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Annie Oakley Safety Songs cov

Stop! You’ve ordered your Annie Oakley set, haven’t you? Today’s the day.

Man, I can’t wait to get ahold of this thing.

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Adam West As Doc Holliday.

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Let’s all congratulate Jerry Entract of the UK for being the first to come through with the correct answer(s) to the trivia question.

What was Edwin L. Marin’s wife’s name?
Ann Morriss

What show was she in that was based on a Randolph Scott film that Marin directed?
Colt .45. There was also a show based on Sugarfoot (1951), which Marin also directed.

And who played Doc Holliday in the episode she appeared in?
Adam West. Incidentally, West played Holliday in an episode of Sugarfoot, too.

The response was great, and everyone who wrote in got it right. These contests are fun. I won’t wait another million hits for the next one.

This is way off topic, but I’m so stoked about West’s Batman series coming to DVD and Blu-ray.

50s Westerns Trivia Contest.

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A million hits calls for some kinda something. So how about a trivia contest? This one’s complicated, so read carefully.

Director Edwin L. Marin’s last eight features were Westerns, six of them starring Randolph Scott. Marin died in May 1951, just before the release of Fort Worth. (That’s Randy on the set.)

After his death, Marin’s actress wife returned to work, and eventually appeared in an episode of a TV show based on a Scott Western (that Marin directed).

Here’s the question, which is in three parts:
What was Marin’s wife’s name?
What show was she in that was based on a Scott film that Marin directed?
And who played Doc Holliday in the episode she appeared in?

Email your answers to fiftieswesterns@gmail [dot] com. The first person to come through with all three parts correct will win the Randolph Scott triple-feature DVD: Fort Worth (1951), Colt .45 (1950) and Tall Man Riding (1955). The first two were directed by Edwin Marin, the third’s from Lesley Selander.

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It’s not a 50s Western, but two of our favorites are in it, and this saloon fight has to be one of the best ever filmed. So, to commemorate this blog reaching 1,000,000 hits, here’s John Wayne and Randolph Scott in The Spoilers (1942). They might not reach a million hits in this six-minute sequence, but they certainly beat the crap out of each other.

To each and every one of you behind all those hits here at 50 Westerns From The 50s, my sincere thanks. I never imagined this crazy thing would ever see such a milestone.

So, to celebrate, and to honor my all-time favorite actor, Randolph Scott, let’s have another Trivia Contest. The question will appear, as a new post, tomorrow at noon (Eastern Standard Time).

The Jack Webb Blogathon.

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I believe this is the RKO Ranch in Encino, as it appears in the 1954 Dragnet episode “The Big Producer.” It’s a good one, one of the best in my opinion, about a washed-up silent movie producer reduced to peddling pornography. There’s a strong Sunset Boulevard (1950) vibe to it, with Jack Webb and Ben Alexander joined by Ralph Moody, Martin Milner and Carolyn Jones.

This seems like a good way to plug The Jack Webb Blogathon happening over at my other place, The Hannibal 8. It’s running through the weekend (beginning on Friday, naturally), and some great folks are contributing (including our friend Laura and my daughter Presley). Stop by if you get a chance.

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What does Columbus have to do with 50s Westerns? Not much, unless you’re adding to your collection through Warner Archive’s Columbus Day sale — running through midnight tonight.

We’ve gone over all the great stuff you can get through the Archive, so I’ll shut up and let you get to it. But you couldn’t go wrong with Carson City (1952).

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Directed by Richard L. Bare
Produced by Richard Whorf
Written by John Tucker Battle and D.D. Beauchamp
Director Of Photography: Carl Guthrie, ASC
Art Director: Stanley Fleischer
Music by Roy Webb
Film Editior: Clarence Kolster, ACE

CAST: Randolph Scott (Capt. Buck Devlin), James Craig (Ep Clark), Angie Dickinson (Priscilla King), Dani Crayne (Nell Garrison), James Garner (Sgt. John Maitland), Gordon Jones (Pvt. Wilbur “Will” Clegg), Trevor Bardette (Sheriff Bob Massey), Don Beddoe (Mayor Sam Pelley), Myron Healey (Rafe Sanders), John Alderson (Clyde Walters), Harry Harvey, Sr. (Elam King), Robert Warwick (Brother Abraham).

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Shoot-Out At Medicine Bend (1957) sticks out like a sore thumb in Randolph Scott’s filmography. It sits right in the middle of the Ranown cycle (coming between The Tall T and Decision At Sundown) — a cheap little black-and-white contract killer shot on the backlot in 19 days by a crew (and sometimes cast) more accustomed to TV than features. It’s known more today for the early work it gave Angie Dickinson and James Garner than for Scott’s participation.

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James Garner: “The movie couldn’t decide if it was a comedy or a drama, maybe because [director Richard L.] Bare had gotten his start directing the ‘Joe McDoakes’ comedy shorts in the 1940s.”

Bare made a name for himself in shorts like the McDoakes pictures, directed a few features, then really found his place in early TV. He directed episodes of both Cheyenne and Maverick (he discovered James Garner in a bar on Sunset), and would go on to direct everything from The Twilight Zone to Green Acres (over 150 episodes of that one).

Richard L. Bare: “I was glad to see that my few years in TV had not knocked me out of the box for feature assignments. It was a story of three ex-soldiers who dressed up like preachers to avenge the death of Scott’s brother.”

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The soldiers are Scott, a pre-Maverick James Garner and Gordon Jones, and their journey takes to them to the rather lawless prairie town of Medicine Bend. Ep Clark (James Craig) runs the town and quickly winds up in Randy’s sites.

Richard L. Bare: “We were shooting a scene that called for the three of them [Scott, Garner, Gordon Jones] to swim in a lake [on the WB backlot] and come to shore. Scott said to me, ‘I’m not going in that water.’ I said, ‘Randy, the other guys are going to do it.’ He said, ‘Not me, not in that filth.’ So what I did was put Scott’s double in the water, and in the foreground I put Scott out of view behind a huge log, and when I called action, a prop man dumped fresh water on Scott, and Garner, Jones and Scott’s double swam to shore and ran to the log, and Scott’s double disappeared behind the log and Scott, all wet, popped up. And it worked just fine.”

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It’s a bit convoluted and goofy, and often played for humor. The action scenes are well done, and the film has the look and feel of a longer-than-usual Warner Bros. TV Western, which works just fine. Garner’s inexperience shows (“…my acting still wasn’t very good”). He lacks that supreme cool that came later. Angie Dickinson was two years away from Rio Bravo (1959), and comparing the two films, it’s amazing how much she developed as an actress during that time. (How much of that was Hawks’ doing?) Randolph Scott is, of course, Randolph Scott, and he handles the lighter, humorous stuff with ease. As he masquerades as a Quaker, his delivery makes the most of each line of dialogue. It’s fun to be in on his ruse.

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Warner Archive has given Shoot-Out At Medicine Bend a level of respect it’s probably never received before. It looks great, framed to the proper 1.85, with the contrast dialed-in just right. The audio’s got plenty of punch, letting Roy Webb’s score really shine. You might come to this one with high curiosity and low expectations. My advice: enjoy it for what it is. Recommended.

SOURCES: The Garner Files: A Memoir by James Garner and Jon Winokur; Confessions Of A Hollywood Director by Richard L. Bare; Last Of The Cowboy Heroes by Robert Nott

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