Sunday, January 29, 2012


Due to a title change, you may not have seen this one coming, but on Tuesday, March 6th, SONY HOME VIDEO will release WYATT EARP’S REVENGE, previously called THE FIRST RIDE OF WYATT EARP.  (I was actually surprised that the original title had the ‘money-name’ as words number five and six; no wonder they switched it!) 

I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days on the set last March, first at the Caravan West Ranch in Agua Dulce, then at Paramount Ranch in Agoura – you can read my in-depth two part report HERE and HERE.  

The film, scripted by Darren B. Shepherd from a story by Jeffrey Schenk and Peter Sullivan, is directed by Michael Feifer.   Based on a real incident – the murder of Dora Hand – the tale pulls together a great many young lawmen who would become legends.  Val Kilmer plays Wyatt Earp as an older man, and Shawn Roberts plays him in his youth.  Matt Dallas is Bat Masterson, Wilson Bethel plays Doc Holiday, Scott Whyte is Charlie Bassett, and Levi Fiehler is Bill Tilghman.  Daniel Booko and Steven Grayhm play the no-damned-good Kenedy brothers, and singer Trace Adkins plays their politically connected father.  AMERICAN IDOL favorite Diana DeGarmo plays the beloved soiled dove at the center of the story, Dora Hand. 

Shawn Roberts as Wyatt Earp

Producers Jeffrey Schenck and Barry Barnholtz clearly have a commitment to the genre: they produced last year’s AMERICAN BANDITS: FRANK AND JESSE JAMES, and just finished shooting BAD BLOOD – THE HATFIELDS AND MCCOYS.   Here is the trailer!


Talk about covering your bets!  According to Deadline: Hollywood, 20th Century Fox has partnered to release both the Steven Speilberg-directed ABRAHAM LINCOLN, and the Tim Burton-produced ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER.  Apparently something of an obsession with the studio, they also made the 1939, John Ford directed, Henry Fonda starrer YOUNG MR. LINCOLN.  Lamar Trotti was nominated for an Oscar for his original screenplay.  The two new movies are both based on best-sellers, the Speilberg take on TEAM OF RIVALS by Doris Kerns, and the Burton version on the vampire-titled tome by Seth Grahame Smith. 

A Fox spokesman says they do not currently intend to release both pictures on the same day.  They were mum on rumors that they were also trying to acquire Asylum Film’s ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES.  Stay tuned.


SARAH GOLDEN HAIR – Original screenplay by Michael B. Druxman

I promise to review the book shortly, but a bit of a preamble is necessary first.

Before you can evaluate a published screenplay, you must decide why you are reading it in the first place.  Reading a screenplay is not the same as reading a novel.  A novel is a finished work, while a screenplay is a blueprint.  To appreciate a screenplay you cannot speed-read.  You need to pay attention to the description, not only ‘hear’ it but visualize it, to decide if it will work on the screen.  Do the words of the characters sound real to you?  Are they individual voices, or does everyone talk the same? 

If you are reading to recall your feelings when you saw a movie, you probably want a screenplay that conforms to the finished film.  But if you want to know what went into making that movie, you want the same blueprint that was handed to the director and the actors and the crew.  This is especially true if you are a writer – you want to see how the words were turned into a finished film. 

If you want to become a screenwriter, taking classes is a good idea – assuming they’re not based on Syd Fields’ teachings – but the most important thing you can do is to read as many scripts as you can.  You can learn from both good and bad examples; what works and what doesn’t.  I wrote my first screenplay when I was thirteen, and I actually learned the format from STAR TREK.  Gene Roddenberry used to sell copies of their scripts, and my first was Harlan Ellison’s CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER episode.  It was a great script, and because it was a first draft, I could see the differences between the original ideas and the finished product.  Some changes were good: he opened with a whole subplot of interstellar junkies that there was no time for, and that got dropped.  Some changes were bad: Spock and Kirk, in 1930s New York City, steal clothes off a line so they can blend in, and Ellison makes the point that the clothes should fit badly, since they’re stolen randomly.  Of course, in the show, the clothes are tailored, and it looks ridiculous.   I even took the pages of the script and fed them into my manual typewriter, to set all the tab-stops for DISSOLVE and CUT TO. 

Michael B. Druxman is a very talented writer.  His CHEYENNE WARRIOR is the best micro-budget Western I’ve ever seen.  It’s also one of the very best Westerns of the last twenty years, regardless of budget.   What Michael has done with SARAH GOLDEN HAIR is quite audacious: he’s published a screenplay for a movie that has not been made, and is not currently slated to be. 

He’d written CHEYENNE WARRIOR for Roger Corman, and it was successful enough that a sequel was considered.  But it didn’t happen, and Michael wrote the screenplay SARAH GOLDEN HAIR, not a sequel exactly, but a story in much the same world, with similar characters.   He wasn’t able to get it made.  A year later, Roger Corman hired him to write a sequel to CHEYENNE WARRIOR, but it’s currently sitting on a shelf.

As Michael explains in his introduction, any screenwriter who’s been at it for a while has some scripts that never got made, and often they’re what we consider our best work.  After all, no producer has had you rewrite a part so his girlfriend could play it.  No director has decided to let his actors improvise the dialogue.  Michael considers SARAH GOLDEN HAIR among his best work.  If someone would like to option, he’d be delighted.  If not, he’d like people to have the opportunity to read it.

His subject matter is the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, and a group of people caught up in that ghastly event, when a Colorado Militia attacked a village of friendly Cheyenne and Arapaho.  There’s a great deal of tragedy, but there is also love, hope, and adventure.  His characters are mostly Indians and Cavalrymen, with a few civilians, and none are mere symbols – all are flesh-and-blood people with needs and passions.  It’s a beautifully written screenplay, a worthy successor to CHEYENNE WARRIOR, and though it is not a sequel, if you have seen CHEYENNE WARRIOR, you can easily picture Pato Hoffman and Kelly Preston in the leads as Brave Wolf and Sarah.  It’s a bigger story, planned for a bigger budget, and it should be made.  And in the meantime, it should be read.  It’s available on Kindle, and in paperback from 

You can read my review of CHEYENNE WARRIOR, and my interview with Michael Druxman HERE: 


At noon on Saturday, February 4th, the Autry will present HOME IN WYOMIN' (Republic 1942), a murder mystery at a rodeo, with Smiley Burnette, and TWILIGHT ON THE RIO GRANDE (Republic 1947) is anothe rmurder mystery, set in Mexico, and featuring short-time sidekick Sterling Holloway.


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. Currently they run LAWMAN, WAGON TRAIN, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, LAREDO, RAWHIDE, GUNSMOKEandMARSHALL DILLON, which is the syndication title for the original half-hour GUNSMOKE.Incidentally, I see on Facebook that a lot of watchers are mad as Hell at losing CHEYENNE and THE VIRGINIAN.

RFD-TV is currently showing THE ROY ROGERS SHOW, first at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Pacific Time, then repeated several times a week.They show a Roy feature every Tuesday as well, with repeats -- check your local listings.

INSP-TVshows THE BIG VALLEY Monday through Saturday, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE seven days a week, DR. QUINN: MEDICINE WOMAN on weekdays, and BONANZA on Saturdays.

WHT runs DANIEL BOONE on weekdays from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., Pacific Time, and on Saturdays they run two episodes of BAT MASTERSON. They often show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.

TVLANDhas dropped GUNSMOKE after all these years, but still shows four episodes ofBONANZA every weekday.

GEB 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 TVis currently running RIN TIN TIN, CIRCUS BOY, HERE COME THE BRIDES, andIRON 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,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.

And for those of you on the other side of the pond, our British correspondentNilton Hargrave tells me CBS ACTION has begun showing GUNSMOKE.


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.


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

That's about it for now, pardners!  On Friday I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Wolders, Erik Hunter of LAREDO, and that will b in the Round-up very soon!

Happr Trails,


All original contents Copyright January 2012 by Henry C. Parke - All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment