Sunday, March 25, 2012


Happily, lots of broadcast and cable networks have jumped on the Western bandwagon lately, but none has shown a longer-tern commitment to the form than the HALLMARK CHANNEL and HALLMARK MOVIE CHANNEL, who have produced at least two Westerns a year for longer than I can recall.

In late January they presented Luke Perry in the second GOODNIGHT FOR JUSTICE feature, THE MEASURE OF A MAN, and they already have number three in the can.   And I ran into a friend yesterday who’s just back from working on SHADOW ON THE MESA, with Kevin Sorbo.  On Saturday, June 9th they’ll premiere HANNAH’S LAW.  The story of an orphaned girl-turned bounty hunter, determined to track her family’s killers, Hannah is portrayed by VAMPIRE DIARIES star Sara Canning.  Her best friend, Stagecoach Mary, is played by FOR COLORED GIRLS star Kimberly Elise. 

Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday seem to be as busy on the screen today as Gabby Hayes was in his prime.  In this version, DURHAM COUNTY star Greyston Holt is Earp and HELLCATS star Ryan Kennedy is Doc.  Of greatest interest to Western aficionados is the presence of Danny Glover and Billy Zane.  Glover, who became a star with the LETHAL WEAPON franchise, was last in the saddle in 1997’s BUFFALO SOLDIERS. He also starred in Lawrence Kasdan’s SILVERADO (1985), and did some of his best work as Joshua Deets in 1989’s groundbreaking LONESOME DOVE, the miniseries that began the resuscitation of the Western.  Billy Zane, one of the few ‘pale-faces’ in Mario Van Peebles POSSE (1993), made his Western mark with his daring portrayal of the actor Mr. Fabian in TOMBSTONE.  

Director Rachel Talalay first gained attention with the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET entry FREDDY’S DEAD (1991) and TANK GIRL (1995), and has since been a very busy TV director.  Script is by John Fasano, who wrote THE LEGEND OF BUTCH AND SUNDANCE (2006), and in 1999 wrote the story for THE HUNLEY, the remarkable true tale of the Confederate submarine of the same name.  We’ll have more information on this production soon. 


High Noon’s Western Americana Auction and Antique Show, held in Mesa, Arizona on January 28th, set a record for the highest price ever paid for a saddle.  Once the property of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, then given by his widow to movie director Howard Hawks, the saddle was expected to go for between $150,000 and $250,000.  The final selling price was $718,750!

Montie Montana’s Bohlin spurs, estimated at ten to fifteen thousand, went for $14,375.  Montie’s boots and a Nudie shirt, estimated at one thousand to fifteen hundred, took $1,725.  VANISHING AMERICAN author Zane Grey’s saddle may not have been in the Pancho Villa league, but estimated at $4,000, it took more than double, selling for $9,200.

Tom Mix’s belt and Bohlin buckle was predicted to go for twelve to sixteen thousand, but actually raised $20,700.  I predicted that Hopalong Cassidy’s leather director’s chair would get more than twice the estimated two to three thousand.  In fact, it took less than the bottom estimate, just $1955.  In the future I will avoid such bold predictions.

The two items I found of the greatest historical interest were an autograph of Apache Chief Geronimo, and a 42” Cheyenne longbow recovered from the Little Bighorn.  The signature, estimated at $1500 to $2000, sold for $4600.  The bow, estimated at $3000 to $5000, brought $7475 and, I am sure, a big smile to the lady who sold it because of her son’s lack of interest in inheriting it.  For more about the auction, go HERE.


Bethany Braley, Executive Director of the National Day of the Cowboy campaign, tells me there have been two major successes this week.  Already this year, Texas and Arizona passed the resolution, and Wyoming became the first state to pass it in perpetuity. 

On Wednesday, March 21st, the Missouri State Legislature passed the resolution, and the next day the California Senate voted unanimously to pass the resolution, like Wyoming, in perpetuity.  “This means the 4th Saturday in July will forever be recognized as the National Day of the Cowboy in California.” 

To find out more about the National Day of the Cowboy, go HERE.


This annual celebration of film returns on April 12th, but even before it arrives, there are the Road To Hollywood events around the country.  Of special interest to Western fans, on Tuesday, April 3rd, 7 BRIDES FOR 7 BROTHERS will screen in Denver, at the Landmark Mayan Theatre.  It’s hosted by Leonard Maltin, with special guest Jane Powell.  And on Thursday, April 5th, in Portland, at the Northwest Film Center, MARTY will be screened, hosted by Ben Mankiewicz, with special guest Ernest Borgnine.

 The event is pricey: festival passes cost from $300 to $1200.  Single event tickets are $20 a pop, but cannot be bought in advance, and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.  Western events include the screening of Howards Hawks’ RIO BRAVO, with Angie Dickinson attending, and a newly reconstructed Cinerama print of HOW THE WEST WAS WON, which will be attended by Debbie Reynolds.   To find out more, visit the TCM Festival site HERE. 


Saturday and Sunday, April 21st and 22nd you can stroll the streets of Melody Ranch, where all the greats, from Gene Autry to Matt Dillon to Maverick, to the DEADWOOD folks, and most recently Quentin Tarantino’s DJANGO UNCHAINED cast have trod.  This is a wonderful not-to-be-missed event. 

Admission is $20 a day for adults, $10 for kids, with discounts for two days.  There will be a wide variety of musical performances at four stages.  The Melody Ranch Motion Picture Museum will be open to give you a peek into movie history.  Every manner of Western art, crafts, clothing, boots, and hats imaginable will be available.

Authors of Western fiction and fact will be signing and selling their tomes.   Entertainers like champion gun-spinner Joey Dillon, saloon pianist Professor David Bourne and magician Pop Haydn will be performing.  Cowboy poets and story-tellers will be rhyming words and spinning yarns.  And there will be a ton of activities aimed at kids of all ages.

In addition, there will be separate events, some at different locations, different dates and separate charges.  On Saturday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the Hasley Hall Theatre at College of the Canyons, attend AN EVENING WITH JOEL COX, the Oscar-winning editor of UNFORGIVEN, and thirty other Clint Eastwood films (he was even an assistant editor on THE WILD BUNCH!). 

On Thursday, April 19th  -- no admission for this – at Old Town Newhall on Main St. from 7 PM to 11PM, join the party filled with Music, Dancing, Food Trucks, Western vendors, and the unveiling of two new Stars in Old Town Newhall. The plaques for the new inductees into the Walk of Western Stars will be unveiled at 7:30 p.m. on the West side of Main Street. The inductees are Glenn Ford, who will be represented by his son Peter Ford, and Joel Cox, who will attend.

On Friday, April 20th, at 3:00 p.m. at the Repertory East Playhouse 24266 Main St. in Old Town Newhall, join Peter Ford, son of the great Glenn Ford, and author of Glenn Ford – His life and Movies.  They’ll be screening THE ROUNDERS and afterwards Peter will discuss his father's life and movie career.

And there’s so much more!  For details and directions, go 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.

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

That's it for this week!  In the next Round-up I hope to have the second part of our interview with BRANDED producer Andrew J. Fenady, and a review of GOOD FOR NOTHING, the new Western from New Zealand. Have a great week, and if you do anything of a western nature, fill me in!

Happy Trails 'til then!


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

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Andrew J. Fenady is a writer and producer who will not stop working.  On Saturday night, when I offered him a draft of this article for his comments, he asked me to FAX it to his office, as he’ll be going in to work at 9:00 a.m. – on Sunday!  When I asked him what he’d been up to, he said he’d just sent 73,000 words of his new western novel, DESTINY MADE THEM BROTHERS, to his publisher, Kensington.  He told me it’s about three great men who cross paths: U.S. Grant, George Armstrong Custer, and Johnny Yuma – the character he created for Nick Adams 53 years ago for THE REBEL.

A.J. Fenady, Nick Adams, Irvin Kershner

A. J. Fenady has been creating exciting and thought-provoking entertainment for the small screen, big screen, stage and page since he started as a self-described ‘stooge’ on the documentary series CONFIDENTIAL FILE in 1953.  He went on to create, write and produce THE REBEL, to rescue and revamp BRANDED, to adapt John Wayne’s movie HONDO into a TV series, and to write and produce the Duke in CHISUM.  And the movies he’s made for theatres and TV include RIDE BEYOND VENGEANCE, BLACK NOON, THE MAN WITH BOGART’S FACE, THE HANGED MAN, TERROR IN THE WAX MUSEUM, and many more.  I was grateful that he took some time off to talk to me about his career for the Round-up.

Andrew:  I just fired up my favorite cigar, Romeo Y Julietta Cedro #1, so fire away.

Henry: That’s Cuban, isn’t it?

A: No, no.  It’s Cuban seed, but Dominican Republic.  I’ll tell you, those Cubans are so damned strong.  When we were shooting up in Canada, the prop me gave me a box of Cuban cigars.  After I smoked a few of those damned lung-cloggers I said, “Go back to the station and get some American cigars: these things are killing me!”

H: What were you shooting in Canada?

A: We shot a lot of things there.  The first thing was a two-hour TV movie with Bob Hope and Don Ameche, A MASTERPIECE OF MURDER.  It’s the only TV movie that Bob Hope ever did, and it did very, very well, and Don Ameche was just a wonderful man to work with.  And after that we did YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS.  We also did THE SEA WOLF with Charles Bronson up there.

H: Did you always love westerns?

A: Yes.  When I was a young fellow I had an old broom, and I sawed the end off, and I would ride around the neighborhood.  And that stick was Tony, and I was Tom Mix.  So it goes back to that.  And in those days there were two tiers of Western movies, of western stars.  The Saturday matinees and the serials – there were people like Bob Steele and Buck Jones and Hoot Gibson and Ken Maynard.  And then on Sunday – well, at first John Wayne was in the lower tier, but then he graduated with STAGECOACH.  And then there were people like Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea and the Duke.  So we had the 60 minute cheapies, and we also had things like THE PLAINSMAN, and UNION PACIFIC to go to on Sundays.  There was a movie theatre in Toledo called THE REX, and the admission price was a nickel.  And I went there one day and put down my nickel, and she said, “Ten cents.”  And I said, “What?!”  I was shocked, shocked, as Claude Rains would say.  Twice as much money to see the same damned picture. 

H: You’ve had a very extensive career as both a writer and a producer.  Which do you think of yourself as, primarily?

A: You know, I am what they call a hyphenate.  A hyphenate wears two hats.  The old saying is two heads are better than one, but that’s only true when one head knows what the hell the other one is doing.  But the billing is writer-producer because of the saying, first comes the word.  Well, that’s really not true either.  First comes the idea.  Words come from ideas, not ideas from words, so you’ve got to have some kind of a concept or some kind of a character.  And for many years I had the advantage of being the writer, which means you might as well be living up in a cave, cloistered, and putting down your thoughts.  Then, when you become a producer you pick up the phone and say, “Let’s get together.”  And forty-seven guys come in and say, “What, chief?  What what what what?”  When I felt kind of cramped (as a writer), then I got to be the producer and we were in the wide open spaces.  

H: You’ve done movies and TV shows in a wide range of genres, but more westerns and crime stories than anything else.  Why do you think you focused there?

A: I’ll tell you.  I really started out in this business with Paul Coates’ CONFIDENTIAL FILE.  I started out sort of as a stooge, then did some parts in the documentaries.  Then I started giving them some ideas, and making outlines of what we were going to shoot.  A lot of it dealt with crime, with dope, counterfeiting, and used car rackets – I mean, we exposed every racket in the world except tennis racquets.  So crime was sort of my beginning and my background in documentaries.  And the first feature that we did, STAKEOUT ON DOPE STREET (1958) was about three kids who find a quarter of a million dollars worth of heroin, and they don’t even know what it is.  So the mob is after them, the cops are after them, and other kids are after them.  But the switch to Westerns was because as a kid I was interested in Westerns – who the Hell wasn’t?  We all had those six shooters and caps, and Westerns were the rage on television. 

H: How did you get together with Nick Adams?

A: I got the rights to THE EXECUTION OF PRIVATE SLOVIK, and we had it all set up.  Niven Bush and I were going to co-write the screenplay, Irvin Kershner was going to direct it – this was after we’d done some pretty good things.  And Paul Newman said he wanted to play it.  Well, I get a letter from Nick Adams saying, ‘Look Mr. Fenady.  I know you’ve got Paul Newman, but if anything should happen to him, I should play Eddie Slovik.  Eddie Slovik was Polish – I’m Polish.  Eddie Slovik was from Detroit – I’m from Detroit.’  The Polish part was true, the Detroit part wasn’t, but it didn’t matter.  He said, ‘Can I buy you lunch? I’d like to meet you.’  I said okay, fine.  We had lunch, and I paid for it.  But then he kept pestering me.  He’d come over and say, ‘Listen, do me a series – I want to do a series.’  I said, ‘Well Nick, what do you want to do?’  He said, ‘I do a great Jimmy Cagney.  Something like a JOHNNY COME LATELY.’  I said no.  He said, ‘How about something like Cary Grant on GUNGA DIN?’  No, no no.  Well, eight of the top ten shows on television were westerns, at the time.  GUNSMOKE and HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL and all of those.  I said to him and Kershner, ‘Boys, if we’re gonna do a television series, we’re gonna do a Western.’  So I sat down and wrote the damned thing.  We took it to Dick Powell, who was a friend of mine; we were going to do a feature once.  And he’d said, if you ever want to do television, let me have a look at it first.  He looked at the script for THE REBEL and said, ‘We’ll do this on ZANE GREY THEATRE next year as a pilot, like we did WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE,’ and a couple of the other things that he sold.  Great!  Now this goes back to how we got involved with Goodson Todman Productions.  While I was preparing a feature at Paramount, Kershner did a PHILIP MARLOWE (episode) – that was the first project they had that wasn’t a quiz show.  They only did thirteen episodes.  We were pretty hot – our names were in the paper all the time.  And a fellow that worked there, a vice president, Harris Katleman, who is still around, said, ‘Do you and your partner have any westerns?  We’d like to do a Western.’  And Kershner said, ‘Well, we do, but we’re going to do it with Dick Powell.’  (Katleman) called me.  I said THE REBEL’s already promised to Dick Powell, but take a look at it, and if you like it, I’ll write another one for you.  So he read it, called me back and said, ‘How much would it cost to shoot this picture?’  I didn’t know how much.  I grabbed a figure and said, fifty thousand dollars.  He called me back and said Mark and Bill will put up fifty thousand up front: fifty-fifty.  We’re partners if you want to do THE REBEL, and we’ll do it now.  I said, we can’t.  He said, I don’t think Dick Powell would stand in your way.  Why don’t you go see him?  Dick Powell said, God bless you, go ahead and do it.  Who the Hell knows what’s going to happen between now and next year.  Give ‘em Hell.  So that’s how the association with Goodson Todman came about.   We shot the damned thing in four days, and the irony is that at ABC there was only one half-hour left.  And it was between a Four Star pilot (Dick Powell’s company) that they did with Michael Ansara, and THE REBEL, and THE REBEL beat out the other pilot.  And the first one to call was Dick Powell, and he said, hey, we’ve got a lot of pilots.  You only had one.  I’m glad that it turned out this way.  And after this if you want to see me any time the door’s wide open. 

H: Now Irvin Kershner is quite a director.  All of the serious STAR WARS people always say that THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is the great Star Wars movie.  What was he like as a guy?    

A: Well, Kershner and I were like brothers – we lived together for years when we were doing CONFIDENTIAL FILE.  We were joined at the hip and in other places. (laughs)  So we truly got along.  Now Kershner always had kind of a hesitation at the beginning of each day.  All he needed was a, ‘Come on Kershner!’  A kick in the ass, really.  And once he got going it was in a fury.  He was terrific.  But when you ask, what kind of a director was he?  Well, he was a silent picture director.  Because CONFIDENTIAL FILE was silent.  We did 150 episodes, and we only had dialogue in about five of them.  So it was a silent picture technique.  The story was told in pictures, but when someone spoke, it meant something.  That’s the way that we worked. 

H: Very interesting.  I’ve never been able to find any CONFIDENTIAL FILE episodes. 

A: Well, they’re around.  We did one on capitol punishment.  He and I and a fellow named Gene Petersen – that was the entire staff – we went up to San Quentin, and I’m the only one who sat in one of those two chairs in the gas chamber, got strapped in, and got up and walked out.  I played the part and wrote the narration and produced the damned thing.  You can’t find that kind of experience today.  You can’t buy it.  One day we do that and the next week we do the John Tracy Clinic, or we do blind children, and then we do homosexuals; so in 150 episodes we did every kind of picture that was imaginable. 

H: Getting back to Nick Adams, did he really co-create the REBEL?

A: Oh, that’s another story.   He read the thing and he said, ‘Let’s say that we co-created this.’  And I didn’t care. Hell, I figured I was going to go on and do a lot of other things.  If this helps the kid out, that’s okay.  If you look at him, he wasn’t a leading man.  But put him in that damned costume and he’s suddenly a leading man; and he was a talented fellow, and he was the most cooperative kind of a star you’d ever want.  Just a prime example is, we’d shoot a day out on location, out in Thousand Oaks, or Vasquez Rocks, and Nick bought a house out there in the Valley.  We’d have a stretch-out, be on the way over there, and he would (meet us) in a gas station, already be in his outfit, be standing there waiting for us, and this is sometimes in the bitter cold of December, January.  We’d slow down the stretch-out, he’d hop in and – zoom -- out we’d go, do the day’s work, and on the way back we’d dump him off at the same place.  There weren’t many guys like that around.  There weren’t then, and there aren’t now.  Another thing about Nick was, if we were running behind, I’d save his close-ups and not shoot ‘em, and say, ‘Nick, we’ll do this later.’  And sometime later on, two or three episodes after that, when we were ahead, I’d say okay Nick, we’re going to do all your close-ups from all the shows.  He’d say, ‘Okay, who are you?’  I’d read the lines offstage.  ‘I’m Agnes Moorehead.’  He’d take a look at the script – ‘I remember that one.  Let’s go.’  And we would shoot the close-ups for that one.  Then we’d shoot the close-ups for Carradine, or whoever the Hell else that we weren’t able to get.  That’s the kind of a guy he was, too. 

H: It’s so sad, he died so young.  Do you think he would have gone on to be a big leading man?

A: Well, I don’t know about the leading man part.  But I think that he was the kind of a guy that, as he grew older, he would settle into more character parts, and be very comfortable doing that.  So I think he had a future.  No doubt about it in my mind. 

H: The character of Johnny Yuma is a Confederate veteran with ambitions to be a writer, which is not the goal of your standard western hero.  How much of Johnny Yuma was Andrew Fenady?

A: I didn’t tell this to Nick until the second season.  I said, ‘Nick, you know what we’re doing, don’t you?’  “Yeah, yeah – we’re doing THE REBEL.’  I said, ‘Nick, we’re doing Jack London.  We’re doing a story of a young man who had a limited education, who had fought a war, only not with guns and with bullets, but against poverty.  He wanted to be a writer, and he realized that you couldn’t write it unless you lived it.  So he did everything he wrote about.  He was a sailor, he was a miner, he was a farmer, he was a fighter, and this was my inspiration for THE REBEL; it was Jack London.’  And how much of that is Fenady?  Well, I don’t know, maybe 90% is Jack London, or maybe fifty fifty, half Jack London and half Fenady.

H: Now you couldn’t write them all yourself.  Who were the best writers you were working with? 

Nick Adams with Strother Martin 

A: The best writers I ever worked with – are you ready? – were Emily Bronte, Jack London, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett.  I once said to my son, who is a writer, ‘My boy, if you’re ever going to get a collaborator, get a dead one.  They’re the best kind.  They don’t give you any damned trouble at all.’  It’s true that a lot of the stuff that I did is based on classics.  RIDERS TO MOON ROCK, that’s a western version of WUTHERING HEIGHTS.  THERE CAME A STRANGER is really a western version of DOUBLE INDEMNITY.  There are only so many plots – some people say there are nine plots, other people say there are seven, some say there’s only one plot.  Somebody loses something.  That’s the plot.  Or vice versa – somebody finds something, like John Steinbeck’s PEARL.  So never mind the plot, give me a character; give me somebody that people are interested in.  What about this guy?  Here’s a guy who has his face changed to look like Humphrey Bogart.  That’s interesting – what’s he gonna do?  What’s on his mind?  You’ve got to have somebody that people are interested in.  Bill Goldman (BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID), who’s a damned good writer, just kept saying ‘Structure, structure.’  Well, he’s wrong: it’s the character and conflict that makes for an interesting story.  And I always had characters that were interesting, conflict, something that was almost impossible to do.  Something that the odds were against you. 

H: THE REBEL was your first series as a creator and producer.  And you made 79 half hours in two seasons, which would be four or five seasons now.  The pace must have been grueling.  How did you get it all done?

A: Well, I’ll tell you how: because I was young, ambitious and ignorant.  (laughs) That was the whole thing.  The first 26 years that Mary Frances and I were married I never took a day off including Saturdays and Sundays, until we did THE MAN WITH BOGART’S FACE, and they sent us to Cannes.  And I said, ‘Mary Frances, we’ve been doing this all wrong!’  Listen, in those days it was easier.  You could talk to somebody who had some authority.  You know, these days it’s all corporate.  No one person can take the credit or will take the blame.  When we did THE YOUNG CAPTIVES, I wrote a script, we went over to see D. A. Doran at Paramount, and he could greenlight any picture up to $250,000.  Well he liked the script, and he said, ‘Boys, how much can you make this for?’  I said, ‘D.A., we’re going to make this one for $215,000.’  He said, ‘Shoot it!’  Well, you can’t get that kind of a go-ahead today. 

H: Where was THE REBEL shot? 

A: We shot it in three days.  We were in profit right from the first day.  We got $40,000 for each episode the first year.  And I made ‘em for 38, 39 thousand dollars.  And every once in a while I would do what I called a DESPERATE HOURS or a PETRIFIED FOREST, an episode that only took place in one place.  Some of them went down to $29,000.  But what we would do is we would shoot one day on location.  Vasquez Rocks, and a lot in Thousand Oaks.  And the second day we would shoot on the lot; the (western) street at Paramount.  The third day we would do the interiors, whether it was someone’s house, or a shack, or a hotel or a jail.  A sheriff’s office.  So that was really the formula: first day out, second day on the street, and the third day interiors. 

H: I know you used some other western towns, because I’ve seen still of you shooting in Corriganville.

A: Oh, well that was where the pilot was shot.  Wonderful place.  And also we shot out at Fort Apache that (John) Ford built.  We shot the third episode I wrote out there; it was called YELLOW HAIR. 

H: In THE REBEL and later in BRANDED you attracted a remarkably high level of actors, who didn’t usually do half-hour episodics.  John Carradine, John Ireland, Joan Leslie.

A: Well, what my plan was, I didn’t want to pay people a lot of money.  But on the third episode, I rewrote this thing; it was a strong woman’s part.  And I sent it over to Agnes Moorehead.  Now I knew her slightly.  And everybody said, ‘Jesus Christ, she wants more money than we really should pay anybody.  Andy, why are you paying her so much money?’  I said, ‘I’ll tell you why.  Because if Agnes Moorehead does a REBEL, I can’t think of many actors who would turn it down.’  I could always say, ‘Agnes Moorhead did it, fellows.  Now here’s how much money we’ve got.  You want to do it?’  And I would say 99% of the time the actor wanted to do it.  Of course the scripts were good, too. 

Agnes Moorhead

H:  They sure were.  And the one with Aggie was particularly good. 

A: Yeah, Bob Steele was in that, too. 

H: Who were your favorite actors that you worked with in guest roles?

A: On THE REBEL?  Well, John Carradine of course.  We got to be very good friends.  He was in the pilot.  I’ll tell you about that.  Stallmaster-Lister were so-called doing the casting, and when I wrote the pilot, I said, ‘Look, I wrote this part for John Carradine,’ though I’d never worked with him.  They said, ‘Ahh, you don’t want him.  We’ve had some bad experiences with him, and he’s done those horror movies, and blah blah blah.’  So finally they convince me; J. Pat O’Malley was going to play that part.  He’s good, but he’s not John Carradine.  Well, the good Lord or an angel must have been looking over my shoulder, because I get a call from O’Malley, and he says, ‘I know I’ve got a contract, and I’ll honor it, but I’ve got a chance to do a feature.  Could you excuse me from this?’  And I said, ‘You bet.’  I called Stallmaster-Lister and said, ‘Get me John Carradine, and I don’t want to hear any buts.  This was meant to be.’  So he did that, and after that we did a dozen things together.  And a real pro, always prepared, just a gentleman.  You know I went to his funeral, and Harry Townes, the actor -- he was in the pilot for THE YANK, and I used him in BRANDED and several other things.  And I go to the funeral, it’s an Episcopal Church in Hollywood, and who is the priest but Harry Townes.  And he performed the ceremony.


H: I have the feeling that Michael Rennie must have been a favorite, because it’s so unusual to see him in any Westerns but yours. 

A: That’s right.  We got Michael Rennie to do that (BRANDED), and we became not real friends, but we had respect for each other.  And then, when RIDE BEYOND VENGEANCE came along, I thought Michael Rennie, and he did the part and was very, very good.  Another pro. 

H: Were there any actors that you wanted to work with that you didn’t get?


A: Not there.  But I’ve never worked with James Garner, and I would have loved to do something with him.  And Clint Eastwood and Clint Walker.  As a matter of fact, I may as well tell you this now; when I got RIDE BEYOND VENGEANCE and wrote the script, I wrote it for Clint Walker.  Because (the character) was supposed to be a big, strong fellow.  And I like Clint; we were pals.  Never worked together.  And I took it to Joe Levine, the sonuvabitch.  And he said, ‘Great, we’ll do it.  You’ve got a deal.’  Then he calls me up and says, ‘I don’t want to do it with Clint Walker.  You might as well do it with King Kong.’  So that fell apart.  But in the meanwhile, I did BRANDED, and Chuck Connors, who is a terrific actor, is also a thief.  One day I had a script for RIDE BEYOND VENGEANCE – it was called NIGHT OF THE TIGER then – on my desk, and it was missing.  And I said to my secretary, ‘Erika, did you take that script?’  ‘I didn’t take it.’  Well in walks Chuck Connors a couple of hours later.  He slams the script on the desk and said, ‘Goddamnit, I’ve got to do this picture!’             

COMING SOON – PART TWO, featuring A.J. Fenady’s memories of BRANDED, HONDO, and John Wayne!


It’s about the last place you’d expect to have a TOMBSTONE reunion, but when you think about it, it makes sense.  Dallas' TEXAS FRIGHTMARE WEEKEND, to be held at the Hyatt Regency at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport, is a gathering of horror movie stars and their fans, but there is a lot of crossover from genre to genre, and Signing Convention Agent Scott Ray had three clients attending who were, in addition to being in horror flicks, all TOMBSTONE cast-members.  Dana Wheeler-Nicholson plays Wyatt’s opium-addicted wife Mattie Earp; Joanna Pacula is Doc Holliday’s paramour Kate; and the great Buck Taylor plays Turkey Creek Jack Johnson – Buck has never done an autograph show before, so getting him is something of a coup.  In addition, also attending will be Michael Rooker, who plays Sherman McMasters, and Michael Biehn – unforgettable as Johnny Ringo.  Although the details aren’t set yet, there’s sure to be autographs, photo opportunities, and a panel discussion. 

Dana Wheeler-Nicholson

Joanna Pacula

Scott Ray tells me that he hoped to get in a few other TOMBSTONE names, but the event managers were very strict, and only approved those with legit horror bona fides.   I’m hoping it’s a big success – if it is, Scott is already talking about getting more TOMBSTONERS together for a California show. 

Buck Taylor

Michael Rooker

Among the non-TOMBSTONE attendees who will be of interest to Western fans are Ernest Borgnine, Kim Darby, Michael Madsen, Piper Laurie (okay, maybe she hasn’t done a Western, but she’s a great actress) and author Michael Druxman.  For more info, go HERE. 

Michael Biehn


A tip of the Stetson to Leonard Maltin for recommending, on his REELZ show, this New Zealand Western that’s just opened on the East Coast.  Starring newcomers Cohen Holloway and Inge Rademeyer, the Kiwi Western is directed by first-timer Mike Wallis, and the trailer looks great. Strangely, there is no writer credited either on the official website, or the IMDB listing.

I’ll be getting more details about when the rest of us can see GOOD FOR NOTHING, but in the meantime, check out the trailer.


ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES has wrapped in Savannah, Georgia, and the folks at Asylum are hard at work preparing it for its May 29th direct-to-video release, not quite a month before the release-date for the much larger-budgeted ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER.  Written and directed by Richard Schenkman, who first made a splash with THE POMPATUS OF LOVE, the picture stars Bill Oberst Jr., a popular movie villain who will be portraying the Great Emancipator. 

The Asylum takes pride in slick-looking productions, and the glimpses in the teaser-trailer look good.  I’m including the trailer, but I warn you that it is a zombie movie, after all, and pretty bloody.

That's all for right now! 

Happy trails,


All Original Contents Copyright March 2012 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 11, 2012


No HENRY’S WESTERN ROUND-UP this Sunday.  My hard-drive died on Friday – thank goodness I’d just signed up for Carbonite, and had everything backed up!  But it’s going to be a few days before things are back to normal.   

Monday, March 5, 2012


The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has announced its Wrangler Award winners for 2012, and YELLOW ROCK has won for Outstanding Theatrical Feature.  That puts the Michael Biehn/James Russo/Lenore Andriel starrer in some pretty heady company: recent winners include TRUE GRIT (2011),  APPALOOSSA (2009), 3:10 TO YUMA (2008), and OPEN RANGE (2004).  The Museum has been bestowing their honors since 1961’s THE ALAMO, and they’re not shy about their opinions: many’s the year that no award is presented in a category if there isn’t enough quality to choose from.

The Outstanding Television Feature is LOVE’S CHRISTMAS JOURNEY, for the Hallmark Channel, starring Natalie Hall and Dylan Bruce, and featuring Sean Astin, JoBeth Williams and the great Ernest Borgnine.  The winner for Outstanding Documentary is MAIN STREET WYOMING, directed by Kyle Nicholoff and written and produced by Tom Manning.

Their awards for outstanding literature include RODE by Thomas Fox Averill for western novel, MILAGRO OF THE SPANISH BEAN POT, by Emerita-Romero Anderson for juvenile fiction, AFTER CUSTER by Paul Hedren for non-fiction, SHOOTING FROM THE HIP by J. Don Cook for photography, WHEN WYNKOOP WAS SHERIFF by Louis Kraft in Wild West Magazine for best article, and MARRIED INTO IT by Patricia Frolander for poetry. 

Their music awards go to R. J. Vandygriff’s KEEP THE CAMPFIRE A BURNIN’ for Outstanding Original Composition and Dan Robert’s BEST OF VOL. 1 for Outstanding Traditional Western Music Album. 

Inductees into the Hall of Great Westerners and Western Performers include the late Fess Parker, Bruce Boxleitner, author Temple Grandin, and the late historian Walter Prescott Webb.  The Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award will be given in honor of Jerry Cates.   The black tie event will be held on Saturday, April 21st, hosted by Katherine Ross.  To learn more, go to the Museum’s websiteHERE


This morning, Sunday, March 4th, guests at the Laemmle Theatre in North Hollywood got to see the documentary A LITTLE PRINCE – A HOLLYWOOD STORY with its subject, Peter Ford, who was also seeing the finished work for the first time.  Peter is the only child of movie stars Eleanor Powell and Glenn Ford, and Peter’s bio of his dad, GLENN FORD, A LIFE was reviewed HERE in the Roundup. 

The forty-minute documentary, produced and directed by Alexander Roman, is an extended interview with Ford, and utilizes hundreds – maybe thousands – of images, home movie footage, and clips from a featurette featuring Glenn and Peter but, interestingly, no movie clips.  There’s just a moment from the 3:10 TO YUMA trailer, and all of the Eleanor Powell dancing clips, even those from the sets of her MGM musicals, were home movie footage.  All of which makes sense, because this is a film about how Peter, and not the public, saw his parents.  Much of it is very sad; the collapse of the marriage; the lack of a relationship between father and son – all the more ironic considering the endless stream of posed pictures of the two together doing ‘guy stuff.’

Alexander Roman and Peter Ford

It’s an eye-opener for all of us who’ve ever thought we’d be happier growing up in a 32-room mansion full of servants.   There are definite perks, but there can be a tremendous price to pay, as the all-too-familiar stories of Hollywood offspring who have crashed and burned can attest.  Roman has done an impressive job of assembling the material, with a use of imagery that often borders on the hypnotic.

Among the friends who attended were child star Jane Withers; legendary Paramount producer A.C. Lyles – who took time to praise Ford’s book; actor Bo Hopkins, who appeared with Glenn in BEGGARMAN, THIEF; and RIFLEMAN star Johnny Crawford, who did an episode of CADE’S COUNTY with Glenn Ford.


Period costume designer Karin McKechnie is very excited to be designing the costumes for Bob Buhrl’s western musical short, WHAT HAVE I DONE?, set in 1883.  Buhrl is directing and starring, “And he’s got some good people on board.  He decided to switch his project (from one) where they use a lot of reenactors, to actually use actors, and get a real costume designer, and that was me.  It’s a great project for me because, except for a few reenactors in the background, everything is mine.  Everything is out of my own studio.  It’s not going to look like your typical western, because there’s going to be a lot of antiques, a lot of original clothing, and a lot of things that have been made from scratch, by yours truly.  I’ve been working on it for a month.  Usually everything is last minute: people show up at my house and rent what I have.  This time I got to make everything from the ground up.”

She’s costuming about thirty characters in all.  “There’s townspeople, there’s ladies of the evening, there’s cowboys…it’s going to be a lot of fun.  And it’s going to be at the Whitehorse Ranch.  I think they’re going to use every building on the set.”

Karin and German Peter on the WYATT EARP'S REVENGE set

Karin is a particular fan of Whitehorse Ranch, which was built by German Peter and his son in Landers.  “They built it from scratch, and the look of the town is kind of western decay.  It looks like you’re on a spaghetti western set, where everything is like Bodie (the famous ghost town), but usable.  That level of arrested decay.”      


When I asked Leon, who’ll be portraying a tracker, for an update on THE LONE RANGER situation, he told me he couldn’t tell me a ton.  “I really don’t know anything about The Lone Ranger, not having been there; I’m just thankful that I’m a part of it.  I’ve got some fittings and stuff to do.  And there’s a beard on this character.  And not having one of my own, it will have to be one of their creation.   Hey, I’m giddy about doing it, man.   I’m excited to get over there and get on the back of a hopefully spirited animal, and just have some fun. Any day I’m paid to ride a horse is a good day.

“My heart’s in this Lone Ranger thing – any time I get to step back in time for a little bit is an amazing thing.  It’s like living out every childhood fantasy I ever had.  I remember standing on my little section of the wall when we did THE ALAMO (2004).  These reenactors were positioned up there with me, and looking out over these 150 Hispanic soldiers charging, and guns firing, and I…I’ve gone to heaven.”

And where do things stand with the mysterious Dr. Beauregard?  “With ALCATRAZ, I don’t know what’s going on there.  I finished my turn in it, and I thought I was going for only two episodes, but it wound up being a lot more, so I guess they were pleased with my offering.   He’s getting stranger by the minute, it seemed.  Halfway through, the director was giving me a little direction, and I said, ‘Well, I have no idea what’s happening here.’  And he said, ‘Nor do I.’ I’m sure the powers that be have some master plan.”  The master plan for Leon and the Lone Ranger is to start shooting near Albuquerque, New Mexico in late March.


Leon Rippy had mentioned that, prior to heading out for the masked-man adventure, he’d be doing some riding with Peter Sherayko, the actor/writer/all-around western expert who owns the Caravan West Ranch.  I checked in with Peter, whose ranch has been busy of late, though not exclusively with westerns.  “Last week I had three little films at the ranch.  One was from Wisconsin, to be used as a fundraiser, to build a school on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  This week I just did an episode of AUCTION HUNTERS.  And tomorrow we’ve got AMERICAN DIGGERS for SPIKE-TV.  It’s a new show.  They dig up artifacts at battle fields and so forth.  So they come out one day a week, and I recreate for them what they found.  So they found an 1851 Navy (Colt revolver), but all rusted.   So I brought a working 1851 Navy, loaded it, fired it, showed them how it shoots.  Also a ’58 Remington.  And there was a Sharps, and a Springfield.  And buttons, dice. 

“Tomorrow we’re shooting a pepperbox, a flare-gun, a .32 Smith & Wesson, a Forehand and Wadsworth.  I’ve got two other shows coming out.  One’s a show for Justin Boots.  A webisode series.  And on the 18th we have a documentary on the Civil War battles of the west.  Glorietta Pass and two or three others.  So they’re going to bring some cannons out and stage some battles out there.  I got a call for a commercial the other day.  I don’t know what it’s about, they’re just taking bids on it, but I hope we get that because he wants me to play the bad poker player.   And Adam Sandler is doing a new movie, WALTER MITTY, and they called me to make twenty saddles, bridles and breast collars for Bedouins.  I sent them the photos the other day, and I waiting to hear back from them.” 

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 it for today!  Have a great week, and if you do anything of a western nature, fill me in!

Happy Trails 'til then!


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