12217 EMELITA STREET – STUDIO CITY – 1958
16055 ROYAL OAK ROAD – ENCINO – 1966
23840 PARK BELMONTE – CALABASAS – 1980s
25006 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY – MALIBU
He sold it in 2005
HIS EARTHSHIP HOUSE
Outside his home
He was living here at the time of his death. He was cremated and scattered.
KEN CURTIS AS FESTUS
BENT COUNTY JAIL – LAS ANIMAS, COLORADO
Ken’s father was the sheriff in Bent County and the family lived here, above the jail.
He spent his boyhood years here.
KEN CURTIS / FESTUS STATUE
Ken and his wife, Torrie, retired to his ranch here, where they lived until his death.
He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the flatlands of Colorado. This statue of Ken as Festus is located in downtown Clovis.
GLENN STRANGE – SAM THE BARTENDER
FOREST LAWN, HOLLYWOOD HILLS
BURT REYNOLDS – QUINT ASPER
LAUREL CRESCENT DRIVE – LOS ANGELES
With wife, actress Judy Carne
245 NORTH CAROLWOOD DRIVE – BEL AIR
1991 – 1995
3355 CLEREDON ROAD – BEVERLY HILLS
(Gated community of Mulholland Estates)
With wife, actress Loni Anderson
22336 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY – MALIBU
His beach house
2004 – 2005
12078 SUMMIT CIRCLE – BEVERLY HILLS
ROGER EWING – THADDEUS ‘THAD’ GREENWOOD
7733 HAMPTON AVENUE #4 – LOS ANGELES
BUCK TAYLOR – NEWLY O’BRIEN
ROUTE 2, BOX 150 – ENNIS, MONTANA
JAMES NUSSER – LOUIE PHEETERS
VALHALLA MEMORIAL PARK – NORTH HOLLYWOOD
ROY ROBERTS – MR. BODKIN
512 NORTH ROSSMORE AVENUE – LOS ANGELES
GREENWOOD MEMORIAL PARK – FORT WORTH, TEXAS
DABBS GREER – MR. JONUS
284 SOUTH MADISON AVENUE, PASADENA
TED JORDAN – NATHAN BURKE
HANK PATTERSON – HANK
Before he became the father of a pig named Arnold Ziffel on ‘Green Acres’, he
played Hank on ‘Gunsmoke.
19545 ROSCOE BOULEVARD – NORTHRIDGE
13255 READLEY AVENUE, SHERMAN OAKS
FOREST LAWN, HOLLYWOOD HILLS
BERT RUMSEY – BARTENDER SAM NOONAN – 1956 – 1959
CHEROKEE MEMORIAL PARK, LODI, CALIFORNIA
FRAN RYAN – MISS HANNAH COBB
She appeared in the twentieth and last season. She took over The Long Branch after
Kitty left Dodge.
She reprised the role in the
1987 TV movie – ‘Gunsmoke – Return To Dodge’.
HOLY SEPULCHRE CEMETERY – HAYWARD, CALIFORNIA
GEORGE SELK – MOSS GRIMMICK
SARAH SELBY – MA SMALLEY
GEORGE SEER – BARNEY, THE TELEGRAPH OPERATOR
GUNSMOKE FILMING LOCATIONS
- Bell Ranch, Santa Susana, California, USA
- Big Sky Ranch – 4927 Bennett Road, Simi Valley, California, USA
- Bronson Canyon, Griffith Park – 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles, California, USA
- CBS Studio Center – 4024 Radford Avenue, Studio City, Los Angeles, California, USA
- California Studios – 5530 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
- Coronado National Forest, Arizona, USA
- Corriganville, Corriganville, Ray Corrigan Ranch, Simi Valley, California, USA
- Hill City, South Dakota, USA
- (episodes16.6 and16.7)
- Hollywood Center Studios/KTLA Sunset Lot – 5800 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA
- Iverson Ranch – 1 Iverson Lane, Chatsworth, Los Angeles, California, USA
- Johnson Canyon, Kanab, Utah, USA
- Kanab Movie Ranch – 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, Utah, USA
- Kanab, Utah, USA
- Melody Ranch – 24715 Oak Creek Avenue, Newhall, California, USA
- Old Tucson – 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona, USA
- Paramount Ranch – 2813 Cornell Road, Agoura, California, USA
- Sierra Railroad, Jamestown, California, USA
- Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park – 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Rd., Agua Dulce, California, USA
Bob Siler grew up in Burbank, not far from Universal Studios and Warner Brothers where they made his favorite monster movies. A long-time fan of Westerns, he still has a hard time believing that the great John Wayne could die. Bob has created many lists detailing where the famous and infamous lived, are buried, and the cars they drove. He has recently completed this list of Western Stars homes after many years. Burbank Bob now resides in Portland, Oregon.