A Small Fraternity … Part 2 Ben Johnson

6 Oct

Roy Rogers & Sons Of The Pioneers – Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Stunts to Stars /  A Small Fraternity: 

Ben Johnson

Wikipedia: “Ben “Son” Johnson, Jr. (June 13, 1918 – April 8, 1996) was an American stuntman, world champion rodeo cowboy and actor. The son of a rancher, Johnson arrived in Hollywood to deliver a consignment of horses for a film. He did stunt double work for several years before breaking into acting through the good offices of John Ford. Tall and laconic, Johnson brought further authenticity to many roles in Westerns with his extraordinary horsemanship. An elegiac portrayal of a former cowboy theatre owner in the 50’s coming of age drama, The Last Picture Show, won Johnson the 1971 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He operated a horse breeding farm throughout his career. Although he said he had succeeded by sticking to what he knew, shrewd real estate investments made Johnson worth an estimated 100 million dollars by his latter years.

Johnson was born in Foraker, Oklahoma, on the Osage Indian Reservation, of Irish and Cherokee ancestry, the son of Ollie Susan (née Workmon) and Ben Johnson, Sr. His father was a rancher and rodeo champion in Osage County. Throughout his life Johnson was drawn to the rodeos and horse breeding of his early years. In 1953 he took a break from well paid film work to compete in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, becoming Team Roping World Champion although he only broke even financially that year. Johnson was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1973.

Johnson’s 1941 marriage to Carol Elaine Jones lasted until her death on March 27, 1994, they had no children. Jones was the daughter of noted Hollywood horse wrangler Clarence “Fat” Jones.

“I grew up on a ranch and I know livestock, so I like working in Westerns. All my life I’ve been afraid of failure. To avoid it, I’ve stuck with doing things I know how to do, and it’s made me a good living.”

You done good Ben.

Ben Johnson 1

Ben Johnson 2

Ben Johnson 3

Young Ben

Ben Johnson 4

Later

Ben Johnson 5

… gentleman Ben

Ben Johnson 6

A drink with Brando / “One Eyed Jacks” 1961

Ben Johnson 7

“One Eyed Jacks” 1961

Ben Johnson 9

Ben Johnson 10

“The Sacketts” Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Glenn Ford. 1979

Ben Johnson 16

Ben Johnson 13

“The Wild Bunch” 1969 / Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

Ben Johnson 12

“The Wild Bunch” Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson 14

Not photogenic at all …

Ben Johnson 15

15 movies with ‘The Duke’ including “The Train Robbers” 1973

Ben Johnson 17

Ben Johnson / Inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1973

Ben Johnson 18

A Small Fraternity … Part 1 Slim Pickens

5 Oct

Stunts to Stars

Men like Richard Farnsworth, Slim Pickens and Ben Johnson were all legitimate cowboys and horsemen who got lassoed into Stunt work. Then via fluke, luck or Gift of God – plus some undeniable Charisma – became well known Actors/Stars.

Who knew?

Not them.

Surely none of ‘em would have thought less of themselves – or their lives – if they had stayed in the esteemed profession of Cowboy/Horsemen/Stunt work.

This being said, the fraternity of Stunt Artists has always somewhat of a shadow industry/profession in film making. We know these Stunt guys (and gals) are there – (Stunt Artists work in nearly every film and and in many TV shows) – but Movie Makers shine as little light on these necessary Artists as possible. Why? Because they don’t want to spoil the grand illusion that it really isn’t Robert Redford and Paul Newman jumping off that cliff – or John Wayne smashing through that bar room window – not to mention the thousand of other perilous acrobatics we witness in nearly every movie – and have been for a long, long time.

Yet the respect accorded Stunt Artists is also evident – as when Stars perform their own stunts – it is always well publicized as a daring (if not foolhardy) feat – discouraged by those who fund the films.

A Small Fraternity: 

Slim Pickens

Wikipedia: “Born, Louis Burton Lindley, Jr. (June 29, 1919 – December 8, 1983), known by the stage name Slim Pickens, was an American rodeo performer and film and television actor who epitomized the profane, tough, sardonic cowboy, but who is (possibly) best remembered for his comic roles, notably in Dr. Strangelove and Blazing Saddles.

Pickens … was an excellent rider from age 4. After graduating from High School he joined the rodeo. He was told that working in the rodeo would be “slim pickings” (very little money), giving him his name, but he did well and eventually became a well-known rodeo clown.

After twenty years on the rodeo circuit, his distinctive Oklahoma-Texas drawl (even though he was a lifelong Californian), his wide eyes and moon face and strong physical presence gained him a role in the western film, Rocky Mountain (1950) starring Errol Flynn. He appeared in many more Westerns, playing both villains and comic sidekicks to the likes of Rex Allen, John Wayne, Steve McQueen, … many many other Stars.”

The rest is history … Hollywood style.

Slim Pickens

Slim Pickens 2

Young Pickens … slim and trim.

Slim Pickens 4

 … and faster than he looks

Slim Pickens 5

Pickens and Allen … Rex

Slim Pickens 6

Slim Pickens in “The Glory Guys’ 1965

Slim Pickens 7

???

Slim Pickens 8Slim Pickens 9

Slim Pickens 10

‘One Eyed Jacks’ / Katy Jurado, Marlon Brando, Pickens, Pina Pellicer, and Karl Malden 1961

Slim Pickens 11

Slim ‘takes one’ for Sam (Pekinpah) in ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’ 1973

Slim Pickens 12

A lecture for the Duke ‘The Cowboys’ 1972

Slim Pickens 13

Camp side in ‘The Sacketts’ 1979

Slim Pickens 15

‘Major Dundee’ 1965

Slim Pickens 14

A chat with Clint


Stunt Tips from My Favorite Westerns

Cannon Stunts

Tip 14: Never stand in front of the cannon

CCR revisited and Yellow River

27 Sep

1970

1971


“… shining down like water … “

jcalberta

Where we come from.

Farnsworth Awards …

23 Sep

Richard Farnsworth favorite Song: Skyball Paint
Performed by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers

The Straight Story Award

“No I didn’t audition, I didn’t even know David Lynch till the week before I started the film.”

Comes a Horseman Awards

“I worked with Cecil B. DeMille quite a few times.”

The Grey Fox Award

“I worked for John Ford, Howard Hawks, Henry Hathaway, Raoul Walsh – I worked for some real good directors.”

Gemini Award Richard Farnsworth

“I worked for Sam Peckinpah on quite a bit of action in his films, and he got excited once in a while.”

Bronze Wrangler

“I was a stunt man for 35 years.”

Richard Farnsworth Golden Boot

Richard Farnsworth Winchester Rifle

Richard Farnsworth Belt Buckle

Richard Farnsworth 14

See ya Rich. 

Richard Farnsworth Filmography …

20 Sep

Richard Farnsworth Movies

Richard Farnsworth in Tom Horn (1980)

Richard Farnsworth in Tom Horn (1980)

‘Still waters run deep’ they say.

Richard Farnsworth has proven to be well with no bottom.

Incredibly, though Richard Farnsworth film history was somewhat overwhelming, much/most information about his first 37 years in the film industry as Stuntman/Stunt rider/Extra is almost unknown and “uncredited”.

Another amazing feature of Farnsworth’s work is the number of Film Classics he worked in, including Gone with the Wind, Spartacus, The Ten CommandmentsPapillon … and several Classsic/Popular Westerns: Red River. Arrowhead, The Outlaw Jose WalesMonte Walsh. The Cowboys … others.

When I normally do a Filmography on somebody, it’s usually just cover their Westerns. But Farnsworth appeared in so many other notable movies that I felt compelled to post his other work as well – despite scant information.

Another interesting truth arises: many Support Actors / Extras / Stuntmen often participate or appear in more Films that most Movie Stars themselves. They don’t get the Top Bill – or money – but there they are.

Note: these images below are only PART of Farnsworth Film and TV history. I was unable to find several images or posters.

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 1

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 2

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 3

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 4

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 5

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 6

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 7

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 8

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 9

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 10

1937

Richard Farnsworth 12

Rose …

14 Sep

Happy Birthday Rose 2014

Rose's Birthday 2014

A Magnificent 7 remake ____ here we go again …

13 Sep

The Magnificent Seven: Denzel and Fuqua to Remake Classic

By Point of Geekson September 10th, 2014 at 4:31pm

One of the greatest westerns ever made, The Magnificent Seven, will be remade for the big-screen. The western which featured many of the biggest stars of its time, was actually a remake itself of Akira Kurosawa’s epic, Seven Samurai. An important point to make before there are cries from film purists claiming it is blasphemy to remake this classic. The project has gone through many hands in the past few years as multiple producers and stars have looked to repackage the film for the current generation. Most recently there was a version to star Tom Cruise, according to ScreenRant, other veteran actors such as Morgan Freeman and Kevin Costner were sought after to make up the posse.

 

The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Magnificent Seven (1960)

The project is now in the hands another director and actor team, who have found a high level of comfortability and teamwork. Director Antoine Fuqua and Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington, first forged their partnership on the film Training Day, where Washington won his second Oscar. After their second pairing in this month’s upcoming thriller, The Equalizer, they are more energized than ever to keep their professional partnership going. After confirming that the duo are indeed remaking The Magnificent Seven ….

…. It will be interesting to see how the remake is handled. With Washington assumably taking over the role previously held by Yul Brynner, it will be fascinating to see how race is handled in the film. It would be hard to not acknowledge how the additional hardship of being black in the wild west America would affect the character(s).

Even of more interest is whom Fuqua and Washington (who seems to be in a producing capacity as well judging by Fuqua’s comments) choose as the other six members of the legendary posse. The search for backup is a huge part of the original film and finding six other actors that won’t be overshadowed by Washington may not be a simple task. Not to mention Westerns certainly are not the dominant film genre any longer. It will take a quite a dynamic cast to drum up a buzz, since the original came out over fifty years ago. It should be a delight watching this project come together.

Top 10 Movie Ensemble Casts: The Magnificent Seven

MFW comment:

Am I against a remake of M7? No.
Would I say M7 fans wouldn’t like to see one? Of course they would.
I would also say that it’s a daunting task – especially the casting – as is mentioned.
Over the years we have already seen several attempts to remake M7 – even a TV show.
None of them fared too well – compared to the original.
The problem is simple: On any such remake of a Classic Film there are going to be inevitable comparisons – as what happened with Johnny Depp’s The Lone Ranger.
So it’s a tough deal.
And the only thing that saves some remakes (to any degree) is that there is a whole new audience that holds no allegiance or knowledge of the Original. They don’t care – and don’t know – about the incredible Star Power and charisma of Yul Brynner – not to mention the other members of the cast – most of whom went on to long an illustrious success in filmdom.
Yes ..we all hope that somehow Washington and Director Antoine Fuqua can come up with something that rekindles the inspired work of John Sturges original movie …
But we are ready to be disappointed as well.

M7 boothill

[Chris (Yul Brynner) is driving the hearse up to Boot Hill; Vin (Steve McQueen) is riding shotgun]

Chris: We’ll get there.

Vin: It’s not getting up there that bothers me. It’s staying up there that I mind.

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