August 26, 2013
Dick Foran, who died in Panorama City the year I first got laid. Dick Foran, Singing Cowboy who really could sing. Dick Foran, strong actor before and after he put down the reins. Dick Foran, all that, in a film with Humphrey Bogart!
He plays the sweet guy with a chance at a good life with a good job and a good girl. He’s also the guy who seems like he’s about to fuck it all up — he’s drinking beer at night and hanging out with tramps.
The twist (for his character’s arc at least) is that he avoids all the nasty stuff.
Nope. He misses all that. Bogart takes the wrong road.
Tough, decent and defiant to the end.
Dick Foran! What a guy!
July 4, 2013
June 14, 2013
The first twelve minutes of the one-hour running time of “The Mummy’s Tomb”, Stephen Banning (our friend Dick) sits in a comfortable chair and tells us the whole story of “The Mummy’s Hand.”
But once and future cowboy star, Lon Chaney, Jr., is the star of this film. When they meet, it’s like De Niro and Pacino in “Heat” –Dick and Lon together at last!
June 2, 2013
May 25, 2013
May 16, 2013
Bob Steele isn’t the only cowhand along for this turkey hunt. Director Spencer G. Bennet had a penchant for casting former Western actors in his films (Ray “Crash” Corrigan in 1953’s “Killer Ape”, Forrest Taylor in 1966’s “Captain Mephisto and the Transformation Machine”). Dick Foran, who plays the Commander of this “Atomic Submarine” had a brief run as a singing cowboy for Warner Brothers.
For his part, Bob Steele is settling into the Stern and Crabby phase of his career.
Steele plays Chief Griffin, aka “Griff.” He’s weathered, caustic, a hard-ass. “Orders are orders.” He’s the guy that barks at the crew. He’s also the non-officer who hovers in the back of staff meetings, refreshing cups of coffee and nodding and, well, looking stern and crabby.
This severely limits his involvement in these scenes, which is just as well, since it’s all a bunch of faux-technical mumbo jumbo. Bob gets his share of that later — for example, reporting over the conn, “Moderate leak in overhead plates. Damage to main drive-shaft housing.”
At 52, Steele is still fit and wiry.
Plot-wise: The crew of “Atomic Submarine” is battling a UFO, which, in this film, stands for Underwater Flying Saucer.
Remember Gene Autry in “Phantom Empire”?
Twenty-five year later…
Producer Alex Gordon talks about Bob Steele in the audio commentary track of the “Atomic Submarine” DVD. Steele appeared in two other films that Gordon produced, “Bounty Killer” and “Requiem for a Gunfighter.” Alex Gordon speaks of Steele working into the seventies and lists Bob Steele’s later films. The interviewer interrupts to reminds him of Bob’s role on “F Troop.” Gordon says, “we don’t really count F Troop.”
Taking my lead from Mr. Gordon, I will not be counting “F Troop” either.
Thank God for a way out of watching that one!
UPDATE: I did end up watching “F Troop” and sorta liking it. You can read all about it here (with a glimpse of Bob Steele!)