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Archive for the ‘Gene Autry’ Category

Here’s a lobby card from Republic’s Bells Of Capistrano (1942) to mark the Fourth Of July (1942).

Gene Autry entered the Air Force a few days after principal photography wrapped on this one. It was his last picture till he picked things up after the war with Sioux City Sue (1946). He only made five films for Republic before moving over to Columbia for the rest of his film career.

Here’s wishing you all a fun, safe Independence Day!

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Marion Mitchell Morrison (born Marion Robert Morrison)
May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979

John Wayne was born 115 years ago today. Here he is with Gary Cooper and Gene Autry. Judging by what they’re wearing, it looks like Coop was shooting The Hanging Tree and Duke was working on Rio Bravo (both 1959).

This has to be one of the coolest photos ever stuck on this blog.

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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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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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Happy Halloween!

There’s something about The Phantom Empire (1936) that seems perfect for Halloween.

Here’s wishing boys and girls all around the world — and down in Murania, of course — a safe and happy Halloween.

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From Shout Factory — America’s favorite singing cowboy Gene Autry heads to streaming for the first time ever with the launch of the Gene Autry film and television library on Shout! Factory TV May 1.

The streaming service will release its first collection from Gene Autry’s personal archive, with the streaming debut of fully restored feature films South Of The Border, Gaucho Serenade, Melody Ranch, The Strawberry Roan and Blue Canadian Rockies.

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Peggy Stewart
(June 5, 1922 – May 29, 2019)

Heard this morning that Peggy Stewart — who’ll find in everything from Son Of Zorro (1947), a Republic serial, to pictures with Roger, Autry and Elliott to an episode of Seinfeld — has passed away at almost 97.

Peggy was great in all those Westerns (I’m particularly fond of the ones she did with William Elliott), and as anybody who ever spoke with her at a Western convention or something will tell you, she was a really nice lady.

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RIP, Fay McKenzie.

Fay McKenzie
(February 19, 1918 – April 16, 2019)

Fay McKenzie, who co-starred in a number of Gene Autry pictures — among many other things, has passed away at 101.

“I loved working with Gene, he was terrific! I could sing and that was something the earlier girls couldn’t do. Yates knew I had done Broadway; that helped! I could do more than smile and wave at the cowboy!”

Among her credits, she played a neighbor in The Party (1967), directed by her real-life neighbor, Blake Edwards.

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Since wrapping up a commentary for El Paso (1949), the Pine-Thomas Western starring John Payne, Gail Russell and Sterling Hayden, I’ve been thinking about Gabby Hayes.

George Francis “Gabby” Hayes was born in his father’s hotel, the Hayes Hotel, in Stannards, New York. He played semiprofessional baseball in high school — and ran away from home at 17. He toured with a stock company, joined a circus, and became a successful vaudevillian.

Hayes married Olive E. Ireland in 1914, and she joined him in vaudeville. Hayes was so successful that by 1928, at just 43, he retired to Long Island. But he lost everything in the 1929 stock-market crash, and Olive persuaded George to try his luck in the movies. They moved to Los Angeles.

In his early days in Hollywood, Hayes played all kinds of roles — sometimes two parts in a single film. He did well in Westerns, though he didn’t know how to ride a horse until he was in his 40s and had to learn for a movie. In fact, he didn’t care much for Westerns.

From 1935 to 39, Hayes played Windy Halliday, the sidekick to Hopalong Cassidy (played by William Boyd). In 1939, Hayes left Paramount in a salary dispute and moved over to Republic. Paramount owned the name Windy Halliday, so he became Gabby.

As Gabby Whitaker, he appeared in more than 40 pictures between 1939 and 1946, usually with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry or Wild Bill Elliott — and often working with director Joseph Kane.

Hayes, Wayne and Rogers would all appear in Raoul Walsh’s The Dark Command (1940). Its dream cast also includes Claire Trevor, Walter Pigeon, Marjorie Main and Joe Sawyer. Its success would spur Yates to put more money into their John Wayne movies, and it hints at the bigger pictures Republic would do heading into the 50s. It’s a good one.

George “Gabby” Hayes’ last feature was The Cariboo Trail (1950) with Randolph Scott. He then headed to TV and hosted The Gabby Hayes Show from 1950 to 1954 on NBC and on ABC in 1956. When the series ended, Hayes retired from show business for a second time. He passed away in February 1969.

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Happy Birthday, Gene Autry.

Gene Autry
(September 29, 1907 – October 2, 1998)

Let’s remember Gene Autry on the 111th anniversary of his birth. Seems like a good day to sit back and watch about 10 episodes of his TV show.

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