Burl Ives – The first cover of Ghost Riders In The Sky, recorded in 1949
Very sweetly done Burl.
Tom Keene (born George Duryea; December 30, 1896 – August 4, 1963) was an American actor known mostly for his roles in B Westerns. During his almost 40-year career in motion pictures Tom Keene worked under three different names. From 1923, when he made his first picture, until 1930 he worked under his real name George Duryea. The last film he made under this name was Pardon My Gun. Beginning with the 1930 film Tol’able David, he used Tom Keene as his moniker. This name he used up to 1944 when he changed it to Richard Powers. The first film he used this name in was Up in Arms.
He continued to use this name for the rest of his film career.
Somewhere in there Tom Keene made a lot of Westerns and was a well known Western Star of his day
– as the photo below attests.
Available on DVD From 1930 to 1958
Though many Westerns from this era are ‘lost’ Tom still has a substantial collection.
For a superb in depth bio on Tom Keene head over to The Old Corral http://www.b-westerns.com/tkeene1.htm
Then … incredibly, just a few short years after you hung up your spurs …
You were erased. By time.
Why? It’s understandable maybe? Because most early Western Stars were dead before most of us were born. And many of their movies are ‘Lost’. Even now only a handful of Western Film buffs try to keep their memories alive. And the Wonders that they brought back then.
I don’t count myself among those that do that.
They’re several notches above this tenderfoot.
I’m bringing this all up because back in 2014 I had an idea:
I’d post series of images of Western Stars performing
a very popular Publicity shot from the early era of Westerns: The Cowboy Star rearing up on his Steed.
I called this Steeds of Renown.
I even made some banners.
And a few posts.
Then … I ran into a problem (as I usually do).
My original plan to just post some images got ambushed.
I found that I couldn’t just throw up some pics of these guys
without providing some kind of bio or profile on them.
It didn’t seem right.
Sooo very quickly my little dust devil of an idea turned into a tornado!
On Buck Jones alone I did about 18 posts!
Waaaaaay more than anything I had intended.
Eventually the whole thing bogged down and collapsed into a heap of road apples.
And I got distracted by other things.
But now! Since I find myself doing nothing at all …
(I got them old covid blues) … I’ll try to pick up the trail where I left off.
And who knows? I might even finish this thing.
Some day. But I doubt it.
A while back I got a bright idea to do a post on one of the most famous and Iconic Images of Early Westerns Film – the publicity shot of our Western Hero rearing up on his/her trusty Steed. Most every Star did one of these shots all the way from early Westerns right up to Roy Rogers, Zorro, The Cisco Kid and The Lone Ranger. I figure this would be an interesting and fun post. So I set about rounding up as many such images as I find and …. pretty soon I had a lot. A lot.
And as I started to put this together, things got even more complicated. How could I just throw a pic of Buck Jones on the blog, for instance, without saying something about him? Especially since he’s not all that well known these days – unless you’re a real Western Movie buff. I just couldn’t do that. Buck Jones – or Bob Baker – Ken Maynard and others were all big Western Stars in their day – and interesting guys. They deserve more than just a passing pic in the wind.. Sooo I started to to put a couple of bios together. HAH! Soon I had so much material – and a lot of it was really good – that this project went from being a mere pic post into an encyclopedia. A monster had emerged.
I’m sure most people think that The Lone Ranger came out of the 50’s. Wrong! The Lone Ranger started on radio back before 1933 and ran over 900 shows up until 1956. 23 years! It translated to TV from 1949 to 1957.
So … my “Thrilling days of yesterday” go back to the early 50’s when I used to listen to The Lone Ranger on the radio. We didn’t always have a TV because Dad feared (rightly) that we wouldn’t read much. But I loved the radio shows and listened to Hopalong Cassidy, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, The Shadow, Superman – and a few other radio programs as well. Grand stuff.
The Lone Ranger Theme / William Tell Overture by Rossini
If there’s any one thing that separates the modern Western from Westerns of the past, it’s the loss of Romance.
Nothing illustrates this loss more than the almost non-existent relationship between the modern Western Hero and his Horse/Steed.
In the modern Western a horse is just a prop – a vehicle – a necessary, but no-named beast. Slap on your saddle and ride off – not likely into the sunset.
It’s sad I tell ya.
WIth that in mind I’d like to pay homage to those lost Days of Yesteryear …
with this quiz:
The Steeds of Renown / A quiz:
The quiz matchups range from ridiculously easy – to insanely difficult.
And some are just plain ridiculous.
Click link below to do this quiz:
I hope that was a bit of fun for you.
Less than 10 correct = Stand down wind Please.
13 Correct = Fetch yer saddle.
16 correct = Let’s ride!
19 correct = Welcome at my campfire.
22 or more correct = There’s a bottle in the saddlebag …