Friday, August 26, 2011

NEW ‘WINNETOU’ ON AMERICAN TURF!


(Author Karl May dressed as Old Shatterhand)

Winnetou, the Mescalero Apache chief created by German Western writer Karl May well over a century ago, may have a new life onscreen. Virtually unknown in the United States, where they are set, the tales of Winnetou, Old Shatterhand, Old Surehand and Old Firehand are among the most beloved and oft-read stories in the non-English-speaking world. But they’ve rarely been translated into English.

In the 1960s, the tremendously successful series of Winnetou films based on the books, made my Germans in what is now Croatia, were the start of the European, later Spaghetti, western film industry. All starring Pierre Brice as Winnetou, and most starring Lex Barker as Shatterhand, the mostly European casts included Rod Cameron, Stewart Granger, Guy Madison and Mario Girroti, later known as Terence Hill.

The shooting locations are the site of annual pilgrimages (see my article WINNETOU-PALOOZA HERE)
http://henryswesternroundup.blogspot.com/2011/04/winnetou-palooza.html
and various German television versions have been made over the years. Now the German film mini-major Constantin Film announces that they’ve signed Michael Blake, who scripted DANCES WITH WOLVES from his own novel, to adapt WINNETOU. Intended to shoot next year in New Mexico, it would be the first time one of May’s stories was filmed near its geographical setting. Incidentally, May did visit the U.S. once, in 1908, and despite frequent claims to the contrary, he wrote at least one more Western, WINNETOU IV, after the sojourn. Incidentally, there are other Winnetou projects in the works – the property is in public domain – and I’ll tell you more when I know more.

HONEST ABE SURROUNDED!

You may remember that the previous Round-up was devoted to the proposition that Westerns are NOT dead in spite of industry disappointment at COWBOYS & ALIENS’s box-office take (currently $110 million!). Speaking of bloated budgets, I said, “We’ll have to wait and see how ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER does with its $70,000,000 outlay. As a Paramount Pictures insider put it to me, it’s a movie that should be made. But it should be made by The Asylum for $250,000.”

I just heard from The Asylum partner and production honcho David Latt: “Hey Henry! Thanks for the suggestion...and you'll be happy (sad?) to know that ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES is already in the works. Ours will cost less than $70 million. Promise.” And I bet I’ll enjoy their’s more.

ROY ROGERS’ 100th BIRTHDAY CELBRATIONS CONTINUE!






Events have been going on all summer around the country. Roy’s actual 100th birthday will be on November 5th, and the summer is a whole lot more convenient a time to celebrate. What promises to be a terrific event will be taking place Saturday, August 27th at Roy and Dale’s old Double R Bar Ranch in Victorville. Among those taking part in the festivities will be Roy’s daughter Mimi Rogers and grand-daughter Julie Ashley Pemilla, actors Dick Jones, Ty Hardin, Hugh O’Brien, Andrew Prine, Bo Hopkins, Dan Haggerty, Donna Martell, Darby Hinton and Beverly Washburn, and authors Julia Ann Ream and Charlie LeSueur. For all the particulars, go HERE.

AND WATCH ROY IN ‘BELLS OF SAN ANGELO’ AT THE AUTRY




Also on Saturday, August 27th, at 2:00 p.m., the Autry will celebrate Roy Rogers’s 100th birthday with a special screening of Bells of San Angelo (1947). It features Roy, Dale, Andy Devine, David Sharpe, and of course, Trigger. It’s directed by William Witney from a Sloan Nibley screenplay. There will also be a discussion about the Autry’s efforts to conserve the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Archive.



THE WEST OF LEONE RETURNS - ALMERIA WESTERN FILM FESTIVAL




Spain’s fabled location of hundreds of Spaghetti Westerns will play host to the ALMERIA WESTERN FILM FESTIVAL September 8th through the 11th. In addition to screenings of TRUE GRIT and RANGO, here are some of the films which will be featured: BLACKTHORN, starring Sam Shepherd as Butch Cassidy, living in Bolivia under the name of James Blackthorn. GOODNIGHT FOR JUSTICE, a new western directed by Jason Priestly and starring his BEVERLY HILLS 90210 costar Luke Perry. THE MOUNTIE, a north-of-the-border tale starring Andrew Walker as a lone man in red who comes to clean up a corrupt town. THE WARRIOR’S WAY stars Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, and Dong-gun Jang, who plays a warrior/assassin hiding out in the American Badlands. THE SCARLET WORM, starring Spaghetti Western vets Brett Halsey and Dan van Husen. THE DEAD AND THE DAMNED, about ‘49ers getting Zombified. The festival jury will be presided over by actor Fabio Testi (FOUR OF THE APOCALYPSE) and director Eugenio Martin (BAD MAN’S RIVER). For more information, go to the official website HERE. http://www.almeriawesternfilmfestival.info/home.html

FAY MCKENZIE, JULIE ADAMS, JIMMY LYDON TO BE HONORED AT CINECON AUGUST 1ST THROUGH 5TH

For 47 years the Cinecon Classic Film Festival has been a Labor Day tradition for Hollywood movie-lovers. Based at the Egyptian Theatre, the screenings and shopping at discussions start on Thursday, August 1st and end on Monday, August 5th. Among the highlights will be Q&As, by Julie Adams on Thursday at 8:35 pm; Jimmy Lydon on Saturday at 4:53 pm (I’m not making these times up); and Fay McKenzie on Sunday at 5:53 pm, following a to-be-announced Gene Autry film.




It’s almost hopeless trying to pick movie highlights because the range is so wide and eclectic. Western fans will be delighted to see the Civil War story THE COWARD (1915) from Ince Triangle Kaybee, just after noon on Monday, the western BLAZING DAYS (1927) directed by William Wyler on Thursday at 9:10 pm, but you’ll really need to visit their site to plan your time. The cost is $100 for the entire event, or $25 to $30 a day (some days are longer than others). Get all the details HERE.

http://www.cinecon.org/cinecon_home.html

TCM FANATIC - WESTERN NOW ONLINE!

And speaking of TCM, have I mentioned that the segment I was interviewed for is now viewable here?




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. 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.

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 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.

RFD-TV has begun airing THE ROY ROGERS SHOW on Sundays at 9:00 a.m., with repeats the following Thursday and Saturday.

Also, AMC has started showing two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN on Saturday mornings.

That's it for this week! In the next week or two I'll have the story of my visit to the GANG OF ROSES II set at Paramount Ranch!

Happy Trails,

Henry

All Contents Copyright August 2011 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved


Monday, August 22, 2011

WESTERN PRODUCTION PULSE STRONG

With the disappointing grosses for COWBOYS & ALIENS, and the abrupt halt on production of Disney’s THE LONE RANGER, there’s been, understandably, a great deal of hand-wringing over whether we’re hearing the death-knell for the current western revival. I don’t think so. When a New York Magazine blog posed the question, based on the public response to COWBOYS & ALIENS, whether the western was dead, a frequent response was, “Huh? Was that supposed to be a western?” Just to keep things in perspective, C&A, as of Thursday, has grossed a very respectable $92,000,000. This is only a disappointment if you’re dumb enough to spend $230,000,000 making the movie.

Having learned that the plot of THE LONE RANGER involved the masked rider of the plains doing battle with werewolves, I can’t be too upset that Disney has decided to rethink their approach, and try to bring the budget down from a high of $285,000,000. Maybe the industry is learning the lesson they should have gotten from JONAH HEX, that scifi and horror elements rarely mix well with western stories.

Granted, no one lost any money on the very good CURSE OF THE UNDEAD, or the very bad BILLY THE KID VS. DRACULA and JESSE JAMES MEETS FRANKENSTEIN’S DAUGHTER -- because no one spent any money on them. We’ll have to wait and see how ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER does with its $70,000,000 outlay. As a Paramount Pictures insider put it to me, it’s a movie that should be made. But it should be made by The Asylum for $250,000. (Incidentally, last year The Asylum made the very watchable western 6 GUNS, and I’ve been bugging them ever since to do 7 GUNS.)

But the good news is that there are a lot of good projects in the pipeline, for big-screen and small!

FEATURES:

‘YELLOW ROCK’ EDITING LOCKED





Lenore Andriel, who co-wrote, co-produced and stars with Michael Biehn and James Russo in this tale of greed and deceit, tells me, “The picture is now ‘locked’. It’s in sound editing, sound design, sound fx at Monkeyland Audio. The score is being composed by Randy Miller, an incredible award winning composer.” You can hear an impressive example of his music when you visit the YELLOW ROCK site.

“We've added pickup shots that Daniel Veluzat was our 2nd Unit Director for, which really add to the levels of tension, production value, and clarity to the film. He did an amazing job, as did the actors, James Russo and Peter Sherayko, and our wonderful crew in the 110 degree heat!” To learn more, visit the YELLOW ROCK website HERE. For Round-up articles on the filming of YELLOW ROCK, read part one HERE, part two HERE.

‘COWBOYS & INDIANS’ READY TO GO TO MARKET




The third feature, and first Western by brother co-writers and co-directors Aaron Burk and Tyler Burk, was shot at the Whitehorse Movie Ranch in the Mojave Desert, and as you can see by the trailer, there’s plenty of action. Aaron tells me, “Our sales agent is currently shopping it around for domestic sales. And we’ll probably be going to AFM (the American Film Market) to sell it internationally.”

I’ll soon have an extensive interview with the Burk brothers in the Round-up, but in the meantime, you can learn more about COWBOYS & INDIANS at their website HERE.



‘THE FIRST RIDE OF WYATT EARP’ NEARS COMPLETION




Toplining Val Kilmer as Earp, THE FIRST RIDE is based on the true story of the murder that brought together the Earp brothers along with Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Charlie Bassett and Bill Tilghman. From ARO ENTERTAINMENT, the cast also includes Trace Adkins, Diana DeGarmo, Shawn Roberts as a young Wyatt, Levi Fiehler, Matt Dallas, Scott Whyte, Wilson Bethel and Daniel Booko. It’s directed by Michael Feifer from a screenplay by Darren Benjamin Shepherd. When I asked producer Jeffrey Schenck how post-production was going, he told me, “We’re almost there. Check with me next month.”

To read the Round-up’s two-part coverage on the shooting on FIRST RIDE, go HERE and HERE.



‘MORGAN KANE: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS’, BEGINS




The folks at WR Films continue to keep development of the Morgan Kane franchise, based on the best-selling Norwegian western series, shrouded in mystery. What I can tell you is that they’ve acquired the right to all 83 of Louis Masterson’s novels, and are planning to start with a trilogy of films, the first, MORGAN KANE: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, based on two of the books, EL GRINGO and EL GRINGO’S REVENGE. I understand that a first draft was delivered the first week in August, but they’re playing it so cagey that I still haven’t found out the screenwriter’s name. I’ll tell you more when I know more, but in the meantime, you can read about my visit to their set, for the shooting of e-book covers, HERE.

http://henryswesternroundup.blogspot.com/2011/07/who-is-morgan-kane.html

TARANTINO’S ‘DJANGO UNCHAINED’ TO ROLL IN AUTUMN

Aiming for a Christmas 2012 release, the long-rumored Quentin Tarantino ‘spaghetti southern’ is set to roll shortly in Louisiana. With Jamie Foxx as the title character, a freed slave turned bounty-hunter under the tutelage of dentist Christoph Waltz, the film boasts a striking supporting cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, and most recently Kevin Costner, as the sadistic trainer of ‘Mandingo’ fighters at a plantation/brothel known as Candyland. Also rumored to be involved are Treat Williams and Franco Nero, cinema’s original Django.

TONY SCOTT IN TALKS WITH WARNERS TO REMAKE ‘THE WILD BUNCH’

Why?

‘AMERICAN BANDITS: FRANK AND JESSE JAMES’ TO STARZ



Producer Jeffrey Schenck tells me AMERICAN BANDITS will premiere on the STARZ network on September 11th. Written and directed by Fred Olen Ray, it’s the story of what happens when the brothers must split up until the wounded Jesse heals. It stars Peter Fonda, Tim Abel and Jeffrey Combs. At the recent B-MOVIE CELEBRATION, Fred won two Golden Cobs, for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, and Jeffrey Combs won for Best Lead Actor. To read my review, go HERE. To read my interview with Fred Olen Ray, go HERE.

And that's not all! On Wednesday I hope to be on the set of a new Western, GANG OF ROSES II!


ON TELEVISION:

HIGH HOPES FOR ‘SHADOW HILLS’





The pilot for the series about a former buffalo soldier-turned horse breeder in an ethnically mixed town in the Oklahoma Territory is taking shape in the cutting room. Executive Producer Scott Steel tells me, “Things are great! We are in Post and editing. After seeing some of the footage, we really feel we have something special, and know that your readers are really going to love SHADOW HILLS when they see it!”

Lamont Clayton, who wrote, produced, and stars in the show, agrees. “It looks amazing. John Amos (who plays the town’s blacksmith) said he had the same feeling he had about ROOTS that he has for SHADOW HILLS. He and I really think we have something here!” To read my article about the shoot, go HERE.



AMC’S ‘HELL ON WHEEL’S GETS PLAYDATE!



AMC’s long-anticipated Western series, centered on the building of the trans-continental railroad, will premiere on Sunday, November 6th, following an episode of their highly successful THE WALKING DEAD.

Starring Anson Mount, Colm Meany, Wes Studi, and Common, it follows Mount’s character, a former Confederate soldier out to avenge his wife’s death. The title refers to the traveling saloons, brothels and gambling dens that moved on wheels to follow the track-layers -- Historian Stephen Ambrose wrote a wonderful book on the subject by the same title.

HISTORY CHANNEL’S ‘HATFIELDS AND McCOYS – AN AMERICAN VENDETTA

The History Channel will produce it’s first dramatic, non-documentary miniseries, telling the true story of America’s most deadly blood-feud. Kevin Costner will star as Devil Anse Hatfield, and Bill Paxton will star as Randall McCoy. Kevin Reynolds, who directed RED DAWN, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, and previously directed Costner in ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, will be at the helm. Writers are Rod Mann (DEADWOOD) and Ron Parker (BROKEN TRAIL).

TNT ORDERS ‘GATEWAY’ PILOT

TNT has given a cast-contingent order for a westerns series, GATEWAY, about a Colorado town in the 1880s. A lawman has been killed, and his three sons must step in. The script is by Exec Producer Bruce McKenna (BAND OF BROTHERS, THE PACIFIC), and Danny Cannon (CSI) will direct.

‘RECONSTRUCTION’ GOES FROM FX TO NBC

Developed for FX, RECONSTRUCTION has been shot as a pilot at NBC, directed by Peter Horton and written by three-time Emmy winner Joshua Brand (NORTHERN EXPOSURE, A YEAR IN THE LIFE). Set in Missouri after the Civil War, it’s the story of a war vet who settles in a town where he is greeted as its savior. It stars Martin Henderson (OFF THE MAP), Emma Bell and Rachel Lefevre.

AND IN PRINT:

THE TRADITIONAL WEST


Western fictioneers


A brand new anthology of traditional western stories from The Western Fictioneers, the only writers’ organization devoted solely to traditional Western fiction, has been published in both e-book and print version. The authors include Matthew P. Mayo, Robert J. Randisi, Dusty Richards, James Reasoner, Larry D. Sweazy, L.J. Washburn, Jackson Lowry, Larry Jay Martin, Kerry Newcomb, and C. Courtney Joyner, who has lectured on how to break into Western print (see HERE).
http://henryswesternroundup.blogspot.com/2011/04/winnetou-palooza.html


THE NOT SO TRADITIONAL WEST




Michael Druxman, screenwriter of the excellent CHEYENNE WARRIOR (see my review and interview HERE;), has published a new book of short stories entitled DRACULA MEETS JACK THE RIPPER & Other Revisionist Histories. The story entitled THE OLD COOT is about Jesse James.
http://henryswesternroundup.blogspot.com/search?q=cheyenne+warrior

EXCELLENT ‘GATHERING REMNANTS’ ON THE DOC CHANNEL

Though you might not know by the title, GATHERING REMNANTS is a documentary about cattle-driving cowboys. What they have to say about their way of life is, by turns, fascinating and heartbreaking. Much of it is startlingly beautiful. It’s showing twice on Thursday, August 25th on the Documentary Channel, locally at 6:30 p.m., and again at 9:30 p.m., but systems vary, so check your listings.

CELEBRATE ROY ROGERS’ 100TH BIRTHDAY AT THE DOUBLE R BAR RANCH!





Head to Victorville on Saturday, August 27th, for a celebration of the King of the Cowboys and the Queen of the West! Among those taking part in the festivities will be Roy’s daughter Mimi Rogers and grand-daughter Julie Ashley Pemilla, actors Dick Jones, Ty Hardin, Hugh O’Brien, Andrew Prine, Bo Hopkins, Dan Haggerty, Donna Martell, Darby Hinton and Beverly Washburn, and authors Julia Ann Ream and Charlie LeSueur. For all the particulars, go HERE.



http://cowboyjerryandthepioneers.com/

TCM FANATIC - WESTERN NOW ONLINE!

And speaking of TCM, have I mentioned that the segment I was interviewed for is now viewable here?




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. 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.

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 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.

RFD-TV has begun airing THE ROY ROGERS SHOW on Sundays at 9:00 a.m., with repeats the following Thursday and Saturday.

Also, AMC has started showing two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN on Saturday mornings.

Just as I was about to shut down, I spotted an interesting email from Nikke Finke's DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD. Disney's Rich Ross attended D23, a sort of Disney-only Comic-con this weekend, and in an interview said he was eager to try again with THE LONE RANGER. He said he was eager to work with everyone involved, and he named them all...except director Gore Verbinski.

Happy Trails!

Henry

All Contents Copyright August 2011 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved



Monday, August 15, 2011

DISNEY PULLS PLUG ON ‘LONE RANGER’





“What we do now, Kemosabe?”
“We wait, Tonto.”

Johnny Depp has been on board as Tonto for over two years, and Armie Hammer, late of THE SOCIAL NETWORK, was recently trumpeted as the Masked Man, but now Disney has pulled the plug on the Jerry Bruckheimer LONE RANGER project to be directed by Gore Verbinski. Verbinski’s previous collaborations with Depp and Bruckheimer include the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films, Disney’s most profitable franchise. The actor and directed also worked together on this year’s hugely successful ($243 million) western cartoon, RANGO.

The problem is the budget. Disney wants to spend $200 million, and while the budget had been brought down from a reported high of $275 million to $232 million, Disney says that isn’t close enough. And Disney’s concern is understandable. Currently the western of the summer, COWBOYS & ALIENS, while in the number three box office spot this weekend, behind PLANET OF THE APES and THE SMURFS, has grossed $81,476,000 domestically, with a budget of $163 million. The westerns that have done well in recent years have kept the budgets comparatively small: 3:10 TO YUMA cost $55 million, and grossed $70 million. TRUE GRIT cost $38 million and grossed $251 million.

No doubt Bruckheimer, Verbinski et al will not give up without a fight. We’ll see where it leads.

TY HARDIN INTERVIEW PART TWO:

In last week’s Round-up, Ty Hardin discussed his life, from his childhood, through his discovery by Paramount, his move to Warner Brothers, and his four years starring on BRONCO. (If you missed, go HERE) http://henryswesternroundup.blogspot.com/2011/08/bronco-layne-talks.html

Now we continue with the post-BRONCO years…

H: If you didn’t have any favorite BRONCO episodes, how about favorite movies of the period?

TY: I had a couple of pictures that I liked, PT 109, and I liked MERRIL’S MARAUDERS. I worked with Jeff Chandler. It was a good picture. It was authentic. We shot it over in Europe. We had a lot of good people in it. And we used all those tanks. We were shooting in Spain and we actually had the last Sherman Tanks in existence. And we tore up a couple of them.

H: While were doing BRONCO, you did THE CHAPMAN REPORT for George Cukor. Then after BRONCO you did P.T. 109, WALL OF NOISE, PALM SPRING WEEKEND, all in 1963. Then your next western was MAN OF THE CURSED VALLEY in 1964, which was shot in Spain.

TY: Well, what happened was Sergio Leone wanted me to do PER UN PUGNO DI DOLLARI (A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS). I could hardly understand the guy; he had hardly any English at all. And I was so busy working in Europe that I just said, “Sergio, I just don’t have time to do it.” You know, he flew me from Spain – I was working on BATTLE OF THE BULGE I think – over to Rome. We went to a theatre, sat down and watched a film that was in Japanese, with Italian subtitles, called SAMAURI. I remember a dog running down the street with a hand in his mouth: all the time I was sitting there, and that’s all that I remember. And he said, “Why don’t you do this film?” He really wanted me to do it. First of all he bypassed my agent, the top agent in Europe or anywhere, MCA. I told him, “Well, get in touch with me when you get a script.” I went back to Spain, back to work again on BATTLE OF THE BULGE. He kept persistently asking me, “When are you going to be free?” And I said, “I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll give you the names of some actors that are going to be out of work.” So I gave him Clint Walker, Clint Eastwood; three or four actors that I had known. And I was sitting on the Via Veneto, kind of a hangout for the actors in Madrid, and I run into Clint Eastwood. And he says to me, “You S.O.B.! I’m down here working with Sergio Leone, nobody here speaks English, and it’s a pile of crap!” I said, “Don’t worry about it.” “Don’t worry about it? I ain’t been paid!” He was one upset character for doing it. And I could understand, because when I saw the film that Sergio wanted me to do, I couldn’t see any way in the world that it would be a western. How he could get it together. But he did. That film was released in Spain. They pulled it out, did some more shots, some re-doing on it. They kicked it into Italy, and a few other places in Europe, and suddenly it took off: it was amazing. The rest is history. And that’s how Mr. Eastwood got his game together. Looking back I’d have done the same thing over again. Plus I was working on too good films over there, all-American films; I wasn’t doing any local films. Even though I did do some after that. A couple of them. Terrible.

H: Were they recording sound live?

TY: They usually dubbed later. Because he’d be talking in Italian, and I’m talking in English. When he’d stop talking, I’d say my line. Soon as I’d finish my line, he’d talk. They were pretty good productions as a whole. But the Eastwood film was a fluke – it’s amazing how that took off. And the credit goes to Eastwood – he gave it the balls that it needed, you know? It needed that kind of strength , because the story line was nothing. You don’t remember anything – there wasn’t any love or loss or anything like that in it. It was just another beat-up Western. But Clint made the thing, himself, with his looks – and the music was dynamite. Genius. You’ve got to appreciate that; there is talent in Europe.

H: When you were doing these films where they were not recording sound, would you record your own dialog later?

TY: Oh yeah, that was in my contract. I didn’t want anyone else dubbing my voice. As far as dubbing it in Japanese and things, I didn’t have anything to do with that. But if they were going to sell in the international market, I wanted to be there to do it. You see, Americans coveted their own market, and it wasn’t easy for these films to get in. I knew they didn’t have a chance in the American market. I didn’t give a damn; I was just having a ball, running around the country and making forty or fifty thousands dollars I could just put in the bank, and it’s like having three hundred, three hundred fifty-thousand in the States.

H: So were you living in Europe at this point?

TY: Oh yuh, I was living mainly in Madrid. I like Madrid, and I had three bars on the coast of Spain – so I’d put in a big investment. I had one in Malaga, one in Touremolinos, and another one in between. So I ran my business down there at the same time. I had a pretty good life: I married Miss Universe!

H: How did you enjoy doing BATTLE OF THE BULGE?

TY: Any time American films came to Spain, any time ‘runaway’ films came, I was in it. And I enjoyed working with Robert Shaw. He was a good, solid actor, and BATTLE OF THE BULGE was a good show, a good picture.

H: You went to Argentina in 1966 to do SAVAGE PAMPAS with two of my favorite actors, Robert Taylor and Marc Lawrence. What was that like?

TY: (laughs) Don’t remember a lot about it, I really don’t. The problem in the industry is, you don’t need to be on the set until they need you. So I don’t know really what’s going on. I don’t think the film turned out really that good. But it was a very good experience for me. You work with these people, but you don’t get to know them. As soon as it’s ‘Cut!’ ‘Print!’, they’re off the set. And they don’t sit around and gab with pissant actors like me. (laughs)

H: Continuing with your globetrotting, you did DEATH ON THE RUN for Sergio Corbucci in Spain, then went to England for BERSERK. How’d you like Joan Crawford?

TY: She was a neat gal – a tough old broad and she’d been down the lane a couple of times. But this was her money, and she wanted it good. I think the problem was, there wasn’t that rapport between us that really makes it work. She was so busy working at being the director that I think her acting suffered from it. There wasn’t that sensitivity that her part (called for), for the problems that the circus was having – that’s just my personal opinion.

H: In 1967 you were in CUSTER OF THE WEST.

TY: Right, with Bob Shaw.

H: I was just watching that last night, and the logo is Cinerama. Was that shot in the Cinerama process, with the three cameras?

TY: Oh yuh. It was wonderful. We shot that in Spain. And all those Indians were Gypsies.

H: Really?

TY: (laughs) Yeah! We don’t have any Indians in Spain! They were all Gypsies, and they was fearless, man! They’d fall backwards off a horse, get run over and get right up! I was impressed, I really was. I couldn’t believe it, and they were so believable. Needless to say, I thought it was a pretty good film.

H: It’s a big movie. How long did it take to shoot?

TY: Took us about a month or so to shoot the thing.

H: Is that all?

TY: They’re pretty efficient. You don’t realize we’re getting seven or eight setups a day, and you have a second unit shooting your close-ups and everything. The industry has become very efficient to work with.

H: You had some excellent actors there, like Robert Shaw. What was he like?

TY: Robert’s a fun guy, I liked Robert. He was just a wonderful guy to work with .

H: How about Jeffrey Hunter, who played Benteen?


(Ty with Jeffrey Hunter in CUSTER OF THE WEST)

TY: Well Jeff and I got along real good. He’s more my type of man. Robert was just uptight all the time; he’s the same as he is in CUSTER. I was real fortunate to work with people like Lawrence Tierney. And Robert Ryan was wonderful, he really was. These are all committed actors. They’ve all been in the industry longer than I have. So I felt very humbled having them to work with.

H: Now Robert Siodmak, who directed, was born in Germany. He had a big career in the U.S., went back to Europe in the 1950s and was directing westerns in Germany before he did this one. What was he like?

TY: I felt he was a little loose. He’d sit there and…he could move the camera good, but I don’t think he knew how to deal with the people themselves. So he didn’t give you (direction). You like to get personal with your director, like to know that what you’re doing is what he’s looking for, and I didn’t get the feeling that he knew what he was doing. I don’t mean to be derogatory, but at the same time, it wasn’t like working with somebody that you had confidence in.

H: Well, what director did you work with that you had confidence in?

TY: Oh, there were a couple of directors that were really hot – they just did not like me at all, and they were my best directors; I worked with some really fine directors. You know, I’m intimidating in some respects, so a lot of lead actors did not want to work with me, so they minimized the work that I did with them. I didn’t realize that I intimidated a lot of people, not so much with my abilities, but that being an extraordinarily good-looking man, I would draw a lot of attention to myself. And I didn’t realize how involved the industry was with egomania. So some of the actors, like Robert Shaw, I had a hard time with him. Bobby was a good friend but, boy, he didn’t want to work with me. He made sure he got all his shots separate. And I didn’t realize this. I was so na├»ve about the industry, but when I look back I realize that there was a lot of that. And I wasn’t a part of it. I held my own, and did my own series. I did another series, RIPTIDE, right after that.

H: In Australia. How was that?

TY: It was fun. The sad part was that they couldn’t get a sale in the States. And that’s what they needed to continue on, because the budgets were pretty heavy, and we had to mail in a couple of actors from the American sector. It should have gone about four years. Because it was outdoors, it was fun, and with good writing it could have gone into other areas – drug-running and so forth.

H: Before we leave CUSTER, I read somewhere at Akira Kurasawa was supposed to direct that.

TY: That’s correct. He fouled out the first day. Something went wrong between him and…no one ever found out just what went wrong.

H: But he was actually there the first day?

TY: He was certainly hanging around. I wasn’t there, but that’s what I heard, so I’m not sure exactly what happened.

H: In 1968 you starred in KING OF AFRICA, which has been described as a South African western.

TY: That’s about right.

H: Your female lead was Pier Angeli.

TY: She was a doll. And KING was a good picture. You know what happened was, it didn’t get support. You need to have people get behind it and put money in it to make it happen. It’s not all about just shooting, it’s about what you put behind (a film) to get it exposed properly. It was quite an interesting concept, you know, and we actually shot it down among the Zulus. You should have seen those bastards pokin’ me with their swords! Those guys are tough, and they get carried away – I was scared shitless! But it was good and authentic, and the problem with a lot of that foreign stuff, again, was Americans wouldn’t let it in to the American market. Our pictures were made in Europe with European people, and the whole purpose of me being in it was the hope that we’d open the market for them. And it happened in a very special occasions, like P.T. 109, and there was a lot of American money in that too. But a lot of those films we’re talking about, there was no American money in it, and consequently there was no American distribution tied into it. So they had to go on their merits, and it wasn’t that the film wasn’t good; it was that the market wasn’t available. So needless to say, a lot of people have never seen three or four or five of my movies.

H: What about THE LAST REBEL, starring Joe Namath? That was also shot in Spain, and for a change you were playing a bad guy, a crooked sheriff.




TY: Oh, I enjoyed that; if I had my druthers I’d be doing bad guys all the time, but you can’t get away with it too often.

H: You’re just too likable.

TY: That’s it!

H: In that one you had a couple of great pros, Jack Elam and Woody Strode.

TY: Woody Strode, what a neat actor he is. He was just a good, genuine all-around man, just standing tall. I liked Woody; he was just a likable person, very perceptive, and a very good actor.

H: Joe Namath is such a likable guy, but not a great actor.

TY: Well, you said that, I didn’t. The thing is, you’ve got to have compassion. Joe’s working for himself, he visualized himself where nobody else does, so you play to that fantasy, you kind of support it, so you can embellish it a little. Joe doesn’t know he’s a bad actor, and I’m not going to tell him. So what you do, when you realize, and the director does, is you cut away as much as you can when he’s saying his lines, but you give him the reactions. So they’re able to protect him in some degree. We’ve got to protect his money. He had a big investment; otherwise you wouldn’t see Joe Namath in it.

H: After that you did a couple of spaghetti westerns I haven’t been able to find. ACQUASANTA JOE and YOU’RE JINXED, FRIEND. YOU’VE MET SACRAMENTO.

TY: I couldn’t tell you anything about them, because I was the only one talkin’ English.

H: Then in the late 1970s you were back in Hollywood doing an episode of THE QUEST, which was a western series a lot like THE SEARCHERS, with Kurt Russell and Tim Matheson. After being in Europe so long, how did it feel being back doing American TV?

TY: Well, things had changed a lot. My agent, William Morris, wanted me to do another series, but I didn’t want to. I got disenchanted with the film industry as a whole. And I just kind of walked away from it soon afterwards.

H: In 1977 you did a picture called FIRE! for an old pal of mine, Earl Bellamy. You had a great cast in that: Ernest Borgnine, Patty Duke, Vera Miles, Lloyd Nolan, Neville Brand, Gene Evans.

TY: Some real icons in the business. I’ve always enjoyed working with people of that caliber. They’re very interesting people; they’ve had a wonderful life. But they’re surprisingly introverted, you know? You have to kind of flavor up to them to get them to talk. It was almost like do your lines and walk off the set. It never got as personal as I kind of like the film industry to be. That’s one of the disenchanting things about the film industry, why I kind of walked away, said this is no fun anymore. It’s too serious. It’s all about money. Nobody’s interested in having a good time: it really did get boring.

H: You did TV episodes in the 1980s, FLYING HIGH, DAVID CASSIDY – MAN UNDERCOVER, THE LOVE BOAT. In 1988 you were back in the saddle in a remake of RED RIVER, with a lot of good people: Jim Arness, Bruce Boxleitner, Gregory Harrison. Then great pros like Guy Madison, Robert Horton, L.Q. Jones. What’s L.Q. Jones like?

TY: He’s a character, he really is. He’s got diarrhea of the mouth. Everybody likes him. He plays great character parts – he’s just a very fine actor. I think a lot of it is his personality is so good. You’re gonna like him on film, you’re gonna like him in person.

H: How’d you like Jim Arness?

TY: I like Jim. Jim has been in the business a long time, he’s a real pro. He’s Jim Arness on the screen as he is off he screen. He has that appearance, that prestige, an aura about him.

H: You were Sheriff Stone in 1990 in BORN KILLER, an escaped maniac movie. Then you did a western, BAD JIM, which toplined James Brolin and Richard Roundtree. And you’re there with Harry Carey Jr. and Rory Calhoun and Clark Gable’s son.

TY: Big cast, wasn’t it? I didn’t see it, so if you get the chance, let me know.

H: How did you like Harry Carey and Rory Calhoun?

TY: Honestly, I didn’t work with them: I’m in scenes that they’re not in.

H: Now I understand we’re going to be seeing you soon in a romantic comedy called HEAD OVER SPURS IN LOVE, where you play Col. Sanders. Do you have other upcoming stuff we should be looking for?


(Ty speaking at Republic Pictures' 75th Anniversary last year)

TY: Not that I know of. I’ve been retired for quite a while in principle. I don’t even have an agent. But it’s funny you should mention that, because I was thinking the other day that at 80 years old I look good, I feel good, I’m in good shape. What I want to do is do parts to my age; I want to do good supporting roles.

H: What are your favorite westerns, TV or movie, that you’ve been in? What was your best work?

TY: Well, I enjoyed BRONCO. Because it was all centered around being good, and revealing good over bad. I liked that, I liked the concept that we have values, and principles that we live up to. It never got romantically heavy; it avoided a great deal of that, which is often more of a distraction than an attraction. Stay away from that and direct yourself to the plot, and develop the plot. Because there’s a story to tell, and that’s what I’ve been more dedicated to than anything else.

H: What are your favorites of other people’s westerns?

TY: Well, I grew up as a kid with Bob Steele and Roy Rogers and all the others. And as a kid I loved them. And I grew up in Texas where westerns were the big thing. Johnny Mack Brown and all that. And of course going to Hollywood I never had any idea of getting in the film industry. My model was Gary Cooper. Him and John Wayne were my two people, and when I met John Wayne and he helped put me in the industry. I never met Cooper. Wait, I take that back. He was down on the set there at Warners one time. I don’t know what he was doing, but I went down to the set and watched him. And I went up to him, I said, ‘Hi Cooper,’ that kind of thing. He wasn’t very friendly to me. But those two people were I thought a great image for a kid growing up. I’ve always admired their work, and always wished I was as good as they were.

H: Aside from poker, how do you like to spend your time?

TY: Well, I’m in the process of finishing my second book. And I’ve enjoyed it, but I’m just not a good writer. I’ve been trying to find a ghost writer who would do kind of a look-over for the book, because my first one didn’t do good at all. (laughs) Mainly I think because it wasn’t legible, and the company didn’t put any money behind it. That was a big disappointment, and it took out a lot of my money, too.

H: Is there anything your fans don’t know about you that they should know?

TY: I think you should tell everyone that I am a Christian, and that I have tried to hold up those values, that I think are important to make a person feel like he is in essence a creature of God, that he is not just an animal living out of instinct. That he has a value and importance that is inherited in being a part of a belief system. We all know it’s just a belief system, but at the same time, what are we except what we believe ourselves to be? I believe there is purpose behind life, and meaning in life and I think that’s one of the great values that we are losing in our society.

HARRISON FORD SIGNS TO PLAY WYATT EARP!




The current COWBOYS & ALIENS star will portray Earp in BLACK HATS, based on the novel by Max Allan Collins. A blend of fact and fiction, in 1920s Los Angeles, 70ish Earp is working as a film technical advisor and p.i. when Doc Holliday’s widow, Big-nose Kate, approaches him for help. Seems the Doc had a son, who is now in trouble with Al Capone. Also in the mix is Bat Masterson, now sports-writing for the New York Telegraph.

The project is being produced by Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk and Kickstart Productions’ Jason Netter. Script is being penned by 300 co-writer Kurt Johnstad.

INSP-TV TO SHOW ‘THE BIG VALLEY’




If you’ve been missing the Barkleys, and getting impatient for the big-screen version of their stories, here’s great news -- The Inspiration Channel, found in many basic-cable plans, will begin airing the classic series THE BIG VALLEY on September 26th. Barbara Stanwyck, Linda Evans, Lee Majors, Peter Breck and Richard Long will soon be back on the air. A family-friendly outfit, INSP-TV currently shows THE WALTONS, and will soon be adding BONANZA and DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN.

SILENTS UNDER THE STARS FEATURES TOM MIX ON SUNDAY




On Sunday, August 21st, The Silent Society will present their 24th annual Silents Under The Stars program at historic Paramount Ranch in Agoura. THE GREAT K&A TRAIN ROBBERY (1926) stars Tom Mix, Dorothy Dwan and Tony the Wonder Horse, and is directed by Lewis Seiler. The talented Michael Mortilla will present a live musical accompaniment. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for kids under 12, free for kids under three, and $5 for Hollywood Heritage members. The movie starts at 7:30 pm, and you’re encouraged to come early and bring a picnic dinner. As you’ll be in a National Park at night, a flashlight is a good idea as well. For details call (805) – 370-2301.

WILLIAM SMITH AT COMIC BOOK & SCI-FI CONVENTION SUNDAY




LAREDO fans can meet William Smith, who co-starred with Peter Brown and Neville Brand in all 65 episodes of the series at the convention, held at the Shrine Auditorium Expo Center, 700 West 32nd Street, Los Angeles, Ca. He’ll be signing autographs, and his new book of poetry, from noon ‘til two. Admission to the event is $8. To find out more, go HERE.

http://www.comicbookscifi.com/

TCM FANATIC - WESTERN NOW ONLINE!

And speaking of TCM, have I mentioned that the segment I was interviewed for is now viewable here?




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. 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.

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 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.

RFD-TV has begun airing THE ROY ROGERS SHOW on Sundays at 9:00 a.m., with repeats the following Thursday and Saturday.

Also, AMC has started showing two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN on Saturday mornings.



EDITORIALIZING

More than once in the Round-up I’ve made comments to the effect that every western that does well helps the cause of all, and every western that does badly makes it more difficult to get another made. So while I’m sorry that THE LONE RANGER may not happen in the near future, I’d rather see it pulled than see it made for so high a price that it could never be profitable.

I think that there are two absolutely crucial elements for making a good, successful western, and the first is a strong plot and screenplay. It’s not by chance that both 3:10 TO YUMA and TRUE GRIT, the two most successful westerns of recent years, were based on an Elmore Leonard story and a Charles Portis novel. Conversely, the potentially upcoming LONE RANGER and the current COWBOYS & ALIENS and the recent JONAH HEX were all based on comic books or graphic novels (and no, this LONE RANGER is not based on the radio or TV series, but on a comic). COWBOYS has a strong screenplay considering the source material, and I found the movie very enjoyable, but it still is saddled with a comic-bookish premise.

The second crucial element to a western film is some humor. There’s humor throughout the films of Howard Hawks and John Ford, and those who imitate just the dark elements of Leone and Peckinpah need to watch the whole of the films: for all of the grimness, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY and THE WILD BUNCH have hysterically funny moments. If the west was as relentlessly bleak as a lot of recent films show it, there’d be no need for shootouts: everyone would have shot themselves.

Happy Trails!

Henry

All Contents Copyright August 2011 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved

Monday, August 8, 2011

BRONCO LAYNE TALKS!


(picture from a Swedish gum-card)


Ty Hardin interview conducted August 11th 2010

From the late 1950s through the mid 1960s, Warner Brothers Studios dominated much of prime-time American television with a string of hip detective shows – 77 SUNSET STRIP, HAWAIIAN EYE, SURFSIDE SIX, BOURBON STREET BEAT – and string of equally hip westerns – MAVERICK, LAWMAN, SUGARFOOT, CHEYENNE and BRONCO.

From 1958 through 1962, big, handsome, muscular Texan Ty Hardin starred as the title character, roaming cowboy Bronco Layne, in BRONCO, and in addition to playing him 68 times in his own series, played him twice on SUGARFOOT and once on MAVERICK. When I called Ty Hardin to arrange an interview, I asked if Wednesday or Thursday was good. “Make it Wednesday. Thursday’s my poker day.” I thought it was the perfect answer from Bronco Layne, and when I began my interview with this charming, easy-going and self-effacing man, an interview punctuated with a lot of laughter on both sides, I reminded him of his answer to my first question.

TY: (laughs) We’ve got to get our priorities right, don’t we?

H: So you have a regular group you play poker with?

TY: Oh yes. We play every Tuesday and Thursday.

H: Are any of them from the Western days?

TY: Well, yes they are: they’re old fans. So they invited me to play, and I enjoyed it, so I made friends with them all, and they’re just good people. I don’t really buddy with the people in the industry any more, even though I meet them all and talk to them when we go to film festivals and things. The actor has a hard time assimilating into society, because he’s put on a pedestal. It gets impregnated into their system, and suddenly their shit don’t stink. I’ve been too basic all my life – just a country boy that got lucky.

H: That’s a good thing.




TY: I think for me it has been, because I was able to just walk away from the industry with no remorse. I felt I’d served my purpose. The industry was changing drastically, the lines, the stories they were making were not anything that I wanted to be a part of. So I adjusted very easily to the private world. I’m eighty years old. Most of my buddies are dead. And I think a lot of it is stress. We put a lot of internal stress on ourselves; one of the stresses comes from disappointment, and emotional problems. So I don’t have any emotional problems – I don’t try to kid myself that my horse didn’t like me.

H: On your IMDB page, the first thing I see is a great picture of you and Ann-Margaret on a beach.

TY: She was a sweetheart – she was just a wonderful person.

H: I was wondering what show that was from.

TY: You know what it was? We were at Paramount together, and they just wanted us to get paired up for publicity purposes. She was doing something else, and I was doing I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE (1958). I was the monster – don’t ask too many questions.




H: You were also Mac Brody.

TY: I was also Mac Brody – I played two roles in that.

H: So your film career began a lot like that of James Arness; he was The Thing in THE THING (1951) before he got GUNSMOKE.

TY: I didn’t know that. You’re full of information, aren’t you? (Looking back on) all those people, it’s kind of sad what we have today, in comparison to what we had. We used real stock back then. We had real people from all walks of life, and they had all different axes to grind, but I don’t think I met a bad guy in the whole group. I’m sure there were a few of them, but every actor I worked with were just delightful people. People like Jack Elam and Claude Akins. They were fine human beings, and they helped me a lot. I was just a young buck, didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground, and they just stepped up and said, “Don’t do this, don’t do that,” and so on.

H: Speaking of Jack Elam, he worked with you on BRONCO, and I was just watching you two together in THE LAST REBEL (1971).




TY: Oh, he was such a help to me, he really was. I’ll never forget one time we were doing a close-up (on him), and I could never get one up on him. You know, you’re sitting by the side of the camera, and throw your lines out. Well, I walked way over to the right-hand side, he said, “What the Hell are you doing over there?” I said, “I’m working to the other eye.” He said, “I can’t see outa that eye – get over near the camera!”

H: I understand that you were born in New York City.

TY: I’m not sure exactly where I was born; I wasn’t too cognizant. My mother married a Yankee. He worked for the government for a period of time; I’m not exactly sure what he did. But I spent the first few years of my life in New York, and I remember a little bit about it, that there too many people in a small place. When my brother came along a year or so behind me, (my mother) just had a tough time. It was during the Depression, and it was so much easier for her to just (take us) home to Texas, where our family lived on a farm. We had everything; we raised our own food. And the whole thing (the marriage) fell apart. So much for my Yankee days. Well, I grew up on my grandparents’ farm. My mother had to work. She worked in Huston, and we lived in Austin, and my grandparents virtually raised Dewey and I when we were real young. My mother lived in a little-bitty apartment, we’d go up and visit her on the weekends when she had off, but things were tough during that period, and she was lucky to find a job and have a job and keep a job. My grandparents were not well off, but everything they owned, they owned. They didn’t owe anything. They owned their land, they had twelve or so acres right there on Lake Austin. I worked out in the cornfield, and we grew 90% of our food. It made things pretty easy. That was a very formative period of my life.




H: Did you go to the movies much?

TY: You know, it was kind of a big deal to go to a movie when I was a kid, particularly on Saturday. Johnny Mack Brown and Bob Steele were our big heroes growing up. Then along came Gene Autry and Hopalong Cassidy. I think everybody in those days kind of identified with westerns. I know I did. That’s our heritage, that’s who we were as people, and the other stuff was kind of boring. But I enjoyed watching horses, and seeing the Indians get shot and killed. (laughs) I grew up with a western background.

H: You graduated from high school in 1949. You attended Blinn Junior College on a football scholarship, and did semester at Dallas Bible School before joining the Army. Tell me, what was your military experience?

TY: Well, I went through O.C.S. (Officer Candidate School), became an officer, and I got stationed in Europe. I was in the Signal Corps, and I had top secret clearance – I don’t know what it was for; I didn’t know any secrets. And I was going to be a career officer. Then my C.O. (commanding officer) called me in. He said, ‘Ty, I notice you’ve got quite a bit of college credits. We’ve got a directive, we can send you back, and support you in finishing college. He told me I should get out of the Army – it was a temporary release – and finish my college. So I did. I was playing football for the Army at the time, for Ramstad in Germany. I had that qualification, so I got that football scholarship at the University of Houston, and played football. I was ineligible the first year, so all I did was run what they called suicide squad, which is everybody’s plays but ours. We’d scrimmage the main team twice a week. Got our butts kicked around, doing a good job for Clyde Lee, who was our coach.




H: And you were studying what kind of engineering?

TY: I started with physical education, and that’s boring. I had to challenge myself; it’s just part of my nature. So I (switched to) engineering, and I got work right out of college (as an) acoustical research engineer. I had two courses (to finish), English, and I forget what the other course was. I’d finished all of my engineering courses, and passed with flying colors. Douglas Aircraft came down, they were hiring people right out of college, so I got hired; I left school a week before my finals, and went to work. (laughs) There’s some dumb things I’ve done.

H: I understand that your big break had to do with a Halloween party.

TY: That was funny. (Douglas Aircraft) had a Halloween party, and I decided I’d come as a cowboy, because I’m sitting in California, and nobody knows anything about cowboys. So I went to Western Costume to borrow a costume -- Western Costume was right in front of Paramount Studios -- and a little talent scout came up to me and said, ‘Have you ever considered being an actor?’ (Laughs) ‘Hardly,’ I said. ‘I’ve just got out of college.’ And so he had me walk over to Paramount and talk to Bill Michaeljohn, who was the head of the talent department. And out of a clear blue sky they asked me to sit down and wait a second, went into another office to talk, came back and offered me a seven year contract.




H: Wow!

TY: On a piece of paper they printed out my salary. And for the first six months I was making something like $500 a week. And next it went up a couple of hundred – that was the first year. I was making about $150 as an engineer after five years of college.

H: So you weren’t looking to be an actor when this happened.

TY: Oh no, I had no more interest in being an actor than I do now.

H: How did you like being under contract to Paramount?

TY: I enjoyed it. You know what was good about Paramount, for my schooling and education, was they had a very good program for their young actors, and I filled in in every film they made. I made four or five films at Paramount, I didn’t even get billing, but I was playing bit parts. I was the monster in I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE, made TOO YOUNG FOR LOVE. I made three or four movies there. It was very good experience.

H: You also did your first western at Paramount, LAST TRAIN FROM GUN HILL. I was just watching it –

TY: We’re you? (laughs) Did you miss me?

H: Were you one of the three cowboys on the porch that picks the fight with Kirk Douglas?

TY: That was it! Got my butt kicked all over the place! Kirk Douglas knocks me down and everything – that little shrimp!

H: It’s funny, I was just talking to Earl Holliman, who’s also in the picture, and he was saying that he liked Kirk Douglas, but Kirk would do his fight scenes and never pull his punches. So he got kind of smacked around working with him.

TY: You know what it was? He would just get so enthusiastic about it. You could tell he was being carried away, and he had a little grudge on his shoulder anyway, being a little short guy.




H: You had a seven-year contract with Paramount Pictures. How did you end up at Warner Brothers?

TY: I was over there, looking for a part in RIO BRAVO, and I run into John Wayne. And the Duke simply got on the phone, called over to the casting department and said, ‘We’ve got a kid over here that you need to look at.’ But Ricky Nelson had already got the part on the picture, so there was no need of me. But I went over to see Bill Orr, who was VP of Warner Brothers. And I was traded for Tab Hunter. They wanted me, Paramount said to Warners, ‘You can have Ty if you give us Tab Hunter.’ I don’t tell many people that.

H: Personally I think Warner Brothers came out ahead on the deal.

TY: Well at that time they did because they were having trouble with the CHEYENNE show and (its star) Clint Walker. He’d worked two or three years on that show, and now he wanted to make some pictures. And I don’t blame him. (Note: Ty Hardin was hired to play Bronco Layne on BRONCO, as a successor to Clint Walker’s CHEYENNE, should Walker actually ‘walk,’ but no one but Clint Walker ever played the character Cheyenne Bodie.) He’ll always be CHEYENNE, and it’s very difficult to go in and try and replace him: it’s just not gonna happen. He’d developed a tremendous following, and still he has it today. We go to these film festivals, and he’s got crowds going out the back door. Amazing. Of course he did it for seven or eight years and he’s just a very personable fellah. And when they think of Cheyenne, they think of him – they don’t think of Bronco Layne, of Ty Hardin, the replacement. You should see some of the letters I used to get! ‘Where’d they find that guy?’ ‘What makes you think you can replace Cheyenne Bodie?’ (laughs) Kind of humbling. Clint and I, we’re good friends. He’d come by and I’d say, ‘Would you answer these for me?’ But that was a good career, I had a good start. I ran that show for four years.

H: So is that where your name was changed to Ty Hardin?

TY: Right. I was Orison Whipple Hungerford until then. I had already been called Ty, which was short for typhoon. It was something I just sort of inherited as a little kid. My grandparents gave it to me – they had to put everything out of sight because I’d come running through the house and everything would be in a scramble. So my grandparents named me Ty when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. But Hardin was (Bill Orr’s) idea; they named me after John Wesley Hardin. So they said, ‘We’ll make it Ty Hardin,’ and I’ve been Ty Hardin ever since.

H: It suits you. At the time that you moved over to Warners to play Bronco Layne, they were doing a whole bunch of westerns – MAVERICK and SUGARFOOT in addition to CHEYENNE.


(Wayde Preston, Ty Hardin, Jack Kelly, John Russell, James Garner, Peter Brown, Will Hutchins)

TY: They had six or seven of them going. They had the LAWMAN series going, too, with Peter Brown. It was so funny, we’d get a good actor/stunt man like Jack Elam, he’d go from one show to the next – he’d do two or three shows in a row, while he was out here. And I’ll never forget, one time we’re sitting there talking, and Jack walked in. And he was all dressed up, all ready to go. And the director came and asked, ‘What are you doing here?’ He said, ‘Isn’t this MAVERICK?’ But he was a neat actor to work with.

H: So, the regular guys like James Garner, Jack Kelly, Will Hutchins – what were they like off-camera?

TY: I think actors have a hard time with each other, you know? There’s so much ego floating around. I never felt the need to impress people. I’ve always drawn enough attention, being a good-looking man, you just almost accept it for granted that you’re going to be acceptable. Now, Will Hutchins was never like that. But Peter Brown was, he was a snob. And I don’t mean that facetiously, you know what I mean? Because he’s a good friend of mine today, and he’s mellowed out a lot (laughs). I came from good stock out of Texas, and we just thought differently, you know? We didn’t judge people by their looks or who they were. People are people. I never got to ‘know’ Clint (Walker) in all the years I’ve known him. I never sat down and talked about anything, and he’s kind of a mystery to me. But you can’t make a person be your friend. And he doesn’t have any; he’s a loner. That’s part of his nature. He’s what he is; Clint’s a nice guy, but he’s not friendly. That’s the difference between him and a Texan.

H: That’s why he’s Cheyenne, and not Bronco.

TY: (laughs) That’s it.

H: Warner’s turned out so many good western series, and theirs looked and felt so different from the other good stuff being done, like GUNSMOKE and WAGON TRAIN. What made the Warner Brothers westerns distinctive? Was it the acting, the production, the writing…?

TY: I think there’s a combination here. Warners had been involved in westerns since day one. Warners had stock footage that no one else had. I mean, if you needed four hundred Indians, they’ve got ‘em on film. That added a quality and a production value to the films that was unsurpassed in the industry. And the writers were very familiar with all the movies we stole the stock footage from. People who were working at Universal Pictures would have it to a degree, but not to the magnitude that Warner Brothers had it.

H: How long would it take to shoot an episode?

TY: Well, that would depend. If we’re shooting a lot of Indians and killing a lot of Indians, well, that footage has already been shot. Most of the time it was four to five days shooting to make a show. And then we’d have another day of dubbing, where we’d do all the crossovers and backgrounds and so forth.
H: Now you were not planning to be an actor. Did you have trouble memorizing your lines?

TY: Oh no, that was the easiest part. I fell into it because I was kind of a ham anyway. After having a college degree, you built up certain abilities. So I had no trouble memorizing twelve pages of dialogue. I could read it over once and that was it. So that was a great advantage of having a mind that had been taught to be programmed.

H: Did you only do one episode at a time, or would they do extra scenes from other shows out of order?

TY: Well, that would depend on availabilities. For instance, a lot of times we’d shoot a show, pretty well all of it. But then they wouldn’t have the back-lot available and I’d have to go out in the middle of another show to shoot action shots from the previous show. That was pretty easy to handle. Say, you’ve got six shows going on at one time. They’d shoot and kill the Indians over on MAVERICK, then send ‘em over to me and I’d shoot and kill ‘em -- he’d use the same Indians on three shows at a time. (Laughs) Jack Warner was probably the most ingenious person, and certainly he was frugal, and consequently he was able to put those shows out for almost nothing.

H: A producer who worked out here at the time told me they used to brag at Warners that their shows were so inexpensive to make that they were in profit after the first airing.

TY: And you can see why, because it utilizes their abilities and their ingenuity as well as production value. And as I say they used tons and tons and tons of stock footage. Look up and suddenly that’s Johnny Mack Brown riding along!

H: Was everything shot on the stages and the back lot? Did you ever go out on location?

TY: Oh yeah, quite often. We may be shooting for two or three shows at the same time on a location.

H: I just saw four episodes in a row, and I was wondering, did you take off your shirt in every single episode?

TY: I don’t know, did I? They were big on cheesecake. I didn’t realize that. That didn’t bother me, but you’re right.

H: It sure didn’t bother the ladies watching.

TY: No, I had a ton of them. That was one fun thing I had, I really enjoyed doing my mail, and I’d get a big ego trip, then I’d have to go down to real life. During that period I was married for a while, but marriages are hard to keep. Poor old Andra Martin (his 2nd wife), she was a real sweetheart of a gal. I just never really got to know her. I was married to Miss Universe at one time. (Helen Schmidt, wife #3 was 1961 Miss Universe) I was making PT 109. I was one of the judges for the Miss Universe contest. And of course I voted for her. She was a sweet gal. Looking back I think what an idiot I was. The industry just is so demanding, and I followed it so relentlessly, and I was so damned dedicated to it that I just got my values screwed up, my priorities all messed up. Marriage has always meant something to me. Unfortunately I’ve been good at doing it, but not at keeping it.

H: On BRONCO, some of the episodes were comic, like where you outsmart crooked cattle dealers. Others are more like mysteries, little film noir westerns, and pretty dark. What kind of shows did you enjoy playing the most?

TY: I think the lighter kind of story-line. You know, I’m not big on killing. I really don’t think brutality sells pictures too much. I think people want to identify, they want to see they’re real people. And when everyone is a madman killer, they just say ‘hurrah’ when you shoot and kill the ‘mutha’. I think one of the reasons those shows were so successful at Warners was because they did have (people like) the Shirley Joneses, real nice people that viewers liked, and you got involved with them and their problems. And we were basically more on problems than on crime.

H: That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

TY: We would deal with people’s problems, their inner problems, how they adjusted to a broken family or something like that. It was more of a human interest story, and less on violence.

H: Speaking of Shirley Jones and people like her, you had beautiful gals in every episode. Who were your favorites.

TY: Well, I had quite a few. I liked Shirley. There were some real good actresses I learned a lot from, that did a lot of good work. Names escape me, but a lot of them really catered to that running around with a gun and a horse -- I got a big kick out of some of them! They were in there just as big and tall as you could imagine.

H: And there were also a lot of interesting guys in the show. Some that had been around a long time, like Don ‘Red’ Barry, Denver Pyle and Gerald Mohr

TY: Oh man, yes, like Gerald Mohr, and Lee Van Cleef – God knows how many times I worked with him.

H: What was he like?

TY: He’s just a neat guy. He’s got a strong character, you don’t upstage him – you just stay out of his scene. But there were so many of them that just had good, good presence. And I learned so much from them, believe me. And they don’t want me to be a character actor – they want me to stay Bronco Layne. Like Jack Elam one time said to me, ‘You’re never gonna be a heavy, so quit playin’ at it.’

H: You also had some guys who were just starting out, like James Coburn, Troy Donahue, Chad Everett. Did they make any impression at that point?

TY: Well, you know what they were doing, they were using shows like mine to kind of break those guys in. Warner had quite a montage of people under contract, and of course a lot of them didn’t have much experience either. He was big on finding new talent. And the best way to break them in was to send them down to our shows, where we’d look after them. (laughs) In other words, if they couldn’t handle a line, we’d cut ‘em out. But it was good experience for them. It was not that I was that good an actor. It was that I knew my person, I knew my character, and they’re going to have to play off of my lines, and they’re going to have to go pretty hard to steal the scene from me.

H: Did you have any particular favorite episodes?

TY: You know, after doing sixty of those boogers, it’s hard to say. Not any particular favorites.

H: After 68 episodes of BRONCO, did you feel the show had reached the point where it jumped the shark, ran out of ideas?

TY: You know what my personal opinion is? I think they had gotten expensive, and they’re always looking to cut money.

Next week, TY HARDIN – THE POST-‘BRONCO’ YEARS. But to keep you in the mood while you wait, here's the BRONCO theme:




DISCOVERY ANNOUNCES ‘GUNSMOKE’ DOCUMENTARY SERIES

Starting in October, the Discovery Channel will present ‘Gunsmoke’, a reality series about one of the oldest gun shops west of the Mississippi, “…where a third generation family of dynamic gunsmiths crafts blocks of steel into beautiful but deadly works of art.” The lead is former police officer Rich Wyatt, a married man with kids. I’m more than a little put off by choosing a series title in an attempt to trick people into watching it by accident, but what the heck, I’ll give it a shot. Oops.

GUNSLINGER JOEY DILLON MAKES THE FRONT PAGE!

Today’s, Monday August 8th’s, Los Angeles Daily News, features a front-page story on the amazing pistol-tosser who’s been covered in the Round-up for his performances at the Republic 75th Anniversary Celebration, the Cowboy Festival at Melody Ranch, and most recently at the Day of the Cowboy celebration at the Autry (GO HERE: http://henryswesternroundup.blogspot.com/2011/07/shadow-hills-pilot-rolls-at-melody.html)

Read the Daily News article HERE.



http://www.dailynews.com/ci_18635677

JOHN FORD TO BE HONORED WITH STAMP NEXT YEAR!





On Friday, the U. S. Postal Service announced that next year director John Ford will be honored with a ‘forever’ stamp featuring an image of himself composited against the closing moments of THE SEARCHERS. Three other directors will likewise be recognized, but their names have not yet been announced. Whom do you suggest?

GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL SATURDAY AT THE AUTRY

Continuing their once-a-month “What is a Western?” series, on Saturday, August 13th, at 1:30 p.m., the Autry will screen John Sturges’ version of one of the most-filmed stories of western history, GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL, in 35 mm. Sturges, though currently neglected, was a master of intelligent, exuberant action films like THE GREAT ESCAPE and MAGNIFICENT 7, and overdue for reappraisal. Here he’s ably assisted by a Leon Uris script from a George Scullin article, with costumes by Edith Head, a score by Dimitri Tiomkin, and the stick-in-your-head theme sung by Frankie Laine. Burt Lancaster is Wyatt Earp, Kirk Douglas is Doc Holliday, and the rest of the cast is filled to the brim with great westerns actors: Rhonda Fleming, Earl Holliman, Dennis Hopper, Lee Van Cleef, John Ireland, Jack Elam… It’s required viewing, and Associate Curator Jeffrey Richardson will lead a discussion on both the film and the actual history. And coming soon, for comparison purposes, is TOMBSTONE!








THURSDAY IS BEN JOHNSON DAY ON TCM

It’s become a tradition at TCM to devote each day in August to the work of a single actor, and Thursday, August 11th, the honor falls to the great Ben Johnson, Oscar winner for THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. And what a line-up! It starts at 3:00 a.m. Pacific Time with 3 GODFATHERS, and is followed by FORT DEFIANCE at 5, WILD STALLION at 6:30, WAR DRUMS at 8, CHEYENNE AUTUMN at 9:30, MAJOR DUNDEE at 12:30 p.m., JUNIOR BONNER at 3, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG at 5, WAGON MASTER at 6:45, SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON at 8:15, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW at 10:15, and ends with THE WILD BUNCH at 12:30 a.m.

Also of interest on TCM this week, on Wednesday, Shirley MacLaine Day, at 5:00 a.m., see THE SHEEPMAN. On Saturday, James Stewart Day, there’s a double-bill of THE NAKED SPUR at 3:15 pm and THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE at five. And on Ralph Bellamy Sunday at 1:45 p.m. it’s THE PROFESSIONALS.

TCM FANATIC - WESTERN NOW ONLINE!

And speaking of TCM, have I mentioned that the segment I was interviewed for is now viewable here?




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. 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.

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 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.

RFD-TV has begun airing THE ROY ROGERS SHOW on Sundays at 9:00 a.m., with repeats the following Thursday and Saturday.

Also, AMC has started showing two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN on Saturday mornings.

On Saturday mornings at 8:00 a.m. Pacific time, TCM is showing two chapters of ZORRO RIDES AGAIN, Republic’s fine western action serial, starring John Carroll, Duncan Renaldo, and featuring action directed by John English and William Whitney.

That's it for now!

Adios amigos!

Henry

All contents copyright August 2011 by Henry C. Parke - All Rights Reserved