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Number 4 in the Lt. Andy Doyle series!

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Timothy Carey is in this one!

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Lots more going on in CHAIN OF EVIDENCE.  But… Timothy Carey!

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PS.  I see our friend Set Decorator Joseph Kish’s mark on this crooked 22.

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There’s a neat homage in this film to Wild Bill Elliott’s long career as a cowboy star.  Lt. Andy Doyle visits a set.

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CALLING HOMICIDE, the third of five films in Elliott’s last minute career as a homicide detective, has a lot more noir elements than the previous two.  The detective’s VO with some hard-boiled lines.  And visuals like these:

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That’s right, Mr. Joseph Kish!

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…of CALLING HOMICIDE, but Lt. Andy Doyle will be BACK! in CHAIN OF EVIDENCE…

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Welcome back to this premiere Western site where we explore the careers of B-Western stars after they dismounted.  AND discuss the design of these later films sets!

Buckle up, hombres!

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As we’ve discussed about the previous film in this series, DIAL RED ZERO, that film is full of bold choices in the art displayed on the walls.  Comparing the credits of the two films, we find that Art Director David Milton is still on board.  Missing from this second film is Set Decorator Joseph Kish.

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Was the exciting work in the first film to be credited to Mr. Kish?  Let’s look at SUDDEN DANGER.

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I’m voting for YES.  But we shall see, as Kish rejoins Milton in the last 3 installments of this film series, CALLING HOMICIDE, CHAIN OF EVIDENCE and FOOTSTEPS IN THE NIGHT.

Can you stand the suspense….???!

So, in 1955, with 5 pictures left in his contract with Allied Artists, Wild Bill hung up his six-shooters and picked up a gat.  He got himself a nice little detective series as Lt. Andy Flynn.  The first one was called…

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He’s good in this new role.  Very Noir.

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But, hey, let’s hear up for the bold decisions of the set designer.  Check this shit out!

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Red Ryder Pre-Credit Sequence

February 20, 2013

They start like this.

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I was counting on this being another entry in the beloved but scarce genre of horror westerns.  I was wrong.  It’s kiddie stuff.

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Nothing wrong with that.  It seems that the Red Ryder series is pretty much aimed at the kids, especially when Little Beaver tags along.

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Some folk will claim that the entire oeuvre of B-Westerns from the thirties and forties is for the kiddies.  I would disagree and ask proponents of this thesis to compare this film with any of the other films on this site.

Thank God, Little Durango didn’t catch on.

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When this film was released, what did Charles Starrett think?  It was 1950.  He and Bill Elliott were the same age.  Charles had been at a major studio for 17 years while Bill Elliott was hopping between minors.  And yet, here is Elliott starring in a REAL western with name supporting characters, an actual budget and even a 90 minute running time!

Charles, on the other hand, was playing the Durango Kid eight times a year in 55 minute films with ever shrinking budgets and shooting schedules.

Could this have been another reason Starrett decided to retire in 1952?

Bill Elliott did not retire.  He appeared in ten more westerns after “Savage Horde” before playing Detective Andy Doyle in a series of pictures for Allied Artists.  Instead of jumping ship, he made the leap to Noir!

Once upon a time, Elliott took a cup of coffee at Columbia.  He was a fresh faced young guy.

By 1950 and “The Savage Horde”, he’s looking a lot rougher.  He’s also better at playing the tough guy.  He’d made over 200 films at this point.

Physically, Elliott is the same sort of cowboy star as Starrett.  He’s tall and lean.  He has a long face.  He’s mainly heroic but can play it a little grim at times.  And sometimes…super goofy.

In “Savage Horde”, Elliott plays John “Ringo” Baker, a gunman who killed an army Captain in self-defense and is now on the run from a patrol lead by his brother.  He settles in Gunslock because his childhood sweetheart is in love with the villain.  He organizes the independent ranchers to hold their own against in a range war.

Another western star who never retired is in this one, Mr. Bob Steele.  He’s Dancer, the hired gun.  He’s the bad guy.

Bob Steele made the move from leading man to supporting roles and had a career that stretched into the 70’s.  Here he plays “that little sawed-off gunslick Dancer,” as described by Noah Beery Jr.  He’s younger than Elliot and plays this role crazy and mean.  He emanates cocky self-confidence in every shot.  Great crazed expressions and brilliant eyes as he stares down a harmless rancher, mocking him before shooting him dead, or laughing at the death of confederate.

I love this guy.

Okay.

So, we’ve spent some time exploring an important year in Charles Starrett’s cowboy star career.  That would be the year of 1935.  This is when Starrett first pulled on his boots and starred in his a Western.  That film was “Gallant Defender.”

1945 would probably rank as the second most important year in his career.  That’s when he began to make Durango Kid films exclusively, with “The Return Of The Durango Kid.”

What was Wild Bill Elliott up to in 1945?  Well, he was portraying the creation of comic artist Fred Harman — Red Ryder.  He would be the second of four actors to play the role (Don “Red” Barry, Allan Lane and Jim Bannon were the others).

“Colorado Pioneers” co-stars Robert Blake, and concerns a bunch of city kids who come West to learn a thing or two about being cowhands.  This Republic film is strictly for a younger audience.

This opens the door to a discussion on what the intended audience was for Charles Starrett’s Western films, and how much a consideration of the age-range of the audience effected the filmmakers’ choices in making these films.

Let us continue this discussion on another day.