Coming up …
Black Cowboy … The Buffalo Soldiers: The Reality?:
Definition via Wikipedia: “Buffalo Soldiers originally were members of the U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, formed on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This nickname was given to the “Negro Cavalry” by the Native American tribes they fought; the term eventually became synonymous with all of the African-American regiments formed in 1866.”
“Nearly sixteen months after the end of the Civil War … authorized the formation of the two regiments of cavalry composed of “colored” men.
“For over two decades, the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments conducted campaigns against American Indian tribes on a western frontier that extended from Montana in the Northwest to Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona in the Southwest. They engaged in several skirmishes against such great Indian Chiefs as Victorio, Geronimo, and Nan.”Buffalo Soldiers” was the name given the black cavalrymen by the plains indians.”
When not engaged in combat with Native Americans, both regiments built forts and roads, installed telegraph lines, located water holes, escorted wagon trains and cattle drives, rode “shotgun” on stagecoach and mail runs and protected settlers from renegade Indians, outlaws, and Mexican revolutionaries. Elements of both regiments fought in Cuba during the War with Spain and participated in the famous charge on San Juan Hill. Troopers of the 10th Cavalry Regiments rode with General John J. Pershing during the punitive Expedition in Mexico in search of the outlaw Pancho Villa.
In 1941, the two regiments formed the 4th Cavalry Brigade, commanded by General Benjamin O. Davis Sr., at camp Funston, Kansas. In 1944, the end came to the cavalry regiments and the curtain was lowered on the long and glorious past of the “Buffalo Soldiers”. The 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association traces its beginning to the year 1966 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Baltimore Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers Association hosted the 132nd Anniversary Reunion in Baltimore last July 27th thru August 2nd of 1998.”
I thought it was going to be difficult to find much on the Buffalo Soldiers. I was gunned down fast. There is so much: photos. books, statues, movies, songs, paintings, websites, blogs, etc … that I couldn’t possibly include it all in one post. And though it is stated that the Buffalo Soldier was once a neglected part of American history, the current homage and heritage of the Buffalo Soldiers is substantial and intact.
Lets’ start with the romantic vision/version:
Below are a few of the many images of the Buffalo Soldiers by famous great Western artist Frederick Remington.
Coming up …
Black Cowboy … The Buffalo Soldiers: The Romance: Part 2
I haven’t posted anything in about a week so some folks think I’m not doing anything. Wrong!
I’m actually doing too much – spreading myself a bit thin.
Here’s what I’m working on:
Profiles of Western Stars and their wondrous mounts
and much more …
Hang in there.
In my recent tribute to Leonard Nimoy “Leonard Nimoy … Cowboy” I was remiss in not mentioning Leonard’s Nimoy’s wonderful and classy visit to the small town of Vulcan, Alberta.
Thought I’d make up for that now.
A small Alberta farming town, nestled halfway between Calgary and Lethbridge, is in mourning today.
The most famous citizen of the planet of Vulcan, “Star Trek” star Leonard Nimoy, died on Friday at the age of 83, and now the town of Vulcan, Alberta has to say goodbye to Mr. Spock.
“He was such a humble and great ambassador…and just a great person to visit with,” Mayor Tom Grant told Yahoo Canada News.
“Our condolences are definitely with his family and friends.”
The tight-knit community was initially named after the Roman god of fire by a railway surveyor in 1910, and for many years its greatest claim to fame was a large collection of grain elevators.
But as “Star Trek” grew as a cultural touchstone through the latter decades of the 20th century, Vulcan embraced its connection to Spock’s homeworld. The Vulcan Association of Science and Trek was established in the late 1980s to use the city’s link to one of science fiction’s most beloved franchises to attract tourists. In 2009, with Nimoy’s help, it became the Official Star Trek Capital of Canada.
Now, a welcome plaque greets visitors not just in English, but in the alien tongues of Vulcan and Klingon. A Trek-inspired tourist centre sports an array of memorabilia, while a replica of the Starship Enterprise is mounted nearby. For visiting Trekkies who still need more, the TrekCetera Museum opened in 2013.
In March 2009, the town campaigned to host the world premiere of director J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek.
Nimoy pushed for the screening, and said it was a “terribly sad and disappointing day” when their bid was ultimately rejected.
“I made some calls to some people at Paramout, and I arranged for Paramount to do a screening in Calgary for the people of Vulcan, and to bus some people from Vulcan to Calgary.”
He said that around 300 people ended up making the trip.
One year later, Mr. Spock beamed into Vulcan, arriving as something of a rock star.
Grant says that the estimated that between 3,000 and 5,000 people came to Vulcan “just to see the man” — a significant draw in a community of less than 2,000.
After unveiling a bronze bust of Spock commissioned by the town, Nimoy addressed the cheering crowd, many sporting pointed ears and Starfleet uniforms.
“I’ve been a Vulcan for 44 years,” he said. “It’s about time I came home.
“In all these experiences I’ve never had an experience quite as touching as I’m having here today and I appreciate it, thank you.”
He concluded his last words to the town with a traditional Vulcan greeting.
“May all of you live long and prosper.”
There ya go.
Live long and prosper.
I noticed that I spelling Broncho Billy’s name incorrectly throughout my last post (now corrected). It’s spelled Broncho – not Bronco – with an H in there.
I was feeling embarrassed about this until I noticed that other folks have made the same mistake – such as on Hollywood Walk of Fame Star!
Did they do that intentionally?
I just know that I can fix my mistake more easily than they can theirs.
Then there’s this:
I don’t feel so bad now.
Though Broncho is said to have made some 400 films, film posters for his movies are scarce. I’m guessing there was plenty made, but now are long lost. I hope to discover some more … ??
Happy Trails Broncho.
I was doing some research for images of Early Western Movie Stars. I’d already done some work about William S. Hart, but I discovered that a chap called Broncho Billy Anderson was probably the first Western Movie Star. Anderson made about 400 silent Western films – and had multiple roles in the great Western Classic: Great Train Robbery (1903).
If you had seen The Great Train Robbery in its original showing you’d be about 112 years now. Pardner.
Anderson played three roles in The Great Train Robbery (1903)
Most of these films were very short and now (unfortunately) are long-lost – but not forgotten as there are a couple of agencies like the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum (http://www.nilesfilmmuseum.org/) who find, restore, and show any that may still be around. Good work Niles!
Gilbert M. “Broncho Billy” Anderson
(March 21, 1880 – January 20, 1971)
American actor, writer, film director, and film producer, who is best known as the first star of the Western film genre.
The genre’s first Western film hero and star, who made about 400 “Broncho Billy” westerns, beginning with Broncho Billy and the Baby (1910); his last silent western role was in The Son of a Gun (1919).
We are favored with several wonderful portrait and publicity shots of Billy.
Anderson was immensely popular in his day, a superstar in contemporary terms. In 1958, Anderson received an honorary Academy Award as a “motion picture pioneer, for his contributions to the development of motion pictures as entertainment.”
2002 WESTERN HERITAGE WRANGLER AWARD
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
Gilbert M. “Broncho Billy” Anderson
Hall of Great Western Performers
About Charisma and Star Power …
Sumpthin’ that Cindy (Cindy Bruchman (https://cindybruchman.wordpress.com/) said got me thinking (and around here thinking is like loco weed – it can send your charging off across the desert – in any direction – looking for the nearest waterhole)
Charisma … It’s cruel really.
Can’t invent it .. Can’t bottle it.
It’s like gold.
It’s either there .. or it ain’t.
And it don’t care how talented you are .. how smart you are … or how much experience you’ve got …
It don’t even care if you can act.
Nor if you’re a nice guy … or a jerk.
It’s a gift … sorta … from God. Bestowed upon a chosen few.
In the old days of movie making they used to do what you call ‘Screen Tests’.
(Not sure if they still do or not?)
The purpose of Screen Testing was not to see if you could act (or not) – as most actors thought (or hoped).
It was to see if you ‘had it’: The magic. Charisma.
And all the acting lessons in God’s creation wouldn’t get you a job if the guys in the seats couldn’t see that indefinable magic …
Many actors of the 50’s balked at the Star System – the control and power of the old Studios. That’s understandable. BUT … these studios also ensured – to a good degree – that quality people and product got on the screen. Compare the staple and stable of Stardom that we have today with those of yesteryear. Not many Stars of the modern era could stand in that group. Because the Studios also screened – to a degree – the quality of Character, etc. Class … had it’s place. But they also developed, discovered and trained talent – Dance, Song, Stage, Acting … etc. Everything.
Today … there’s exceptions of course – like Tom Hanks and uh … uh … I’ll get back to you.
Yet recently I heard a film critic say that Star Power is less important than it used to be.
That could be true considering some of the crud that crossed my screen recently – which is making money – and some of the people in it.
OK .. I’m going to cut it off here. My thinking is turning into a rant … and a posse is forming.
One Note: If you don’t have Charisma, don’t sweat it. It doesn’t mean that your worthless, evil, useless, bad, or anything like that …
It just means nobody (but your Mom) is gonna watchya.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Epilogue by Leonard Nimoy / Music by James Horner
“When you let me take, I’m grateful. When you let me give, I’m blessed.”
- Leonard Nimoy
But you might have to eat a bit of dust before you get to the stars.
1957–58 Broken Arrow Apache / Nahilzay / Winnoa 3 episodes
1958 Mackenzie’s Raiders Kansas Episode: “The Imposter”
1959–62 Wagon Train Bernabe Zamora, et al. 4 episodes
1960 Bonanza Freddy Episode: “The Ape”
1960 The Rebel Jim Colburn Episode: “The Hunted”
1961 Gunsmoke John Walking Fox / Holt / Arnie / Elias Grice 4 episodes
1960–61 The Tall Man Deputy Sheriff Johnny Swift Episodes: “A Bounty for Billy”, “A Gun Is for Killing”
1961 Rawhide Anko Episode: “Incident Before Black Pass”
1963 The Virginian Lt. Beldon M.D. Episode: “Man of Violence”
1966 Daniel Boone Oontah Episode: “Seminole Territory”
1966–69 Star Trek Spock 79 episodes
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (1967, 1968, 1969)
1991 Star Trek: The Next Generation Ambassador Spock / Episode: “Unification”, 2-part episode
1995 Bonanza: Under Attack Frank James TV movie
Star Trek at the OK Corral
“Spectre of the Gun” (1968)
Home on the Range – Tom Roush
Rick (Surrounded by Imbeciles – https://surroundedbyimbeciles.wordpress.com/) was mentioning Nat Love. Nate Love was undoubtedly the most famous Black Cowboy. Tall (dark?) and handsome, he strode the plains – an imposing figure of man – who could back his bravado as a horseman, cowboy, rodeo competitor, and sharpshooter. A helluva guy.
Nat Love (pronounced “Nate” Love) (c. 1854 – 1921), and also known as “Deadwood Dick”, was an African-American cowboy following the American Civil War. In 1907, Love wrote his autobiography in which he tells of his father being a slave foreman in the fields, and his mother the manager of the plantation’s kitchen.
Love was a slave when he was born on the plantation of Robert Love in Davidson County, Tennessee, around 1854. Despite slavery era statutes that outlawed black literacy, he learned to read and write as a child with the help of his father, Sampson. When slavery ended, Sampson Love attempted to start a family farm to raise tobacco and corn, but he died shortly after the second crop was planted. Nat then took a second job working on a local farm to help make ends meet. After a few years of working odd jobs, he won a horse in a raffle, which he sold in order to leave town. He went west to Dodge City, Kansas, where he found work as a cowboyfrom the Duval Ranch, located in Texas. Because of his excellent horse riding skills, the Duval Ranch cowboys gave Love the nickname, “Red River Dick.” He left Dodge City and returned with them to the home ranch in the Texas Panhandle.
Love fought cattle rustlers and endured inclement weather. He was an expert marksman and cowboy. When he entered a rodeo in Deadwood, South Dakota, on the 4th of July in 1876, he won the rope, throw, tie, bridle, saddle, and bronco riding contests. It was at this rodeo that fans gave him the nickname “Deadwood Dick”.
On October 1877, he was captured by a band of Akimel O’odham (Pima) while rounding up stray cattle near the Gila River in Arizona. Love reported that his life was spared because the Indians respected his fighting ability. Eventually, he stole a pony and managed to escape into west Texas.
Love spent the latter part of his life working as a pullman porter on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. He died in Los Angeles in 1921 at the age of 67.
Nate had a book …
Excerpt from Nate’s book:
“Quite a different sort of man was Yellowstone Kelley, government scout, hunter and trapper. He was one of the men who helped to make frontier history and open up the pathless wilds to the march of civilization. He was in the employ of the government as a scout and guide when I first met him, and thereafter during our many wanderings over the country, I with my cattle, he with Uncle Sam’s soldiers or on a lone scout, we often bumped up against each other, and these meetings are among my treasured memories. He was a man who knew the country better than he knew his own mother, absolutely fearless, kind and generous to a fault. He was the sort of a man that once you meet him you could never forget him, and us boys who knew him well considered him the chief of all the government scouts of that day. I also had the pleasure of meeting Kit Carson in Arizona and nearly all the government scouts, hunters and trappers of the western country, and they can all be described in one sentence, they were men whom it was a pleasure and an honor to know.
“Billie the Kid” was another sort of a man and there has never been another man like him and I don’t think there ever will be again. Writers claim that he was a man all bad. This I doubt as I knew him well and I have known him to do deeds of kindness. He had many traits that go to make a good man, but fate and circumstances were against the kid,
Yet I know he always remembered a kindness done him and he never forgave an enemy. I have rode by his side many a long mile, and it is hard to believe he was as bad as he is pictured to be, but the facts are against him, and when his career was ended by the bullet from Sheriff Garrett’s colt, the world was better off, likewise were some men who stood in mortal fear of the kid, and I suppose they had good reason to be afraid as the kid always kept his word.”
Lots of books … but no movies ??
My Heroes have always been Cowboys .. Nelson
Ben Johnson seemed to live a charmed life. Western Movie Stardom seemed to fall right into his saddlebags. It helped, of course, that he happened to be a top notch Cowboy – and it’s certain he would have been happy (and successful) to remain such.
And if you’re going to be a Western Movie Star you might as well at the top too: with the Greatest Western Star of all: John Wayne and Great Western Director John Ford. In gambling – and Westerns – this is called the jackpot.
And in this long career Johnson just kept rolling into the sunset.
So much so, that it may well be noted that Ben Johnson probably appeared in more Classic Westerns that any other Western Actor (except Wayne?) in Western Film history. See for yourself.
So in The Wild Bunch it’s a bit of a surprise to see him 4th on the Bill – behind William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Warrren Oates ??
Yet in Hollywood Star Power is the Law – and the others guys were ruled faster in charisma and money draw – despite Ben being the only real cowboy of the Bunch. The only card he couldn’t pull.
But I’m sure he didn’t complain.
Note: These aren’t all the movies that Johnson appeared in … just what I could round up. It’s said that he appeared in 15 John Wayne Westerns alone.
Originally posted on Tim Neath - Visual Artist:
I’ve been waiting to catch the Japanese remake of Unforgiven (1992), wondering how it would compare, which I can’t help but do. On the face of it these two films are the same in terms of the basic plot, the three men who ride into avenge a prostitute has been attacked. There is however more added depth to Unforgiven/Yurusarezaru mono (2013) with the added strand of their countries civil war between the now samurai and Shoshon in the 1860’s, which mirrors the American civil, I don’t remember that in Eastwoods western at all. (However I haven’t seen it in 4 years) which gives the characters more of a back-story, not just gunfighters who left a trail of death and destruction in their wake. Much the same goes for the two elder men Jubei Kamata (Ken Watanabe) and Kingo Baba (Akira Emoto) who start out on…
View original 1,450 more words
A powerful and unique movie.
Not a Favorite, but worthy.
Originally posted on Tim Neath - Visual Artist:
A few months ago I was reading a book at work about the depiction of Native Americans in the western genre. There was a chapter that discussed a revisionist western where an Englishman is captured and assimilated into their culture over the course of the film. Observing how this was dealt with in comparison to others in the past which were treated more as rescue stories, returning the captured white man back to civilised society. Whilst also considering the damage that their time with a native trie will do to the individual, will they be scared and damaged as we found this horrifyingly in The Searchers (1956), or should they be abandoned or shot in Two Rode Together (1961), these are just two examples of a discussion that was going on in the 19th century. The effect of one primitive culture on a more advanced one (as we…
View original 876 more words
“You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear.”
– Sammy Davis Jr.
- I Gotta be Me – Sammy Davis Jr.
I’m sure a few people were surprised to see Sammy Davis Jr. listed as one of the Actors that Sam Peckinpah had considered for the role of Dutch Engstrom in The Wild Bunch, which was eventually played by Ernest Borgnine.
But I’ll tell you something – I bet Sammy would have done a great job.
Firstly Sammy Davis Jr. was one of the greatest Entertainers who ever lived. He could do anything:
Stage and Screen, Stand up, Impressionist, Dance, Sing, Recording Artist, played several musical instruments … ???
Immensely talented – the consummate performer.
Also like many American kids of his era, it appears that Sammy loved Westerns – that probably dreamed of being Cowboy like many of us did.
I have plenty of evidence to support my claim:
Sammy’s Gunhandling / Twirling talents were legendary in Hollywood and he showcased them often.
Sadly, apart from sporadic notable incidents like the Klondike Gold Rush, most
of Canadian Western History was not recorded in any manner.
Nor did we have a Film Industry …
Ah well …
Seems to me that many of the early Western actors were deliberately selected because they were genuine cowboys/horsemen. Somewhere along the line this eventually changed however, whereby acting talent and charisma replaced authentic expertise in the saddle.
Originally posted on The Western Film Preservation Society:
Part 2: Those Silver Screen Cowboys who were good riders or became good riders
A couple months ago, I started a series on the riding abilities or lack thereof of our silver screen heroes. Part 1 discussed the heroes who really were great horsemen from the start. Unfortunately, my computer crashed and was out of service for 6 weeks and my articles were on the hard drive. Everything seems back normal now and I can continue on with the series. Sorry for the delay buckaroos and buckarettes! On to part 2!
I rate Gene Autry as a good rider and horse person. Some people questioned his riding ability to which he responded: It doesn’t bother me—you are always going to have somebody write stuff like that. What the hell? I don’t know where they get that stuff, though. I was raised on a cattle ranch, and my…
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Richard Jaeckel …. Unique recollections from Garry Armstrong.
Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:
I don’t remember the exact date, but it was warm. We shot in shirtsleeves in the lobby of the TV station. I couldn’t get a studio and was being urged to get the shoot finished as quickly as possible. The “suits” were unimpressed with Richard Jaeckel. James Coburn was the hot interview on the circuit as “Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid” was being pushed by publicists. Richard Jaeckel was very pleasant and friendly even before we rolled the camera.
He asked about what I did. I gave him a snapshot biography back to my radio days and shooting my own film at a previous TV station. He grinned and said it was good to be working with a “grunt”. The rapport was established.
I mentioned having interviewed Gregory Peck a decade earlier, how well we got along. Jaeckel segued into working with Peck in one of his earliest…
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Wikipedia says: “Among those considered to play Dutch Engstrom were Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, Alex Cord, Robert Culp, Sammy Davis, Jr., Richard Jaeckel, Steve McQueen, and George Peppard. Ernest Borgnine was cast based on his performance in The Dirty Dozen (1967).
Charles Bronson Western Filmography
1954 Vera Cruz / 1954 Drum Beat
1954 Apache / 1954 Riding Shotgun
1956 Jubal / 1957 Run of the Arrow
1957 Showdown at Boot Hill / 1960 The Magnificent Seven
1961 A Thunder of Drums1968 Villa Rides
1968 Once Upon a Time in the West / 1968 Guns for San Sebastian
Jim Brown Western Filmography
1964 Rio Conchos
1969 100 Rifles
1970 El Condor
1975 Take a Hard Ride
Alex Cord Western Filmography
2009 Fire from Below
1972 Gunsmoke (TV Series)
1995 Walker, Texas Ranger (TV Series)
1995 Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (TV Series)
1965 Branded (TV Series)
1961 Laramie (TV Series)
Robert Culp Western Filmography
1963 The Raiders / 1971 Hannie Cauldur
Robert Culp TV Westerns
Tate (1960) / Johnny Ringo (1960)
Outlaws (1960) / The Westerner (1960)
Zane Grey Theater (1957-1960)
Rawhide (1961) / Bonanza (1961)
Rifleman (1960-1962) / Wagon Train (1962)
The Virginian (1964) Gunsmoke (1964)
The Hanged Man (1964) Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993)
Lonesome Dove: The Series (1994)
Sammy Davis, Jr. Western Filmography
Zane Grey Theater (TV Series) / Lawman (TV Series)
Sergeants 3 (1962) / The Rifleman (TV Series)
The Wild Wild West (TV Series) / The Trackers (1971)
Gone with the West (1975)
Richard Jaeckel Western Filmography
The Gunfighter (1950) / Apache Ambush (1955)
3:10 to Yuma (1957) / Cowboy (1958)
Cimarron City (TV) (1958) / The Texan (TV) 1959
Trackdown (TV) 1959 / Zane Grey Theater (TV) (1960)
Tales of Wells Fargo (TV) (1960) / The Rebel (TV) (1960)
Flaming Star (1960) / The Tall Man (TV) (1961)
Lawman (TV) (1961) / Frontier Circus (1961–1962)
Have Gun – Will Travel (TV) (1962) / Wagon Train (TV) (1961–1963)
The Dakotas (TV) (1963) / 4 for Texas (1963)
The Virginian (TV) (1964) / Town Tamer (1965)
The Wild Wild West (1966–1967) / Bonanza (1964–1967)
Chisum (1970) / Ulzana’s Raid (1972)
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) / Gunsmoke (TV) (1963–1975)
The Last Day (1975) / The Oregon Trail (1977)
Kit Carson and the Mountain Men (1977)
Go West, Young Girl (1978)
Steve McQueen Western Filmography
Trackdown (TV) 1958 / Tales of Wells Fargo (TV) 1958
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV) 1958-1961
Nevada Smith (1966) / Junior Bonner (1972)
Tom Horn (1980)
George Peppard Western Filmography
How the West Was Won 1962 / Rough Night in Jericho 1967
Cannon for Cordoba 1970 / The Bravos 1972
Another decent group of candidates.
From among this Bunch I think a popular vote would likely see Bronson and McQueen win out.
But I can’t guess who would win between them?
Bronson had appeared in a couple of movies before with Borgnine,
including Vera Cruz (1954) – if that means anything?
Next let’s have a look at Warren Oates’ role of Lyle Gorch …
More than 300 items from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum Collection were sold to the general public. The collection even included the sale of the iconic Trigger for $266,500.
Most of the items sold for more than 10 times the expected price. Overall, the collection sold for $2.9 million. Thousands attended the auction in New York, NY.
Other items included the original hand drawn sheet music and lyrics to the memorable song “Happy Trails,” which sold for $27,500, the 1963 Pontiac Bonneville for $254,500 and the Nellybelle Jeep for $116,500.
Linda Kohn and Joseph Sherwood of High Noon Western Americana stated, “We were thrilled that the collection has found its way into homes of Roy and Dale fans around the world insuring that their legacy continues. The highlight of the week was the saleroom’s spontaneous round of “Happy Trails” sung at the conclusion of the auction.”
Cathy Elkies, Director of Iconic Collections added, “This highly anticipated event brought out thousands of Roy and Dale fans whose emotions and memories flooded our galleries. We were privileged to handle a collection that resonated so deeply with so many people.”
“THE END OF AN ERA…….
The Roy Rogers Museum in Branson, MO has closed its doors forever.
The contents of the museum were sold at a public auction.
Roy Rogers told his son, if the museum ever operates at a loss, close it
And sell the contents. He complied.
Note the follow-on article truly the end of an era.
Here is a partial listing of some of the items that were sold at auction…
Roy ‘s 1964 Bonneville sold for $254,500, it was estimated to
Sell between 100 and 150 thousand dollars.
His script book from the January 14,1953 episode of This Is Your Life sold for $10,000 (EST. $800-$1,000).
A collection of signed baseballs (Pete Rose, Duke Snyder and other greats) sold for $3,750.
A collection of signed bats (Yogi Berra, Enos Slaughter, Bob Feller, and others) sold for $2,750.
Trigger’s saddle and bridle sold for $386,500 (EST. 100-150 K).
One of many of Roy ‘s shirts sold for $16,250 and one of his many cowboy hats sold for $17,500.
One set of boot spurs sold for $10,625. (He never used a set of spurs on Trigger).
A life size shooting gallery sold for $27,500.
Various chandeliers sold from $6,875 to $20,000. Very unique and artistic in their western style.
signed photograph by Don Larsen taken during his perfect game in the world series against
The Dodgers on Oct. 8, 1953, along with a signed baseball to Roy from Don, sold for $2,500.
Two fabulous limited edition BB guns in their original boxes with
Numerous photos of Roy, Dale, Gabby, and Pat sold for $3,750.
A collection of memorabilia from his shows entertaining the troops in Vietnam sold for $938.
I never knew he was there. His flight jacket sold for $7,500.
His set of dinner ware plates and silverware sold for $11,875.
The Bible they used at the dinner table every night sold for $8,750.
One of several of his guitars sold for $27,500.
Nellybelle sold for $116,500.
A fabulous painting of Roy, Dale, Pat, Buttermilk, Trigger, and Bullet sold for $10,625.
One of several sets of movie posters sold for $18,750.
A black and white photograph of Gene Autry with a touching inscription
From Gene to Roy sold for $17,500.
A Republic Productions Poster bearing many autographs of the
People that played in Roy ‘s movies sold for $11,875.
Dale’s horse, Buttermilk (whose history is very interesting) sold below
The presale estimate for $25,000. (EST. 30-40 K).
Bullet sold for $35,000 (EST. 10-15 K). He was their real pet.
Dale’s parade saddle, estimated to sell between 20-30 K, sold for $104,500.
One of many pairs of Roy ‘s boots sold for $21,250.
Trigger sold for $266,500.
Do you remember the 1938 movie The Adventures of Robinhood,
With Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland? Well Olivia rode Trigger in that movie.
Trigger was bred on a farm co-owned by Bing Crosby.
Roy bought Trigger on a time payment plan for $2,500.
Roy and Trigger made 188 movies together.
Trigger even out did Bob Hope by winning an Oscar in the movie Son of Paleface in 1953.
It is extremely sad to see this era lost forever. Despite the fact that Gene and Roy ‘s movies,
As well as those of other great characters, can be bought or rented for viewing,
today’s kids would rather spend their time playing video games.
Today it takes a very special pair of parents to raise their kids with the right values and morals.
These were the great heroes of our childhood, and they did teach us right from
Wrong, and how to have and show respect for each other and the animals that share this earth.
You and I were born at the right time.
We were able to grow up with these great people even if we never met them.
In their own way they taught us patriotism and honor, we learned that lying and
Cheating were bad, and sex wasn’t as important as love.
We learned how to suffer through disappointment and failure and work through it. Our lives were drug free.
So it’s good-bye to Roy and Dale, Gene and Hoppy, The Lone Ranger and Tonto.
Farewell to Sky King and Superman and Sgt. Friday. Thanks to Capt.. Kangaroo,
Mr. Rogers and Capt. Noah and all those people whose lives touched ours, and made them better.
It was a great ride through childhood.
HAPPY TRAILS MY FRIENDS”
A few tears are being shed today …
I always like to check who got a particular role/part/casting – and how – why? Who refused it – missed out? The casting story for The Wild Bunch reveals some very interesting candidates.
Who would you have picked? Why? A very tough decision.
Wikipedia says: “Director Sam Peckinpah considered many actors for the Pike Bishop role, before casting William Holden: Richard Boone, Sterling Hayden, Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, and James Stewart. Marvin actually accepted the role but pulled out after he was offered a larger pay deal to star in Paint Your Wagon (1969).”
Pretty well a Who’s Who of Western film Icons.
Richard Boone Western Filmography
Way of a Gaucho – (1952) / Pony Soldier (uncredited) (1952)
City of Bad Men – (1953) / The Siege at Red River - (1954)
The Raid – (1954) / Ten Wanted Men – (1955)
Man Without a Star – (1955) / Robbers’ Roost – (1955)
Star in the Dust – (1956) / The Tall T – (1957)
The Alamo – (1960) / A Thunder of Drums – (1961)
Rio Conchos – (1964) / Hombre - (1967)
Big Jake - (1971) / Against a Crooked Sky – (1975)
Diamante Lobo – (1976) / The Shootist – (1976)
Richard Boone TV Westerns
Frontier - episode – The Salt War -1956)
Studio One in Hollywood – episode – Dead of Noon – (1957)
Have Gun – Will Travel – 225 episodes – (1957–1963)
Cimarron Strip – episode – The Roarer – (1967)
Hec Ramsey – 10 episodes – (1972-1974)
Sterling Hayden Western Filmography
1949 El Paso / 1952 Flaming Feather
1952 Denver and Rio Grande / 1952 Hellgate
1953 Kansas Pacific / 1954 Arrow In the Dust
1954 Johnny Guitar / 1955 Timberjack
1955 Shotgun / 1955 Top Gun
1955 The Last Command / 1957 Gun Battle at Monterey
1957 The Iron Sheriff / 1958 Terror in a Texas Town
1975 Cipolla Colt
Sterling Hayden TV Westerns
1957 Zane Grey Theater / 1957 Wagon Train
1982 The Blue and the Gray
Charleton Heston Western Filmography
1952 The Savage / 1952 The President’s Lady
1953 Pony Express / 1953 Arrowhead
1955 The Far Horizons / 1957 Three Violent People
1958 The Big Country / 1965 Major Dundee
1968 Will Penny / 1972 The Call of the Wild
1980 The Mountain Men / 1993 Tombstone
Burt Lancaster Western Filmography
1951 Vengeance Valley / 1951 Ten Tall Men
1954 Apache / 1954 Vera Cruz
1955 The Kentuckian / 1956 The Rainmaker
1957 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral / 1960 The Unforgiven
1965 The Hallelujah Trail / 1966 The Professionals
1968 The Scalphunters / 1971 Lawman
1971 Valdez Is Coming / 1972 Ulzana’s Raid
1976 Buffalo Bill and the Indians / 1981 Cattle Annie and Little Britches
Lee Marvin Western Filmography
Gun Fury (1953) / The Raid (1954)
The Comancheros (1961) / The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Cat Ballou (1965) / The Professionals (1966)
Paint Your Wagon (1969) / Monte Walsh (1970)
The Spikes Gang (1974)
Wagon Train, Bonanza, and The Virginian …
Robert Mitchum Western Filmography
1943 Hoppy Serves a Writ / 1943 Border Patrol
1943 Leather Burners / 1943 Colt Comrades
1943 The Lone Star Trail / 1943 Beyond the Last Frontier
1943 Bar 20 / 1943 False Colors
1943 Riders of the Deadline / 1944 Nevada
1945 West of the Pecos / 1947 Pursued
1948 Blood on the Moon / 1949 The Red Pony
1952 The Lusty Men / 1954 River of No Return
1955 Man with the Gun / 1956 Bandido
1959 The Wonderful Country / 1967 El Dorado
1967 The Way West / 1968 Villa Rides
1968 5 Card Stud / 1969 Young Billy Young
1969 The Good Guys and the Bad Guys
1993 Tombstone Narrator / 1995 Dead Man
Robert Mitchum TV Work
1985 North and South
Gregory Peck Western Filmography
1946 Duel in the Sun / 1946 Yellow Sky
1950 The Gunfighter / 1950 Only the Valiant
1958 The Bravados / 1958 The Big Country
1962 How the West Was Won / 1967 The Stalking Moon
1967 Mackenna’s Gold / 1982 The Blue and the Gray
1989 Old Gringo
James Stewart Western Filmography
1939 Destry Rides Again / 1950 Winchester ’73
1950 Broken Arrow / 1952 Bend of the River
1953 The Naked Spur / 1954 The Far Country
1955 The Man from Laramie / 1961 Two Rode Together
1962 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
1962 How the West Was Won / 1964 Cheyenne Autumn
1965 Shenandoah / 1966 The Rare Breed
1968 Firecreek / 1968 Bandolero!
1970 The Cheyenne Social Club
1976 The Shootist
Amazing … stunning. You can’t lose. Put all the names in a hat and pull one out … any one of them would have done a great job.
Next let’s have a look at Ernest Borgnine’s role of Dutch Engstrom …
When I was a kid I never used to catch anything. I’d watch as my 4 brothers and sister were falling like dominoes to whatever was ‘going around’. I was kind of smug about it.
THEN … I left home … and started smoking. From that point on I caught everything that existed. Smoking seriously weakens your immune system.
Then … I kept hearing that flu can kill ya. As a young feller, I found that hard to believe.
Then … about 4 years ago I caught a good one. It was deadly … started to shut my system down bit by bit … it was in my glands, my sinuses, by lungs … coughing, sweating, hacking, choking … all I could do was sleep and hope it didn’t hit pneumonia. I think it did, but I still lasted it out.
This current edition is pretty bad too – Rose has been coughing heavily for over a week and a half. Can’t shake it. But I think we are finally on the upswing. Maybe in a week we will be OK. ???
Unless it’s one of those damn flues that keep on coming back.
It’s really prevented me from working on my blog because on top of the illness I’m so medicated … full of Drisdan, Codeine, Benelin … so drowsy I can’t think straight … we’ve been trying everything – even turkey soup.
“not even a mouse … ”
cuz we got 4 cats.
Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads.
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap —
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature…
View original 407 more words
Rose, my Lady, sent me this story – asked me post it – figuring people might be interested. I am.
Guns, of course, are always a controversy – especially on Western Blogs because pretty well every Western has guns in it – killing and shooting. And I have just been covering Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch.
So this raised the issue. We in Canada, just went through a very controversial period whereby a law was passed to register all guns. Eventually the whole thing failed and the law was thrown out.
We have no such thing here as the 2nd Amendment, though many people feel the same way.
I have no guns. Sometimes when I watch the News I wonder if I shouldn’t get one. Fearing that the world is going to blow up in my face – anarchy and all.
I grew up with guns – us 5 boys and sis. In the house we had 2 double barrel shotguns; one single 12 gauge; 2 30/30’s; 3 22’s; about 3 handguns; pellet rifles …
I was also in the Militia for a short time – Calgary Highlanders. Went to Camp Wainwright: shot FNC1’s; FNC2; Stengun; BrenGun; tossed grenades …
But right now I don’t own any guns – don’t believe I’ve shot one since I left home in 1969.
I like Action movies (if they’re well done) and obviously Westerns. And I play lots of computer games – most have shooting and killing.
But I have no inclination to kill anybody.
Not yet anyway.
Mark Stanton’s remembrances of his “Great Uncle Ted”s adventures in the Klondike Gold Rush:
“When I was a young boy, my mother and father used to tell me the story of Great Uncle Ted and his adventures in the Klondike Goldrush in the Yukon, Canada.
I always found the story (albeit sketchy and perhaps embellished with family folklore) to be an inspirational tale. Especially as it had a tangible side, in that I knew that on “coming of age”, I stood to inherit a tiny piece of that legend – a small golden tie pin that Ted had given to his sister (my Great Grandmother – Julia Cullinane) on one of his Christmas visits back to England.
The pin (pictured right) is of a horse-shoe with a miners winch cradle and bucket, it is stamped “Dawson 14k” on the reverse.
(The only other tangible pieces of the legend were a few photos, and a couple of rocks containing small gold nuggets, which my grandmother used as door stops for many years! My sister inherited these, and has maintained their traditional employ!)
What follows is the story of Teddy’s Klondike adventure (at least as far as I have managed to piece together so far). His successes, his experiences and his ultimate fate, some of which must always remain folklore, as you will discover as you read on…
Edward “Teddy” Cullinane was born in 1873 into a large Bristolian family. His father, Timothy, an Irish immigrant, was a foreman in the Great Western Cotton Factory at Barton Hill, where his mother Eliza (a Bristol girl) also worked as a cotton warper.
Perhaps it was the living conditions in Barton Hill in those days, the drudgery of factory labour in the local cotton or iron works; perhaps the Irish disposition to migration, or simply a young man’s yearning for adventure; whatever it was, something drove Teddy to leave home in 1898 aged 25, and travel half way around the world to seek his fortune, prospecting for gold in the Klondike gold rush.
The following links will take you to the individuals mentioned in this article.
The route that Teddy took to get to Dawson City is not currently known, though it is thought to have been via the Chilcoot Pass as described in the film above. Amongst his photo’s of the period is the commercially produced shot on the right of a tramway tower encased in ice, which suggests he had some connection to that route. Either way as the short film and article above describes, the fact he arrived at Dawson at all, is in itself an impressive feat!
Teddy, like many other Cheechako’s (as newly arrived stampeders were known), would probably have found that much of the land on the creeks and rivers around Dawson City was already subject to claims. So one would have to assume that he had to work as layman on someone else’s claim at first, until he could secure a share in a claim for himself.
Through partnerships with fellow prospectors, Teddy did manage to get himself a share in various Placer Mining grants (issued by the Yukon Gold Commissioners office), on the famous Bonanza and Eldorado creeks near Dawson City.
We know he was partnered in claim number 13 on Eldorado Creek with EM White, William Dunham, William Sheets and James Higgins. This was around the time that a photographer, Asahel Curtis was documenting Klondike life through photography. Is it possible that the man in the centre of thisphotograph (held by the University of Washington) is our Teddy?
It seems the “13 Eldorado” claim began producing significant yields by 1902 as this Dawson Sun article “Big Dumps are the Fashion” (December 17th 1902) suggests. In the photograph to the left, it is believed that the man standing third from the left is Teddy.
The following year must have been a very successful season for Teddy. By the end of the summer of 1903 he sold a group of 15 claims on French Hill for what must have been a significant sum, and returned to England to visit his family.
One of the most intriguing items that still exists from his time in the Klondike is a copy of the Yukon Sun from September 23rd 1903. In it is an article which reports his leaving for England. The intrigue is provided by an anonymous censor (possibly his mother Eliza) who has removed certain sections of the article. The sentences remaining above and below the tears certainly beg some interesting questions!
See for yourself… read the article “Takes Out Large Poke” (September 23rd 1903).
The Dawson Sun article “Eldorado News” (September 24th 1903) also made mention of the boys of 13 Eldorado leaving to spend their winter (and presumably a portion of their gains!) on the “outside” as it was known to the Klondikers.
Teddy returned to the Yukon following his European visit. It seems he linked up again with James Higgins (who had remained on Eldorado over the winter with his wife), and also James’ brother George. In October 1904 the Yukon World newspaper caught up with the three of them on their return from staking new claims on Bunty Creek under the headline “Famous White Channel Again Located” (October 18th 1904).
Teddy and James also remained active in their usual stomping ground, this time taking a half share of claim number 34 Above Bonanza Creek “Mining Transfers” (January 21st 1905).
1905-1909: Teddy and James expand their ownership of the Bonanza Creek claim to include: Hill Claim; Left Limit of 33 and 34 Above; on Bonanza Creek. Hill Claim; Left Limit, upper 120 feet of No.34 Above; on Bonanza Creek.
Eventually these were consolidated under a single mineral claim known as “Gloster” (certificate number 11749) – which covered the placer claims 31, 32, 33 and 34 Above on Bonanza Creek.
In addition Teddy owned the “Avondale” mineral claim – (certificate number 7705) which expired in 1907. (The name “Avondale” perhaps being a reference to the name of the road where Teddy grew up in Bristol – Avonvale Road, where his mother still lived).
1906: March – Teddy returns from another trip back to England, sailing from Liverpool on the “Carmania” he is recorded (number 7 on the passenger list) arriving in New York City on March 5th 1906, in transit to Dawson City.
November – Teddy applies for a claim for placer mining on Irish Gulch (a tributary of Eldorado Creek); No.8 Left Limit. (See his signed application form on the right).
1907: Teddy purchases Irish Gulch – Creek Claim No.6, from Thomas Charlton on 28th April 1907. The claim must have been unprofitable by the time it was allowed to lapse on 6th August 1912, when it was relocated by Mrs Charlton.
Fall of 1909: James Higgins retires from the Klondike to settle down in Seattle (his address now being 2612 First Avenue North, Seattle). It appears Teddy and James retained a shared ownership of some of the claims, and were also partnered in some Seattle real estate. It is thought that James later moved on to Alaska.
Fall of 1911: Teddy verbally agrees a “lay” with William Bachmann, who would work the Bonanza claim on Teddy’s (and James’) behalf for the next two years. The agreement was that Bachmann would take a 75% share of any gold extracted, the other 25% to Teddy and James. Unless the amount of gold extracted was below a particular amount, in which case the split was 80%/20%.
Presumably, getting someone else to work these claims meant that Teddy could continue to do more prospecting.
Teddy returned to England to visit his family at Christmas 1911.
1912: Sometime around 1912, (perhaps on his journey back to the Klondike), Teddy had a tooth extracted while in Vancouver. It seems that the dentist splintered his jaw in some way which caused him significant nerve pain. He underwent a further two operations without relief but apparently still suffered from severe headache pain at times. It is thought that Teddy left a suitcase at a Skagway hotel (possibly the famous Pullen House Hotel), so he was probably taking the White Pass route back to Dawson on this occasion rather than the old Chilcoot Trail.
1912+: Over the following years the Bonanza claims being worked by Bachmann gradually yielded less and less gold.
By 1913 the falling yields must have forced Teddy to prospect further afield for new discoveries.
Early in 1913 we know he made a placer mining application at a place called Irish Gulch. While another claim on Britannia Creek (Creek Claim 11; Above Discovery); expired on 3rd August 1913.
Teddy’s final prospecting trip in the summer of 1913, sees him travelling way up the Yukon River to the country beyond Teslin Lake. It is here that his Klondike adventure will end… and the mystery begins…
Teddy’s Klondike adventure ended somewhere in the forests, around 20 miles or so south of Teslin Lake. The last person to see him alive (12th July 1913), was his prospecting partner Reginald Naish. It seems that Teddy and Naish were returning down the Moose Horn River from a prospecting trip to a reported gold strike at Silver Creek south of Teslin. Some 5 miles south of Goose Lake, an accident with the raft had deprived them of food and also of their axes and tools which were so vital to survival in such a remote location. They should have gone on together to Cole’s Camp, but a log jam meant they could go no further by river without constructing another raft downstream. However, with no tools to do this, and Teddy by this point apparently having fallen ill, Naish decided to make camp for him and set out on foot to search for help.
Twenty days later, a group of prospectors including William H Forbes travelled past Teddy’s camp on the river-bank. On going ashore they found a small raft, a robe, tent, cooking utensils but no provisions. There was no sign of Teddy.
Five miles downstream they came across Naish, “half-demented, caused by exposure and hunger”, having become hopelessly lost.
Click here to read a letter from Naish (July 14th 1914) to Teddy’s family describing the circumstances of Teddy’s disappearance, and of his own “miraculous” survival.
The Dawson Daily News reported the story under the headline “Traced A Lost Klondiker” (May 22nd 1914) after interviewing Forbes’ on his return to Dawson.
According to Forbes he later heard that some Indians had found Teddy’s dogs running free some distance from the campsite, but they to had failed to find any trace of Teddy. (This perhaps being the origin of the “family story” that suggested he had been eaten by his huskies!).
Click here to read Forbes statement given in December 1914 regarding his account of events.
Back in Bristol, after his apparent death, Teddy’s brother-in-law Cecil Arscott, spent a great deal of time writing many letters to the authorities in both Yukon and British Columbia on behalf of Teddy’s mother Eliza.
The aim was to get a search party to attempt to retrieve Teddy’s body, partly to console Eliza with the prospect of a proper burial, but also to establish official proof of death. Eliza had been left penniless by Teddy’s death since his incoming also supported her, and it would be very difficult to get his insurance policy to pay out without this proof.
The family put up a $250 reward for anyone who was able to find Teddy’s body. A well known local priest Father Revet added a further $500 to this. Apparently a search was made by local Indians, though this did not result in anything of interest.
The Yukon authorities in Dawson, especially, the commissioner George Black who had known Teddy personally, was very helpful to the family in their attempts to officially resolve and prove his death. However, because Teddy was thought to have been in British Columbia territory when lost, (Teslin lakes straddles the Yukon/ British Columbia border) it seems the British Columbian authorities in Atlin were officially responsible for investigating the disappearance. Unfortunately they appear not to have been at all proactive, and it required a great number of letters from Cecil in order to get them to assist in any way.
By 1914 the Bonanza claims had become unprofitable for Bachmann to run, the yield was only $400, well down on previous years. Bachmann and his co-laymen ceased working on the property from the fall of 1914.
By October 1917 Teddy’s hill claims in 33 and 34 above Bonanza were sold by the public administrator, although the value of the sale is not known. It is also not clear whether the funds were then paid on to Teddy’s mother who was still writing to the Canadian authorities in January 1919 asking for final details of Teddy’s estate. The file of letters held by the Yukon Archives ends here, so either everything was settled – hence no more letters… or Teddy’s mother became too frail to continue the fight. She died in 1923.
So here ends the tale of Teddy Cullinane’s 15 year adventure in the Klondike. Although ultimately the story ends in his tragic and untimely death, I have immense admiration for the man, (as I do for all those brave Klondikers of the period).
Admiration for the courage to follow a dream; to stride out in to the unknown and face unfamiliar dangers… and then through wit, graft, determination (and I’m sure with a good measure of fun!) to have played a part, and even turned a profit in the great Yukon gold-rush adventure. I’m proud to count him among my ancestors.
And if ever I am in need of inspiration or strength to face my own challenges, all I need do is look up at his picture on my study wall, resplendent in his furs…
Teddy’s story is told, with grateful thanks to the Yukon Archives in Whitehorse, Yukon; for providing copies of the large amount of correspondence that has informed much of what I know about Teddy’s time in the Klondike. Also with thanks to Google for the excellent digital images of old newspapers of the time, and to Youtube and Wikipedia (and the originators of the content linked to on those sites).
All photographs displayed on this webpage are part of Teddy Cullinane’s private collection and are the property of the author.
14th May 2010
Mark in Worcester, United Kingdom, sent me a link to this Short documentary by Pierre Berton called “Gold Rush” which was “filmed in the 1950’s” and “was nominated for an Oscar.”
I had never seen this before. Very nice.
Thank you Mark! and wishing you a great Holiday Season from over here.
Leonard Maltin talks about the film THE WILD BUNCH during an interview for AFI’s 10 Top 10 (2008)
From the opening image of children happily watching fire ants kill a scorpion, Sam Peckinpah presents a relentlessly pessimistic view of frontier life in 1913 as it gives way to modernity; any sense of honor is strictly relative, and “civilization” means venal businessmen and mercenaries. The western’s myth of “righteous” violence is literally blasted to pieces in the two battle sequences evocative of the 1968-69 carnage in Vietnam. In elaborately edited montages using different camera speeds and distances, Peckinpah and cinematographer Lucien Ballard show what it looks like when bullets hit flesh, drawing out moments of death amidst bloody chaos in a balletic yet repellent spectacle. The Wild Bunch eventually became a moderate hit, and it got Oscar nominations for Jerry Fielding’s score and Walon Green’s and Peckinpah’s script. Unsatisfied with Peckinpah’s 145-minute cut, Warner Bros. pulled the film after its debut and shaved 10 minutes of exposition but left the violence intact. The footage was fully restored in 1995. With its stunning technical finesse and uncompromising view of the West’s bloody demise, The Wild Bunch remains one of the most powerful “last” westerns ever made.
Nice and short …
The Wild Bunch review Glenn Erickson – one of my favorite film reviewers. The Length of of Erickson’s review goes against my blog rule of keeping my posts short , but he’s so good at what he does I couldn’t figure out how to shorten it …
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
Would you give someone guns to kill your mother, or your brother?
The Wild Bunch is the big one, and if one hasn’t seen it yet, by all means stop reading this! Thirty-six years later, Peckinpah’s best film is still the last truly original Western. Unforgiven and Dances with Wolves are great pictures, but they don’t break new ground. Critics, film historians and western buffs have written up this masterpiece from every conceivable angle – its violence, its sexual politics and its position midway between the western, the gangster film and the historical epic. One fine article analyzed the half-dozen musical rhythms coursing through the final sequence. Another proposed that Peckinpah’s vision of the Death of the West was also a marker for the beginning decline of America, a country awash in corruption and violence.
When Warners first released movies to VHS home video The Wild Bunch was one of the first titles out, albeit in the original (adjusted) theatrical length of about 135 minutes. Until a longer repertory print appeared around 1979, the only Americans to see Peckinpah’s full cut (145 minutes) were those who attended the first week of its limited-run in big cities. In foreign markets — the UK and Spain — the film played in 70mm and stereophonic sound, but not in the states. Sam Peckinpah’s personal print of the film played at a special Jerry Harvey Beverly Canon screening in 1974 and at Filmex in 1976, rare occasions indeed. Peckinpah’s print included a very classy intermission.
A pan-scanned but full length laserdisc appeared in the late 1980s, and Warners undertook a major 70mm stereophonic restoration in 1992 that was stopped dead when the MPAA tried to re-rate the film as NC-17. Protests and negotiations followed for two years until a big re-premiere in 1995 at the Cinerama Dome.
Warners’ Two-Disc Special Edition of The Wild Bunch is indeed a Director’s Cut. The quality is excellent and the extras only a little disappointing; more on that below.
A band of brutal outlaws led by the bitter Pike Bishop (William Holden) is decimated when a railroad company ambush led by Pike’s old pal Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan) turns into a bloodbath. Barely escaping, the six survivors head to Mexico with Thornton’s cutthroat bounty hunters in hot pursuit. They get on the good side of a Huerta warlord named Mapache (Emilio Fernandez) by taking his commission to steal U.S. Army guns in a daring raid on an armed train convoy. They manage to outrun Thornton, the bounty hunters and the pursuing U.S. Cavalry, but completing their deal with the ruthless and bloodthirsty Federales is not going to be a piece of cake – Mapache needs those guns to hold off Pancho Villa’s revolutionaries, and would just as soon kill Pike’s gringos “as break wind.”
The Wild Bunch gathers up the western genre in one big eclectic mass and reinterprets it from a subversive perspective. The past is dead and the remnants of old banditry have become outcasts in a world transformed by technology and big money; the loyalties and words of honor so revered in Ride the High Country and Major Dundee have become a liability. Pike Bishop talks solidarity but cannot hold his bunch together; the reality consistently falls short of the dream. His big railroad robbery kills half his men and nets the Bunch only “a dollar’s worth of steel holes.” He more or less abandons the loose-cannon Crazy Lee (Bo Hopkins) in Starbuck and then finds out that the boy was related to the Bunch’s oldest member. Pike talks big words about sticking together but cannot summon a practical protest when one of his own is being tortured to death. About all the Bunch can brag about it that they “don’t hang nobody,” when the truth is that they probably never had the opportunity. Thornton marvels that Pike “never got caught,” even though that accomplishment is tempered by the knowledge that he left his best friend to suffer a long prison term.
The Wild Bunch rests at the center of a dynamic group of films about armed Americans taking violent ‘expeditions’ across the border. Filmed in Mexico with the cream of the Mexican industry’s action experts, it has several big directors (Emilio Fernandez, Chano Urueta, Alfonso Arau, Fernando Wagner) as actors. Peckinpah’s script, direction and cutting (a marvelous, adventurous job by Louis Lombardo) are superb; the attention to detail and the layered texture of each scene is the equal or better than anything in Leone or Visconti. Some of Peckinpah’s editing and film speed ideas are borrowed from Akira Kurosawa, who can still be listed as Peckinpah’s superior — in the long run Peckinpah’s complicated plotting still leaves a few ragged ends.
Peckinpah salts the film with unusually powerful ‘meaningful’ dialogue, much of it highly quotable. The only really dated patch is during a ‘sensitive’ campfire scene where Ernest Borgnine’s Dutch earnestly asks Pike if they can learn from their mistakes. Peckinpah wisely avoids shoving The Wild Bunch into the category of ‘revolution-chic’ pictures, then the rage in Europe. At the conclusion Deke Thornton and Freddie Sykes (Edmond O’Brien) are clearly running off to join Pancho Villa against the Federales. It would have been easy to give Thornton or Sykes some crazy pro- Ho Chi Minh dialogue line like, “If only our mercenary efforts had been for a worthwhile cause like la revolución!
This powerful comeback film was a resurrection for Sam Peckinpah, who had been blackballed from studio work after Major Dundee and an ill-fated false start on The Cincinnati Kid. If producer Phil Feldman was responsible for Peckinpah’s artistic freedom and excellent performance here he should have been given credit, for in The Wild Bunch all the virtues claimed for the director finally pay off. The key to Feldman and Peckinpah’s assemblage of top actors and top-flight production values is the dialogue line, “This time we do it right.”
Almost every role is a perfect casting fit. William Holden was wallowing in feeble action films (The Devil’s Brigade) and limp cameos (Casino Royale) and puts in his best all-round performance since David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai. Ernest Borgnine is far better than usual, with Peckinpah’s influence keeping him from going over the top, as he was wont to do on films for Robert Aldrich. Robert Ryan hadn’t gotten a role this good since the 1950s; his characterization does the most with the least screen time. Peckinpah also skimmed the cream of his stock company, adding a few choice nuggets like Albert Dekker (he died before the film was released) and an almost unrecognizable Edmond O’Brien.
The Wild Bunch surprised us with its portraits of hard men under pressure, going beyond Aldrich’s good start in Flight of the Phoenix. Virtue is practically irrelevant, with men formed into various groups for survival. All activity is in pursuit of money (the Bunch’s unapologetic thievery), power (the brutal Mexican civil war) or both (Railroad agent Pat Harrigan is both greedy and a perverse authority figure). Yet the script celebrates the bonds among these civilized savages. The near-subhuman Gorches recognize no law except their relationship as brothers. Both Thornton and Dutch openly admire Pike Bishop and Angel respects him as a father figure. Even the reprehensible Mapache inspires worship, from a pint-sized telegraph messenger.
Peckinpah’s realignment of the John Ford universe is at its strongest in The Wild Bunch. References to Ford pictures run deeper than the appropriation of songs like Shall We Gather at the River? The Bunch hark back to Ford’s villainous Clantons in My Darling Clementine: Walter Brennan’s “When you pull a gun, SHOOT a man!” is definitely the kind of talk that inspires Pike Bishop’s hard-bitten outbursts. Some Ford references are much more subtle, like the shawl that Henry Fonda takes from Cathy Downs’ Clementine Carter on the way to a church dance. In Starbuck Pike extends his arm to help an elderly lady across the street, and Dutch carries her packages. During the escape, Pike’s horse tramples a younger woman into the dust; pausing at the edge of town, he frees her shawl from his spur, throws it down, and continues.
Peckinpah was also fan enough of John Huston to liberally borrow from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, especially the brief respite in the Mexican village, with its grateful campesinos assembling to give the Bunch a fond farewell. Peckinpah embraces sentimentality in these scenes, with the irony that our bloody desperados are flattered and moved to be the recipients of such unquestioning love. Pike and his boys bask in the accolades withheld from Steve Judd’s upstanding lawman at the beginning of Ride the High Country.
The ending of The Wild Bunch is the most obvious Sierra Madre lift, with Thornton and Sykes laughing, much as had Tim Holt and Walter Houston. The moment isn’t quite as rich as in the John Huston classic, but it will do. 2
Peckinpah’s house blend of slow-motion violence shocked us deeply in 1969, as we had been fully conditioned to screen violence that carried no consequences. Typical shotgun humor can be seen in Howard Hawks’ El Dorado, where poor shot James Caan is given a ‘funny’ scattergun that makes a big BOOM and never misses. Peckinpah’s stylized bullet hits make fountains of blood spurt out across the screen, as if human beings were soggy bags of hemoglobin; and when rendered in slow motion, careering bodies spin and tumble in airborne ballet deaths. It’s simultaneously ugly and beautiful, obscene and aestheticized.
The Peckinpah slo-mo bloodbath has gone in and out of style, driven into the ground by Peckinpah himself and badly imitated by violent filmmakers convinced that bloody violence and slow motion are marketable production values in themselves. Cheaper films resorted to ‘poor man’s Peckinpah’ by simply double or triple-printing frames of film, a trick which usually looks terrible. Since the 1990s, market-controlled moviemaking has upped the ante in high-impact, fast-cut violence that far outpaces The Wild Bunch in blur-cuts, to the point that perceivable continuity is often lost to anyone not flying on amphetamines – Michael Bay, some Ridley Scott movies, etc. People arguing about today’s confusing action cutting should re-assess The Wild Bunch’s two big shootout scenes, which sometimes use very short cuts (4 frames, even) yet allow us to watch and understand the violent action. Editor Lombardo and Peckinpah play with the idea of action too fast for the cameras – in a pair of shots in the final gundown the camera pans left and right looking for Tector Gorch’es human targets, both of whom are blasted out of the frame before we can get a good look at them.
But the hypocrisy of Hollywood violence circa 2005 is worse than ever. Filmmakers will do anything to avoid visible blood, which the constipated MPAA will instantaneously use to bounce a PG-13 film into an R, or an R into an NC-17. Hence the blood that looks too dark in Lord of the Rings (“It’s mud, God’s truth!”) or entire scenes rendered in B&W to eliminate splashes of crimson. In the PG-13 War of the Worlds bodies are conveniently blasted into Martha Stewart-friendly powder. Against the desert browns in The Wild Bunch, red blood looks even redder.
Warners publicity obviously hadn’t a clue when they previewed the film in the midwest to a theater packed with retired folks. The outraged walkouts were interpreted badly by the studio, which sabotaged the picture by cutting it by ten minutes in its first week. Little did they know that it would become the most popular revival title in circulation, with the same battered prints playing to packed midnight shows for years to come. Savant must have seen it twenty times, double billed on everything from There Was a Crooked Man to McCabe and Mrs. Miller.
DVD Technical Information
As soon as the Special Edition of The Wild Bunch was announced, the web was awash in fan anticipation of hoped-for goodies, to the point that Savant has received many Emails asking if longer cuts, missing scenes and censor snippets are going to be restored. Although the two-disc set has many attractions, there are no new scenes restored, in or out of the feature itself.
Disc one has a beautifully remastered transfer, an enhanced encoding of the film with an image-cleaning job done with great care. If digital tools were used, they weren’t abused, as there is none of the ‘grain overlay’ we have come to expect on library titles. A few near-horizontal lines become a little crisp but Savant sees no loss of detail, quite the opposite. We can read the print on the wanted posters. The ruddy flatness of the scene with the puro indios has been toned down. We can finally see the wind-blown raindrops in one shot of the Bunch making their way to Mexico. Just about the only difference that may run counter to the look of the original film (I’m thinking of Peckinpah’s long-ago original Technicolor print) is that the red blood is toned down a bit. The bandit with his face shot away used to wear a mask of dripping crimson, which no longer carries the exact same glow. The Wild Bunch fans are so picky that a web outcry for one reason or another is almost a given, but Savant is very, very pleased. By comparison, the older flipper DVD from 1997 now looks as if it were projected on a burlap bag.
The Wild Bunch was originally mixed in stereo for 70mm (abroad) and carefully re-mixed in the early 1990s for the big re-premiere. Jerry Fielding’s sublime, Oscar-nominated score sounds better than ever. This is indeed the authentic original release version before it was chopped by Warners. I noticed only three differences from Peckinpah’s personal print: 1) No added intermission break; 2) The looped English lines for General Mapache in the Pancho Villa sequence (in the Peckinpah print they were in Spanish without subtitles); and 3) The Peckinpah print also had a slightly longer cut of the moment where Deke Thornton and the bounty hunters find the bandit that Pike Bishop shot in a mercy killing (“Finish it, Mr. Bishop”). After Deke says that it is getting dark, he dispatched a couple of his ‘railroad detectives’ to take the body back to Starbuck to collect the reward. Some really perceptive Peckinpah fans (Gregory Nicoll, for one) deduced this event by noticing that Thornton’s posse unaccountably shrank by one or two members!
Disc two has the extras. Sam Peckinpah’s West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade is a 2004 Starz/Encore Cable docu at feature length, directed by Tom Thurman and written by Tom Marksbury, the writer of John Ford Goes to War. It includes input from just about everybody who ever worked with the director, including a fair share of pontificating critics and actors from newer generations. The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage is Paul Seydor and Nick Redman’s 1996 Oscar-nominated short subject that was the sole extra on the first DVD release. Its main appeal is the chance to peruse a giddy overdose of B&W behind-the-scenes footage (found at Warners by producer Michael Arick) of the shooting of key sequences like the buildup to the final battle. Voiceovers with actors like Ed Harris interpreting Sam Peckinpah lay on the gutsy man-talk a little thick. An item billed as a docu excerpt from A Simple Adventure Story: Sam Peckinpah, Mexico and The Wild Bunch by Nick Redman is a new featurette showing Redman and his fellow authors visiting the film’s locations outside Durango, partly accompanied by Peckinpah’s daughter Lupita. Luckily for us, they’re very good with hand-held video cameras.
The supplemental bullets underscore an extra called “Never-Before-Seen Additional Scenes”, which naturally leads one to expect a Holy Grail of unseen Peckinpah treasures. What we get instead is a montaged assortment of odds ‘n ends dailies of varying interest. Any chance to view uncut camera footage from the movie is going to be welcomed, and the selection concentrates on action scenes in alternate angles or in trims of angles we recognize from the film. They appear to be high-quality transfers from negative, which is a plus as well. Pieces of this recovered footage are also glimpsed in the newly edited featurettes. Only a couple of bits caught Savant’s eye. One a view of a dead bounty hunter oozing blood over the top of the Starbuck bank building looks like the kind of thing that might be deleted to remove extraneous gore. Another shot shows Deke Thornton in convict clothing, working on a rockpile straight out of I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. 3
What we don’t get are the missing scenes implied on the package text. Besides the apocryphal stories of even more outrageous gore (the demise of the clerks and the female customer in the telegraph office, for one), there’s also the tantalizing moment retained in the trailer of Sykes’ distress at learning that Mapache has seized Angel. Although these legendary remnants are probably just legends, I wouldn’t be surprised if legal issues restrained the disc producers from including a lot of special material – note that that the recovered dailies avoid clear views of name actors. The only mementos Savant has of the film are some original transparencies and a 3/4″ tape (somewhere) of the Network Television re-cut of the final gundown scene, artistically censored into a dreamlike and incomprehensible blur of violence-free violence.
I’m betting there’s been a few thesis’ written on Sam Peckinpah and The WIld Bunch. How deeply do people get into this? Let’s find out:
March 17, 1995
William Holden as Pike
Ernest Borgnine as Dutch
Robert Ryan as Thornton
Directed by Sam Peckinpah
Rated R For Extensive and Graphic Violence
In an early scene of “The Wild Bunch,” the bunch rides into town past a crowd of children who are gathered with excitement around their game. They have trapped a scorpion and are watching it being tortured by ants. The eyes of Pike (William Holden), leader of the bunch, briefly meet the eyes of one of the children. Later in the film, a member of the bunch named Angel is captured by Mexican rebels and dragged around the town square behind one of the first automobiles anyone there has seen. Children run after the car, laughing. Near the end of the film, Pike is shot by a little boy who gets his hands on a gun.
The message here is not subtle, but then Sam Peckinpah was not a subtle director, preferring sweeping gestures to small points.
It is that the mantle of violence is passing from the old professionals like Pike and his bunch, who operate according to a code, into the hands of a new generation that learns to kill more impersonally, as a game, or with machines.
The movie takes place in 1913, on the eve of World War I.
“We gotta start thinking beyond our guns,” one of the bunch observes.
“Those days are closing fast.” And another, looking at the newfangled auto, says, “They’re gonna use them in the war, they say.” It is not a war that would have meaning within his intensely individual frame of reference; he knows loyalty to his bunch, and senses it is the end of his era.
This new version of “The Wild Bunch,” carefully restored to its original running time of 144 minutes, includes several scenes not widely seen since the movie had its world premiere in 1969. Most of them fill in details from the earlier life of Pike, including his guilt over betraying Thornton (Robert Ryan), who was once a member of the bunch but is now leading the posse of bounty hunters on their trail. Without these scenes, the movie seems more empty and existential, as if Pike and his men seek death after reaching the end of the trail. With them, Pike’s actions are more motivated: He feels unsure of himself and the role he plays.
I saw the original version at the world premiere in 1969, as part of a week-long boondoggle during which Warner Bros. screened five of its new films in the Bahamas for 450 critics and reporters.
It was party time, not the right venue for what became one of the most controversial films of its time – praised and condemned with equal vehemence, like “Pulp Fiction.” At a press conference the following morning, Holden and Peckinpah hid behind dark glasses and deep scowls. After a reporter from Reader’s Digest got up to attack them for making the film, I stood up in defense; I felt, then and now, that “The Wild Bunch” is one of the great defining moments of modern movies.
But no one saw the 144-minute version for many years. It was cut. Not because of violence (only quiet scenes were removed), but because it was too long to be shown three times in an evening. It was successful, but it was read as a celebration of compulsive, mindless violence; see the uncut version, and you get a better idea of what Peckinpah was driving at.
The movie is, first of all, about old and worn men. Holden and his fellow actors (Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, Edmund O’Brien, Ben Johnson and the wonderful Robert Ryan) look lined and bone-tired.
They have been making a living by crime for many years, and although Ryan is now hired by the law, it is only under threat that he will return to jail if he doesn’t capture the bunch. The men provided to him by a railroad mogul are shifty and unreliable; they don’t understand the code of the bunch.
And what is that code? It’s not very pleasant. It says that you stand by your friends and against the world, that you wrest a criminal living from the banks, the railroads and the other places where the money is, and that while you don’t shoot at civilians unnecessarily, it is best if they don’t get in the way.
The two great violent set-pieces in the movie involve a lot of civilians. One comes through a botched bank robbery at the beginning of the film, and the other comes at the end, where Pike looks at Angel’s body being dragged through the square, and says “God, I hate to see that,” and then later walks into a bordello and says, “Let’s go,” and everybody knows what he means, and they walk out and begin the suicidal showdown with the heavily armed rebels.
Lots of bystanders are killed in both sequences (one of the bunch picks a scrap from a woman’s dress off of his boot), but there is also cheap sentimentality, as when Pike gives gold to a prostitute with a child, before walking out to die.
In between the action sequences (which also include the famous scene where a bridge is bombed out from beneath mounted soldiers), there is a lot of time for the male bonding that Peckinpah celebrated in most of his films. His men shoot, screw, drink, and ride horses.
The quiet moments, with the firelight and the sad songs on the guitar and the sweet tender prostitutes, are like daydreams, with no standing in the bunch’s real world. This is not the kind of film that would likely be made today, but it represents its set of sad, empty values with real poetry.
The undercurrent of the action in “The Wild Bunch” is the sheer meaninglessness of it all. The first bank robbery nets only a bag of iron washers – “a dollar’s worth of steel holes.” The train robbery is well-planned, but the bunch cannot hold onto their takings. And at the end, after the bloodshed, when the Robert Ryan character sits for hours outside the gate of the compound, just thinking, there is the payoff: A new gang is getting together, to see what jobs might be left to do. With a wry smile he gets up to join them. There is nothing else to do, not for a man with his background.
The movie was photographed by Lucien Ballard, in dusty reds and golds and browns and shadows. The editing, by Lou Lombardo, uses slow motion to draw the violent scenes out into meditations on themselves.
Every actor was perfectly cast to play exactly what he could play; even the small roles need no explanation. Peckinpah possibly identified with the wild bunch. Like them, he was an obsolete, violent, hard-drinking misfit with his own code, and did not fit easily into the new world of automobiles, and Hollywood studios.
Seeing this restored version is like understanding the film at last. It is all there: Why Pike limps, what passed between Pike and Thornton in the old days, why Pike seems tortured by his thoughts and memories. Now, when we watch Ryan, as Thornton, sitting outside the gate and thinking, we know what he is remembering. It makes all the difference in the world.
MFW: See what I mean? Some of this goes way past most of us … including me. But it’s still interesting.
MFW: This is probably way more than enough to put in your pipe for now …
Coming up: The Wild Bunch Reviews / Part 3 … An incredible review by Glenn Erickson / DVD Savant possibly the most insightful Film Reviewer in the trade …
Though I played sports (Hockey, Football, Soccer, Baseball, Track and Field …) nearly every day for over 40 years, I am often very critical toward Professional Sport and it’s many bloated fools and their follies.
Yet … a precious few DO rise above the din and money. Such a person – such a man – was Jean Beliveau – my Hockey Hero.
Grace, Class, Humility, Elegance, Dignity, a Genteman … nearly every virtue you would want or expect or hope for in your Hero … and yourself … he carried.
A Champion in athletics – A Champion in Life.
Played in the NHL All-Star Game 13 times between 1953 and 1969
First Team All-Star 1954–55, 1955–56, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1960–61
Second Team All-Star 1957–58, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1968–69
So long Jean
Thanks for everything
Obviously outstanding Reviews – both by audience and Critics.
There is much that has been said and written about The Wild Bunch – certainly one of the most controversial movies ever made: reviled or celebrated, almost in equal kind from it’s inception. Also definitely one of the most dissected and analyzed movies ever made. And people are still doing so: What were Peckinpah’s motives? What was he trying to say? Was a good part of the movie a personal self analysis/Statement? What impact has the move had? and on and on …
There seems to be no aspect of anything that Peckinpah did in the last part of his career that escaped scrutiny and controversy.
But the studio editing 10 minutes from the original 1969 movie so that they could get three showings in the theatres – instead of 2 – is unforgivable. Yet they did it. Little wonder Peckinpah so detested the ‘money men’.
“The 1995 re-release of The Wild Bunch is 145 minutes long, identical to the 1969 European release, the version labeled “The Original Director’s Cut”, available in home video.
In 1993, Warner Bros. resubmitted the film to the MPAA ratings board prior to an expected re-release. To the studio’s surprise, the originally R-rated film was given an NC-17, delaying the release until the decision was appealed. The controversy was linked to 10 extra minutes added to the film, although none of this footage contained graphic violence. Warner Bros. trimmed some footage to decrease the running time to ensure additional daily screenings. When the restored film finally made it to the screen in March 1995, one reviewer noted:
By restoring 10 minutes to the film, the complex story now fits together in a seamless way, filling in those gaps found in the previous theatrical release, and proving that Peckinpah was firing on all cylinders for this, his grandest achievement…. And the one overwhelming feature that the director’s cut makes unforgettable are the many faces of the children, whether playing, singing, or cowering, much of the reaction to what happens on-screen is through the eyes, both innocent and imitative, of all the children.
Today, almost all of the versions of the film include the missing scenes. Warner Bros. released a newly restored version in a two-disc special edition on January 10, 2006. It includes an audio commentary by Peckinpah scholars, two documentaries concerning the making of the film, and never-before-seen outtakes.
There have been several versions of the film:
We need only know that since Sam Peckinpah (and Walon Green) did the writing/screenplay for The Wild Bunch that there is nothing in the Director’s Cut that Pekinpah didn’t want in there and everything that is in there is what he wanted to say …
Glendale Train / New Riders of the Purple Sage
“I think the public has learned that, as least somebody has learned that in the passing years that Bloody Sam was merely a change over dishonesty to at least looking at the fact that people do bleed and are hurt. But I am not responsible for the chainsaw – whatever it’s name is – and the other trash that has been put forth. I deal in violence as a term – a very sad term – a very sad poetry.” Sam Peckinpah, BBC Interview, 1976.
“… killing a man isn’t clean and quick and simple. It’s bloody and awful. And maybe if enough people come to realize that shooting somebody isn’t just fun and games, maybe we’ll get somewhere.” Sam Peckinpah
It amazes me that a lot of people still don’t get that Sam Peckinpah’s wasn’t trying to exploit violence / human bloodlust, he was trying to expose it’s revolting reality. I believe Peckinpah’s many years of Directing TV Westerns (Gunsmoke, Have Gun – Will Travel, The Rifleman, Broken Arrow, Klondike, Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater, Trackdown, The Rifleman, The Westerner …) and the superficial way they portrayed violence and Sugar coated killing was a driving force behind his desire to expose violence for what it really is: a traumatic, horrifying event with emotional or moral impact.
Peckinpah’s later sadly realized that many people were not revolted by the blood and violence in his movies. They loved it. And still do.
Further, his movies might well have contributed to obvious ‘desensitization’ toward bloodshed in films.
All this, ironically proved one of his Sam’s pet themes: mankind’s inability to resolve conflicts peacefully.
“There is a great streak of violence in every human being. If it is not channeled and understood, it will break out in war or in madness.” – Sam Peckinpah
Yes, people do love this stuff. Look at any movie Bill: at least half the movies are Action Movies – most with sizable servings of killing and bloodshed.
The question then is: Why do we love this stuff?
“Today we have ‘Action Films’ – not films with ‘Action’. Sam was probably accused of too much violence. He was a man of non-violence. He wanted to show violence the way it was in order to achieve non-violence. To make it so repulsive that nobody wanted to see it. Today they glamorize violence. Unfortunately.”
– James Coburn
Sam Peckinpah’s Western trail: Some bloody good Westerns: Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) / The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) / The Wild Bunch (1969) / Major Dundee (1965) / The Glory Guys (1965) / Ride the High Country (1962) / The Deadly Companions (1962).
Then … all hell broke loose …
Canadians are justly proud of our Armed Forces – their Heroism, Valour, Honour and Service – in the 2 World Wars – and elsewhere on this planet over many decades.
Today I honour Cpl. Nathan Cirillo – a Canadian Reservist soldier – who was slain by lone gunman while standing guard on Parliament Hill in the Canadian Capital of Ottawa at the War Memorial.
I also honour House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers who slew the demented assailant who cowardly murdered Cpl. Cirillo.
Appalling Canadian Security
After 9/11 – and everything that has come after it, I am appalled – APPALLED !!!! – that anyone could get within a thousand yards of our esteemed government buildings on Parliament Hill with even a pen knife.
I watched in amazement as a TV analyst spoke about upgrading security at “The Hill”.
WHAT SECURITY ??????
Anybody – you, I, or anyone – could have loaded ourselves up with bombs and guns and entered that building and blown the whole place up.
When a guy can just drive up with a gun – shoot a guard – then enter the Parliament Buildings … That means there is NO SECURITY. Never was.
THEN many armed soldiers, Tac Team, Army personnel, Police officers, and Security are running around the grounds for hours – after the fact – to see if there was anyone else involved. NO CAMERAS – NO SURVEILLANCE – of any kind – that would have easily and instantly shown them if there was anyone else.
That’s Canadian Security.
We STILL don’t get it.
Big Iron / Cash
Richard Farnsworth, Slim PIckens, and Ben Johnson were not only a ‘Small Fraternity’ of Stuntmen who because famous Film Actors – they were the last of a dying breed of Real Cowboys who were also Movie Stars.
I wouldn’t say there aren’t any Real Cowboys around today. Probably plenty? But those that become Movie Stars / Famous Actors … ??? That surely seems to be of another era.
I wasn’t born till ’48, so most of the early Western Movie Stars had already rode off into the sunset – or were resting at Boot Hill.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t get to see a lot of ‘em. Cuz they were galloping back and forth across my B&W TV screen almost non-stop every Saturday morning (down in Homewood, Illinois). I remember that ‘chase scenes’ were particularly popular in those Westerns - with goodguys chasing badguys – or Indians chasing Goodguys – or Cowboys or chasing Indians – or anybody chasing somebody – really fast (I think a lot of those scenes were speeded up). Most of those movies were made in the 30’s and 40’s by studios like RKO and Republic – who churned out dozens of them. A lot of ‘em seemed to follow the same plot and were ‘one shot – that’s a take’. I recall watching one movie where I could see a truck driving across the background. No matter – the shot went into the can anyway.
Yet midst all this dust (and foolishness) true artists like John Ford, (Stagecoach (1939), My Darling Clementine (1946 )) and Howard Hawkes, Sergeant York (1941) and Red River (1948) who were already creating Iconic work.
Even further yonder however… before all this – Authentic Cowboys and Western Heroes like Buffalo Bill and Cowgals like Annie Oakley had blazed the trail, setting (and riding) the Stage for the next generation of Heroes to come.
Buffalo Bill is interesting because he was a self-starter – while most of the early Western Western Movie Stars were recruited by studios. Being a Real Cowboy was a definite hiring criteria for a lot (though not all) early Western Stardom.
That said, I had I sorta intended to spit on any Western Movie Stars that wuzn’t REAL cowboys, But hell, how can you spit on William S. Hart!!!?? You just cain’t! A hell of a man with a genuine love for all things Western.
Some images borrowed from Western Movies New Frontier Saloon http://forum.westernmovies.fr/viewtopic.php?t=9508
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, William S. Hart has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1975, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
William Surrey Hart (December 6, 1864 – June 23, 1946)
was an American silent film actor, screenwriter, director and producer.
He is remembered for having “imbued all of his characters with honor and integrity.” – Wikipedia
He began his acting career on stage in his 20s, and in film when he was 49, which coincided with the beginning of film’s transition from curiosity to commercial art form … He had some success as a Shakespearean actor on Broadway … he appeared in the original 1899 stage production of Ben-Hur.
Hart went on to become one of the first great stars of the motion picture Western. Fascinated by the Old West, he acquired Billy the Kid’s “six shooters” and was a friend of legendary lawmen Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson … Hart was particularly interested in making realistic western films. His films are noted for their authentic costumes and props, as well as Hart’s extraordinary acting ability, honed on Shakespearean theater stages in the United States and England.
By the early 1920s, however, Hart’s brand of gritty, rugged westerns with drab costumes and moralistic themes gradually fell out of fashion. The public became attracted by a new kind of movie cowboy, epitomized by Tom Mix, who wore flashier costumes and was faster with the action. Paramount dropped Hart, who then made one last bid for his kind of western. He produced Tumbleweeds (1925) with his own money, arranging to release it independently through United Artists. The film turned out well, with an epic land-rush sequence, but did only fair business at the box office. Hart was angered by United Artists’ failure to promote his film properly and sued United Artists. The legal proceedings dragged on for years, and the courts finally ruled in Hart’s favor, in 1940.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, William S. Hart has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6363 Hollywood Blvd. In 1975, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
As part of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, California, Hart’s former home and 260-acre (1.1 km²) ranch in Newhall is now William S. Hart Park. The William S. Hart High School District as well as William S. Hart Senior High School, both located in the Santa Clarita Valley in the northern part of Los Angeles County, were named in his honor. A Santa Clarita baseball field complex is named in his honor.
On November 10, 1962, Hart was honored posthumously in an episode of the short-lived The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show, a western variety program on ABC.