Monday, September 13, 2010
REPUBLIC PICTURES 75th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!
UPDATED 9/17/2010 (SEE LOS ENCINOS LIVING HISTORY)
On Saturday, September 25th, CBS Studio Center in Studio City will revert for one day to its earlier identity: the headquarters of Republic Pictures, the great Western and Serial thrill-factory! This FREE EVENT will run from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., and will include screenings of features, serial chapters and trailers, live swing and western music, guest speakers, celebrities, gun spinners, rope twirlers, trick horses, cowboy poets, memorabilia, a special Republic Pictures stamp cancellation ceremony of the Cowboys of the Silver Screen postage stamps, food – all the stuff that right-thinking kids of all ages love – because after all, Republic’s business was, above all, to entertain kids, and they did it like no other studio!
Among the Republic alumni who will be attending are Theodore Bikel, Adrian Booth, Michael Chapin, Ben Cooper, Robert Easton, Coleen Gray, Eilene Janssen, Anne Jeffreys, Dickie Jones, Jane Kean, Joan Leslie, Marjorie Lord,
Jimmy Lydon, Donna Martell, Hugh O'Brian, Peggy Stewart and Jane Withers. Other special guests will include Diana Canova, Ty Hardin, Herb Jeffries, Andrew Prine and William Smith. Panel Moderator will be Leonard Maltin.
The site of Republic Studios is steeped in movie history. Mack Sennett bought the land to move his Comedy Factory from Edendale to the San Fernando Valley, but this was just when sound was coming in, and Sennett’s style of comedy was going out. Here W.C. Fields starred in his great Sennett shorts, THE PHARMACIST, THE BARBER SHOP, THE DENTIST and THE FATAL GLASS OF BEER, and Bing Crosby starred in his Sennett two-reelers, but soon Sennett had to sell. Next came Nat Levine’s Mascot Studios, where Tom Mix made his last films, and John Wayne made three serials.
Meanwhile, Herbert J. Yates ran Consolidated Film Laboratories, a lab that processed most of the poverty row studios’ footage. Such companies were always behind in their payments, and in 1935, Yates called in everyone’s paper, took over several small companies, including Monogram Pictures (which would later rise again as an independent) and combined them into Republic Pictures, locating them at the old Sennett/Mascot lot.
In addition to the main event,on Wednesday, September 15th (THAT'S THIS WEDNESDAY), at 7:30 p.m., The Egyptian Theatre will mark the 75th Anniversary of Republic Studios with a special program: "Meet the Stars #7: Meet Roy Rogers," 1941, Republic Pictures, 10 min. Dir. Harriet Parsons. "It’s a Grand Old Nag," 1947, Republic Pictures, 8 min. Dir. Robert Clampett, probably the only cartoon Republic ever made, UNDER WESTERN STARS, 1938, Republic Pictures, 54 min. Dir. Joseph Kane. This is the one that started it all for Roy Rogers – Gene Autry was on strike, and Republic re-tailored the script, about a cowboy elected to Congress, fighting for his constituents’ water rights, to fit Roy. There are tons of parallels with MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, which came out a year later! The listing says 54 minutes, but I’m betting they’ll show the version shown recently at the Autry, with the missing scenes back in place. SOUTH OF THE BORDER, 1939, Republic Pictures, 70 min. Dir. George Sherman. It is the eve of World War II, and Federal agents Gene Autry and Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnett) head to Mexico to foil the schemes of a fleet of foreign spies at a submarine base.
And on Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 7:00 p.m., noted Hollywood historian Marc Wanamaker will speak at the Studio City Branch Library to discuss the history of Studio City and Republic Pictures. Studio City Branch Library, 12511 Moorpark Street, Studio City, 91604
I’ll be having more details as the main event nears, and you can CLICK HERE to go to the official website.
SHORT STORY CONTEST AT ‘ROPE AND WIRE’
Rope and Wire, a website that describes itself as, “ a gathering place for Western Writers, Cowboys Poets and Old Western Movies Buffs,” is sponsoring a Western short story contest. Entries need to be unpublished, in English, between 2,500 and 4,000 words. The deadline is November 30th, and there is a $15 entrance fee – you can enter more than one story, but you pay each time. The more entries, the bigger the prizes – 1st prize wins $5 out of each entry, 2nd prize wins $3 of each entry, and 3rd prize wins $2 from each entry. For more details, CLICK HERE for the Rope and Wire site. Good luck! And by the way, the site has links to TONS of on-line B-westerns!
A MESSAGE FROM WOODY STRODE’S SON, KALAI
Those of you who read last week’s article about the making of YELLOW ROCK (if you haven’t, CLICK HERE) may remember actor Zahn McClarnon’s fond memories of being a child on the set of WINTERHAWK, and meeting star Woody Strode – and meeting him again, as an adult, in Hollywood. Kalai Strode, son of Woody and Luana Strode (you’ll remember her as the Indian woman at the train station in the opening of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST), and a very busy second unit director and assistant director, remembers making WINTERHAWK as well.
“I'm watching the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy telethon and was thinking about when I last saw it back in 1974. My father, Woody Strode, asked me to fly to Montana to write up his part in the movie "Winterhawk." I flew out during the telethon weekend. In Montana I saw many of the Native American extras, many were Blackfoot from a nearby reservation. It was a tremendous experience and I had a lot of fun there with my father. If the Outlaw Inn is still there, you might see two arrows embedded in the ceiling which my father shot there. Of course, that was a long time ago and the arrows may be gone now.”
If any of our readers out Montana way can check out the ceiling of the Outlaw Inn, we’d be most grateful!
SCREENING - VIVA ZAPATA AT THE BILLY WILDER!
Thursday Sept. 16th
Co-presented with the UCLA Film & Television Archive
Celebrate the 100th Aniversario of the Mexican Revolution with a screening of Elia Kazan’s sweeping biopic following Emiliano Zapata Salazar’s life from reluctant advocate for peasant land rights, to legendary general of the revolution. Marlon Brando’s intense performance as Zapata and Kazan’s powerful direction act as weighty correctives to Hollywood’s typical portrayal of the revolution. Print courtesy of the Academy Archive. (1952, 113 min. Dir. Elia Kazan, 35mm, B/W). Note, this is a FREE SCREENING, but tickets are required!
OLD WEST DAYS – RANDSBURG Sept. 18
Western and bluegrass music, pancake breakfast, antiques and collectibles, food vendors and reenactments in this “Living Ghost Town” of the high desert. Downtown (760)371-0965, randdesertmueum.com
CIVIL WAR REENACTMENTS – LEBEC Sept. 19
Union and Confederate Army encampments, battle demonstrations and living history presentations. Fort Tejon State Historic Park (661) 248-6692 forttejon.org
GRAND WESTERN GRUB FEST – SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO Sept. 26
Chili cook-off, vendors, country music, Old West shootout, food, beer and wine, carnival booths, dunk tank, pie-eating contest, kids’ activities. Proceeds benefit U.S. military troops and their families. St. Margaret’s Episcopal School at Gateway Field. 949) 248-9468 gwgf.org
FREE WESTERNS ON YOUR COMPUTER AT HULU
A staggering number of western TV episodes and movies are available, entirely free, for viewing on your computer at HULU. You do have to sit through the commercials, but that seems like a small price to pay. The series available -- often several entire seasons to choose from -- include THE RIFLEMAN, THE CISCO KID, THE LONE RANGER, BAT MASTERSON, THE BIG VALLEY, ALIAS SMITH AND JONES, and one I missed from 2003 called PEACEMAKERS starring Tom Berenger. Because they are linked up with the TV LAND website, you can also see BONANZA and GUNSMOKE episodes, but only the ones that are running on the network that week.
The features include a dozen Zane Grey adaptations, and many or most of the others are public domain features. To visit HULU on their western page, CLICK HERE.
AROUND LOS ANGELES
SUNDAY, SEPT. 19TH LOS ENCINOS LIVING HISTORY DAY
On this day, and the third Sunday of every month, Los Encinos State Historic Park, located at 16756 Moorpark St. in Encino,91436, has a Living History Day. From one to three p.m. enjoy music, period crafts,a blacksmith, docents in 1870s attire, tours of the historic buildings, and traditional children’s games.
THE AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER
Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. Currently they have THE ART OF NATIVE AMERICAN BASKETRY: A LIVING TRADITION, through November 7th. I've seen the show three times, and am continually astonished at the beauty and variety of the work of the various tribes. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.
HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE MUSEUM
Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, this building, once the headquarters of Lasky-Famous Players (later Paramount Pictures) was the original DeMille Barn, where Cecil B. DeMille made the first Hollywood western, The Squaw Man. They have a permanent display of movie props, documents and other items related to early, especially silent, film production. They also have occasional special programs. 2100 Highland Ave., L.A. CA 323-874-2276. Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for senior, $1 for children.
WELLS FARGO HISTORY MUSEUM
This small but entertaining museum gives a detailed history of Wells Fargo when the name suggested stage-coaches rather than ATMS. There’s a historically accurate reproduction of an agent’s office, an original Concord Coach, and other historical displays. Open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Admission is free. 213-253-7166. 333 S. Grand Street, L.A. CA.
TV LAND - BONANZA and GUNSMOKE
Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They run a GUNSMOKE Monday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m., and on Friday they show two, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. They're not currently running either series on weekends, but that could change at any time.
NEED YOUR BLACK & WHITE TV FIX?
Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run THE LONE RANGER at 1:30 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.
Sorry this post went up on Monday rather than Sunday, but my wife and I just got back from a week in Sedona and at the Grand Canyon. Next week I hope to have Part 2 of my YELLOW ROCK story, about the crew.
Have a great week!
ALL CONTENTS COPYRIGHT SEPTEMBER 2010 BY HENRY C. PARKE - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED