Sunday, December 11, 2011



(Tom Wilkinson negotiating his contract with Disney)

According to Deadline Hollywood, Tom Wilkinson, Oscar nominated for his roles in MICHAEL CLAYTON and IN THE BEDROOM, will be playing lead villain Latham Cole (not Butch Cavendish, as us purists were expecting),  in the Disney film budgeted at $185 million. He joins Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp as the LR and Tonto respectively, as well as Ruth Wilson, Barry Pepper – Lucky Ned Pepper in TRUE GRIT, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale, Dwight Yoakum -- soon to be seen as Gen. Meade in TO APPOMATTOX, and LEVERAGE star Timothy Hutton.  It’s being directed by Gore Verbinski from a script by Ted Elliot, Justin Haythe and Terry Rossio.   The Disney film, budgeted at $215 million, is scheduled for a May 31, 2013 release.


The start date for principal photography will be February 13th.  The big question is whether the picture will be shot in Louisiana or New Mexico, or both, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer has been playing the states against each other to get the best deal.  He explains to The Hollywood Reporter, "We found that Louisiana gave us a better tax incentive than New Mexico -- that was another $8 million. We're still shooting in New Mexico, and we might [also] go to Louisiana. We're asking New Mexico to come closer to the Louisiana incentive. We dropped our California location not because they didn't offer a tax break but because it was another production office that we had to open. Every time you have a new location, you have to use crew time setting it up for you. There are a lot of expenses."

Today, Sunday, December 11th, an extras casting session was held at Far Horizons Studios in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The notice, using the code name SILVER BULLET to confuse the simple-minded, described their needs:  “Major Motion Picture, Silver Bullet is currently seeking Native American males and females for featured extra roles to film in the Shiprock New Mexico area. Individuals who are experienced horse riders are particular encouraged to apply.  The production is seeking males with no facial hair, males with a lot of facial hair, females, Native Americans, Asians. The production is also casting for a Native American Boy age range 9-11 for a featured speaking role in the film. Candidates must be available from February 13th through July 14th, 2012.”   So here’s a tip to aspiring actors: don’t shave.  Both LONE RANGER and Quentin Tarantino’s DJANGO UNCHAINED casting notices are looking for men with a lot of facial hair.

And the studio has finally issued an official synopsis.  SPOILER ALERT!  If you’ve never heard the radio show or watched the TV series, you may not know all of the following, but it is virtually identical to the plot created by Lone Ranger creator Fran Striker: "Left for dead in an ambush with five other Texas Rangers, lawman John Reid (Armie Hammer) survives and is nursed back to health by an Indian scout named Tonto (Johnny Depp). He then dons a mask to avenge the murders of his comrades and to foil evil doers, never accepting payment for his services. His gratis vigilantism is made possible by the silver mine he inherits from one of his slain brothers - the same mine that affords him an endless supply of his trademark silver bullets."  Intriguingly, actress Ruth Wilson plays Rebecca Reid, but it’s not explained what relation her character is to the masked rider of the plains.


My sincere thanks to all of you ‘Rounders’ who read this blog!  I started it about two years ago, because I couldn’t find a central source of news for Western movie and TV production and events, and decided to create one.  Naturally, it took time for people to find it – it took a few months to get up to 100 hits! I must express my gratitude to the thousands of readers who now visit the Round-up regularly; there have been just about 38,000 visits to the Round-up, an average of 5,500 pageviews per month.   And I’m thrilled at how far across the globe the Round-up has reached.  Today alone we’ve been visited by readers in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Norway and Russia.  Also this week we were read in Canada, Chile, Finland, Spain and Poland, and we’re also popular in Portugal, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Jordan and Israel.

I also must extend my thanks to the film and TV industry production companies, networks, and industry professionals who have embraced us, from our long-time sponsor, DISH HD, to Turner Classic Movies to The Autry Center to RFD-TV and INSP-TV, and the Western movie and TV productions YELLOW ROCK, THE FIRST RIDE OF WYATT EARP, SHADOW HILLS, GANG OF ROSES II, MORGAN KANE:  THE LEGEND BEGINS – who have generously welcomed me onto their sets.  

For the future I have a substantial number of interviews lined up with important actors, writers, producers and other industry professionals, both current and from the golden age, and already have ‘in-the-can’ conversations with actor Earl Holliman and writer-producer Andrew J. Fenady.  I am much obliged for your continued support.


Following up on last week’s survey of Honest-Abe-related projects, Asylum Entertainment honcho David Latt confirmed that they are moving ahead with their story of the Great Emancipator vs. the Living Dead.  “We are indeed working on Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies.  Our budget is $69 million...or less. The script is getting written; the treatment is non-stop action. Lincoln is more like Wesley Snipes in BLADE. He's a bad-ass zombie killer. Based on a true story...or not.”  I’d probably play it safe, Hollywood style, and say, ‘inspired by actual events.’ 

When I asked about the likelihood of a new Western from Asylum, Latt was encouraging.  “We are talking about it.  6 GUNS is one of my favorites, so I hope we are jumping into another western soon.”  


The long-faced actor with the deep voice and droll delivery, best remembered for playing Bill Gannon on DRAGNET and Col. Potter on the M*A*S*H series, has passed away at the age of 95.  An Emmy winner for his Potter portrayal in 1980, in 1982 he was nominated for a DGA Award for his direction of a M*A*S*H episode. 

(Henry Fonda and Harry Morgan in THE OX-BOW INCIDENT)

Morgan also had a long list of memorable Western roles, often as a bad guy. In THE OX-BOW INCIDENT he was part of the lynch mob. In HIGH NOON he hides behinds his wife’s skirts when Gary Cooper comes looking for help. In THE SHOOTIST he’s Marshall Thibido, who is gleeful that old gunfighter John Wayne is going to die in his town. His other Western featured credits include STAR IN THE DUST, THE OMAHA TRAIL, YELLOW SKY for William Wellman, THE SHOWDOWN with Wild Bill Elliot, BEND OF THE RIVER, THE FAR COUNTRY and CIMARRON for Anthony Mann, THE TOUGHEST MAN IN ARIZONA, and BACKLASH for John Sturges. Additionally, he appeared in THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG Western comedies, and guested on many Western series, including GUNSMOKE, THE VIRGINIAN, HEC RAMSEY, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, and two WILD WILD WEST TV-movies.  He was a winner of the Golden Boot Award. To see his interview with the Archive of American Television, click HERE.


One of the first things you see upon entering Tombstone is the Boothill Graveyard.  Ironically, Tombstone is a desert boomtown that was destroyed by too much water in the wrong place – seeping up from the silver mines.  But the town is definitely in a desert, and that is nowhere more obvious than in Boothill, where the headstones spring up in fields of sand and gravel, the graves themselves marked by mounds of stone. 

A small booklet available in the shop at the entrance contains, as it says on the cover, “a descriptive list of the more than 250 graves in Boothill.”  There are eleven rows of graves, and the booklet tells you as much information as could be garnered from locals or family or the Arizona Historical Society.  Sometimes sources vary in their version of history.  The last grave in row ten is Mrs. Ah Lum.  The booklet says, “Born in China, and buried in Boothill in 1906.  She had great influence among the Chinese residents here.  Some believe she had Tong affiliation in China.”  Other sources, correct on not, put it more bluntly, that China Mary was the Queen of Opium and other vice in Tombstone.

One gravestone serves for five men: Dan Dowd, Red Sample, Tex Howard, Bill Delaney and Dan Kelly were all legally hanged for taking part in the robbery of a Bisbee general store, where several innocents were killed in the crossfire.  John Heath, who masterminded the crime but didn’t actually take part, was sentenced to life at Yuma prison.  A furious mob dragged Heath from the Tombstone jail and strung him up.

Little is known about some.  One stone reads, “Teamster Killed By Apaches.”  Another simply, “Two Cowboys Drowned.”  There’s also the grave of Margarita, the Bird Cage Theatre prostitute stabbed to death by another, Gold Dollar, over a regular customer. 

Also here is the grave whose oft-quoted poetry made it into the movie TOMBSTONE:  “Here lies Lester Moore, Four slugs from a .44, No Les, no more.”  Moore was a Wells Fargo agent who died in a gunfight over a package.  He killed the other man, but that man’s name is not remembered because no one wrote a poem about him.

Of course, much interest here turns on the O.K. Corral.  Right by Old Man Clanton’s grave (yes, ‘Old Man’ is what his marker says) is a headstone shared by Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and Frank McLaury, with the legend, “Murdered on the streets of Tombstone 1881.”  According to LA ULTIMA, a collection of last words of early Arizona Pioneers by Troy Kelley, Tom McLaury’s last words – in response to Virgil Earp’s command to throw up his hands -- were, “I have got nothing.”  “I have you now!” Frank McLaury shouted to Doc Holliday, just before he was shot in the head by Morgan Earp.  Billy Clanton’s words were more dramatic still: “They have murdered me.  I have been murdered!  Chase the crowd away from the door and give me air!  Drive the crowd away!”

As my wife and I were shopping in the store at the entrance, a DVD player was showing TOMBSTONE, and a table held a wide selection of O.K. CORRAL-related videos.  I asked the lady at the counter about her favorite version of the legend, and she said to her, Wyatt Earp would always mean Hugh O’Brien.  When I agreed, she told me that back in 1994, WYATT EARP: RETURN TO TOMBSTONE, with O’Brien, was shot in town on all the real locations, and her granddaughter, five at the time, had a small part in the film.  Now the girl was 22, and it was a shame, but no one had been able to get them a copy of the movie.  I told her I’d get her a copy, and when I went back to Los Angeles, the folks at Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee, the best video store in the world, were able to get me a VHS tape for her in a matter of minutes.

Of course, people always ask to see Wyatt Earp’s grave, but he’s not buried there.  And that leads us to another story…


In 1957, The Tombstone Restoration Commission, then headed by Mrs. Edna Landin, decided they wanted to move Wyatt Earp’s ashes to Tombstone.  Of course, to do this, they would need his family’s permission and, even before they could seek that permission, they’d have to find out where those ashes were.  Because, incredibly, no one seemed to know where the lawman was buried, including his closest living relative, 92 year old cousin George Earp.

All that was known for sure was that Wyatt Earp had died in Los Angeles on January 13th, 1929, and his widow, Josephine Marcus, had him cremated, and took the ashes with her.  She died in 1944, also in Los Angeles.

(Deputy KIng with McCarty's plaque of Earp)

Artist and True West writer Lea McCarty has just finished a series of canvases of lawmen and outlaws, including a portrait of Earp, and an article in a Santa Rosa paper brought it to the attention of A.M. King.  King had worked as a deputy with Earp in Los Angeles, from 1910 to 1912.  He contacted McCarty, to see the pictures.  McCarty, who’d been commissioned by the Tombstone organization to do a plaque of Earp, for when the ashes were moved, welcomed King to his studio.  Several times.  King admired his work.  He talked about his time working with Earp, when they were each paid $10 a day to deliver beer during a beer strike in L.A..  He talked about the Ned Buntline special that Earp carried in his car.  In fact, he talked about everything except where Earp was buried!  He claimed that he knew, but wasn’t talking. 

But eventually King came clean, and presented McCarty with an old newspaper article that solved the mystery.  Josephine, after having Wyatt cremated, had taken the ashes with her back to San Francisco, where her family was from, and had his ashes buried in the Marcus family plot at the Hills of Eternity Jewish Cemetery in Colma, California.  Her ashes were now beside his, and they shared a marker.  The reason the location had been kept a secret was perfectly understandable: nobody wants their family plot to become a tourist site.  When the Tombstone Commission learned this, they cancelled plans to try to have him moved.   Mrs. Landin said, “I do not think it would be right to remove Mr. Earp’s remains when he rests there with his wife.”   

(caretaker pointing to spot where headstone had been)

Remarkably, that’s not quite the end of the story.  This information is taken from McCrea’s article in the September-October 1957 issue of TRUE WEST MAGAZINE.  But before it even went to press, they had to add another article:  WYATT EARP’S GRAVE ROBBED!  On July 6th or 7th, someone had driven a truck into the cemetery and managed to dig out the 600 pound grave marker and abscond with it.  They also tried to steal his ashes, and dug five feet down in their search, but missed it.    I have read that the stone was eventually recovered, but a much larger stone is there today.   

(Wyatt and Josephine Earp's grave today)


More and more, classic TV Westerns are available all over the TV universe, but they tend to be on small networks that are easy to miss. Of course, ENCORE WESTERNS is the best continuous source of such programming, and has been for years. It’s not in my current satellite package, which is why I often forget to mention it, but currently they run CHEYENNE, MAVERICK, LAWMAN, THE VIRGINIAN, WAGON TRAIN, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, GUNSMOKE, BRET MAVERICK, CIMMARON STRIP, and HOW THE WEST WAS WON. (I’d get it in a minute, if I didn’t have to buy a huge package of STARZ and ENCORE channels just to get the one!)

But there are several new, or at least new-to-me, channels showing sagebrush fare. GEB, which stands for Golden Eagle Broadcasting, is largely a religious-programming cable outlet that runs at least one Western on Saturdays – the ones I’ve caught have been public domain Roy Rogers and John Wayne pictures – and sometimes have weekday afternoon movies as well.

For those of you who watch TV with an antenna, there are at least a couple of channels that exist between the standard numbers – largely unavailable on cable or satellite systems – that provide Western fare. ANTENNA TV is currently running RIN TIN TIN, CIRCUS BOY, HERE COME THE BRIDES, and IRON HORSE.

Another ‘in between’ outfit, ME-TV, which stands for Memorable Entertainment TV, runs a wide collection: BIG VALLEY, BONANZA, BRANDED, DANIEL BOONE, GUNS OF WILL SONNETT, GUNSMOKE, MARSHALL DILLON (the renamed black and white GUNSMOKE), RAWHIDE, THE RIFLEMAN, and WILD WILD WEST. Some of these channels are hard to track down, but if they show what you’ve been missing, it’s worth the search. 


That's right, the segment I was interviewed for is now viewable here:


Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.


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've stopped running GUNSMOKE.  INSP is showing THE BIG VALLEY every weekday at noon, one p.m. and nine p.m., and Saturdays at 6 p.m., and have just added DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN to their schedule.


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

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

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

That's about all for now!

Happy Trails,


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

1 comment:

  1. Much congratulations on 100! Plus this one has some especially great reading! Love the stuff about Wyatt! Thanks Henry, and a shot of tequilla to the next 100. Hope your pen hand don't give out!
    Yer pal,