AJ: Yeah, absolutely. Wait, my damn cigar went out – too much talking and not enough inhaling. Alright, songs. Now look, THE REBEL told the story of Johnny Yuma when he roamed through the west. “He was panther quick and leather tough, ’cause he figured that he'd been pushed enough, the rebel. Johnny Yuma.” Well, you know a lot about him, right? Okay, well I didn’t write the song to BRANDED, but it carried out that same concept. And RIDE BEYOND VENGEANCE, which I think is the best song that I ever wrote the lyrics (to); You Can’t Go Home Again. “A man will come home to the place of his youth, in search of the things left behind. He looks for a place, for a smile on a face, but the last mile’s the hardest to find.” That tells the story of the guy, you know? “I know the high country, where wild eagles fly, the desolate no-paths terrain. But now that my years are all winters I try to call back the summers in vain.” If you don’t know what that’s about, there’s something wrong! The same with CHISUM. “Chisum, John Chisum. Weary. Saddle-worn. Chisum, John Chisum. Can you still keep goin’ on? They’re bettin’ you can’t make it, but you bet your life they’re wrong. So keep ridin’ towards the
H: Radio’s Matt Dillon: he ought to. Midway through the first season of BRANDED, you switched from black and white to color.
H: He was a smart guy.
AJ: I told you that he was intelligent. He was ornery sometimes, but intelligent.
H: I know that at Warner Brothers Television, they dreaded switching their westerns to color because they relied so much on stock footage.
AJ: You know what the old saying was, about those black and white Warner Brothers shows? If you see more than four people in the picture, it’s stock. (laughs) They used more damned stock than anyone else who ever did a television show.
H: That’s what Ty Hardin (BRONCO) told me. But you didn’t use that much stock, did you?
AJ: I don’t think I used 100 feet of stock in all the things I did. We shot it.
H: With the BRANDED three-parter, THE MISSION, Jason McCord becomes a secret agent for President Grant. Was this story-line the result of the huge success of the James Bond movies at the time?
AJ: No. You know, I turned down THE WILD, WILD WEST, because I said, this is James Bond as a cartoon, and I don’t want to do it. (THE
H: You’ve had two very successful series in a format that’s pretty-much disappeared, the half-hour drama. Do you think the Western was particularly well suited for the half hour?
AJ: I’ll tell you something. After I did CHISUM I got a call. They said well, you probably wouldn’t be interested in doing television. Let me tell you something. Ernest Hemingway was a pretty good writer. He not only wrote novels, he wrote novellas, and he also did short stories. Hell, I’ll do a short story. And the Western can certainly be adapted as a short story in a half hour format, and as far as the hour goes, that was a novella. Either way; it just took a little bit longer, you had a little more money to work with. So HONDO was a pleasure to do.
H: Speaking of HONDO, THE REBEL and BRANDED and HONDO were all stories about men who were essentially rootless loners, who’d suffered a great personal tragedy and loss – it’s also true of the man in RIDE BEYOND VENGEANCE. They often seem to be in conflict with arbitrary and corrupt authority. Are these themes that you were consciously going to?
AJ: Not in all of them. For instance, in CHISUM, when L.G. Murphy (Forrest Tucker) came into town, and Ben Johnson kept saying, ‘There’s another of L.G. Murphy’s (gun)men, Duke said, ‘Listen, he’s not bothering us. It’s a free country. Leave him alone, until he does something that affects us, or breaks the law.’ So I didn’t always do that. But I think there was an unconscious kind of a thing. Howard Hawks was the same way. In Howard Hawk’s movie
H: That’s true. Were you planning on a sequel?
AJ: Yes. The thing was, Duke owned
NBC ‘FRONTIER’ PILOT GETS NODS FOR ‘RICH LOOK’
FORD’S ‘DARLING CLEMENTINE’ SATURDAY AT THE AUTRY
On Saturday, April 14th at 1:30 pm, catch John Ford’s brilliant telling of the shootout between the Earps and the Clantons. It’s the third film in the Autry’s What Is A Western? series to examine the ultimate gunfight, following GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL and
Curator of Western History, Popular Culture, and Firearms, Jeffrey Richardson will lead a discussion of the film and
On Thursday, April 19th -- no admission for this – at Old Town Newhall on
That should do it for this week's Round-up! I hope you had a great Easter, or are having a great Passover. Next week I'll have my review of the New Zealand Western GOOD FOR NOTHING.
All Original Contents Copyright April 2012 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved