Sunday, September 11, 2011


‘BLACKTHORN’ is both the title and the assumed named Butch Cassidy is hiding behind in the new Western that has arrived with very little fanfare but a handsome-looking trailer.  Starring Sam Shepard as the low-profile outlaw, the story begins after the supposed death of both Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Bolivia – and Bolivia is where the movie was in fact shot. 

Tiring of his isolation, Cassidy is heading back to the border when his path crosses that of a young and ambitious bandit (Eduardo Noriega), who draws him into a plan of his own.  Shepard, long better known as a playwright than a thesp, has some mileage in westerns, having starred in THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES, ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, THE STREETS OF LAREDO mini, and DAYS OF HEAVEN (okay, not a western, but close). 

The cast and crew are largely from Spain, and Noriega is a very well-known star there.  The only other actor likely familiar to American audiences is Stephen Rea of THE CRYING GAME (also not exactly a western).   Director Mateo Gil is a well-respected screenwriter in Spain.

BONANZACON 2011 Sept. 16-18 at Burbank Marriott!

Ponderosa Pals from around the globe will gather at the Burbank Marriott to celebrate the brain-child of the great David Dortort, BONANZA! Events over the three days will include visits to Vasquez Rocks and other locations, the Autry Center – home to the Dortort archives, as well as panel discussions. 

Friday’s panel will include actors Mariette Hartley, Morgan Woodward, Michael Dante, Greg Walcott, Richard Hatch, movie producer David Blocker (son of Dan), TV producer Susan McCray, BONANZA telewriter Anthony Lawrence, to be moderated by Kevin Jorgenson and Susan McCray.   

Saturday’s panel will feature actors BarBara Luna, Peter Mark Richman, Mitch Vogel – the last living Cartwright (Jamie), and Mitch’s stunt double Rick Drown.  There will be a talent show, country fair, and a Memorial Dinner for David Dortort.  And I just got word that they’re adding Monday, September 19th, (for an additional fee) to add a tour of Warner Brothers Studio. 

I’ll add more details on our Facebook page as they become available.  To visit the official website, go HERE.  To visit the official Facebook page, go HERE.

David Dortort gave a wonderful seven-part interview to the TV LEGENDS project of the TV Academy, which is available at Youtube, one of an incredible collection of in-depth interviews with TV pioneers.  Here’s part one.


 History Channel’s series based on the infamous family hostilities, starring Kevin Costner as Devil Anse Hatfield and Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy, has added several more marquee names to its cast: Tom Berenger, Powers Boothe,  Mare Winningham as Sally McCoy, and now TRUE BLOOD’S Lindsay Pulsipher will be joining in the feudin’ and fightin’ and murderin’ starting later this month in – you guessed it --  Romania!  Series is being directed by Kevin Reynolds and scripted by Ronald Parker and Ted Mann.


Having settled their differences, INSP, the Inspiration Network, is returning to the DISH Network.  INSP will begin airing THE BIG VALLEY, the iconic western series starring Barbara Stanwyck, Linda Evans, Lee Majors, Peter Breck and Richard Long on September 26th.  A family-friendly outfit, INSP-TV currently shows THE WALTONS, and will soon be adding BONANZA and DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN.

Incidentally, the DISH Network has been a loyal sponsor of Henry’s Western Round-up for over a year now – their understated ad is in the upper left-hand corner of our top page.  We hope to learn more soon about THE BIG VALLEY – THE MOVIE, starring Jessica Lange in the Barbara Stanwyck role of Victoria Barkely, and Lee Majors as Tom Barkely, his own father in the TV series!


First we had the Roy Rogers Happy Trails Theatre.  After a year or so they swapped it for The Roy Rogers Show.  Now we’re getting both!  While RFD-TV will continue to introduce a new TV episode every Sunday morning – and the prints are absolutely pristine – starting Tuesday afternoon with THE ARIZONA KID, the features are back as well.  I find the repeat schedule for both the series and features a little confusing, so check your local listings. 


On Saturday, September 17th, at 1:30 pm in the Wells Fargo Theatre, the Autry will screen a 35mm print of TOMBSTONE (1993), as part of their ‘What is a Western?’ series.  The film stars Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer in a very strong ensemble cast, and was written by the late Kevin Jarre (THE TRACKER, GLORY).  It should make a nice contrast to last month’s movie based on the same subject, GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL.  Again, curator Jeffrey Richardson will lead a discussion, and he’ll be joined by Michael F. Blake, author of HOLLYWOOD AND THE O.K. CORRAL: PORTRAYALS OF THE GUNFIGHT AND WYATT EARP.

TCM FANATIC - WESTERN NOW ONLINE!And speaking of TCM, have I mentioned that 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

That's it for this week's Round-up!  Thanks for reading.  Never forget what happened ten years ago today. 


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

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