Sunday, October 9, 2011


(1948 Mexican Tourist Card)

The John Wayne Estate Auction, held by Wayne’s family on Thursday and Friday, October 6th and 7th, largely for the benefit of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, brought in $5,375,322.  The 745 lots comprised costumes, props, posters, and awards related to his film career, as well as clothes, books, furniture and other mementoes of the Duke’s private life.


Bidders packed the auction-room at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel on Thursday, but more bidders were at home, around the world, following the auction live at the Heritage Auctions website, and bidding online and over the phone.  The last 135 lots, auctioned on Friday, were for internet bidding only.  If you’ve never watched an auction live online, it’s a fascinating thing to see.

(UNDEFEATED vest and Batjac crates)

In recent weeks the auction had been previewed in Dallas, Texas, and New York City, and finally at the Hyatt in Century City.  I attended the preview a couple of days before the auction, and talked to Margaret Barrett of Heritage Auctions.  Among the wide array items, there were many scripts from Duke’s movies set to go under the hammer, and I asked her if there were many notations in them.  “Some have annotations, some don’t.  Most of then have pages that have been folded over.  His habit seemed to be that after the scene was shot he would fold the page over.  If you look, for example, at the script for THE HORSE SOLDIERS, that was script he took to the set every day, and all of the pages have been folded over.  That’s a heavily-used working script.  Then we have other scripts, like WEDNESDAY MORNING, and that was probably a file script, and he didn’t take it to the set.” 


Some items were big – trunks and cowboy-hat lockers and a pair of message tables.  Others were pocket-sized – drivers licenses and Playboy Club keys.  There was a stack of more than a hundred personal calling cards, engraved with ‘John Wayne’ on the front, and autographed “Good Luck, John Wayne,” on the back.  The Duke used to carry a pocketful with him, for when people on the street asked him for an autograph. 

(Signed calling cards for fans)

The script for STAGECOACH sold for $11,950; THE SEARCHERS for $41,825; and RIO BRAVO for $20,315.  A 1948 Mexican Tourist card brought $$8,962.50.  His 1933 marriage certificate, joining him to Josephine Alicia Saenz, when his name was still Marion Mitchell Morrison, sold for $10,157.50.  An interesting John Ford item was included.  Elliot Nugent had written a magazine article claiming that Henry Fonda was Ford’s favorite actor.  Ford scrawled across the magazine, “Nugent is a liar!  My favorite actor is Fred Kennedy.”  Ford’s signature is actually witnessed by his brother, Pat Ford.  It sold for just under $1,200.




(Boots fron UNDEFEATED)

(TRUE GRIT hat and patch)

The biggest single price for an item was Wayne’s GREEN BERET, from the movie of the same title, which sold for a whopping $179,250.  Among other wardrobe items, a pair of pants from THE ALAMO sold for $7,170; a shirt from THE COMANCHEROS, MCCLINTOCK! and EL DORADO sold for $5,975; the blue bib shirt from THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE brought $44,812.50 and his VALANCE  hat sold for $41,825; a cavalry hat from THE UNDEFEATED, THE HORSE SOLDIERS, CIRCUS WORLD and RIO LOBO sold for $35,850; his Nudie-made ROOSTER COGBURN hat sold for $77,675; a collection of colored neckerchiefs fetched $10,755.  There were hats from costars as well.  Hoot Gibson’s Union kepi from THE HORSE SOLDIERS cost $5,975; Ward Bond’s hat from HONDO sold for $6,572.50. 

The finest piece of art in the collection, the portrait of Wayne by the great John Decker, sold, oddly enough, for exactly the same price as a saddle from the 1960s: $71,700.  To see complete details on the action, visit the Heritage Auction website HERE.


On Friday, October 14th, the 14h Annual Silver Spur Awards will be presented by the Reel Cowboys, at Sportsman’s Lodge, 12825 Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, 91604.  The event, which is to benefit the Autry National Center, will posthumously honor Gene, and will also honor attendees, actors James Drury (THE VIRGINIAN) and Fay McKenzie, a frequent co-star with Gene Autry, as well as Tex Ritter, Ken Maynard and Randolph Scott.  Also to be honored is stuntman Ted White, who has taken the hits and falls for John Wayne, Clark Gable, Richard Boone, Fess Parker and Lee Marvin among others.   Writer A.J. Fenady, who created and produced THE REBEL, BRANDED, the HONDO TV series and the John Wayne movie CHISUM, will also be honored, as will Andre and Renaud Veluzat, who operate the Veluzat Movie Ranch, formerly Melody Ranch. 

Among those presenting awards will be Western actors Ann Rutherford (Gene Autry’s co-star and Scarlet O’Hara’s kid sister), L.Q. Jones (THE WILD BUNCH, GUNSMOKE and many more), Dick Jones (BUFFALO BILL JR. and many more); producers A.C. Lyles and Rob Word; and stuntman Joe Moio.  The program will be emceed by Sam Neely and the legendary singer Johnny Western.

With the end of the Golden Boot Award following its 25th Anniversary in 2007, The Silver Spur has become the preeminent Western movie award.   Like the Silver Spur, the Golden Boot Awards were often held at the Sportsman’s Lodge, the favorite hangout of the man who thought of the Golden Boot in the first place, Autry sidekick Pat Buttram.  In the old days, their creek used to be stocked with trout, and Howard Hughes used to take dates there to catch their dinners. 

The tickets are $125 for general seating, and $175 for V.I.P. seating.  For reservations, or more information, call 1-800-337-SPUR!   To learn more about the Reel Cowboys organization, go HERE. 


The 8th Annual Red Nation Film Festival, subtitled ‘The Authentic Voice of American Indian & Indigenous Cinema’, will open on November 1st with YELLOW ROCK, the new Western starring Michael Biehn, James Russo, Lenore Andriel, Michael Spears and Eddie Spears.  Regular Rounders (Round-up readers) have been following the progress of YELLOW ROCK, directed by Nick Vallenlonga and written by Andriel and Steve Doucette, since it first rolled camera about a year ago, and we’re very proud the festival has honored the filmmakers in this way.

The Festival runs from Tuesday, November 1st through Tuesday, November 8th, at several venues in Los Angeles, and we’ll have more details next week.  But to find out more right now, and to order tickets, go HERE. 


(Jeff Bridges with Kevin Bacon)

(Jeff Bridges with Ryan Reynolds)

The newest pseudo-western based on a comic book, R.I.P.D., aiming for a June 2013 release, is the story of a recently murdered cop, Ryan Reynolds, who joins the Rest in Peace Department, a police agency made up of undead cops, to track the man who killed him.  He’s assisted (here comes the Western part) by Jeff Bridges as a deceased old-west lawman.  The film, directed by Robert Schwentke, also stars Kevin Bacon.  Here’re the first pictures to be leaked.


On Saturday, October 22nd, the National Day of the Cowboy organization will hold a ‘Hats Off To Cowboys’ benefit to continue the work of making the Day of the Cowboy a reality nationally.  The event will take place in Black Canyon City, Arizona, at the Rock Springs Café.  Festivities include a traditional cowboy dinner (no, not just beans), country music, moonlight dancing, an auction, a raffle and more – there’ll even be a free raffle ticket to everyone who attends wearing a cowboy hat!  It’s only $20 per person!  For more information, visit the official site HERE.  

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.  INSP is showing THE BIG VALLEY every weekday at noon, one p.m. and nine p.m., and Saturdays at 6 p.m..  They'll soon be adding DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN to the mix.


Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run DANIEL BOONE at 1:00 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic. 

AMC has been airing a block of THE RIFLEMAN episodes early Saturday mornings, usually followed by Western features.

And RFD-TV is currently showing THE ROY ROGERS SHOW at 9:30 Sunday morning, repeated several times a week, and a Roy feature as well -- check your local listings.

That's it for this week, pardners.  Next week I'll have the story of my recent visit to Tombstone, just in time to tell you about Tombstone Helldorado Days, plus the upcoming SPERDVAC radio convention, featuring an reenacment of an episode of the James Stewart series, THE SIX-SHOOTER!

Happy Trails!


All Original Content Copyright October 2011 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved


  1. That's a very strange looking pistol that Mr. Bridges is sporting.

    I sure would have loved to aquire a $44,000 chapeau for myself at the auction... Beautiful items.

  2. Ah, the wes-tern! Thanks pal, and have fun at Silver Spurs! Great event, and if you need a photog, lemme know!

  3. Great to read about Western Movies ,Sorry I miss the John Wayne Auction,would of been interesting. Without the Western where would alot of us be now days. Sure help shap my life.

  4. We're here trying to Keep the West Alive.
    Check us out please.