ImageImageImage

From 1958 to 1960, Rory Calhoun took up residence in “The Texan.”  Lots of cool folks dropped by.

Image

Joe Turkel.

vlcsnap-2013-04-07-23h24m12s53

Dean Stanton.

vlcsnap-2013-04-08-00h26m31s42

Shirley Knight.

vlcsnap-2013-04-13-20h45m10s205

Roy Barcroft

vlcsnap-2013-04-13-20h57m48s106

Claude Akins.

vlcsnap-2013-04-13-21h10m00s238

The Skipper.

vlcsnap-2013-04-13-22h52m14s207

Coburn.

vlcsnap-2013-04-29-21h42m08s167

LC JR.

vlcsnap-2013-04-29-22h30m19s134

Strother Martin!

And, in case you didn’t catch the spelling on Calhoun’s character’s name, it’s the one on the bottom.

vlcsnap-2013-04-07-23h13m38s104

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

— 1944.  Boyd Magers has a nice write-up of Dennis Moore’s career over at Western Clippings.

Image

For this 1932 RKO serial, Lon Chaney Jr has a secret identity.  In town, he’s the smiling if righteous newspaper editor.  On the plain, he’s The Black Ghost.  He wears all black and a little disguise.  And he has an over-the-top accent.

ImageImage

Like the Durango kid would a half-dozen years later, he has a make-shift hide-out for changing on the run.

ImageImageImage

The plot involves illegal guns, General Custer and stampeding cattle.  The Black Ghost must persist!

Image

Chaney is as good as he is in most stuff.  He’s an adequate cowboy hero — can convincingly throw a punch, smile at girls and kids, and ride.  He looks appropriately corny and honest in his town-folk get-up.  He looks jaunty and mysterious as the Black Ghost.

Image

I love a good serial.  This one is okay.  But it has it’s moments.

Image

And Yakima’s in it somewhere.  (I couldn’t find him.) (No, I didn’t watch all 12 episodes, running time nearly 4 hours.)

I’ve kicked up a bunch of dust in previous posts on the subject of ‘Forrest Tucker belongs to us!’  Fans of other genres may have a fair claim to the man, but I stand tall and resolute in my belief that his work as a character actor in Western films is beyond par.

The question remains: what do we do with F-Troop?

ImageImage

First billed, you know.

I couldn’t be bothered with this show as a kid.  It was low-brow even for an 11-year-old me.

Revisiting it, my opinion hasn’t changed that much.  I know there are people out there (including many of you, my dear readers) who really dig this show.  And I can see that.  Sometimes it feels like “Batman” and the better jokes are for the adults.  Sometimes the physical comedy is inspired.  And, fuck it, Bob Steele is in the thing!

vlcsnap-2013-04-24-22h46m21s181

So let’s focus on Forrest.  He is really good in this!  He’s spry!  He’s lively and light on his feet.  And he seems to be having fun.

vlcsnap-2013-04-24-22h39m20s110

The alternative reality is deadly.  Poor Tucker grinding through each episode with a pained expression, hating every pratfall, ever dopey turn by Ken Berry and Larry Storch (a genius!)  Instead he appears to be loving it.

vlcsnap-2013-04-24-22h38m20s23

Where’s his damn Emmy?!

Image

By 1915, William S. Hart had been making pictures with Thomas Ince for two years and had completed twenty films.  The running time for these two-reelers was about 22 minutes.  So, (rough math here), he’d clocked about 500 minutes of screen time.  What was to become his standard character had already emerged and was solidifying.  As were the themes of his dramas.

Image

The key word here is not “Bat” but “reformed.”

Image

ImageImage

He helps old drunky.  He’s kind to working women.  He sets the table.  Just don’t kidnap his gal or try to swindle him out of his mining claim.

ImageImage

He’ll burn down your whole world!  (see also “Hell’s Hinges.“)

ImageImage

Howdy!  This is the part of the blog where we complete our study of the three Science Fiction films featuring Forrest Tucker (v. the 100s of Westerns!) with…

Image

Psst,y’all. Otherwise known as “The Crawling Eye.”

ImageImage

“He’s American.  About 40, I should think.”  

vlcsnap-2013-04-17-23h13m44s52

The other two?  “The Cosmic Monsters”, also 1958, and “The Abominable Snowman”, 1957.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — discard your claim to Mr. Tucker, you scyfy fans, he belongs to us Western nerds.

…wait! What!! Tucker was in a bunch of episodes of a TV show called “The Ghostbusters”?!  In 1973 and 1986?!  “Night Gallery”?!!!

Damn…

Image

It’s 1958.  He’s 30 and a stock character actor in TV series like this one, starring aging B-Western star, Rory Calhoun.  

Image

His world is about to change.  And he’s ready.

ImageImageImageImageImage

You know the rest!

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

— 1958

ImageImage

I’m intrigued by Keno Bates.  Why is he a liar?

The set-up is the streamlined, made to scale Thos. H. Ince/ Wm. S. Hart narrative that I love.  Keno is a card player by profession.  He’s robbed by a sore loser.  The rest follows naturally.

ImageImageImageImageImageImage

From here on in, Keno follows an emerging Hart character arc – he sins to protect the innocent.  He lies to the sister about what sort of man her brother was, he lies and tells her that his own home belonged to the dead man — he’s Keno Bates, Liar!

He gives up drink, a fast woman and his gun belt.

He suffers and suffers.   He dies?

ImageImageImageImageImageImage

But no…

Image

Image

You get it.  Right?  Okay then.

Image

I loves me some William S. Hart!

As faithful readers know, I’m a sucker for any western with the word “phantom” in it.

ImageImage

A horror western?  Naw.  Someone plugs old man Markham and Ken Mitchell (guess who?) takes an interest.

ImageImageImage

What’s a fellah to do, if not put on a black mask?

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

The year was 1938.  Right around the same time that another man destined to wear a mask climbed into the cinematic saddle.

Image

Starrett.  Charles Starrett.