Tag Archives: Ben Johnson

The Wild Bunch Casting Call Part 4: Ben Johnson

18 Feb

My Heroes have always been Cowboys .. Nelson

Ben Johnson The Wild Bunch

Ben Johnson seemed to live a charmed life. Western Movie Stardom seemed to fall right into his saddlebags. It helped, of course, that he happened to be a top notch Cowboy – and it’s certain he would have been happy (and successful) to remain such.

And if you’re going to be a Western Movie Star you might as well at the top too: with the Greatest Western Star of all: John Wayne and Great Western Director John Ford. In gambling – and Westerns – this is called the jackpot.

And in this long career Johnson just kept rolling into the sunset.

So much so, that it may well be noted that Ben Johnson probably appeared in more Classic Westerns that any other Western Actor (except Wayne?) in Western Film history. See for yourself.

So in The Wild Bunch it’s a bit of a surprise to see him 4th on the Bill  – behind William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Warrren Oates ??

Yet in Hollywood Star Power is the Law – and the others guys were ruled faster in charisma and money draw – despite Ben being the only real cowboy of the Bunch. The only card he couldn’t pull.

But I’m sure he didn’t complain.

Ben Johnson Filmography

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Ben Johnson Filmography 3

Ben Johnson Filmography 4

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Note: These aren’t all the movies that Johnson appeared in … just what I could round up. It’s said that he appeared in 15 John Wayne Westerns alone.

The Cast Ben Johnson

Go ahead Ben, smile. (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon / 1949)

A Small Fraternity … Part 2 Ben Johnson

6 Oct

Roy Rogers & Sons Of The Pioneers – Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Stunts to Stars /  A Small Fraternity: 

Ben Johnson

Wikipedia: “Ben “Son” Johnson, Jr. (June 13, 1918 – April 8, 1996) was an American stuntman, world champion rodeo cowboy and actor. The son of a rancher, Johnson arrived in Hollywood to deliver a consignment of horses for a film. He did stunt double work for several years before breaking into acting through the good offices of John Ford. Tall and laconic, Johnson brought further authenticity to many roles in Westerns with his extraordinary horsemanship. An elegiac portrayal of a former cowboy theatre owner in the 50’s coming of age drama, The Last Picture Show, won Johnson the 1971 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He operated a horse breeding farm throughout his career. Although he said he had succeeded by sticking to what he knew, shrewd real estate investments made Johnson worth an estimated 100 million dollars by his latter years.

Johnson was born in Foraker, Oklahoma, on the Osage Indian Reservation, of Irish and Cherokee ancestry, the son of Ollie Susan (née Workmon) and Ben Johnson, Sr. His father was a rancher and rodeo champion in Osage County. Throughout his life Johnson was drawn to the rodeos and horse breeding of his early years. In 1953 he took a break from well paid film work to compete in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, becoming Team Roping World Champion although he only broke even financially that year. Johnson was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1973.

Johnson’s 1941 marriage to Carol Elaine Jones lasted until her death on March 27, 1994, they had no children. Jones was the daughter of noted Hollywood horse wrangler Clarence “Fat” Jones.

“I grew up on a ranch and I know livestock, so I like working in Westerns. All my life I’ve been afraid of failure. To avoid it, I’ve stuck with doing things I know how to do, and it’s made me a good living.”

You done good Ben.

Ben Johnson 1

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Young Ben

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Later

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… gentleman Ben

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A drink with Brando / “One Eyed Jacks” 1961

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“One Eyed Jacks” 1961

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“The Sacketts” Tom Selleck, Ben Johnson, Glenn Ford. 1979

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“The Wild Bunch” 1969 / Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

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“The Wild Bunch” Ben Johnson

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Not photogenic at all …

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15 movies with ‘The Duke’ including “The Train Robbers” 1973

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Ben Johnson / Inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1973

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Tom Selleck Westerns: The Sacketts

25 Feb

The Sacketts tagline

The Sacketts opening banner

The made-for-television western The Sacketts combines the plotlines from two seperate Louis L’Amour novels, The Daybreakers and The Sacketts. In this film, the three Tennessee-raised Sackett brothers migrate to the West following the conclusion of the Civil War. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Movie Guide.

The Sacketts poster

The Sacketts dvd cover

Made ten years before Lonesome Dove, The Sacketts (1979) may well have been the first great Western Mini Series – and in looking at the cast, it’s easy to understand why some Western fans may hold it with similar esteem, with Western Greats like Glenn Ford, Sam ElliottTom SelleckSlim Pickens, Jack Elam, Ben  Johnson, L.Q. Jones, and some notable support players including John Vernon, Gilbert Roland, Buck Taylor  and on. Pretty impressive. So although The Sacketts does show itself to be a little shy in production values compared to modern fair, it still shines with notable Star Power.

The Sacketts IMDB review

The Sacketts Rotten Tomatoes reviewRatings were favourable … as they should be.

toothpick 2

The Cast

The Sacketts - Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, Jeff Osterhage

Sam Elliott

sam elliott the sacketts 3

Tom Selleck

tom selleck the sacketts

 Jeff Osterhage

The Sacketts - Jeff Osterhage 2

 Glenn Ford

The Sacketts glenn ford 2

Ben Johnson

The Sacketts ben johnson

Jack Elam

The Sacketts jack elam 2

Slim Pickens

The Sacketts slim pickens 2

John Vernon

The Sacketts john vernon

cowboy

THE SACKETTS ... doing 'the walk'

Sacketts … doing ‘the walk’

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