"We found that
Today, Sunday, December 11th, an extras casting session was held at Far Horizons Studios in
And the studio has finally issued an official synopsis. SPOILER ALERT! If you’ve never heard the radio show or watched the TV series, you may not know all of the following, but it is virtually identical to the plot created by Lone Ranger creator Fran Striker: "Left for dead in an ambush with five other Texas Rangers, lawman John Reid (Armie Hammer) survives and is nursed back to health by an Indian scout named Tonto (Johnny Depp). He then dons a mask to avenge the murders of his comrades and to foil evil doers, never accepting payment for his services. His gratis vigilantism is made possible by the silver mine he inherits from one of his slain brothers - the same mine that affords him an endless supply of his trademark silver bullets." Intriguingly, actress Ruth Wilson plays Rebecca Reid, but it’s not explained what relation her character is to the masked rider of the plains.
Following up on last week’s survey of Honest-Abe-related projects, Asylum Entertainment honcho David Latt confirmed that they are moving ahead with their story of the Great Emancipator vs. the Living Dead. “We are indeed working on Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies. Our budget is $69 million...or less. The script is getting written; the treatment is non-stop action.
is more like
Wesley Snipes in BLADE. He's a bad-ass zombie killer. Based on a true
story...or not.” I’d probably play it
safe, Hollywood style, and say, ‘inspired by actual events.’ Lincoln
When I asked about the likelihood of a new Western from Asylum, Latt was encouraging. “We are talking about it. 6 GUNS is one of my favorites, so I hope we are jumping into another western soon.”
One of the first things you see upon entering
is the Boothill Graveyard. Ironically, Tombstone is a desert
boomtown that was destroyed by too much water
in the wrong place – seeping up from the silver mines. But the town is definitely in a desert, and
that is nowhere more obvious than in Boothill, where the headstones spring up
in fields of sand and gravel, the graves themselves marked by mounds of stone. Tombstone
A small booklet available in the shop at the entrance contains, as it says on the cover, “a descriptive list of the more than 250 graves in Boothill.” There are eleven rows of graves, and the booklet tells you as much information as could be garnered from locals or family or the Arizona Historical Society. Sometimes sources vary in their version of history. The last grave in row ten is Mrs. Ah Lum. The booklet says, “Born in
buried in Boothill in 1906. She had
great influence among the Chinese residents here. Some believe she had Tong affiliation in China .” Other sources, correct on not, put it more
bluntly, that China Mary was the Queen of Opium and other vice in China . Tombstone
One gravestone serves for five men: Dan Dowd, Red Sample, Tex Howard, Bill Delaney and Dan Kelly were all legally hanged for taking part in the robbery of a Bisbee general store, where several innocents were killed in the crossfire. John Heath, who masterminded the crime but didn’t actually take part, was sentenced to life at
prison. A furious mob dragged Heath from the Yuma jail and strung
him up. Tombstone
Of course, much interest here turns on the O.K. Corral. Right by Old Man Clanton’s grave (yes, ‘Old Man’ is what his marker says) is a headstone shared by Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and Frank McLaury, with the legend, “Murdered on the streets of
1881.” According to LA ULTIMA, a collection of last
words of early Arizona Pioneers by Troy Kelley, Tom McLaury’s last words – in
response to Virgil Earp’s command to throw up his hands -- were, “I have got
nothing.” “I have you now!” Frank
McLaury shouted to Doc Holliday, just before he was shot in the head by Morgan
Earp. Billy Clanton’s words were more
dramatic still: “They have murdered me.
I have been murdered! Chase the
crowd away from the door and give me air!
Drive the crowd away!” Tombstone
As my wife and I were shopping in the store at the entrance, a DVD player was showing
and a table held a wide selection of O.K. CORRAL-related videos. I asked the lady at the counter about her
favorite version of the legend, and she said to her, Wyatt Earp would always
mean Hugh O’Brien. When I agreed, she
told me that back in 1994, WYATT EARP: RETURN TO TOMBSTONE, with O’Brien, was
shot in town on all the real locations, and her granddaughter, five at the
time, had a small part in the film. Now
the girl was 22, and it was a shame, but no one had been able to get them a
copy of the movie. I told her I’d get
her a copy, and when I went back to Los Angeles, the folks at Eddie Brandt’s
Saturday Matinee, the best video store in the world, were able to get me a VHS
tape for her in a matter of minutes. TOMBSTONE
Of course, people always ask to see Wyatt Earp’s grave, but he’s not buried there. And that leads us to another story…
WYATT EARP’S SECRET BURIAL
In 1957, The Tombstone Restoration Commission, then headed by Mrs. Edna Landin, decided they wanted to move Wyatt Earp’s ashes to
All that was known for sure was that Wyatt Earp had died in
on January 13th, 1929,
and his widow, Josephine Marcus, had him cremated, and took the ashes with
her. She died in 1944, also in Los Angeles . Los Angeles
Artist and True West writer Lea McCarty has just finished a series of canvases of lawmen and outlaws, including a portrait of Earp, and an article in a
it to the attention of A.M. King. King
had worked as a deputy with Earp in Santa Rosa , from 1910 to 1912. He contacted McCarty, to see the pictures. McCarty, who’d been commissioned by the Los
Angeles organization to
do a plaque of Earp, for when the ashes were moved, welcomed King to his studio. Several times. King admired his work. He talked about his time working with Earp,
when they were each paid $10 a day to deliver beer during a beer strike in Tombstone . He talked about the Ned Buntline special that
Earp carried in his car. In fact, he
talked about everything except where Earp was buried! He claimed that he knew, but wasn’t
But eventually King came clean, and presented McCarty with an old newspaper article that solved the mystery. Josephine, after having Wyatt cremated, had taken the ashes with her back to
San Francisco, where her family was from, and had his
ashes buried in the Marcus family plot at the Hills of Eternity Jewish Cemetery
in . Her ashes were now beside his, and they
shared a marker. The reason the location
had been kept a secret was perfectly understandable: nobody wants their family
plot to become a tourist site. When the
Tombstone Commission learned this, they cancelled plans to try to have him
moved. Mrs. Landin said, “I do not
think it would be right to remove Mr. Earp’s remains when he rests there with
his wife.” Colma, California
Remarkably, that’s not quite the end of the story. This information is taken from McCrea’s article in the September-October 1957 issue of TRUE WEST MAGAZINE. But before it even went to press, they had to add another article: WYATT EARP’S GRAVE ROBBED! On July 6th or 7th, someone had driven a truck into the cemetery and managed to dig out the 600 pound grave marker and abscond with it. They also tried to steal his ashes, and dug five feet down in their search, but missed it. I have read that the stone was eventually recovered, but a much larger stone is there today.
TV WESTERNS ALL OVER THE DIAL!
More and more, classic TV Westerns are available all over the TV universe, but they tend to be on small networks that are easy to miss. Of course, ENCORE WESTERNS is the best continuous source of such programming, and has been for years. It’s not in my current satellite package, which is why I often forget to mention it, but currently they run
, MAVERICK, LAWMAN, THE VIRGINIAN, WAGON TRAIN, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, GUNSMOKE, BRET MAVERICK, CIMMARON STRIP, and HOW THE WEST WAS WON. (I’d get it in a minute, if I didn’t have to buy a huge package of STARZ and ENCORE channels just to get the one!) CHEYENNE
But there are several new, or at least new-to-me, channels showing sagebrush fare. GEB, which stands for Golden Eagle Broadcasting, is largely a religious-programming cable outlet that runs at least one Western on Saturdays – the ones I’ve caught have been public domain Roy Rogers and John Wayne pictures – and sometimes have weekday afternoon movies as well.
For those of you who watch TV with an antenna, there are at least a couple of channels that exist between the standard numbers – largely unavailable on cable or satellite systems – that provide Western fare. ANTENNA TV is currently running RIN TIN TIN, CIRCUS BOY, HERE COME THE BRIDES, and IRON HORSE.
Another ‘in between’ outfit, ME-TV, which stands for Memorable Entertainment TV, runs a wide collection: BIG VALLEY, BONANZA, BRANDED, DANIEL BOONE, GUNS OF WILL SONNETT, GUNSMOKE, MARSHALL DILLON (the renamed black and white GUNSMOKE), RAWHIDE, THE RIFLEMAN, and WILD WILD WEST. Some of these channels are hard to track down, but if they show what you’ve been missing, it’s worth the search.
TCM FANATIC - WESTERN NOW ONLINE!
That's right, the segment I was interviewed for is now viewable here:
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. 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.
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.
BONANZA and BIG VALLEY
Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They've stopped running GUNSMOKE. INSP is showing THE BIG VALLEY every weekday at noon, one p.m. and nine p.m., and Saturdays at 6 p.m., and have just added DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN to their schedule.
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 DANIEL BOONE at 1:00 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.
AMC has been airing a block of THE RIFLEMAN episodes early Saturday mornings, usually followed by Western features.
And RFD-TV is currently showing THE ROY ROGERS SHOW at 9:30 Sunday morning, repeated several times a week, and a Roy feature as well -- check your local listings.
That's about all for now!
All Original Contents Copyright December 2011 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved