A visit to Blue Rocks …

19 Oct

Part of our adventures in Nova Scotia was a visit to the small fishing Hamlet of

Blue Rocks.

blue-rocks-sign blue-rocks-sign-2 blue-rocks-lighthouse blue-rocks-lighthouse-sign-2 blue-rocks-lighthouse-signblue-rocks-fishing-hamlet blue-rocks-fishing-hamlet-2blue-rocks-fishing-hamlet-3blue-rocks-fishing-hamlet-4blue-rocks-fishing-hamlet-7blue-rocks-fishing-hamlet-5blue-rocks-fishing-hamlet-6bluenose bar
Goin’ fishin’ – back in 4 days.

Magnificent Sevens … myth, math and aftermath … Part 3

17 Oct

seven-samurai-10Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954) was the inspiration for M7 1960.

Often regarded as one of the greatest films of all time
– and the first “Action Film”
“It has remained highly influential, often seen as one of the most “remade, reworked, referenced” films in cinema. (Wikipedia)

seven-samurai-2 seven-samurai-3 seven-samurai-4seven-samurai-5 seven-samurai-6 seven-samurai-7 seven-samurai-8

Awards and nominations

Venice Film Festival (1954)
  • Winner – Silver Lion – Akira Kurosawa
  • Nominated – Golden Lion – Akira Kurosawa
Mainichi Film Award (1955)
  • Winner – Best Supporting Actor – Seiji Miyaguchi
British Academy Film Awards (1956)
  • Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film
  • Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor – Toshiro Mifune
  • Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor – Takashi Shimura
Academy Awards (1957)
  • Nominated – Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White – So Matsuyama
  • Nominated – Best Costume Design, Black-and-White – Kôhei Ezaki
Jussi Awards (1959)
  • Winner – Best Foreign Director – Akira Kurosawa
  • Winner – Best Foreign Actor – Takashi Shimura

Showdown … on memory lane

14 Oct

Dylan / If not for You












Magnificent Sevens … myth, math and aftermath … Part 2

12 Oct

House of the Rising Sun / Heavy Young Heathens

The CWF Charismometer: Test One Continued: 
Measuring Star Power / Charisma / Casting

Fuqua’s Folly? /  Formulathe-magnificent-7-2016-washington-fuqua

“So far, so good.”
– Vin

In a lot of ways a re-make of M7 1960 was a no win scenario. Except of one way: Money. In this, Fuqua knew his formula of Denzel Washington and Action Film couldn’t miss. Though he knew his movie couldn’t match the Original Western as a Western Classic, it was bullet proof as a money maker. Just as Director Sydney Pollack knew that Robert Redford’s Star Power guaranteed Box Office success in the 7 movies he Directed Redford (including Western Classic Jeremiah Johnson – over $50 Million profit), the Box Office take for the previous 2 Washington/Fuqua Action movies: Training Day (2001) ($57 million), and The Equalizer (2014) ($137 million) guaranteed that M7 2016 would be a success. The current Box Office for M7 2016 shows a profit of $46 million – and climbing. Combining all 3 Fuqua/Washington movies, we get about $240 Million profit. So far. Pretty good business. M7 2016 isn’t a Western Classic, but it’s sure going to pay the bills.

Amazingly Wikipedia claims the original Magnificent Seven (1960) was not initially well received in the US – but did well overseas. And despite unclear statistics on it’s overall Box Office, it’s a safe bet that it made it’s money back many times over – and it’s still selling well today on DVD and Blue Ray.



“Once You’ve Met Them …You’ll Never Forget Them”
– A tagline from the original M7 1960


Most any Western Movie fan can name at least 6 of this guys.

Large ensemble Casts in a movie are a problem. Writers and Directors know how important Character Development is. Because if we don’t connect with the people in the movie, what exactly are you doing? And the larger the Cast, the harder this is. With M7 (1960) however, most of  the Actors had been around for quite a while – they weren’t unknown. They just weren’t Stars yet. We knew Brynner very well; McQueen was known from the TV series Wanted Dead of Alive; Bronson had been kicking around in support roles for years; Coburn had been in several Westerns already; Vaughn had done a ton of TV work; Dexter had also done a lot of TV work – and several movies; even Buchholz had been in about 17 movies by 1960; Eli Wallach had also done extensive TV and movie work.
The point is, we had seen them before. And it’s a lot easier to do movies with ensemble casts if the audience has some familiarity with the Actors.
Frankly, in that sense, the  Casting M7 1960 was brilliant.

Can you name these guys?
the-magnificent-7-2016-the-sevenJustice might have a number, but might lack a name.

If you get 4 of those guys, I’ll send you a Tootsie Roll and a box of popcorn.

In M7 2016 we have less familiarity with the Cast. We would definitely know Washington, and likely Pratt, Hawke, and D’Onofrio though D’Onofrio is so heavily made up, I doubt most people recognized him.
Most everybody else in the movie we are unlikely to know.
This puts M7 2016 at a definite disadvantage as far as the audience (us) is able connect with the Characters – and care about them – not a good thing for a movie.



Back when Tom Cruise started this whole M7 re-make debate,
I proposed my own Cast:
Tom Cruise, Viggo Mortensen, Guy Pearce, Willem Dafoe, Benedict Cumberbach, Brenden Fraser, Aaron Paul, Antonio Banderas.
This would have been a hell of a Cast …
but it also would have broke the bank.

my-magnificent-seven-my-castAnd I still hadn’t figured out who would Direct that thing.




Magnificent Sevens … myth, math and aftermath … Part 3

Magnificent Sevens … myth, math and aftermath … Part 1

10 Oct

I finally went and saw The Magnificent Seven (2016) the other night.
I had initially said that I wouldn’t judge this movie by the original,
but it raises so many issues surrounding modern Film Making – and Westerns
that I couldn’t resist.

the-magnificent-7-2016“Justice has a number”
M7 (2016) tagline

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mgm-lioncolumbia-logo“Remakes? You probably shouldn’t go there.”
– My Favorite Westerns

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The CWF Film Critique System

Being a Film Critic of no renown, I have deferred my critiquing chores to my unfamous and trusted colleague Cecil W. (Wannabe) FordWannabe is not a respected Film Critic, but to make up for that by his high HO (Highly Opinionated) Rating – especially of himself. This, combined with his unique CWF Critique System (whereby each movie is subjected to Wannabe’s stringent CWF testing criteria) he arrives at a judgment. Maybe.

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Let us proceed.

The Magnificent Seven (2016) Review

by Cecil W(annabe). Ford


 I like to think that NOTHING is impossible.
But my expectations were not high.
Why? Because a Remake of the Magnificent Seven IS pretty well impossible.
Denzel Washington says right there himself at the start of the movie:

Denzel Washington
(Sam Chisolm):
“Took a job – looking for a some men to join us.”
Chris Pratt (Josh Farraday):
“Is it difficult?”
Denzel Washington:

This is not mere dialogue (quoted from the first movie): It’s Film director and Producer Antoine Fuqua’s open admission that there is no way he could make a movie that will equal the Original Magnificent Seven (1960).
No way.
You have to give him credit for admitting that. He knew it. And there are definite reasons for that knowledge – things that were beyond his control. I’ll get to those …


The real question is: Why? Why make the movie? Why make movie that you know is going to be compared to the incomparable? If you know something is impossible, then Why attempt it?


Antoine Fuqua’s last 9 movies have all made money – including M7 2016.
In Film Making that makes him a SuperStar.

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Time for Wannabe’s Test # One:

Test One: The CWF Charismometer
Measuring Star Power / Charisma / Casting

My first Test will employ the trusty CWF Charismometer. This will infallibly measure, Star Power, Charisma, and Casting – vital components in any movie – and the main factors that Fuqua, his Writers, and the Producers … or anybody – could not match from the Original Magnificent Seven.

We’ll start with Yul Brunner and Denzel Washington.

Charismometer says:


Denzel is a Star. No doubt about it. And a good Actor.
And if he wasn’t in M7 2016, it wouldn’t hardly be worth a sniff.
But compared to Yul Brynner?
Well, it’s a good thing I tested Denzel first, because Yul blew my Charismometer  to smithereens.


This is the first reason  – and likely most important reason – M7 2016 couldn’t match the original.

I will next test the rest …

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Those Thrilling Stars of Yesteryear

Is it just me? or is the Star Power in modern Film not equal to the Star Power of yesteryear – 50’s and 60’s. 70’s???
John Wayne, Cary Grant, Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, Clark Gable, Bogart, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, Fonda, Brando 
I could go on and on and on. And then start on the ladies.
Yes. we certainly have Stars and some very good actors these days … but …

Part 2 … Coming Soon


Winter’s Warning …

10 Oct

I’m coming … Get ready. winter-warning-2016I’m sure this will melt and we’ll get a
little more Fall yet …

winter-warning-2016-2 *Cough*

Might be time to put some things away …

John Wayne Filmography cont. Born to the West / Hell Town / Part 1

8 Oct

There’s-a-long-long-trail / robert-mandell-with-the-romantic-strings-voices

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Born to the West (1937) / Hell Town (1954)

It took six murdering rustlers and a girl to make a reckless rover settle down to love!

  • Born to the West (1937) movie went to Public Domain due to a studio screw up which resulted in several versions of the movie of various edits and quality. Re-titled and re-edited, it was re-released on 1954 as “Hell Town“.
  • On its first reissue, the company added random stock footage of cattle drives, chases, and stampedes to bring the running time to over an hour.
  • Due to a studio clerical error, Alan Ladd was credited for an appearance in Hell Town. He does not, in fact, appear in it. By the time it was re-released, Ladd had become a prominent and popular player, so his name was prominently displayed, often receiving equal billing right along with John Wayne, not only on all the re-titled advertising material, but also in most television program schedules once telecasts began. Amazing.
    MFW: Incredibly, there is still media on the Internet claiming that Alan Ladd is in this film.

Born to the West (1937)

born-to-the-west-poster-1 born-to-the-west-poster-2 born-to-the-west-poster-3 born-to-the-west-poster-4

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Wayne, Marsha Hunt, Johnny Mack Brown

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John Wayne Filmography cont. Born to the West / Hell Town / Part 2

The Magnificent Seven (2016) Box Office …

3 Oct

I haven’t seen The Magnificent Seven yet, but in light of the depressed Box Office of many films over the summer, I was curious how it was doing:

Image result for poster for the magnificent seven 2016

From IMDB (Internet Movie Database)
Box office / business for
The Magnificent Seven (2016)

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend
$34,703,397 (USA) (25 September 2016) (3,674 Screens)
€628,540 (Italy) (25 September 2016) (380 Screens)

$34,703,397 (USA) (25 September 2016)

Weekend Gross
$34,703,397 (USA) (25 September 2016) (3,674 Screens)

Filming (Wikipedia)
Principal photography on the film lasted 64 days, from March 18 to August 18, 2015, in the north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Other locations include St. Francisville; Zachary, Louisiana; and New Mexico.

The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2016, and served as the closing-night film at the Venice Film Festival on September 9. The film was initially set to be released on January 13, 2017;  however, Sony Pictures Entertainment moved the release date to September 23, 2016.

As of October 2, 2016, The Magnificent Seven has grossed $61.6 million in North America and $46.5 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $108.1 million, against a production budget of $90 million. The film had a global 2D IMAX opening of $4.3 million from 606 theaters.
Internationally, the film is projected to make around $100 million.

Good. This Western has made some decent loot so far.  I hope this will inject interest in Film Makers to make more Westerns – and for more Big Name Stars to get involved.

Here’s hoping …



Certificates for Pacific Paratrooper

1 Oct

GP Cox over at:

Pacific Paratrooper – This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

posted this certificate on his site recently:

Smitty ~ Letter V

I thought I would attempt to restore them somewhat.
I don’t have the skills, training, or programs to do a perfect job, but still hope they may prove of some value.

marines-certificate-2 marines-certificate-1

It was a challenging project. I could not read all the text and was unable to duplicate the signatures.

Rango Revisited …

30 Sep

rango-bannerrango-appears rango-enters-the-barrango-bar




rango-barrango-showdown rango-sunset

Canada – World Hockey Champs 2016

29 Sep


Ya Baby !!!

In a Valley of Violence … 2016

27 Sep

closer every day / doobie brothers

In a Valley of Violence

“Keep your finger on the trigger.”

Are Westerns making a comeback? Is Boothill about to be repopulated?
Recent trends – The Revenant, The Magnificent Seven (2016) – and now In a Valley of Violence receiving some good reviews – seem to say so.
Plus some top line actors – Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington,
Ethan Hawke … taking part.
We can hope there will be an upswing in interest and involvement. in-the-valley-of-violence-pistol-barin-the-valley-of-violence-poster-1in-the-valley-of-violence-poster-2in-the-valley-of-violence-pistol-bar



94%“?, “95%” Really!? REALLY?? What is this? Ben Hur?


Anyway … yeah. It’s probably OK.



The Bill

Billing will always remain an eternal mystery to me. John Travolta, the major villain in the movie, and judging from the Trailer and the Second Poster, obviously has a large and important role – he is a major draw for the film. So you’d expect him to be Billed almost equal to Ethan Hawke. YET, he’s Billed 5th!!! on the Screen Credits above and on one of the 2 posters – behind Taissa Farmiga (whom I could not even find a decent image of), James Ransone (who?), and Karen Gillan (hardly and household name). Has Travolta become box office poison or something? I wouldn’t say so … *shrug*.

Oh, I notice on the second poster they’ve bumped John up. Good.










Ethan Hawke‘s other recent Western:


Hugh O’Brian ____________ Not your average Cowboy Pt 3 The Shootist

22 Sep

the outlaw way / railbenders


I hadn’t intended to do a post on The Shootist until I reached it via my series on John Wayne’s Filmography. But Hugh O’Brian’s passing and his role in the important Western Classic moved it up the ladder. I won’t do a full posting on it here, but there’s some interesting things about this movie and O’Brian’s involvement.

the-shootist-poster-1 the-shootist-poster-2 the-shootist-poster-3

I have to confess I’m puzzled why all these posters are different in coloration?




the-shootist-john-wayne-1the-shootist-don-siegelthe-shootist-lauren-bacall the-shootist-james-stewart the-shootist-john-carridinethe-shootist-scatman-crothers the-shootist-richard-boone the-shootist-hugh-obrianthe-shootist-ron-howard the-shootist-harry-morgan the-shootist-sheree-north the-shootist-bill-mckinneythe-shootist-richard-lenz


“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
– origin unknown – Often attributed to Mark Twain

Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) says this:

“Contrary to popular belief, John Wayne did not have cancer when he made this film. His entire left lung and several ribs had been removed in surgery on 17 September 1964, and in 1969 he was declared cancer-free. It was not until 12 January 1979, almost three years after this movie had been filmed, that the disease was found to have returned. According to a 2014 biography “John Wayne: the Life and Legend” by Scott Eyman, Wayne had been found to have stomach cancer in 1975 but it had gone into remission before filming began on this movie.”

MFW: The contention here, of course, is that John didn’t know this was his last film/Western. I’m no detective, but I do know that almost the entire cast of The Shootist – including Director Don Siegel – were handpicked and invited by Wayne to be in this movie. Does that sound like somebody that doesn’t know this is the end of line?

the-shootist-hugh-obrian-2 Hugh O’Brian’s role in The Shootist is interesting. He seems to get a bit of preferential treatment. His role basically reprizes his previous portrayal of Wyatt Earp from his popular TV series “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp” (1955–1961). Also, in The Shootist, Hugh’s character is a Faro dealer in the saloon. This was Earp’s real life side occupation when he was a Marshall in Tombstone.


Hugh also wears the gentleman’s garb of vest and tie vest – almost identical to O’Brian’s portrayal of Earp in his popular TV series.

the-shootist-hugh-obrian-3 the-shootist-hugh-obrian-4

Next, when John goes to the bar at the start of the final shootout scene, he pours himself a drink – and salutes only one of the three patrons in the bar: Hugh O’Brian. Ignoring Richard Boone and Bill McKinney. I’d say that’s a hell of a compliment – from the Dean of Western Heroes.


Hugh salutes back. ‘See ya John’.

the-shootist-obrians-saluteWhen the final shootout takes place, Hugh – a true gentleman – doesn’t enter the fray until Boone and McKinney are dispatched.



Epic stuff … all the way around.

buntline-barSo long Hugh.


Peggy’s Cove … 2

21 Sep

Farewell to Nova Scotia / Catherine McKinnon

bluenose bar

If you Google Peggy’s Cove you’ll be met with about 100 pictures of the famous lighthouse and it’s many moods.

peggys-cove-lighthouse-1 peggys-cove-lighthouse-2 peggys-cove-lighthouse-3 peggys-cove-lighthouse-4 peggys-cove-lighthouse-5

The sea was not high so there was no danger the day we were there.

peggys-cove-lighthouse-6 peggys-cove-lighthouse-7 peggys-cove-lighthouse-8

bluenose barpeggys-cove-lighthouse-9bluenose barThen … the fog broke and sun emerged …peggys-cove-lighthouse-10

peggys-cove-lighthouse-11 peggys-cove-lighthouse-12 peggys-cove-lighthouse-13 peggys-cove-lighthouse-14 peggys-cove-lighthouse-15 peggys-cove-lighthouse-16 peggys-cove-lighthouse-17

Time for a tasty fish burger …

Nova Scotia / Peggy’s Cove …

19 Sep

the last time i saw her / gordon lightfoot

Upon request, I am Posting some more pics of our recent holiday in Nova Scotia trip …


I had no plans to go to Peggy’s Cove. I was completely focused on my upcoming sail on the Bluenose Schooner. Anything else that happened was just a bonus. But we had a few days on hand … and it was close by.

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy’s Cove was once a quiet little fishing village. Then somebody did a painting …

Probably this guy:


William E. deGarthe, Artist and resident of Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

William E. deGarthe was pretty good:






fishermans-monument-plaque-peggys-cove fishermans-monument-plaque-2-peggys-cove


bluenose bar

On our way …
It was a foggy, overcast morning with no wind …



on-the-way-to-peggys-cove-3 on-the-way-to-peggys-cove-4




peggys-cove-2 peggys-cove-4 peggys-cove-5 peggys-cove-6 peggys-cove-7 peggys-cove-8 peggys-cove-9 peggys-cove-10

… but it made for a mystical setting.

Next … Peggy’s Cove 2

Hugh O’Brian __________ Not your average Cowboy Pt 2

12 Sep

pale rider / the heavy horses


Between 1950 and 1956 Hugh O’Brian had work in about 20 Westerns. Though these are from the Golden Age of Westerns I confess that I haven’t seen most of them. I recognize Vengeance Valley (1951) and Broken Lance ( 1954). Colin – over at Riding the High Country blog (https://livius1.wordpress.com/)  is an expert on Westerns from the 40’s and 50’s and could likely have some information on some of them.

hugh-obrian-movies-1 hugh-obrian-movies-2 hugh-obrian-movies-3 hugh-obrian-movies-4 hugh-obrian-movies-5 hugh-obrian-movies-6 hugh-obrian-movies-7 hugh-obrian-movies-8

Amazingly, except for TV work, Hugh made next to NO Western films
between 1954 and 1990!

Except for one:
The Western Classic:
The Shootist



hugh-obrian-movies-10 hugh-obrian-movies-11


But Hugh’s big break came in 1955 when he was offered the role of
Wyatt Earp in:

The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
TV Series (1955–1961)


buntline-barhugh-obrian-life hugh-obrian-mags-1 hugh-obrian-mags-2buntline-barhugh-obrian-comics-1 hugh-obrian-comics-2 hugh-obrian-comics-3



Hugh O’Brian – Not your average Cowboy Pt 3
The Shootist / 1976

The Magificent Seven / 2016 The Reviews …

9 Sep

ballad of a well-known gun / elton john

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My Opinion ??
This movie will make money.THE MAGNIFICENT 7 2016 - poster 2

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Hugh O’Brian ____________ Not your average Cowboy Part 1

8 Sep

The Legend of Wyatt Earp / Hugh O’Brian

“I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose: To share with others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love.” – Hugh O’Brian


Hugh O’Brian

Hugh Charles Krampe (April 19, 1925 – September 5, 2016)



Not Your Average Cowboy

  • By the time he graduated from high school, he had lettered in football, basketball, wrestling and track. Originally pursuing law, he dropped out of the University of Cincinnati in 1942 (age 19) and enlisted in the Marine Corps. Was one of the youngest drill instructors in the Marine Corps’ history, and during his four years of service won a coveted Fleet appointment to the Naval Academy, which he declined. Upon his discharge he ended up in Los Angeles. Hugh joined a little theater group and a Santa Barbara stock company.
  • 1954, he left Universal to freelance but did not fare any better until offered the starring role in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1955) on TV, a year later. During his six-year run on the western classic, he managed to show off his singing talents on variety shows and appeared on Broadway.
  • Founded Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation (HOBY), in 1958 a non-profit youth leadership development program for high school scholars, after spending considerable time with Dr. Albert Schweitzer and his clinic in Africa. O’Brian dedicated much of his life to HOBY, which sponsers 10,000 high school sophomores annually through its over 70 leadership programs in all 50 states and 20 countries. Since its inception, over 435,000 young people have participated in HOBY-related programs.


  • Recorded an album of popular songs and sang on the The Nat King Cole Show, Ed Sullivan, Dinah Shore and Jackie Gleason variety shows.


  • One of the first celebrities to frontline tours of Vietnam at the request of the State Department, Hugh once staged and directed a company of “Guys and Dolls” which toured Vietnam, Thailand and Japan for the troops.


  • Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1992.


  • Developed The Hugh O’Brian Acting Awards Competition in 1964 at the University of California, Los Angeles with cash awards going to acting talents.
  • In 1972, was awarded one of the nation’s highest honors, the Freedom Through Knowledge Award, sponsored by the National Space Club in association with NASA.
  • In 1974, he was awarded the George Washington Honor Medal, highest award of the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge, as well as the Globe and Anchor Award from the Marine Corps.
  • Was a successful investor over the years with dividends paying well in stocks and bonds, real estate, bowling alleys, a building equipment firm, a theatre-in-the-round, an oil syndicate and his own television production company.


  • In 1976, the Veterans of Foreign Wars honored him with an award.hugh-obrian-veterans-award


Entertainment Awards

1953 Won The Man from the Alamo – Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer

1956 Nominated The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp – Primetime Emmy for Best Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Dramatic Series

1960 Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame —Television

1973 Golden Plate Award — Television Honored
1991 Golden Boot Award 

hugh-obrian-golden-boot buntline-bar


Hugh O’Brian Youth Foundation Albert Schweitzer Award to the Hestons – James Stewart helping out

albert-sweitzer hugh-obrian-quote


Hugh OBrian – Not your average Cowboy Part 2


One-Eyed Jacks / 1961 / Part 6 / The Cast / Slim Pickens

5 Sep

Pickens and Johnson

Pickens and Johnson? Sounds like a Law Firm or something. Well, Slim Pickens and Ben Johnson ARE indeed members of a unique and small fraternity: Real Cowboys who became Westerns Movie Stars. There would definitely be a small group around that campfire. And both of them had major parts in One-Eyed Jacks.

And they had yet another distinction: they’ve both been in so many Westerns that it would be pretty well impossible to list them all here.

Slim Pickens

One Eyed Jacks Slim Pickens 2

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.”

One Eyed Jacks Slim Pickens 3

One Eyed Jacks Slim Pickens 4

Slim and Trim

One Eyed Jacks Slim Pickens 6

Yee Haw!!

10 of Slim’s Best

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Ben Johnson

The Magnificent Seven … 2016

2 Sep

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The Magnificent Seven (2016) will be released Sept. 23 in theaters across North America.  It will also premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival announced on Sept. 8 as the festival’s opening night attraction.

We won’t have to long to wait to see if this Remake is going to be Heroic – or shot down.

THE MAGNIFICENT 7 2016 - Denzel Washington

Unfortunately there are signs of trouble.

How so?

Most every Movie these days is ‘Pre-Screened’  – viewed by test audiences. The feedback from these Pre-Screening sets certain things in motion. If response from Pre-Screening is GOOD, almost nothing else needs to be done. Celebrate and release the Movie.
If NOT, other things can happen.
Certain scenes may be reshot, added, or edited.
If the response is TERRIBLE, the Movie might straight to DVD – No Distribution – and hope for some sales there while not incurring any more expenses.
That couldn’t happen to this movie – it’s a highly anticipated big production remake of a Western Classic. And it has Denzel Washington.
Yet if the Pre-Screening feedback either POOR or UNFAVORABLE – then more Promotion and Advertising might be in order – to bump interest.
This seems to be what is happening with The Magnificent Seven (2016). I have NEVER seen as many Trailers for ANY Movie that has ever existed than what we see for The Magnificent Seven (2016). I’ve almost lost count, but I’d guess there’s about 15 so far!! Including recently profile Trailers for each of the Seven characters. 

That’s a bit scary.

Not necessarily an indication, but …

Trouble in the Industry

And there’s other things to fear. The Movie Industry has been taking some major hits in general. This summer nearly every anticipated Summer Blockbuster lost money. Millions – and Multi-Millions. They were scorched. And unfortunately for Film Makers, this is not just indicative of poor economy, but of radically changing Viewing Trends by audiences. I believe Home Theatres, large TV Screens, and easy access to movies on your TV via Netflix, Shomi, and other Entertainment services are deeply cutting into the Theatre market. And this is not just a flash trend – it will continue – and become even more so. The Theatres and Film Makers had better catch on quickly. Very quickly. We are living in an age where markets can radically change and swing overnight. Volatile.


All this being said, I hope the New Seven is great. Though we all love the original Magnificent Seven  a Classic – and I have no expectations that this will match that, that doesn’t mean I wish any evil on this Remake. I like Denzel Washington and most of Cast are pretty decent.

We’ll just have to see …

THE MAGNIFICENT 7 2016 - poster 1 THE MAGNIFICENT 7 2016 - poster 2 THE MAGNIFICENT 7 2016 - poster 3 THE MAGNIFICENT 7 2016 - poster 4 THE MAGNIFICENT 7 2016 - poster 5 THE MAGNIFICENT 7 2016 - poster 6

Gene Wilder … Cowboy 2

31 Aug

long train running / doobie brothers
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The Frisco Kid

The Frisco Kid poster 1 The Frisco Kid poster 2 The Frisco Kid poster 3

When The Frisco Kid came out (1979), Wilder and Harrison
were both Billed pretty well equally.
But Harrison was already in Star Wars (1977) and his Star was going nova.

The Frisco Kid Rotten Tomatoes ReviewThe Frisco Kid IMDB review

By the time the DVDs showed up, Harrison
had almost pushed Gene right off the covers.

Blazing Saddles Warner Bros logo

The Frisco Kid Gene Wilder 2The Frisco Kid Gene Wilder3

The Frisco Kid Harrison Ford

Reeellly !!!??

The Frisco Kid Gene Wilder 4

The Frisco Kid Harrison Ford 2The Frisco Kid Gene Wilder 5The Frisco Kid Gene Wilder 6The Frisco Kid Trivia
– from Internet Movie Database IMDB

  • The working title for the film was “No Knife.”
  • The sixth and final Western Directed by Robert Aldrich. Aldrich’s earlier Westerns were Apache (1954), Vera Cruz (1954), 4 for Texas (1963), Ulzana’s Raid (1972) and The Last Sunset (1961).
  • Gene Wilder says that John Wayne was offered the part that was eventually played by Harrison Ford. Said Wayne loved the role and was eager to work with Wilder. However, an agent tried to offer Wayne less than his usual fee and the legendary actor turned the film down. This may be true, but unlikely. By 1979 Wayne was too ill with stomach cancer to consider film work, and in fact he died later that year from the disease. If it is true, it would be an interesting coincidence since Mel Brooks offered Wayne a role in Blazing Saddles – the only other Western that Wilder made.
  • Not the first Western for Harrison Ford. Ford appeared in Westerns when he was unknown in television and in such films as Journey to Shiloh (1968) and A Time for Killing (1967). However, The Frisco Kid (1979) would be Ford’s last Western until Cowboys & Aliens (2011) (Which I don’t consider a Western – MFW)
  • One of a number of Hollywood Westerns that were a flop at the box-office during the late 1970s / early 1980s. Others included Barbarosa (1982), The Mountain Men (1980), The Villain (1979), Goin’ South (1978), Hard Country (1981), The Frisco Kid (1979), Cattle Annie and Little Britches (1981), and The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981).

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Gene Wilder Career Awards and Nominations

  • 1962 Won Clarence Derwent Award / Best Performance by an Actor in a Non-featured Role / The Complaisant Lover
  • 1968 Nominated Academy Award / Best Supporting Actor / The Producers 
  • 1971 Nominated Golden Globe Award / Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy / Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
  • 1974 Nominated Academy Award / Writing Adapted Screenplay / Young Frankenstein 
  • 1976 Nominated Golden Globe Award / Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy / Silver Streak
  • 2003 Won Primetime Emmy Award / Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series / Will & Grace

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Harrison Ford The Frisco Kid

The Frisco Kid Harrison Ford 3

Gene Wilder … Cowboy

31 Aug

Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder made only 2 Westerns – the immensely popular Blazing Saddles (1974) and The Frisco Kid (1979).

Though a comedy, I’d guess a good number of Western fans would put Blazing Saddles in their Top Ten favorite Westerns.

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Blazing Saddles Theme / Frankie Laine

Blazing Saddles banner

Blazing Saddles poster 1 Blazing Saddles poster 2 Blazing Saddles poster 3 Blazing Saddles poster 4

Blazing Saddles IMDB review Blazing Saddles Rotten Tomatoes review

(Rather Amazing) Blazing Saddles Trivia from IMDB

  • Mel Brooks wrote the movie out of anger at “white corruption, racism, and Bible-thumping bigotry.”
  • One studio executive stopped Mel Brooks in an elevator at the Warner Brothers lot and told him that several scenes were offensive and needed to be cut in order for the picture to be released. Brooks nodded and agreed to be polite even though he had no intention of changing a thing, being that he had final cut written into his contract.
  • Mel Brooks never told Frankie Laine that the theme song “Blazing Saddles” was for a comedy. Laine thought it was a dramatic western. Brooks was worried that Laine wouldn’t sing it with conviction if he knew the truth. When Brooks advertised in the show business trade papers for a “Frankie Laine-type” voice to sing the film’s title song, he was hoping for a good imitator. Instead, Laine himself showed up at Brooks’ office two days later, ready to do the job.
  • The original plan for the film was to have Alan Arkin direct with James Earl Jones playing Bart.
  • Upon a chance encounter with John Wayne, Mel Brooks asked him to be in the movie. According to Brooks, the Duke turned down the offer the next day by saying, “Naw, I can’t do a movie like that, but I’ll be first in line to see it!”
  • At the beginning of the scene in which Mongo awakens chained up in the sheriff’s office, when Bart (Gene Wilder) is hanging up posters on the board, there is a wanted poster already hanging up on the wall. This same wanted poster can be seen on the wall in the jail house in the John Wayne movie Rio Bravo (1959).
  • Brooks humor is not everybody’s brand of whisky. When the film was first screened for Warner Brothers executives, almost none of them laughed and the movie looked to be a disaster that the studio would not release. However, Mel Brooks quickly set up a subsequent screening for the studio’s employees. When these regular folks laughed uproariously throughout the movie, Warners finally agreed to take a chance on releasing it.
  • In the DVD commentary, Mel Brooks said that the working title for the film was “Tex X”, as a reference to black Muslim leader Malcolm X. It was then switched to “Black Bart”, then to “The Purple Sage”. In either case, neither he nor the other writers thought those were great titles. Brooks says that one morning he was taking a shower and the words “Blazing Saddles” suddenly popped into his head. When he got out of the shower, he pitched the title to his wife, actress Anne Bancroft, who liked the idea, and that’s how the movie ended up with its title.
  • When Harvey Korman‘s character purchases a ticket at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater box office, you can see the original film title, “BLACK BART” in the poster case in the background.
  • Hedy Lamarr sued Mel Brooks over the use of the name Hedley Lamarr and settled out of court. Mel said he was flattered by this attention and even made a reference to the lawsuit in the movie.
  • Supposedly, this movie officially marks the first time the sound of farting has ever been used in a film (at least according to the filmmakers in the DVD Documentary). According to Mel Brooks, they came up with the idea after watching numerous old westerns where cowboys only consume black coffee and plates of beans.
  • Production began with Gig Young as the Waco Kid. On the first day of shooting, the scene where the drunk Waco Kid hangs from a bunk asking if Bart is black, Young revealed that he really was indeed drunk (he had had an alcohol problem for years) and proceeded to undergo a physical collapse on set. Brooks shut down production for a day and Gene Wilder flew cross country to take over the role. Young later sued Warner Bros. for breach of contract.
  • Mel Brooks also asked Johnny Carson to play the Waco Kid; he refused.
  • The role of Bart was intended for Richard Pryor, but due to the controversial nature of Pryor’s stand-up routines of the day and his background, Brooks couldn’t secure financing for the project with Pryor in that role. So Pryor was made a co-writer of the script, and Cleavon Little played Bart. Pryor later got to star in a different western comedy – Adiós Amigo (1976).
  • Dom DeLuise has claimed that the role of the director of the film-within-a-film, “The French Mistake”, was originally meant to be played by actor Peter Sellers. However, after Brooks endured an exhaustive four-hour audition, he instead cast DeLuise.
  • The bull that Mongo rides has “YES” painted on one side and “NO” painted on the other. This is apparently a reference to the practice in the 1950s of marking the back of school buses for which side was safe to pass on, essentially inferring that Mongo and his mount are as big as a bus.
  • Over 70 stuntmen worked on this film, many of them doubling as extras.
  • A large photo of Edward G. Robinson can be seen hanging on the commissary wall during the pie fight.
  • Cameo: Count Basie: leader of the jazz band in the desert. The song being performed is ‘April in Paris’ written by Vernon Duke and E.Y. Harburg in 1932.
  • Mel Brooks: [fourth wall] often breaks the “fourth wall”, having the actors speak directly to the audience.

Gene Wilder Blazing Saddles

Blazing Saddles Cleavon Little Blazing Saddles Slim Pickens Blazing Saddles Harvey Korman Gene Wilder Blazing Saddles 2 Blazing Saddles Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder Gene Wilder Blazing Saddles 3 Gene Wilder Blazing Saddles 4

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One-Eyed Jacks / 1961 / Part 5 / The Cast / Brando’s Westerns

25 Aug

Marlon Brando’s (reworked) Westerns

Thom Hickey over at The Immortal Jukebox (https://theimmortaljukebox.com/) just posted a LIKE on a post I did back in 2013 called Brando’s Western Trilogy. (Thanks Thom!)

However, that post needs some very serious editing. I blatantly omitted Viva Zapata (1952). This movie starred Brando, Jean Peters, and Anthony Quinn – and was Directed by Elia Kazan with a screenplay written by John Steinbeck. If you ever wonder if there really was something special about Brando just consider this: his second movie A Streetcar named Desire was also directed by Elia Kazan and the screenplay was written by Tennessee Williams. Viva Zapata was his third film – again Directed by Kazan – with the screenplay written by Steinbeck. That’s pretty amazing really.

Viva Zapata posters 1 Viva Zapata posters 2 Viva Zapata posters 3 Viva Zapata posters 4 Viva Zapata posters 5 Viva Zapata posters 6 Viva Zapata posters 7

Viva Zapata banner

Viva Zapata Brando

Viva Zapata Jean Peters

Jean Peters

Viva Zapata Anthony Quinn

Anthony Quinn

Viva Zapata Henry Silva

Henry Silva has a small part

Viva Zapata Brando 2


Elia Kazan

From Internet Movie Database (IMDB): Kazan Directed 21 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: James Dunn, Celeste Holm, Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, Anne Revere, Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore, Ethel Waters, Karl Malden, Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter, Marlon Brando, Anthony Quinn, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Jo Van Fleet, James Dean, Carroll Baker, Mildred Dunnock and Natalie Wood. Dunn, Holm, Malden, Leigh, Hunter, Quinn, Brando, Saint and Van Fleet all won Oscars for their performances in Kazan films.

Kazan Quotes on Brando (IMDB):

“To my way of thinking, his performance in On the Waterfront (1954) is the best male performance I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“He was deeply rebellious against the bourgeois spirit, the over-ordering of life.”

“Every word seemed not something memorized but the spontaneous expression of an inner experience – which is the level of work all actors strive to reach.”


John Steinbeck

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Viva Zapata Academy Awards

Anthony Quinn won the 1952 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

The film was also nominated for:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role – Marlon Brando
  • Best Writing, Story and ScreenplayJohn Steinbeck
  • Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Black-and-White – Lyle R. Wheeler, Leland Fuller, Thomas Little, Claude E. Carpenter
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture – Alex North

BAFTA Awards

Marlon Brando won the 1953 BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor. The film was also nominated for Best Film from any Source.

Cannes Film Festival

At the 1952 Cannes Film Festival, Brando won for Best Actor, while Elia Kazan was nominated for the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film.

Directors Guild of America

Elia Kazan was nominated for a DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures in 1953.

Golden Globe Award

Mildred Dunnock was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 1953.

The Appaloosa (1966)

One of My Favorite Westerns


The Appaloosa Poster

The Appaloosa - Brando 3 The Appaloosa - Brando 5The Appaloosa - Saxon Sombrero 4The Appaloosa - Sombrero 6


 Missouri Breaks 1976

the missoui breaks poster The Missouri Breaks - Brando 2 The Missouri Breaks Nickolson The Missouri Breaks - Harry Dean Stanton The Missouri Breaks - Randy Quaid The Missouri Breaks

One-Eyed Jacks / 1961 / Part 4 / Karl Malden

22 Aug

mireille-mathieu / canta-en-espac3a3c2b1ol-la-paloma

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Karl Malden

March 22, 1912 – July 1, 2009

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Malden also previously starred with Brando in
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
On the Waterfront (1954)

SIx Shooter Bar Malden Westerns

the gunfighter poster

the hanging tree poster

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One-Eyed Jacks / 1961 / Part 3 / The Cast

22 Aug

me and my uncle / distant sons

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Marlon Brando

 Did the camera like this guy? 

The combination of Talent, Charisma, and Sex Appeal is hard to come by.
And when it is found, a silent prayer goes out:
“God, don’t let them screw it up.”

One Eyed Jacks Brando 2

Like a Roman God, by Jove!

One Eyed Jacks Brando

One Eyed Jacks Brando Life cover

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One-Eyed Jacks / 1961 / Part 2

18 Aug

come a little bit closer / jay and the americans    

The Posters

One-Eyed Jacks poster 2One-Eyed Jacks poster 21

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One-Eyed Jacks / 1961 / Part 1

16 Aug

Title Sound Track

“You may be a one eyed jack around here,
but I’ve seen the other side of your face.”

One Eyed Jacks

One Eyed Jacks

One Eyed Jacks Banner

One Eyed Jacks Marlon Brando One Eyed Jacks Malden Banner

Below: Full movie – not the restored version
from YouTube in English / 720 Resolution

One Eyed Jacks - IMDB reviewOne Eyed Jacks - Rotten Tomatoes reviewOne Eyed Jacks - AllMovie reviewONE EYED JACKS 5

One Eyed Jacks Restored …

15 Aug

One-Eyed Jacks / 1961

Brando rides again in restored Classic

One Eyed Jacks

One-Eyed Jacks / http://www.nziff.co.nz/2016/auckland/one-eyed-jacks/
Directed by Marlon Brando Retro
A singular Western rightfully restored for the big screen, Marlon Brando’s sole directorial effort and legendary film maudit arrives fresh from its enthusiastic reappraisal at Cannes.

Famously over-budget and severely trimmed by the studio, Marlon Brando’s sole foray into direction was a box office flop that remains a psychologically fascinating, visually stunning and too-seldom-seen entry into the Western genre. This stunning restoration by Universal Pictures and The Film Foundation was supervised by Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. It comes to festival screens direct from its unveiling at Cannes.
One-Eyed Jacks was actually the last time Brando acted out of true commitment, an uncynical passion for the material, and he gives one of his best performances as the outlaw betrayed by a friend (Karl Malden), seeking vengeance and finding love with the villain’s stepdaughter. His direction is perceptive and effective – all the actors are uniformly excellent – evoking especially fine work from the newcomers, notably Pina Pellicer as the young woman who falls for him. Katy Jurado is fine as her mother; Malden, always good, is superbly ambiguous here, and Ben Johnson and Slim Pickens are wonderfully authentic.” — Peter Bogdanovich, Indiewire

“Fascinating to see Brando directing this revenge Western exactly… as he acts, so that the whole movie smoulders in a manner that is mean, moody and magnificent… The Freudian intentions lurking in the character conflicts and the card symbolism, the homosexual and Oedipal intimations, are underpinned by the extraordinary settings… The result, laced with some fine traditional sequences and stretches of masochistic violence, is a Western of remarkable though sometimes muddled power.” — Tom Milne, Time Out

Pistol Bar

One Eyed Jacks

“You may be a one-eyed jack around here,
I’ve seen the other side of your face.”

Left holding the bag by fellow bank robber Karl Malden, Marlon Brando’s Rio emerges from five years of rat-counting in the Sonoma pen, only to find his old buddy now a respected lawman, complete with wife Katy Jurado (High Noon) and step-daughter Pina Pellicer (the Mexican actress in a heartbreaking performance as Rio’s love interest, underlined by her suicide within four years). Brando’s only directorial effort was the Heaven’s Gate of its day, complete with firing of initial director Stanley Kubrick and co-scenarist Sam Peckinpah, millions of dollars in cost overruns, and a first cut running to five hours. Away from the hoopla, it can now be seen as a fresh approach to genre clichés; with numerous on-set improvisations; one of the great screen insults (“You scumsucking pig!”); and rare for a Western: seaside scenes, shot near Monterey. 4K DCP restoration. “What is extraordinary about it is that it proceeds in two contrasting styles. One is hard and realistic; the other is romantic and lush… as if it had been directed jointly by John Huston and Raoul Walsh.” – Bosley Crowther, The New York Times. “The most memorable scenes have a fierce masochistic intensity, as if Brando were taking the opportunity to punish himself for some unknown crime. The bizarre action is set off by the classic Hollywood iconography of the western landscape (photographed by Charles Lang).” – Dave Kehr. “The Freudian intentions lurking in the character conflicts and the card symbolism, the homosexual and Oedipal intimations, are underpinned by the extraordinary settings… with waves crashing portentously in the background, so that nature echoes the Romantic agony of a hero much given to brooding in corners or gazing out into space shrouded in his Byronic cape. The result is a Western of remarkable though sometimes muddled power.” – Tom Milne, Time Out (London).


to the sea again … Halifax Harbour

12 Aug

this is us / mark knoppler and Emmylou harris


Halifax Harbour

Countdown to the Bluenose

hotel sunday

Hotel – Breakfast on deck (so to speak) – Chocolate Lake in background.

On our first day we decide to tour Halifax Harbour
– shops, restaurants, bars, Museums, ships, buskers … etc.

Halifax Harbour

Halifax Harbour gateway

Halifax Dockyard Clock

Halifax Harbour - The Emigrant statueHalifax Harbour Hopper tour busHalifax Harbour Hopper and Pilot boat

Halifax Harbour The Silva

It’s not the Bluenose, but the Silva with 3 masts will take you for a sail.

Halifax Harbour - The AcadiaHalifax Harbour - The Acadia 2Halifax Harbour - HMCS SackvilleHalifax Harbour - Theodore and HMCS SackvilleHalifax Harbour - Canadian FrigateHalifax Harbour - The Wave 2 Halifax Harbour - The WaveHalifax Harbour - The Bicycle Thief Restaurant sculpture

Halifax Dock

Halifax Dock

Halifax Harbour panorama

Halifax Dock

Rose at the helm – Acadia

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Halifax Dock

Next: Halifax Maritime Museum

Johnny does Hockey …

9 Aug

The Good Old Hockey Game / Stompin’ Tom Connors

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In 1937 John appeared in a real head scratcher:
Idol of the Crowds – a hockey movie!

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Idol of the Crowds John Wayne 1937 2

Yes, John made an occasional non-Western,
but I never knew he ranged this far afield!?

Idol of the Crowds John Wayne 1937

I couldn’t access any video, but it looks like John
really knows what he’s doing out there!

JOHN WAYNE 1937 idol of the crowd

Idol of the Crowds John Wayne 1937 IMDB reviewIdol of the Crowds John Wayne 1937 Allmovie Review In the synopsis you can see that John plays a guy called Johnny Hanson. This is rather interesting coincidence, because one of my favorite (guilty pleasure) movies is Slapshot (1977)  a hockey sendup Starring Paul Newman! (believe it or not) and these amazing characters: The Hanson Brothers, who have become big Canadian celebrities.

The Hanson Brothers hockey cards 2

The Hanson Brothers – signing their real names

JOHN WAYNE 1937 idol of the crowds hockey card

John Wayne as Johnny Hanson

The Hanson Brothers deserve a Post to themselves
so I’ll get back to them later.

hocky cowboy bar 2Idol of the Crowds John Wayne 1937 chicken and a kidMeanwhile … John Wayne plays a chicken farmer who plays hockey. With all due respect to chicken farming, how does one go from
being a Western Hero to a chicken farmer hockey player?

JOHN WAYNE 1937 idol of the crowds screencap 2

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Those chicken farmers get all the chicks

Idol of the Crowds 1937 screencap 9hocky cowboy bar 3Sheila Bromley
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john wayne …

5 Aug

… a cowboy with no sunset …

John Wayne 15d

John Wayne 15b

John Wayne 15c

John Wayne signature

The Magnificent Seven / 2016 … New Trailer

4 Aug

House of the Rising Sun /
Vassar Clements, Mike Auldridge, Uncle Josh Graves

Westworld / 2016 update …

4 Aug

Just an new trailer for Westworld / 2016

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“Are you real?”

“Well … if you can’t tell, does it matter?”

Mustang Bar

Gives us a bit more of an idea.

to the sea again … Halifax

4 Aug

She’s called Nova Scotia / Rita MacNeil


A week in Nova Scotia …

Bluenose at dock - Lunenburg Nova Scotia

Bluenose at Lunenburg dock, Nova Scotia

Arrived at Halifax on Saturday … a 5 hour flight from Calgary.

Map Nova Scotia 2

Rent a car … head to Hotel.


It’s raining and grey.
My constant fear over the last few months was that bad weather would torpedo my dream of a sail on the Bluenose coming up on Thursday.
This doesn’t bode well.

Bluenose in the rain


Grab a bite …
hotel rain

fish & chips

Fish and Chips ! Pretty darn good.




to the sea again …

22 Jul


Tomorrow we head for Nova Scotia for a week … and (God Willing) a trip aboard the famous Canadian icon – the Schooner Bluenose – the only item on my bucket list.

Crossing our fingers for fair weather.

bluenose 1 bluenose 2016 logobluenose 2016

bluenose 2016.coin

Sea ye in a week !

John Wayne: Life and Times

22 Jul

John Wayne LIfe John Wayne Time Magazine John Wayne Newsweek MagazineJohn Wayne American Cowboy MagazineJohn Wayne Saturday Evening PostJohn Wayne Life Magazine 2John Wayne TV Guide MagazineJohn Wayne Cowboy Legends MagazineJohn Wayne Saturday Evening Post 2John Wayne American Cowboy Magazine 2John Wayne Cowboys and Indians MagazineJohn Wayne Paris Match MagazineJohn Wayne American Cowboy Magazine 3

The 2016 Calgary Stampede – truly the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”!

18 Jul

even cowgirls get the blues / Emmylou harris

Calgary Stampede Logo

In a world full of recent horror and heartache, it really is a joy to report some GOOD News. (There really is much more Good News than Bad News in this world – but you’d never know it by watching our Mass Media).

I always post a small blurb on our local Calgary Stampede, but I’m gonna tell ya, this year it was Truly Amazing – Spectacular – full of stories that could easily be made into Movies – they are so worthy. But could just as easily have been a disaster because our Economy is not good here right now – and it rained every day. Every Day! YET … in the midst of all this downturn and downpour the Performers and Organizers rose to magnificent heights to truly make this the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”.

BRAVO to all !!

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It never rains on our Parade.

Calgary Stampede Marshalls 2016 Paul Brandt and Jan Arden 2

Things started out on a sweet note with Canadian music Stars Paul Brandt and Jan Arden as 2016 Calgary Stampede Marshalls.

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It didn’t rain ALL the time …

Calgary Stampede Midway 2016

… but when it did … it could be dismal.

Calgary Stampede rain 2016

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But ‘Cowboy (and Cowgirl) Tough’ isn’t just an expression –
it’s a fact – and a Way of Life.

 Amazing Stuff !!

Stampede 2016 Day 10 Finals

Steven Peebles (Redmond Oregon) has broken his back – twice – among other injuries,
but wins the Bareback Bronc Riding Championship !

Stampede 2016 Steven Peebles

67-year-old Mary Burger (Oklahoma) wins the Barrel Racing Championship !

Stampede 2016 Mary Burger

After competing in the Calgary Stampede Chuck Wagon Races for 25 years !!
Kirk Sutherland (Alberta) wins the 2016 Chuck Wagon Championship !

Stampede 2016 Kirk Sutherland and Crew

I’m sure there were plenty of other amazing stories
– but those are ones that caught my attention.

Shane Hanchey (Louisiana) lassoes the 2016 Calf Roping Championship

Stampede 2016 Shane Hanchey

Zeke Thurston (Alberta) wins the 2016 Saddle Bronc Championship

Calgary Stampede 2016 Zeke Thurston

19-year-old Cody Teel (Texas) wins the 2016 Bull Riding Championship !

Stampede 2016 Cody Teel

Seth Brockman (Wyoming) takes the 2016 Bull Dogging Championship !

Stampede 2016 Seth Brockman

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Calgary Stampede 2016 image 4Calgary Stampede 2016 image 5

Calgary Stampede 2016 image 7

A great Stampede ! Congratulations to the Organizers and Contestants.

Stampede Logo 4

Outlaws and Angels / 2016

18 Jul

Outlaws and Angels 2016 Sundance bannerOutlaws and Angels 2016 poster 1

Outlaws and Angels 2016 poster 2Outlaws and Angels 2016 poster 3

Outlaws and Angels 2016 IMDB review Outlaws and Angels 2016 Rotten Tomatoes reviewOutlaws and Angels 2016.bannerOutlaws and Angels 2016 2Outlaws and Angels 2016.banner 2Outlaws and Angels 2016 3Yes, this is one of Clint’s and Frances Farmer’s daughter’s.
And she appears to have some Star Power.
And possibly the only reason to watch this movie?
Outlaws and Angels 2016.banner 3Outlaws and Angels 2016 image 1Outlaws and Angels 2016 4Outlaws and Angels 2016 5Outlaws and Angels 2016 6

Against all odds, Peebles captures the Calgary Stampede bareback championship

17 Jul

John Wayne … Iconic Images / Stagecoach Run / 1936

15 Jul

dust in the wind / Melanie

stagecoach bar

Stagecoach Run is Winds of the Wasteland the same movie restored and colorized by Legend Films. I couldn’t find any new posters or advertising media for it though. Just a few clips.

Yakima Canutt does plenty of stunt work in this movie – plus some acting (as a badguy) – but receives no Credit on the Bill !! Those stunt guys don’t get no respect !

Lew Kelly provides a little Comedy relief inside the coach.

Stagecoach Run bannerStagecoach Run John WayneStagecoach Run Phyllis Fraser

Not sure how many stagecoach stunts Yakima Canutt performed in his career,
but there was plenty. This one is pretty tame by his standards.

Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 1 Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 2 Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 3 Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 4 Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 5 Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 6 Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 7

Then Yak jumps into the driver’s seat and magically transforms to John Wayne.

Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 8 Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 9 Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 10

Most of Yak’s and John’s stunts were seamlessly done – you honestly
believed it was John performing the action.

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But Yak’s not finished yet – he jumps onto the horses !

Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 11 Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 12

Below: Not sure how this was done, but it appears
John is doing a bit of stunting himself?

Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 13

There’s a bit of a wardrobe screw-up here though as John and Yak
appear to have different colored vests on. ??

Stagecoach Run Yakima Canutt stunt 14

Those Actors – always wanting to do their own stunts.

Onward …

John Wayne … Iconic Images / Winds of the Wasteland / 1936

15 Jul

dust in the wind / kansas 

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John keeps making ’em – I keep posting ’em. John is 29-years-old now and Winds of the Wasteland being his 5th of 7 Westerns he made in 1936. Though interesting, the movies are not that great. But as long as the images and Posters are good, (and they are) I’ll keep putting them up …

Winds of the Wasteland poster 1

Winds of the Wasteland poster 2

Winds of the Wasteland poster 3

Winds of the Wasteland poster 4

Winds of the Wasteland banner

John is ‘The Man’ and his name is Billed above and before the Title of the movie.

Winds of the Wasteland John Wayne

Winds of the Wasteland Phyllis Fraser

Winds of the Wasteland IMDB review

Winds of the Wasteland AllMovie review

Winds of the Wasteland screencap 1

Winds of the Wasteland The End

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Winds of the Wasteland image 1


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Phyllis Fraser (1916–2006) 

Phyllis Fraser

Phyllis Fraser

Calgary Stampede: 67 year old Mary Burger rips it up !!!

13 Jul

Mary Burger and Mo

Barrel Racing Phenom !

Oklahoma Gal, 67-year-old Mary Burger rips up the competition
at the 2016 Calgary Stampede !!

Mary Burger and Mo 2

Amazing stuff Mary!

Punta Cana Cowboys _____ The End

11 Jul

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Parting Images 

We were in Punta Cana for only one week. One week. But we took over a thousand pics (I’m sure you noticed LOL!)
Everything was interesting and magical. If you want spice up your life and appreciate this world, travel is the way to go. To me, these pictures are priceless. Many remind me of things I might otherwise have forgotten – and the feelings come flooding back.
It seems far away now. It WAS special.

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breakfast in punta cana Punta Cana flamingoPunta Cana beachPunta Cana palmPunta Cana peacock

One last visit to the ocean … 

Punta Cana ocean 1Punta Cana ocean 2Punta Cana ocean 3Punta Cana beach 2

Reality Check … 

Punta Cana leavingPunta Cana farewell

Farewell Punta Cana … 

Punta Cana goodbye

Lawless Range / 2016

8 Jul

I’d known about this movie for a while, but hadn’t posted anything on it because I wondered if it qualified as a Western. ??
It’s got horses and cowboy hats … but it also has trucks and such. Modern vehicles is pretty well where I draw my line.

You be the judge.

Lawless Range 2016Lawless Range 2016 2Lawless Range 2016 3 Lawless Range 2016 4

Lawless Range 2016 poster

Kris’s part is not large and he’s not billed high. But the size of his pic on the poster says he is the draw.

Lawless Range 2016 5Lawless Range 2016 8Lawless Range 2016 6 Lawless Range 2016 7Lawless Range 2016 IMDB reviewLawless Range 2016 9Lawless Range 2016 10

Beau Bridges. Glad to see he’s still around.

Lawless Range 2016 11 Lawless Range 2016 12 Lawless Range 2016 13 Lawless Range 2016 14 Lawless Range 2016 15

Kris Kristofferson Western Filmography / Part 2

7 Jul


Kris Kristofferson Western Filmography / Part 2

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Kris Kristofferson The Tracker

The Tracker was also released as Dead or Alive

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Kris Kristofferson 2

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Kris Kristofferson 4

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Kris Kristofferson 5

Kris made a few TV Westerns during this period. TV Westerns are often sneered at as being low budget fare. But budget is really only one factor of several that make up a Movie/Western production. Script/Writing, Direction, Casting, Star Power, Acting, and several other factors all combine for the quality of a film.
What I’m saying that most of Kris’s Westerns in this period were really pretty good. Not Classics, but worth a watch.

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Kris Kristofferson 6

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Kris Kristofferson 7

 That’s quite a few Westerns Kris

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Story of “Teddy” Edward Cullinane in the Klondike Goldrush

16 Dec

Mark Stanton’s remembrances of his “Great Uncle Ted”s adventures in the Klondike Gold Rush:


Story of “Teddy” Edward Cullinane in the Klondike Goldrush

“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.

Dawson tiepin

(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

Leaving Home (1898)

teddy-cullinane-1 teddy-cullinane-2


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.

Cheechako in Eldorado (1898-1903)

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.

Three men on a horse

Three men on a horse


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.



The Sourdough Returns (1904-1913)

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).


Pulling sled with camp outfit

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).


Teddy’s claim and cabin marked v

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).


Another of Teddy’s claims

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.


Unknown men at log cabin

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.


Shooting rapids

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.


Travelling on the Yukon River

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…

 Lost (July 1913)

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.

 Search (1914+)

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

The Missouri Breaks … 1976

11 Jan

The Missouri Breaks (1976)


The Missouri Breaks opening

Brando and Nicholson




DVD Savant:
Movie: Very Good: “Even with its stellar teaming of Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson, The Missouri Breaks was a big-bust movie in 1976 … Almost 30 years later, The Missouri Breaks plays a lot better … That ending is still a head-scratcher but most of the rest of the movie is a Western lover’s delight, with excellent and often hilarious dialogue between sad sack horse thief Nicholson and his pack of misfit rustlers. If anyone lets the film down, it’s Brando … “

Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
User Reviews: 4 out of 5
“The Missouri Breaks
 (1976) is not your usual Western. In fact, it’s not your usual anything. The words most commonly used in reviews at the time of its release were “bizarre” and “odd” and it must have equally confused audiences expecting something quite different from the inspired teaming of Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson. But seen today, the film’s peculiar mixture of Western cliches, black comedy, quirky romance and revenge drama makes for a decidedly offbeat entertainment.”

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Death in the wind …

the missoui breaks poster

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MISSOURI BREAKS nicholson and brando MISSOURI BREAKS brando and nicholson MISSOURI BREAKS wheatfield symphony MISSOURI BREAKS see ya

The Missouri Breaks - Randy Quaid The Missouri Breaks - Harry Dean Stanton

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