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Archive for April, 2021

Lee Aker
(September 25, 1943 – April 1, 2021)

Lee Aker, who most will remember from the Rin Tin Tin TV show, has passed away at 77. He also appeared in Hondo (1953, above) with John Wayne, High Noon (1952), Ride Clear Of Diablo (1954) and Destry (1954).

Aker suffered a stroke and died April 1 near Mesa, Arizona. Sadly, his body was unclaimed.

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Casey Jones On GetTV.

I had to pleasure of speaking with Will McKinley about the TV show Casey Jones, which is running on GetTV these days.

Click on the coloring book to read all about it.

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Play Ball!

I’m digging out the John Ford Dodger cap photo. That means baseball’s here — and the Dodgers have their Dodger Stadium opener today.

Ford was sporting the cap in Monument Valley while shooting Peter Bogdanovich’s terrific documentary on him. It’s one of my all-time favorite images.

So glad we’re getting more games this season — and I’d love another World Series! Go Dodgers!

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Gloria Henry
(April 2, 1923 – April 3, 2021)

Gloria Henry, who most people will remember from TV as the mom of Dennis The Menace, has passed away at 98.

Us Western fans, we know her from Strawberry Roan (1948, above, with Jack Holt and Gene Autry), Lightning Guns (1950) with Charles Starrett and Fritz Lang’s Rancho Notorious (1952).

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Critics’ Choice has a new William Elliott set out that looks pretty promising, with three pictures from 1941. These Columbia B’s, with Elliott teamed with the great Dub Taylor as Cannonball, are pretty terrific.

Across The Sierras (1941)
Directed by D. Ross Lederman
Starring Bill Elliott, Richard Fiske, Luana Walters, Dub Taylor

An ex-con is looking revenge on the two men who sent him to prison. One of them is Wild Bill Hickok (William Elliott). 

Hands Across The Rockies (1941)
Directed by Lambert Hillyer
Starring Bill Elliott, Mary Daily, Dub Taylor

Wild Bill Hickock and Cannonball (Dub Taylor) are after the man who killed Cannonball’s father.

The Return Of Daniel Boone (1941)
Directed by Lambert Hillyer
Wild Bill Elliott, Betty Miles, Dub Taylor

A large-scale rancher is trying to scoop up all the little ranches in Pecos. His plans run into a snag, Daniel Boone’s grandson (Elliott).

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Directed by John Sturges
Starring William Holden, Eleanor Parker, John Forsythe, William Demarest, William Campbell, Polly Bergen, Howard McNear, Glenn Strange

Warner Archive is working their Blu-Ray magic on John Sturges’ Escape From Fort Bravo (1953), a taut, suspenseful picture starring William Holden and Eleanor Parker.

Shot in Anscocolor, I’m looking forward to what WAC can do with it. Escape From Fort Bravo was originally shown in 1.66, just as the widescreen era was cranking up. But don’t let this make the movie sound like just a technical curio — it’s a damn good 50s Western. Highly recommended.

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Happy Easter!

Of course, Easter’s about a whole lot more than colored eggs and chocolate bunnies and stuff. But this being 50 Westerns From The 50s, Easter’s about Gene Autry, too.

Gene sang “Peter Cottontail” in Hills Of Utah (1951), and the record has been re-issued about a million times over the years.

Here’s wishing you all a great and glorious Easter Sunday.

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Vincent’s Western Movies Podcast features John Knight, maybe the king of our commenters, taking on Alfred L. Werker.

Click on the image above and check it out.

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