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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

Mustang Bar

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

SIx Shooter Bar





SIx Shooter Barborn-to-the-west-helltown-john-wayne


Wayne, Marsha Hunt, Johnny Mack Brown

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

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.


Johnny does Hockey …

9 Aug

The Good Old Hockey Game / Stompin’ Tom Connors

hocky cowboy bar 3

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

hocky cowboy bar 3

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

Idol of the Crowds 1937 screencap 4Idol of the Crowds 1937 screencap 5Idol of the Crowds 1937 screencap 6Idol of the Crowds 1937 screencap 7Idol of the Crowds John Wayne 1937 lobby cardIdol of the Crowds John Wayne 1937 lobby card 2Idol of the Crowds John Wayne 1937 lobby card 3Idol of the Crowds John Wayne 1937 lobby card 5

Idol of the Crowds 1937 screencap 8

Those chicken farmers get all the chicks

Idol of the Crowds 1937 screencap 9hocky cowboy bar 3Sheila Bromley
Idol of the Crowds 1937 sheila bromleyIdol of the Crowds 1937 sheila bromley 2

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

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 

stagecoach bar

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

stagecoach bar

Winds of the Wasteland image 1


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Phyllis Fraser (1916–2006) 

Phyllis Fraser

Phyllis Fraser

Yakima Canutt / Western Stunting 101 … The Art of Falling / Part 1

30 Jun

Ben Hur Theme / Miklos Rosza


Western Movie Stunting 101:
 The Art of Falling: Part 1:
Elementary Western Horse Stunting

There’s only one good thing about Falling off a horse. It’s damn easy.
(Especially galloping full speed, handling a weapon, or without a saddle)
Making it look good however – and landing safely – is another matter.

Image result for falling off a horse

Not a good Fall.

Bucked off

So Saddle up … or not … we’re goin’ Stunting!

Those Poor Horses

Yakima Canutt. was a Rodeo Champion, before and during his career as a Western Film Stunt Artist. He knew what Falling was all about – and it’s obvious side effects – injury and death – though he obviously Fell a lot less than most cowboys. But his experience in Rodeo is definitely what led to his place as a Western Film Stunt Master.

But getting bucked off in a Rodeo, and Falling in a Western movie, are not quite the same thing. In Rodeo you don’t want to Fall. And if you do, you aren’t very concerned about how it looks. In Stunt Falling you’re trying to Fall – and make it look good – the more sensational, the better – higher, farther, faster …. always pushing the envelope. And in Rodeo, and especially Stunting, Yak pushed the envelope big time. He pretty well invented the Stunt industry. In either case however, you still need to land safely. Not an easy thing to do.

Bronc riding

Unknown bronc rider … and unknown bronc … at an unknown rodeo

Yakima Canutt bar

But before we ride any further, there’s one thing that needs to be mentioned … the Horses.
Early Western Horse Stunts seemed to demonstrate a tremendous disregard for the safety of the horses.
One example: Stunt Falls from horses sometimes employed trip lines that tripped/yanked the horses down – while galloping at full speed. The Stuntman, of course, knew a Fall was coming – the horse did not. I haven’t seen any statistics, but I can surmise there was a considerable toll on the horses. This was rightfully criticized and eventually stopped. Nowadays Stunt horses are extensively trained in Falls and any other Stunts involving horses. To Yak’s credit he later took great care and pride in inventing techniques which greatly limited injury to both man and beast – culminating in his masterpiece – one of the greatest Stunt events in film history – the spectacular (and dangerous) – Chariot Race in Ben Hur (1959) – a monumental stunting achievement that took Yak two years of planning and preparation. And despite urban legends to the contrary, there is no evidence that any horses (or actors) were killed.

Yakima Canutt bar

Ben Hur …

Ben Hur - 1959

Ben Hur - Yakima Canutt instructing Charleton Heston

Yak gives Chuck (Heston) some pointers …

Ben Hur - chariot race 1959

Ben Hur - chariot race 1959 2

Ben Hur - chariot race 1959 4

They’re off !!!

Ben Hur - 1959 Camera Truck

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Ben Hur - chariot race 1959 6

Joe Cannutt Ben Hur stunt

Yakima Canutt’s son Joe does the famous crash jump …

Ben Hur - chariot race 1959 7

Spiked wheels … ??

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Ben Hur - chariot race 1959 10

Ben Hur - chariot race 1959 11


Western Movie Stunting 101:
 The Art of Falling: Part 2:

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