William S. Hart

18 Oct

WILLIAM S HART 1
WILLIAM S HART 2

Tell ‘em William was here.

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

Billy's gun bar

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.

Billy's gun bar

The Salvation … Review

13 Oct

The Salvation – My Favorite Westerns Review:

Danish anyone?
A pretty good Western. And they don’t many these days.
Most Western fans should like this.


The Salvation 1

The Salvation 2

The Salvation 7

The Salvation 8

The Salvation 9

The Salvation 3

The Salvation 4

The Salvation 5

The Salvation 10

The Salvation 11

The Salvation 12

The Salvation 13

The Salvation 14

The Salvation 15

Film Locations:
Johannesburg, South Africa
and
Cullinan, Gauteng, South Africa

Stuntman’s Lament …

13 Oct

 

Stuntman's Lament 3

A Small Fraternity … Part 3 Richard Farnsworth

7 Oct

One of these days / Neil Young

Stunts to Stars /  A Small Fraternity: 

Richard Farnsworth

Richard W. Farnsworth (September 1, 1920 – October 6, 2000) was an American actor and stuntman. His film career began in 1937; however, he achieved his greatest success for his performances in The Grey Fox (1982) and The Straight Story (1999), for which he received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Richard Farnsworth 1

Sadly, there are few or no available images of a young Richard Farnsworth

Richard Farnsworth 2

Richard Farnsworth 3

Richard Farnsworth 6

Richard Farnsworth 4

Tom Horn with Steve Mcqueen and Slim Pickens / 1980

Richard Farnsworth 5

The Grey Fox / 1982

Richard Farnsworth 7

Farnsworth and Robert Redford

Richard Farnsworth 8

The Straight Story

Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival: Best Actor
Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated – Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor (2nd place)
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated – Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor (2nd place)


Coming Up:
A Small Fraternity / Part 4

Cowboys to Stars

Tom Mix
 

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.

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