the ladder …

8 Feb

http://h-akanai.tumblr.com/

The Ballad of Lefty Brown / A Review …

4 Feb

For Cindy over at Cindy Bruchman Blog https://cindybruchman.com/


Don McLean’s Masterpiece Vincent sung by Lianne La Havas

The Ballad of Lefty Brown is good Western. Not a Classic. But very good. If you like Westerns, it’s worth your time. And I’ll re-watch it again some day. This is not a B Western.

The whole movie hangs on Bill Pullman as Lefty – and Pullman is superb. I think he should have been nominated for his. I really had to do a double check to see if Lefty  really was Pullman – his character is such a departure – and appearance – from Pullman’s previous work. Check the poster – would you recognize that image of Lefty as Bill Pullman? I didn’t.

I kinda had the same feeling I had when I watched Billy Bob Thornton in Slingblade (1996) Is that really him? 

I can’t really say, but I’d guess Pullman’s most recognizable film role was as President Whitmore in Independence Day (1996).

But Bill’s been doing some good stuff since 1986. Including a couple of Westerns:

The Virginian (2000) Director / Actor (TV Production) well received.

In Wyatt Earp, Pullman played Ed Masterson who was Marshall of Dodge City and the oldest brother of the American West gunfighters Bat Masterson and James Masterson.
Masterson as shot and killed in downtown Dodge City by a drunk while attempting to enforce the gun laws.

Westerns unfortunately, are a genre that usually gets very little respect or attention among those that hand out the brass … the gold … or the Oscars.

The Cast

Peter Fonda as Edward Johnson: Peter Fonda has been known to loan (sell?) his name to small Western Film projects – often B Westerns – to bump up their publicity/profile – while only making slight or mere Cameo appearances in the movie. This is another of those. His screen time is not substantial. This gives the Lefty some promotional punch for sure – though it stands fine by itself. The Fonda name has rightful power in the Western film. Peter’s dad, Henry Fonda was in possibly in more Western Classics than any Actor in film history. Too many to list here. Jane chipped in with Cat Ballou, Electric Horseman, Comes a Horseman … While Peter had REAL roles in 3:10 to Yuma (2007) and The Hired Hand (1971) (a Favorite of mine). Curiously enough, you won’t likely recognize Peter in Lefty Brown either – and will have to do a double check to see which part he was playing. But I guess we’re all getting a bit older …

For his screen time he does and excellent and important job.

The rest of the Cast is also outstanding.

Jim Caviezel: Back in 2002, Jim starred as the Count in one of my Favorite Non-Western movies: The Count of Monte Cristo. He’s excellent here too.

He also played Warren Earp in Wyatt Earp (1996)

Wikipedia: Warren Earp was the youngest brother of Wyatt, Morgan, Virgil, James, and Newton Earp. Although he was not present during the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, after Virgil was maimed in an ambush, Warren joined Wyatt and was in town when Morgan was assassinated. He also helped Wyatt in the hunt for the outlaws they believed responsible. Later in life, Warren developed a reputation as a bully and was killed in an argument in 1900.

Kathy Baker is  Billed second. She has a looong list of Awards in Stage, Film and TV. Does her usual excellent work here.

Tom Flanagan – As far as I can tell, this is Tom’s first Western? Fits him like a glove. You’ll recognize him – he’s been around. And he’s good. Those scars on his face are from a real knife fight.

Diego Josef plays the mysterious Kid. He’s got 2 Colts and some Acting chops. Real good.

All in all – a pretty good Western. 

That Rifle:

In my previous post I guessed that this rifle 

might be this one:

I have now found a better image of it (below):

And I now think it is:

Made popular by the movie (a Favorite) Quigley Down Under:

Quigley (Tom Selleck) on his Sharps Rifle: “It’s a lever-action breach-loader. Usual barrel length’s thirty inches. This one has an extra four. It’s converted to use a special forty-five caliber, hundred-and-ten-grain metal cartridge, with a five-hundred-forty-grain paper patch bullet. It’s fitted with double-set triggers, and a Vernier sight, marked up to twelve-hundred yards.
This one shoots a mite further.”

OK … not quite.

Ground Hog Day 2018 …

3 Feb

We waited breathlessly for the Hogs to wake up
and for the predictions to roll in …

It’s been a bitter Winter.
I was shoveling 8 inches of snow just this morning.

Balzac Billy

When Billy stepped out it was bleakish -20 C (-4 F) and snowing.
Our hopes weren’t high.

Then … !

Early Spring !!!

(I’m still on the fence)
but here’s hoping!

 

Mighty Niagara / photo essay 3 / Up the Tower

30 Jan


Miracles

Cloudy and rainy when we landed
in Hamilton (Ontario).
Ontario had been having a bad Spring.


We headed for the Car Rental place.
A Kia Forte.

Off we go … 

Up the Tower

The name Niagara that was assigned to the area comes from the First Nations word “Onghiara” or “Oniawgarah”
which means “thundering waters.”

 In the late 1850’s Jean-Francois Gravelet of France (aka The Great Blondin) walked a tightrope across the gorge.  He expanded his act to include somersaults, walking blindfolded, and riding a bicycle. He also walked the tightrope with his hands and feet manacled, cooked an omelette, and once even lowered a rope to the Maid of the Mist, pulled up a bottle of Champagne, and drank it.

 In 1848, Niagara Falls actually stopped flowing for 30 hours when ice fields from Lake Erie jammed at the source of the river.

Niagara Falls is the collective name for three water Falls that overlap the international borders of Canada and New York.

The first person to attempt to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel was a 63-year-old woman. Seeking fame and fortune, schoolteacher Annie Taylor loaded herself – and her cat – up in a barrel and descended over the falls in 1901. She survived. 

As a boy, Nikola Tesla saw a picture of Niagara Falls and told his uncle in Lika, Croatia, that he wanted to put a wheel under the falls to harness the power of the moving water. In 1895, Nikola Tesla designed the first hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls, New York which started producing electrical power.
This was the beginning of the electrification of the United States and the rest of the world.

The 3 waterfalls combine to produce the highest flow rate of any waterfall on earth.

It is illegal to go over the Niagara Falls.

On July 9, seven year old Roger Woodward went over the Horseshoe Falls wearing only a life jacket and a frown. He survived. He was picked up by the “Maid of the Mist II” tourist ship.
No word whether he was spanked.

The same thing happened to me, but nobody picked me up. I floated all the way down to Kingston.

In 2012 Nik Wallenda became the first person to cross the Niagara Falls by tightrope in 116 years. He did so after receiving permission from both the Canadian and United States governments, although he was required to carry his passport and present it on entry to the Canadian side of the falls.

We’re dining in this great restaurant at one of the most exotic locations on the planet … so what do I have? A hamburger deluxe!!, of course (With brocoli?). Nearby tables were hissing and throwing caviar at me. Then some fool tossed a Limited Edition ‘Stompin’ Tom Connors’ Bobblehead !!! – Order of Canada Edition. Yeah Baby!!

Onward … 

The Ballad of Lefty Brown / 2017

25 Jan

Based upon scant evidence, I’m going to boldly identify the rifle as

But I’m likely … wrong.

I have to tell you. I have not seen The Ballad of Lefty Brown or the previous movie that I Previewed: Sweet Country.
Why? Because these movies are poorly advertised and have limited distribution.
I never heard about them until they had come and gone. This is frustrating.
Now I have to find them – somehow.
Because they both look like good Westerns.
These are not B Movies. They are smaller – but quality productions with excellent Actors/Castgood Direction and superb cinematography.
I wanna see ’em.
And I will … somehow.

 

Sweet Country / 2017

24 Jan

Justice seen to be done …. just isn’t enough

The film is based on a real life true crime murder case where an Aboriginal man was arrested and put on trial for murdering a white man in central Australia during the 1920s.

Though the film is described as a “western”, the era of “The West” officially ends by the early 1900s or by circa 1912, and this film is set during the 1920s in 1929. As such, the film, arguably, cannot technically be classified as a “western” within the traditional historical time-frame of the era of the American West. Some historians state that this period of the American West ran for only three decades or thirty years, i.e. from 1865 to 1895, which is a period which has an even earlier end date. The ‘American Historama’ website states: “The period of the Wild West was from 1865-1895, a period of thirty years.” The Wikipedia website define the era of the “American Frontier” in two classes: Territorial Expansion (1607-1912) and Myth of the Old West (1783-1920). During the 1970s, Hollywood made a western-style western picture which was set in the middle of the 20th century, in 1945 [See: Comes a Horseman (1978)]. Most Western movies are set during the second half of the 19th century (1850-1899) with some being set in the first half of the 1800s (1800-1850).

The official Director’s Statement about the film by its director Warwick Thornton reads: “‘Sweet Country’ is a western. A period western set in Central Australia. It has all the elements of the genre – the frontier, confiscation of land, subordination and conquest of a people and epic sweeping landscapes.

MFW: Westerns do not have to be constrained to culture, time period, or country. If it feels like a Western … It’s a Western.

The Bloated Magpie …

22 Jan

I’ve recently discovered a new Species of MagpieThe Bloated Magpie (illum turgentis sanie picave).
I am filing my discovery with the appropriate authorities.

The Bloated Magpie seems to be found in only one location: our back step – by the catfood dish. They are readily recognized by their robust and rotund size (Fat) – and the smell of catfood on their breathe!

Bloated Magpies have evolved. Though ‘Bloats’ (as I call them) sometimes utter a burping sound, they are unusually quiet. Instead of the usual noxious cackling associated with the Common Magpie, they have learned the art of stealth! They are able to consume a whole dish of catfood without making a sound! The only evidence of their presence is telltale Magpie footprints around the dish. Astonishing!

Bloats also seem able to consume 3 times their normal body weight in catfood (their only known food source) which, however, renders them unable to fly. One day, as I approached the step, I witnessed a Bloat roll off the step and attempt to hide in a snowbank.

Above: Shameless Bloat attempting to hide in a snowbank!

I expect National Geographic to contact me shortly.

 

Nuthin’ to it!

Holy Mackinaw! SLAPSHOT!

21 Jan

I was just watching clips from one of my ‘Guilty Pleasure’ movies – for the hundredth time (this may not be an exaggeration):

SLAPSHOT !!! (1977)

Slapstick Hockey?
among other things. 

“Certain language may be too strong for children”

There’s a ton of stuff in this movie that is probably
too strong for most anybody. 

People probably think this movie exaggerates things.
Not much.
In the Minors, Hockey can be many things.
And ‘gentile’ is not one of them. 

“Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?”

Initial TV showings of Slapshot were massively censored. In it’s uncensored state Slapshot is vulgar, obscene, profane, ribald, irreverent, and R Rated. It spans the gauntlet from Porn to Slapstick. I’ve walked out the theaters – or changed channels – for far less. It’s pretty well everything I normally hate in movies – and avoid.
Yet, in spite of all this (LoL) this darn thing is hilarious.

Paul Newman himself stated on many occasions
that of all the films he’d been in,
Slap Shot was by far the most fun and his personal favorite.
“I’m not usually happy with my work,” he once said, “but I loved that movie. It rates very high as something in which
I took great personal satisfaction.”
But there was one annoying side effect:
“Ever since Slap Shot, I’ve been swearing more. You get a hangover from a character like [Reggie Dunlop], and you simply don’t get rid of it. I knew I had a problem when I turned to my daughter one day and said, ‘Please pass the f*ckng salt.’”

Maybe you to have to love Hockey and have been brought up in Hockey culture to enjoy this … ???
I think that helps … but I don’t know?

The Hansons

These guys make the movie. 
The amazing so-called Hanson Brothers:

Via Slapshot they became celebrities and for years were in demand to appear at Hockey games and reprise their comic goonery.
I hope they made a few bucks out of it. I do know they raised some money for Charities.
Who knew?

And before you accuse us Canadians of anything, I gotta tell ya that most everybody in this movie is an American.
Yep.

Reviews

In general, the initial Reviews of Slapshot (1977) were not favorable.
Yet as years have gone by, this has changed. For example:
Wikipedia: “Film critic Gene Siskel noted that his greatest regret as a critic was giving a mediocre review to this movie when it was first released.
After viewing it several more times, he grew to like it more and later listed it as one of the greatest American comedy movies of all time.” 

Some interesting Slapshot Trivia: 

The Rolling Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts is playing in the opening of the hotel scene.
(You can’t make this stuff up.)

Screenwriter Nancy Dowd originally intended the film to be a documentary, but Director George Roy Hill convinced her that it would be better served as a feature-length comedy.
Uh … WOW.

Al Pacino was wanted Newman’s role and was interviewed for it. However Director George Roy Hill
refused him because he figured Pacino couldn’t skate.

Actor Peter Strauss also auditioned, but broke his leg whilst skating in the audition. 
Yeah, skating is sort of important in a Hockey movie.

John Wayne in Idol of the Crowds (1937)

Henry Hathaway Director of Westerns / The Shepard of the Hills / 1941

13 Jan


wayfaring stranger

The Shepard of the Hills / 1941

BEAUTIFUL AS OUR WOODS AND ROLLING HILLS.
STRONG AS THE RUGGED HEARTS THAT LIVE AMONG THEM

John Wayne was 34 in 1941.
Iconic. This is a pretty famous image of John. 
Wayne was about as photogenic as you get. 

I’m going to say that’s the same kind of rifle John
used in Stagecoach in 1948.
The lever loop is larger … but it’s the same kind of rifle.

Trivia (IMDB)

Shepherd of the Hills was the first film in which John Wayne worked with director Henry Hathaway. They didn’t work together again for another 19 years and then in the Sixties did four films culminating with Wayne’s Oscar winning performance in True Grit.

The Shepherd of the Hills is is the first John Wayne film in Technicolor. A high budget film, a rarity in the Depression-era.

Henry Hathaway directs this first talkie remake of two prior films versions of The Shepherd of the Hills filmed in 1919 and 1928.

The Hayes Office were shocked and appalled by the scene in which Sammy (Betty Field) removes her shirt and displays her bare back to the camera. Director Henry Hathaway assured the Office that it was actually a man doubling for Betty Field during that particular moment. Field, as well as John Wayne, corroborated this. Years later, Field revealed that it was indeed her own bare back that was shown.

Churchill / Man of Destiny

11 Jan


Rule Britannia

“Britons never, never, never will be slaves.”

God and my right (the motto of the British monarch)

No Sir. But YOU sure the hell did. 

Churchill / Warrior

Winston Churchill fought in the Mahdist War (Anglo–Sudan War), the Second Boer War, World War 1 and World War 2.

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently
overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill
KG OM CH TD PCc DL FRS RA
(30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965)

“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say,
‘This was their finest hour.”

“We shall not fail or falter. We shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

“Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it has been said, it is the quality
which guarantees all others.”

“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender.”
“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory,
there is no survival.”

“This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming
might of the enemy.”

“There is only one duty, only one safe course, and that is to try to be right and not to fear to do or say what
you believe to be right.”

Darkest Hour / A Triumph

9 Jan

A great movie – and an important one in our time
when the question of Leadership is large on the table. 

Canadian Juniors Prevail …

6 Jan

I didn’t even know the game was on. I thought it was tomorrow! 
 I flipped on the TV and there was 5 minutes left – game tied 1 to 1. 

Here’s what happened:

After losing 2 years in a row by the most contrived non-sport solution
to any sporting event (or tournament no less) – a shootout –

Canada wins in regulation time over Sweden 3 to 1.
(I guess these guys have never heard of Sudden Death Overtime?
It’s only been around a hundred years.) 

The tournament was in Buffalo.
And though this is some of the greatest hockey you

will ever see, not once was the rink full.
Most games less than half full.

You know … I can laugh …
or I can cry …
But I just kinda shake my head. 

Mighty Niagara / photo essay 2

6 Jan


i can see clearly now / johnny nash

Niagara by Day

      Our nights shots were essentially a failure. We didn’t know how to operate our cameras. So next day we head back …

Not award winning shots,
but it’s still hard to take a lousy picture at Niagara. 

That’s not rain. The spray from the Falls can soak you. 
And your camera.

Found a vantage point. 

American Falls and bridge in the distance.

Had another nice day. 

WOW!

If if wasn’t for the water we’d be able to see the Falls.

 

Mighty Niagara / photo essay 1

30 Dec


Beethoven “Moonlight” Sonata op 27 # 2 Mov 1,2 Valentina Lisitsa

OK .. I know this is not Seasonal, but my buddy Quinn has been urging (I refrain from saying ‘nagging’) me for quite a while to post pics from Rose’s and my trip to Southern Ontario last Spring. I’ve been hesitant to do so for 2 reasons: it’s not Western. And we too about 2000 pictures. If I posted everything that’s worthy we’d be looking at Ontario for quite a long time. Yeah.

Alright. First night we got in we raced down to catch the Niagara ‘Light Show’ – they light up the Falls with coloured lights. We took a lot of pics, but our poor photography skills … we had to chuck a lot.

Night Falls

Here I reveal one of my uncanny photography techniques.

These are the cameras Rose and I use:

This puppy fits in the palm of my hand. Also takes great videos.
Cost me 100 bucks. It’s a simple camera, but I still don’t know
how to use it well. The wrist strap has saved me from
dropping it a few dozen times. 

Rose’s camera. We need a zoom lens,
but it’s pretty good. Just gotta figure out how to use it.

Christmas 2017 …

23 Dec


I heard the Bells on Christmas Day / Casting Crowns

Good Tidings to All!

 

 

Scrooge … 1951 Masterpiece

21 Dec

“A Loving heart is the truest wisdom.”
– Charles DickensAlastair George Bell Sim, CBE
1900 –1976

Some people are born for a role. Alistair Sim IS Scrooge.


Call it ‘Inspired Casting” or whatever you like,  but not only is this the finest vision and version of Charles Dicken’s Spiritually inspired story,
but Scrooge is among the Finest Films of all time.
Most other film interpretations are pale as
Morley’s ghost when measured against this Classic.

Colorized ?? Bah?…. Not bad at all.

Scrooge, movie and book (A Christmas Carol)
contains literally (if you’ll excuse the expression)
dozens of quotable passages – a sure sign of Inspired writing.

A Christmas Carol (1843)

And a sure sign that Charles Dickens himself was in a Class of his own.

Special Effects before their time that still hold up today.

Look for a young Patrick McNee (Avengers)

Truly an heartwarming and uplifting movie.
I watch it every year (and cry my eyes out).
And will again.

“Bob’s yer Uncle!”

and God Bless us – Everyone!

The Return of Billy the Kid … Photo 3

15 Dec


– windstruck

So here is the last of the 3 recently tintype images if Billy the Kid:
the Justin Shaw tintype.
Which in several ways is remarkable. 

Firstly let me say that it’s absolutely incredible
that even ONE photo image of Billy the Kid would be discovered!
But 3!!! – within a few years of each other!
Rather incredible.

Secondly – in each instance, the finder DID NOT initially
KNOW what he had acquired!
– often for a considerable amount of time. 

In other words, these images may never have come to light.
One has to wonder what else may be out there??

Purchased on EBAY!!??? Really!!!???
This thing just gets more incredible as you go along. 

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Shaw’s image
is that although 
he cannot establish provinence/authenticity,
his image is the best quality of 
all existing images of The Kid.
I’ve gotta figure that somebody will still offer him pretty
big nickel for it. 

The image raises lots of questions:
When? Why? was it taken?
Was the Kid applying for a job at Pinkerton’s? (joke).
Making application for a pardon? (possible).
and who is that other guy? I’m sure he’s not
just a bystander who jumped into the pic. 

Mystery’s that may never be answered.
– about probably 
the most enigmatic character in Western History:
BILLY the KID. 

May he never rest in peace.  

The Return of Billy the Kid … Part 2

13 Dec


– knopfler

Here’s the second amazing photo of Billy the Kid – with Pat Garrett no less – that was recently discovered.
Most experts believe it to be authentic.

These are truly amazing discoveries beyond the wildest dreams of Western fans and aficionados.

Front row Left to Right: Pat Garret, Barney Mason, Dirty Dave Rudabaugh
Back Row Left to Right: Unknown man, Billy the Kid

The rosy cheeks was a common affection made to tintype photos.

Above: my attempt to clean up the image: 

Above: converted to grey scale.

Next: A 3rd recent photo. 

The Return of Billy the Kid …

11 Dec

You just can’t keep a good Badguy down.

I decided to try and clean up this controversial photo of Billy the Kid
that surfaced a few years ago. 

I love this photo. It so so bizarre – it’s just blows me away. 

Billy the Kid (4th from the left) playing croquette?
Boggles the mind!

Yeah, I thot it looked like the Kid too.
But I had to have my doubts.

But this documentary detailing the finding
and subsequent investigation seems to authenticate it.

Amazing stuff. 

 2 other photos of Billy that have also surfaced recently. 
I’ll post those shortly. 

 

 

Hostiles …

1 Dec

Image result for hostiles 2017 poster

Image result for hostiles posters

Image result for hostiles christian bale

Nobody smiling much in this one … 

 

Esther Ralston Part 3

27 Nov


elvis


“I have had a very long and brilliant life, and I am very very grateful.”
– Esther Ralston

Esther Ralston was a good friend Randolph Scott who persuaded Paramount to hire her as his co-star in a To the Last Man. I think this was an act of kindness on Scott’s part to help Esther whose career was now in decline. But I don’t believe Esther was a weak person in any way. She definitely had a spiritual side that gave her strength – and her ‘out of a suitcase’ Vaudeville upbringing also taught her how to survive. She also looks to have been a bit of a Tom Boy? – her toughness shows through in her character in To the Last Man. (But maybe people from that era were just tough?) She went through the ‘Movies Mills’ and 3 marriages (three children) before ultimately losing her money in the stock market crash and ending up in a trailer park.

But I doubt that she complained much at all.

Wow … !! 
That wasn’t easy. 
Thanks Esther.

 

Esther Ralston Part 2 / Dear Esther …

16 Nov


joe cocker

shhhhhh ….

Dear  Esther … 

I couldn’t help but notice some startling parallels between certain negative experiences you had and current events of today/2017. I point to your troubles with gay Director Dorothy Arzner and movie mogul Louis B. Mayer (Metro/Goldwyn/Mayer/MGM) which directly mirror current controversy’s.

From Why Do All My Husbands Want to Kill Me? Part II Copyright Robert J. Avrech
“Open about her homosexuality, director Dorothy Arzner, during production of Fashions for Women and Ten Modern Commandments, 1927, is in the habit of dragging Esther into her lap and groping her breasts. Esther rejects Arzner’s crude advances and Arzner takes revenge by browbeating Esther, making her perform take after take of a single scene. Ironic, because Esther was known as One-Take Ralston.”
This amounts to sexual assault in my book, yet it appears Arzner was neither charged – nor fired. No wonder people get away with it – for years.

From: “My Love of Hollywoodhttp://myloveofoldhollywood.blogspot.ca/2010/10/esther-ralston-1902-1994.html=
“Esther Ralston Facts:
She (Ralston) worked in England during 1932 and upon returning to Hollywood she was loaned out by Louis B. Mayor after denying his sexual advances. (She had worked at Paramount prior to this) This does answer the question as to why a previously successful actress would be cast in B rated movies that led to her early retirement.”
It’s astounding that someone would destroy someone’s career, because they rebuffed. Yet it’s a certainty that this kind of thing goes on all the time.
It would nice to think that will live in an enlightened age where such behavior and abuses will stop. But they won’t.

My own brief experience in the Film Industry saw this kind of kind of thing first hand. The power and money floating around in Big Time entertainment assures there are a plenty of people who care ONLY about 3 things: Money, Power, and Sex – not necessarily in that order. ART is not on the list.

And any Movie Set, I’d guess there a mere handful of folks who are care about the creative/Art aspect – the Director and the Actors mainly. A lot of other people (most?) are just there for the money – or whatever else they can get. It was not an uplifting experience.

Ralston with Clara Bow

Next: Esther Ralston Part 3 … 

 

 

 

Unknown …

11 Nov

Unknown … 

… but not forgotten. 

Henry Hathaway Director of Westerns / To the Last Man / Esther Ralston Part 1

6 Nov


A Kiss to Build a Dream On / Jill Barber

To the Last Man / 1933

I’ve been stuck for over a month. This time on Esther Ralston. My problem is the incredible number of awesome images of her. Many of which needed some editing. Finally I’ve got something to put up. 

Esther has over 40 years of portrait pics (taken by anonymous Artists) – hundreds. If you ever wondered that Portrait Photography was a worthy Artform – here is the proof. I’m sure there’s some good Portrait Photographers around these days, but they’d be hard put to equal many of these photos. Like I said, it almost seems a lost Artform.
I have so many that I’m posting these pics 3 installments. 

Esther Ralston
17 September 1902 – 14 January 1994

Esther Ralston

Herself, almost unknown these days, Esther Ralston was a major Movie Star from 1915 to 1940 – appearing in 44 movies. She Starred and co-starred with the likes of
Randolph Scott, Charlie Chaplin, Hoot Gibson, Lon Chaney, Jackie Coogan, William Desmond, Tom Mix, Wallace Beery, Clara Bow, Gary Cooper, Richard Dix, Basil Rathbone, Paul Lukas, Joan Crawford, Betty Grable … and others. Quite a career. 
Her last leading role was in To the Last Man / 1933 with Randolph Scott. 

Embed from Getty Images

Meet the Ralstons

Esther began her career as a child actress in a family vaudeville act which was billed as “The Ralston Family – with Baby Esther, America’s Youngest Juliet“. From this, Esther appeared in a few small silent films including a role alongside her brother in the 1920 film adaptation of Huckleberry Finn … 

Esther in the middle

In the late 1920’s Esther appeared in many films for Paramount, at one point earning as much as $8000 a week (!!!), and garnering much popularity, especially in Britain. She appeared mainly in comedies, often portraying spirited society girls, but received good reviews for her forays into dramatic roles. Several of Ralston’s films from the 1920’s are ‘lost’.

Esther with Gary Cooper / 1928

Young Esther

Next: Esther Ralston Part 2 … 

I put a spell on you …

29 Oct


I put a Spell on You / Bonny Tyler


It was short …. 

… but it was a helluva ride.

Happy Halloween everyone !

Owooooooooooo !!!

27 Oct


Werewolves of London / Warren Zevon


BOOOOOO !!!

27 Oct


The Monster Mash / Bobby Pickett

It was a graveyard smash !

A Gallery of Ghouls 

Boo!

Image result for frankensteinIt’s alive !!!

Hello Friends …

18 Oct

I’m heading out for 4 days. I haven’t been posting much lately, but I can assure that I am working on projects all the time. Typically I’m working on 3 posts at once.

These days it takes me longer to put a post together. I’m more particular than I used to be. I’m trying to include more content – do more research – and I rework pretty well every image I post. This takes a long time, but I want to do good stuff.

There are a number of projects of that I haven’t finished – including John Wayne’s Filmography. I will get back to those.

Ongoing:

  • Between 1929 and 1971 Henry Hathaway Directed about 25 Westerns. I’m working through them one by one. It’s an interesting project for me. I hope it’s interesting to you too.  Hathaway’s Westerns include several films by 2 to of the Greatest Western Stars of all time: John Wayne and Randolph Scott.

  • I’m still working on a photo essay and Bio of Esther Ralston – who co-Starred with Randolph Scott in To the Last Man (1933). She had an amazing film career spanning 1915 to 1940 – appearing in about 45 films. She was a top Star in her day and was also ‘drop dead’ gorgeous – as you can see. There are a ton of superb images of her, but most require some re-working. Incredibly, she is almost unknown today. I figure she deserves more than a passing nod.

  • Mighty Niagara – a photo essay of our adventures in Ontario this summer.

Onward …

Back soon. 

 

Henry Hathaway Director of Westerns / The Last Round-Up / 1934

16 Oct


The Last Round-Up / Vivian Blaine / Songwriter Billy Hill / 1933

Songwriter Billy Hill (1899 – 1940) wrote several Western Classic’s including  “Old Pine Tree“,”Wagon Wheels“, and “Empty Saddles“.

The Last Round-Up / 1934

Zane Grey’s “The Border Legion” must be a helluva story because it was adapted to film 5 times – in 1918, 1924, 1930, and in 1940. The The Last Round-Up (1934) was also based on the novel.

IMDB says: “One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. However, because of legal complications, this particular title was not included in the original television package and may not have ever been televised.

“A nitrate print of this film survives in the UCLA Film and Television Archives, and is not listed for preservation.”

MFW: They might want to rethink that. We all know that some old movies have been ‘Lost’, but to deliberately decide not to preserve/save these old movies is unacceptable. Once they gone, they are gone for good. Some come to be valued much more as time goes by.

Only one Poster.
No Trailers – No clips.
Very few images of any kind.
But plenty of Lobby Cards.

Reviews

“6.5” out of 10 from IMBD? … not bad.

AllMovie is not so generous … “1.5” out of 5

Co-Star Barbara Fritchie was Billed as Barbara Adams. She made 6 movies between 1934 and 1935. The Last Round-Up was her first. There is very little other Bio information.

So long Tom …

15 Oct

The Traveling Wilburys 

George Harrison – lead vocals (1st, 4th, and 7th choruses), slide guitar, backing vocals
Tom Petty – lead vocals (verses), bass guitar
Jeff Lynne – lead vocals (2nd, 5th, and 6th choruses), electric rhythm guitar
Roy Orbison – lead vocals (3rd chorus), electric rhythm guitar
Bob Dylan – acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Jim Keltner – drums, backing vocals (in video)

Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s all right, doing the best you can
Well it’s all right, as long as you lend a hand
You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring (end of the line)
Waiting for someone to tell you everything (end of the line)
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring (end of the line)
Maybe a diamond ring
Well it’s all right, even if they say you’re wrong
Well it’s all right, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well it’s all right, as long as you got somewhere to lay
Well it’s all right, everyday is judgment day
Maybe somewhere down the road aways (end of the line)
You’ll think of me, wonder where I am these days (end of the line)
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays (end of the line)
Purple haze
Well it’s all right, even when push comes to shove
Well it’s all right, if you got someone to love
Well it’s all right, everything’ll work out fine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line
Don’t have to be ashamed of the car I drive (end of the line)
I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive (end of the line)
It don’t matter if you’re by my side (end of the line)
I’m satisfied
Well it’s all right, even if you’re old and grey
Well it’s all right, you still got something to say
Well it’s all right, remember to live and let live
Well it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive
Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s all right, even if the sun don’t shine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line

Songwriters: Bob Dylan / George Harrison / Jeff Lynne /
Roy K Orbison / Tom Petty

 

Winter’s Warning …

2 Oct

They said it was going to snow. This didn’t surprise us – or scare us – much. It’s common to have at least one snow in October. Winter’s Warning I call it. Then things go back to Fall – and often stay that way up until the end of November – or even later.

But … in keeping with modern weather trends … we didn’t just get snow. We got a blizzard. On the worst possible day – a Monday work day. There’s going to be a ton of accidents and misery. Because no matter how regular such an event might be here, people just never seem to be ready for it.

Have a look:

Better get out my snow shovel …

But along side all the other horrific events in this world lately,
I won’t trade you.

Bluenose … a photo essay … Part 6

2 Oct


the dophins / it’s a beautiful day

Going Home

Time to drop sail

Nine hours on the Bluenose It was perfect Captain. Thanks.

Moving on to new adventures

Henry Hathaway Director of Westerns / To the Last Man / Part 4

27 Sep


Oh! Susanna/ Burl Ives

To the Last Man / 1933

Randolph and Shirley … continued

Ya, I know that Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm isn’t a Western.
And NO, I’m not starting a new blog called My Favorite Farmers.
Nothing against farmers, but I just found this connection between Shirley and Randolph to be interesting.
Still do.
They made one more movie together in 1939.
It was a Western.

Susannah of the Mounties 

A Shirley Temple movie all the way.
Randolph is not even 
on the banner.

Flaming Arrows! Cracking Rifles!

But peace can come at at price 

 Wikipedia says:
“As an act of good will, Temple swore in all members of the Blackfoot tribe as members of the Shirley Temple Police Force while Temple was made an honorary member of the Blackfoot tribe and given the name Bright Shining Star.”

(Guess I got that one right)

Shirley was now 11-years-old.
Still a cute kid, but …

Oh Susannah …
Don’t you cry for me … 

Becoming a young lady … 

… a confident young lady.

Next … To the Last Man
Part 5 Esther Ralston

Henry Hathaway Director of Westerns / To the Last Man / Part 3

20 Sep


It’s a Beautiful Day

To the Last Man / 1933

Randolph and Shirley 

“Then the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
How could he see where to go,
If you did not twinkle so?”

Not cute at all. *cough*

When I was a kid I hated Shirley Temple. On Saturday mornings I had to share TV time with my little sister – who always seemed to be watching a Shirley Temple movie. I just knew that Roy, RandolphRory, Cisco, and Hopalong (or some other Western Star) was on the other channel. It was infuriating watching that little cherub dancing around when decent cowboys were galloping into the sunset! Many years later I came to appreciate Shirley as the very special person and talent that she was. Today when I look back on it all, I really have to marvel that she was the Top Box Office Star for four consecutive years: 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938! Partly because I figured only women and girls were watching her movies!? It sure wasn’t me – or any guy that I knew. Could women and girls really have comprised that huge an audience?? Especially during the Great Depression? I still haven’t figured it out. It’s safe to say however, that Shirley – her incredible personality and talent – was a very important person during those very difficult and troubled days. She seemed a person born for the moment.

So … 5-year-old Shirley had an uncredited bit role in To the Last Man which Starred Randolph Scott. You can see on the poster below that she got no Billing in the movie.That would soon change. More than just a dimple and some curls.

I think Randy and Shirley got along just fine. 

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm 

Flash ahead 5 years … to 1938. To Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Shirley is 10-years-old. Her Star has started to fade, but she still commands the Bill – as the Banner and Poster show. Randolph is second on the Bill now. Quite a turn around.

No CGI necessary 
But they still got along just fine

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

BY JANE TAYLOR
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
How could he see where to go,
If you did not twinkle so?

In the dark blue sky you keep,
Often through my curtains peep
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveler in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

Next … To the Last Man
Part 4

Invasion of the Yellow Jacket Wasps …

18 Sep

See this guy? Some of you will know him well. He’s called a Yellow Jacket Wasp. And sadly, he has been a problem these last 2 years around here. Seems like anytime you have a hot dry Summer you get a lot of these guys. ?? Last year they built a nest under our back step. I tried to co-exist with them, but after a while it just didn’t work. They were getting into the house. We couldn’t barbecue or sit out back either – they would land on our food – or us. Their sting is pretty bad. I once got stung by one and I could still feel it 2 years later.

Finally, I decided I had to do something about them. I tried to block the hole to their nest – hoping they would re-locate. Didn’t work. Then I sprayed Wasp Killer into the hole when they were asleep. That didn’t work either.

Finally, a friend told me about this stuff.

Rescue Yellow Jacket Killer

It’s made by an outfit named Rescue and called Yellow Jacket Killer. I didn’t really want to kill them – or anything … but …

Fill the bag half way with water and hang it up, he said. “There’s something in there that attracts them.” DON’T hang it near your door, barbecue or picnic table though, he advised.

I was skeptical …

But then … I was amazed. They were swarming around it instantly. It started killing them … and killing them. They couldn’t wait go in there and die. I felt like Mickey with the magic broom sticks … like it was out of control … it was Yellow Jacket BootHill … in my backyard. The guys under the steps disappeared pretty quickly. But others kept coming. The neighbor accused me of Yellow Jacket genocide …

It’s slowed down a bit now, but hasn’t stopped. You see that black mass in the bag? That’s dead Yellow Jackets. Hundreds of them.

I pray that Yellow Jackets don’t hold some essential place in the balance of nature? But why else would they exist?

If they’d just built there nest some place else …

I’m open to any solutions that might get rid of them without killing any. ??

Henry Hathaway Director of Westerns / To the Last Man / Part 2

16 Sep


the circle / byrds 

To the Last Man / 1933

Now … where was I? Oh yeah, To the Last Man Casting. I’ll get back to Shirley in a minute because she’s worthy of a lot more space.

Meanwhile:

Our Hero, 35 year-old Randolph was a pretty terrible Actor in 1933 – very wooden. But became very good later on and is indisputably one of the greatest Western Movie Actors of all time –  Starring in over 50 Westerns.