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Archive for April, 2011

Maybe you missed it at the Orpheum back in September of 1950, but you can see Trigger, Jr. this Sunday as part of the TCM Film Festival’s tribute to Roy Rogers. He’d be 100 this year. The chance to see this uncut, and in Trucolor, on the big screen is every bit the “Excitement-Jammed Western Entertainment” this ad promised. I urge all you West Coast folks to make it out for this one — and have a box of Raisinets for me!

By the way, you can see the just-as-wonderful My Pal Trigger (1946) online here.

More Roy Rogers “Excitement-Jammed Western Entertainment” is on the way from the Hermes Press book Roy Rogers: The Collected Newspaper Dailies And Sundays. It will pull from the strip’s 12-year run — black and white dailies and color Sundays — with stories and art by the likes of Mike Arens, Pete Alvardo, and Tom, Chuck, and Bob McKimson — oh, and Alex Toth (it’ll include everything he did on the title). The book will also boast a history of the strip, artwork, ads, toys, etc.

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The latest installment in the Universal Vault program, offered through Amazon, includes Man In The Shadow (1957), directed by Jack Arnold in black and white CinemaScope (a favorite combination). It’s a modern-day Western starring Jeff Chandler and Orson Welles, and it’s quite good.

Also available is Joel McCrea in The Virginian (1946). It’s not a 50 Western, but it’s got Joel McCrea in it. And that’s good enough for me.

May 2nd seems to be the release date.

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A Fistful Of Dollars (1964) was on at the barber today.

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Here’s a list of Westerns, most from the 50s, available on Netflix Instant Watch. It’s an impressive batch of stuff. (Thanks for the tip, Stephen.)

A particularly interesting one is The Black Whip (1956), a Regalscope picture directed by Charles Marquis Warren. It stars Hugh Marlowe, Coleen Gray, Adele Mara, Angie Dickinson (above), Sheb Wooley and Strother Martin. Wow.

But before you get your hopes up, I’ve been warned that Instant Watch is a real crap shoot as far as transfer quality and aspect ratios go. (Maybe it’s Watch as in “watch out!”) If you give ‘em a shot, and they look like they’re supposed to, please let us all know through the comments.

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Some interesting titles are now available as part of the MGM Limited Edition Collection.

Fort Defiance (1951) stars Dane Clark, Peter Graves and Ben Johnson. Directed by John Rawlins, it‘s in Cinecolor.

Johnson’s got the lead in Fort Bowie (1958), directed by Howard W. Koch. Koch is primarily known as a producer — everything from Pharaoh’s Curse (1957) to Airplane! (1980). But he directed the terrific crime/prison picture Big House U.S.A. (1955) and some episodes of The Untouchables, among other things.

Davey Crockett, Indian Scout (1950) stars George Montgomery, Ellen Drew and Noah Beery Jr. It was directed by Lew Landers (real name: Louis Friedlander), a prolific and often quite good director whose credits include everything from The Raven (1935) to Hot Rod Gang (1958).

What’s more, there’s The Gun Runners (1958), a non-Western picture that reunites Audie Murphy and Don Siegel.

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Gene Autry sings “Peter Cottontail” in Hills Of Utah (1951). You can hear a bit of it in this trailer.

Released by Columbia, it was directed by John English in Lone Pine.

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April 21, 1949

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, CA.

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Raleigh and much of the rest of North Carolina are still reeling from Saturday’s tornadoes. It breaks your heart to see all the destruction and hear of the lives and homes lost, but it’s great to watch people bouncing back, helping each other out and just generally being Good.

With all this going on, I keep thinking about Melody Time (1948), the Disney feature that gave us the “Pecos Bill” sequence — tied with Ichabod And Mr. Toad (1949) for my all-time favorite Disney animated thing. But what Pecos has that Toad lacks is Roy Rogers and The Sons Of The Pioneers, who sing of Pecos showing a tornado just who’s boss:

“Once he roped a raging cyclone out of nowhere
Then he straddled it and settled down with ease
And while that cyclone bucked and flitted
Pecos rolled a smoke and lit it
And he tamed that ornery wind down to a breeze”

Raleigh sure coulda used Bill last Saturday.

The wonderful Pecos Bill record, complete with MP3s and original artwork, was featured as part of the Kiddie Records Weekly project. Here. He’s Week 15. As a kid, I played this LP (a Camden re-issue with Johnny Appleseed on the other side) till the grooves were practically gone. (Explains a lot, I guess.) Go get it, folks!

As a true corrupter of youth, I felt compelled to search out an image of Pecos with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

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That’s what I’ve always heard anyway. I’ve also heard that VCI has had to delay their new widescreen Tennessee’s Partner (1955) till May 3rd. Production issues. I hate it’s delayed, but look on the bright side — this gives me yet another chance to post about an Allan Dwan Western.

Henry Cabot Beck brought this to my attention — Time Out‘s list of the The 50 Greatest Westerns. It’s quite a list, with some really interesting choices. There were a number of pictures I was happy to see make the list, and some things that made me scratch my head, such as Decision At Sundown (1958) being included, but not The Tall T (1957). Seven Men From Now (1956) was also there.

My list would naturally lean heavily on the 50s, but I was glad to see Monte Hellman’s The Shooting (1966) appear. And while you expect these things to never match what you’d pick yourself, I was kinda cheesed off that Silver Lode (1954) was omitted.

So look it over, gang, and let’s tear it apart.

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A tornado, actually more than one, touched down in Raleigh this afternoon, knocking down lots of trees and leaving lots of people without power (and homes) — and causing a lot of damage around Shaw University.

We were out running errands and ducked into a Walmart when things started looking bad. While we were there, I spent some time in the DVDs and found this four-picture Universal set for $5. You get Whispering Smith (1948), Albuquerque (1948), War Arrow (1953) and The Duel At Silver Creek (1952). Not bad for a buck-and-a-quarter each.

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