Monday, March 23, 2015



On the far side of the globe, in what writer-director Matthew Holmes calls, “…the ‘other’ Wild West – in Australia,” a feature film begins shooting, telling the story of Ben Hall.  Don’t know the name?  “Ben Hall is a famous outlaw over here,” Holmes tells me.  “He’s our version of Jesse James!”  We had our outlaws, the English had their highwaymen, and in Australia they had their bushrangers, and Ben Hall was the most successful of them – for a while. 

For years, Great Britain used Australia as a penal colony, shipping their criminals there; Hall’s mother was an Irish convict, and his father was an English one.  The movie is set in 1865, the last six months of Hall’s career, and Holmes says there will be plenty of excitement: “It’ll be guns, horses, coach hold-ups and frontier life the whole way.” 

Actor Jack Martin and the real Ben Hall

One of the remarkable aspects of the film is how the money was raised: “We raised $100K through crowd-funding to make a short film of Ben Hall and now we're going to make it a two hour feature.”  On-board as executive producer Greg Mclean, who created the popular Aussie WOLF CREEK thriller franchise.  This is Holmes’ second feature – he directed and co-starred with his brother in TWIN RIVERS, about two brothers looking for work, trying to walk the 800 kilometers to Melbourne in 1939. 

Much of the cast of the short will reprise their roles in the feature, and much of that footage will be used.  Starring is screen newcomer Jack Martin as Ben Hall.  Stand by for updates!  And in the meantime, check out the original trailer – it looks terrific!


Those of us who had so enjoyed Rob Word’s delightful live monthly programs at The Autry, entitled A Word on Westerns, were astonished when they abruptly ended in December.  For a year they’d taken place on the third Wednesday of the month.  With topics as wide-ranging as Spaghetti Westerns, Western Comic Books, Sam Peckinpah, and Audie Murphy, the Crossroads CafĂ© was always packed with fans eager to hear the reminiscences of the men and women who made the big and small-screen Westerns we’d so enjoyed. 

Out of the blue, Rob was told that the events would be no more.  While he searched for an alternate venue, Word on Westerns fans began calling and writing and emailing the Autry to denounce their decision.  And happily, their voices have been heard.  The programs will begin again on Wednesday, May 20th, with A Salute to Duke, celebrating John Wayne’s birthday.  This has happened so suddenly that he can’t yet confirm who will be participating.

One change is that the events will now be every second month, so the next ones will be in July, September and November – no topics are set yet, but I’ll keep you posted!  In the meantime, check out the clip below, from a recent luncheon, with author Richard Bann discussing movie-making at Lone Pine.


seated, Henry Darrow and Don Collier with
Lauren Darrow and fans

Today was the finale for the HIGH CHAPARRAL REUNION in Tucson.  Here are a couple of snapshots from the event.  It was, to my knowledge, the first such Western event that offered to offer, for $65, a live webcast for fans who could not attend.  Western historian Charlie LeSueur led many of the conversations, and everything I saw was entertaining and informative.  And subscribers will be able to watch until April 9th – perfect for guys like me who couldn’t get a chance to watch more than a few minutes at a time!.  I’ll be very grateful if anyone who either attended or watched the webcast would post their comments! 

Charlie LeSeuer and Don Collier


On Thursday, March 26th, the sixth annual orgy of cinema-ecstasy known as the TCM Classic Film Festival will begin at the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.  This year’s theme is History According To Hollywood, and all of the films featured will portray how the past looks in Hollywood’s rear-view mirror.

A red carpet will precede the 5 pm premiere of the new restoration of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, which will be attended by stars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.  At 6:30, the first screening of particular interest to Western fans will be THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, which will be attended by actor Keith Carradine, son of one of the film’s stars, John Carradine.  It’s a family affair this year – children of many of the films’ stars will be attending, including Peter Fonda, Rory Flynn and David Ladd.  For a complete rundown on Western-interest screenings and events, read my earlier article HERE.  For a complete festival schedule, and information on how to attend, go HERE.

Among the particularly unusual screenings will be HOLLYWOOD HOME MOVIES: TREASURES FROM THE ACADEMY FILM ARCHIVES.  For silent movie fans, RETURN OF THE DREAM MACHINE: 1902-1913 will feature century-old movies shown on a hand-cranked 35 mm projector, including William S. Porter’s THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY.  Also, premiering at the Fest will be a pair of restorations, Buster Keaton’s STEAMBOAT BILL JR. (1928); and long believed lost, THE GRIM GAME (1919), starring Harry Houdini.  All silent films will have a live musical accompaniment. 


John Ford’s rarely seen 1924 silent Western about the building of the transcontinental railroad, THE IRON HORSE will be screened at 7pm on Thursday, March 26th, in 35mm, at the Autry.  And since, as The Autry reminds us, silent movies were never seen silent, it will be presented with a new soundtrack by Grammy-nominated composer Tom Peters.  It’s a computer-synchronized soundscape that will be partly performed live.  The cost is $10 for Autry members and students with I.D., $20 for non-members, and reservations are warmly suggested.  Visit


The Santa Clarita Cowboy Fest will be on Saturday and Sunday April 18th & 19th. In addition to the various western entertainments and musical performances I’ve been telling you about (if you’ve missed it, please go HERE ), there are a plethora of separate-ticket events you might want to check out.  

There are two film-location tours.  On Thursday, April 16 at 2 pm, film historians E.J. and Kim Stephens will load you on a bus to show you the many movie-locations in Santa Clarita, including Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch (where they shot OLD YELLER and many others), Vasquez Rocks (where they shot everything), Mystery Mesa, Box Canyon, and the spot on Sierra Highway where Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard walked off into the sunset in MODERN TIMES – the last shot in the last silent movie!  And they’ll end up at Tesoro Adobe, home of Harry Carey.  On Friday at 9 am the bus will whisk you to Hollywood, where you’ll visit the locations of Western poverty row studios; Edendale, where Mack Sennett and Tom Mix made their films; the site of the original Bison Studios; sites associated with William S. Hart and D. W. Griffith, and a stopover at The Autry.  Each tour is about three hours, and each costs $40.

On Friday, April 17, 12:30 pm, cowboy singing legend Don Edwards will perform at the Rancho Camulos Museum the historic ‘Home of Ramona’, where author Helen Hunt Jackson set her beloved novel RAMONA.  The very first film of the story, starring Mary Pickford, and directed by D.W. Griffith, was shot here.  Tickets are $60, which includes lunch. 

Miles Swarthout and C. Courtney Joyner

Friday at 2 pm at the Repertory East Playhouse, Miles Swarthout will present JOHN WAYNE AND ‘THE SHOOTIST’, a ninety-minute talk and film presentation about the making of John Wayne’s last movie.  Spur Award winner Miles wrote THE SHOOTIST screenplay, adapting it from the novel by his father, Glendon Swarthout, who also wrote the novel THE HOMESMAN, on which the recent film was based.  Tickets are $10.  Miles has just published THE LAST SHOOTIST, a sequel to his father’s novel.  I look forward to interviewing Miles at the OutWest Store Buckaroo Bookshop, Saturday at noon.  Saturday at three I’ll be talking with Miles and fellow novelists and screenwriters C. Courtney Joyner, Stephen Lodge and Dale Jackson about their adventures adapting novels into screenplays and screenplays into novels.  If you’d like to read my earlier interview with Miles, check out the Round-up ‘Homesman Issue’ HERE.  

Friday night at Heritage Junction from 6pm to 10 pm it’s Friday Night Flickers!  For $10 you can enjoy William S. Hart short films and SUDDENLY (1954), the rarely seen assassination thriller starring Frank Sinatra, and shot entirely is Saugus!  Popcorn included!

Friday night at 8 pm, the Western swing band Cowbop will perform at the William S. Hart Mansion – tickets are $45.

Saturday night at 8 pm at Heritage Junction, Marie-Wise Hawkins will perform her country western music in the style that made her a finalist on COUNTRY SHOWDOWN IN NASHVILLE.  The $45 tickets include a barbecue chicken dinner.

Saturday night at 8 pm experience An Evening With Buffalo Bill at the William S. Hart Mansion , a one-man-show starring Peter Sherayko, who will be in a perfect location to present the story of one of the most remarkable and controversial figures in the history of the American West.  Tickets are $40. (You can read my review of An Evening With Buffalo Bill HERE. )

Peter Sherayko, me, writers Rolfe Kanefsky and C. Courtney Joyner

Peter Sherayko will also be at the OutWest Store Buckaroo Bookshop, Saturday at 11 am and Sunday at 2 pm, taking part in Wordsmiths: Poets Present Their Favorites, along with poets Alameda Bradshaw, Peter Conway and Andria Kidd. 

On Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm you can take the Santa Clarita Historical Tour by bus.  You will visit 30 points of historical interest, four in depth, and you will be fed a sandwich lunch.  Wear comfortable shoes, be prepared for some rough terrain, and don’t bring anyone under six.  And bring $60.

Sunday at 8 am attend Cowboy Church at Masters College.  Church is free.  You can learn about all of the Buckaroo Bookshop events HERE.  To find out all about the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, go HERE. 


The 36th Annual Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Collectors Show was held Sunday at the Glendale Civic Auditorium.  Eighty dealers from around the country sold their wares, and 45 authors signed their books for free.  This event skews pretty sharply towards sci-fi, horror and mystery, so author-wise there was little Western interest.  Two much-anticipated guests who have frequently attended, were not there: THE WALTONS creator and TWILIGHT ZONE writer Earl Hamner Jr. was unable to attend, and sci-fi legend Ib Melchior died last week. 

Thanks for coloring in the 'I', kid.  You 
probably saved me five bucks

Serious paperback collectors are a snobby bunch – they only want their books in pristine condition, and they pay top dollar for it.  I like what they sneeringly call ‘reader copies’ or ‘place-holders’, and there were bargains to be found: many good Westerns books to be had for fifty cents to a dollar.  Among others, I picked up the novelization of the John Wayne movie CAHILL – UNITED STATES MARSHALL, by Joe Millard, who also novelized the Leone Westerns, and wrote a whole MAN WITH NO NAME series. 

SMOKY ROAD by ‘king of the pulps’ Frank Gruber, who also wrote movies for Randolph Scott – RAGE AT DAWN and FIGHTING MAN OF THE PLAINS, and the Sherlock Holmes films, TERROR BY NIGHT and DRESSED TO KILL. 

Seems to high-strung to last in the West

Also grabbed DOUBLE CROSS TRAIL by E.E. Halleran, and STAGECOACH, a novel by Robert W. Krepps, published to tie in with the 1966 movie re-make.  I love this last one particularly because of how many writers’ hands were in it: the novel is based on Joseph Landon’s 1966 screenplay, which is based on Dudley Nichols’ 1939 screenplay, which is based on Ernest Haycox’s 1937 short story STAGE TO LORDSBURG.  You can’t really tell, but the cover design, from the movie poster, is a wonderful painting by Norman Rockwell.

In the past, I don’t remember paying less than a dollar a book at this event, and while I loved getting my literary fix at two for a buck, it troubled me: does the lower price reflect a loss of interest in the Western?  At the next table, DR. WHO books and STAR WARS books were also two for a dollar, so I think all is well.  


I know I promised my Michael Horse interview this week, but I haven’t finished transcribing it yet, and with the TCM Fest starting on Thursday night, I’m not quite sure when I’ll get to!  And speaking of the TCM Fest, Peter Fonda, who will be introducing MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, and giving a talk about his father Henry Fonda, is in town for another reason as well.  He and Kevin Sorbo will spend a couple of days shooting scenes in the Santa Clarita area to flesh out a new Western, JESSE JAMES: LAWMAN, which has mostly been shot in Manitoba, starring Andrew Galligan, and directed by Brett Kelly.  I’ll tell you more when I know more!

Happy Trails,


All Original Content Copyright March 2015 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved  

Sunday, March 15, 2015



The ‘High Chaparral Reunion’, which starts this Thursday, March 19th, is the first event of its kind that I know of, to be webcast so that those of us who can’t get there can still watch in real time, and in fact can watch until April 8th!  And it’s just been announced that Charlie LeSueur, Arizona’s Official Western Film Historian, will be moderating many of the events. 

Penny McQueen, Producer of the High Chaparral Reunion, told me, “Charlie is great; he's going to elevate things all around. I'm very excited about the webcast.  I'm sure it won't be polished and perfect, but then it's not supposed to be, as it’s real life, giving fans a way to see and participate when they can't come to the event in person.”    

And Charlie LeSueur is asking for your input.  “I'm inviting you to send me your questions to ask the stars. Just go to my website, and find the discussion page. Or you can send them more privately at

The Reunion runs from Thursday, March 19th through Sunday, March 22nd, and the webcast will feature events on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  For a complete schedule of events, go HERE.   

Stars and behind-the-scenes folks taking part include Henry Darrow, who played Manolito; Don Collier, who played ranch foreman Sam Butler; Rudy Ramos, who played Wind; stunt-man and Western historian Neil Summers; producer Kent McCray; casting director Susan McCray (whose father, composer Harry Sukman, composed the HIGH CHAPARRAL theme); and writer and historian Boyd Magers.  To register, go HERE!  To get a peek at the webcast video set-up, and see a great teaser, go HERE.  The webcast will cost $65.  To register for the webcast, go HERE

Penny tells me that among the events being webcasted will be Don Collier’s ‘Confessions of an Acting Cowboy’ on Sunday evening.  Throughout the weekend she’ll be inserting highlights from previous Reunion events. 

One special thing Penny will be showing at the Reunion is the original HIGH CHAPARRAL pilot.  The copy comes from the family of William Claxton, who directed it, and directed eighteen episodes of the series – three times as many as anyone else.  (He also directed 57 BONANZAS, more than anyone else, and is acknowledged by many involved with either series as their best director.)  It’s from a faded 16mm print, but contains scenes that were never broadcast. 

All Western-movie or TV get-togethers are fun, but there’s something very special about celebrating a show on the actually locations, and set buildings, where it was actually shot.  Just a short drive out of Tucson, Old Tucson Western Movie Ranch was built for the film ARIZONA (1940), starring William Holden and Jean Arthur, right on the edge of mountains and a saguaro-cactus desert.  Hundreds of Western films and TV shows have been shot there, and the streets built for RIO BRAVO have changed very little.  An arson fire some years ago destroyed a lot, but there is still much that is magical in the old place.  If you can’t go for the Reunion, find another time to go. 

I saw this on Charlie LeSueur's Facebook page and had to 'borrow' it.  It's a 1979 Hubba Bubba Bubblegum commercial starring Don Collier and Dub Taylor.


Last week I reported that INSP had acquired BONANZA: THE LOST EPISODES, and celebrated with a Sunday marathon.  At that time, I said the shows would become part of the regular INSP lineup in April.  Well, Melissa Prince, Director of INSP Corporate Communications tells me the response to the marathon was so enthusiastic that they’ve bumped the shows ahead a few weeks.  Two showed on Saturday, and two more will run next Sunday night – check the listings in your time zone and service!


For decades fans of soft-back books have met annually to buy and sell, and for the second year in a row this event is being held at the Glendale Civic Auditorium, with a paltry admission price of five bucks.  More than 80 dealers will be showing their wares.  This is a not-to-be-missed event in my book – sorry – and I’ve always had great success filling in missing gaps in my Tarzan, Fu Manchu, Luke Short, and other series here.  You can buy very high end, or be a cheapie like me, and buy what are sneeringly called “reader copies”.  In addition to regular paperbacks, there are many pulp magazines of all genres. 
Best of all, over 45 artists and authors will be attending and signing their books for free!  Sadly, there are rarely Western authors there, but among writers of particular interest are TWILIGHT ZONE writer George Clayton Jackson, TZ writer and THE WALTONS creator Earl Hamner Jr., sci-fi writers Ib Melchio, William F. Nolan, and Bob and Ray biographer David Pollack.  You can learn more HERE.


John Ford’s rarely seen 1924 silent Western about the building of the transcontinental railroad, THE IRON HORSE will be screened at 7pm on Thursday, March 26th, in 35mm, at the Autry.  And since, as The Autry reminds us, silent movies were never seen silent, it will be presented with a new soundtrack by Grammy-nominated composer Tom Peters.  It’s a computer-synchronized soundscape that will be partly performed live.  The cost is $10 for Autry members and students with I.D., $20 for non-members, and reservations are warmly suggested.  Visit


Just got word that the Blue Underground Blu-Ray of the fascinating MAN, PRIDE AND VENGEANCE will be released on May 26th.  Starring Franco Nero, Tina Aumont and Klaus Kinski, the film is directed by Luigi Bazzoni.  C. Courtney Joyner and I had a great time doing the audio commentary on this one, which was also released in some areas as WITH DJANGO COMES DEATH – a hoot considering that it not only is not a Django film, it’s actually based on the novel CARMEN, on which the Bizet opera is also based.  Blue Underground provided a copy to screen at the Los Angeles Italia Festival last month, and I’m told that it looked marvelous!  Below is the trailer, which also looks great.


Next week, I’ll be sharing my interview with actor, stuntman, musician and artist Michael Horse, best known for his portrayal of Tonto in 1981’s THE LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER!  I’ll also be updating my info on the coming TCM Classic Film Festival and the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival!

Until then,

Happy Trails!


All Original Contents Copyright March 2015 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 8, 2015




In October of 2013, I had the pleasure of visiting the set of WESTERN RELIGION for day 6 of their 19 day shoot in and around Peter Sherayko’s Caravan West Ranch in Agua Dulce. (Read that story HERE )  I even got to be an extra in a poker-game scene. ( Read that story HERE   )  The film is set in 1879 Arizona, and centers on a legendary high-stakes poker game played in the mining town of Western Religion, which attracts high-rollers and gunslingers from around the country.  They’re competing for the grand prize: a cross of gold. 

Sets go up as sun goes down

Director James O'Brien films me in super-8

Religious types from the town of
Western Religion

October 2013 was the time of the shut-down of National Parks, and WESTERN RELIGION’s original location, Paramount Ranch, was abruptly unavailable.  The production was switched to Caravan West, which is a wonderful location, but without buildings!  A couple of rough wooden structures within a tent city sprung up practically overnight.  It in fact looked much more like the mining towns seen in period photographs than a Hollywood western movie street ever could.  Writer-director James O’Brien recalled, “We had to build sets literally as we were shooting. The hammering would stop when I yelled action and start up again on cut. The controlled mayhem lent itself to the gritty drama we were fashioning. Every day was an incredible adventure.”

WESTERN RELIGION will have its world premiere at the famed Cannes Film Festival on Saturday, May 16th, at 8:30 p.m., in a Marche du Film spotlight on American independent film.  More details coming soon! 


Although I’ve never taken on anything as massive as this book – with 1,250 questions! – I’ve concocted enough quizzes for Round-up giveaways to understand what a daunting undertaking writing this book must have been.  And author Graeme Ross, a Scottish former fireman who also writes extensively on football (soccer) and Frank Sinatra (he’s done a quiz-book just on Frankie), has done a masterful job, creating an entertaining, amusing and informative book which is fun for testing your own knowledge, and even better to match your wits against your pards at the local saloon.
For me, the hardest part of creating a quiz is determining how tough to make it.  If the reader scans the first few questions on a page, and can’t answer any of them, he’ll move on to something else.  The same is true if you make it so easy that they’re answering before they finish reading the questions.  The challenge is striking the right balance, and Graeme does it both by varying the difficulty of questions within a puzzle, and giving you a wide choice of quiz topics, so you can zero in on the ones you know best, and avoid humiliating yourself with the others. 

There are 125 different quizzes, the first being Opening Lines, and the last, Closing Lines.  In a test on cowboy horses, you have to identify not only who rode Topper, but who rode Pie.  In the first Spaghetti Western quiz, you need to identify movies from their original Italian titles: C’era una volt ail west!  There are quizzes about bad guys, singers in Westerns, remakes – “Who played Johnny Ringo in the 1966 remake Of STAGECOACH?” – even They Turned it Down: “Can you name the English-born actor who turned down the part of Cherry Valance in RED RIVER?”  Of course there are quizzes on John Wayne, but also Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Mitchum; not just John Ford, but also John Sturges, Budd Boetticher and so many more.  Toward the end of the book, there are eight ‘expert’ quizzes I’ve been too cowardly to even try!

Priced at $19.95 from Bear Manor Media (you can order it HERE  ) , the book also includes an introduction and brief history of Western movies by the author, and a very interesting Foreword by London Observer film critic and author Philip French, who has something to say both about Westerns (he’s written two books on the subject), but also about the history of BBC Radio quiz shows.   


Starting in April (haven’t got an exact date yet), INSP will add BONANZA – THE LOST EPISODES to their line-up.  They had a 7-episode marathon preview today.   The reason they have that ‘LOST’ moniker is, when NBC first started packaging the show for syndication, they did first an ‘early’ package, then a ‘later’ package, and 171 episodes from the middle of the show’s 14 season, 430 episode run didn’t get played for decades, and haven’t been seen on non-subscription cable for ten years. 


Manolito and the boys are heading back to Big John Cannon’s spread for a High Chaparral Reunion on the sets and sagebrush where the legendary series was filmed, at the legendary Old Tucson Movie Ranch, just outside the city of Tucson! 

On-camera talent taking part will include Henry Darrow, the brash and charming Manolito (you can read my interview with Henry, and my review of his biography, HERE )  ; Don Collier, who played ranch foreman Sam Butler, and worked with John Wayne, James Arness, and every other Western star you can name; Rudy Ramos, who played the half-Pawnee Wind, and currently does a one-man show about Geronimo; and stunt-man and Western historian Neil Summers, who’s been killed onscreen by James Arness, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen (twice!), John Wayne (five times!), and every single member of the Cannon extended family! 

The Cannon ranch house today

Behind the camera talent will include BONANZA and HIGH CHAPARRAL producer Kent McCray, who was on the show from the time it was a pilot script, and his lovely bride, BONANZA and HIGH CHAPARRAL casting director Susan McCray, whose father, composer Harry Sukman, composed the HIGH CHAPARRAL theme.  Boyd Magers, whose WESTERN CLIPPINGS publication demonstrates his encyclopedic knowledge of the Western genre, will also be taking part.  There will even be a webcast of events for those of us poor saps who can’t make it to Arizona!  To learn more about all of the events at the Reunion, and to register, go HERE!  


The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Last night the TCM site was down, so I couldn’t include all of the new events of interest to Western fans.  Now it’s up and running, and in addition to great films, the TCM folks have wrangled the offspring of some of our favorite stars to attend.  In addition to attending screenings, guests will attend live events as well.  After the Thursday night Red Carpet at Grauman’s Chinese, for the premiere of the restoration of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in attendance, the Western fun starts at 6:30 pm, with a screening of THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE.  Keith Carradine, a major Western star in his own right, and son of VALENCE star John Carradine, will attend.   At 10 pm, the great Warner Brothers swashbuckler THE SEA HAWK, starring Errol Flynn, will screen attended by his daughter, Rory Flynn.

My Darling Clementine

Friday morning at 9:30, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE will screen, with again Keith Carradine, and another son of a star, and another Western star in his own right, Hank Fonda’s son Peter Fonda, attending.  At 10:30, Christopher Plummer will have his hands and feet memorialized in cement in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.  At 12:15 pm, THE PROUD REBEL screens, attended by the son of star Alana Ladd, and one of the stars himself, David Ladd.  At 2:30 pm at Club TCM at the Hollywood Roosevelt, Rory Flynn will present a talk – Errol Flynn , A Daughter Remembers.  At 2:15 pm, YOUNG MR. LINCOLN screens, attended by Peter Fonda.  At 3:15 pm, the Steve McQueen starrer THE CINCINNATI KID screens, attended by star Ann-Margaret.  I didn’t know until I read the TCM write-up that director Norman Jewison made the film after producer Martin Ransohoff fired original director Sam Peckinpah.  At 5:45 pm at the El Capitan Theatre, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK will screen, with stuntman Terry Leonard attending.  At 6:15 pm at Club TCM Peter Fonda will give a talk, entitled Fonda the Actor, Fonda The Man. 

Saturday morning at 9:45 am, the classic John Ford war movie THEY WERE EXPENDABLE will screen.  At 10 am, THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING will screen, with Christopher Plummer, who stars as Rudyard Kipling attending.  Also at 10 am, at Club TCM you can catch A Conversation With Norman Lloyd, Orson Welles’ partner in the Mercury Theatre, villain of SABOTOEUR, producer of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, and still going strong as he enters his second century!   At 11 am, Rory Flynn will be signing her book about her father, Errol Flynn.  At 11:30, one of Walt Disney’s most personal films, SO DEAR TO MY HEART, will screen.  At 1 pm, author Scott Eyman will be signing his two books, John Wayne, Life and Legend, and Print The Legend, The Life and Times of John Ford.  At 4pm, Club TCM will present A Conversation With Terry Leonard.  At 6:15 pm, stuntman Terry Leonard will attend the screening of THE WIND AND THE LION.  Also at 6:15pm, VIVA ZAPATA! will screen.  Directed by Elia Kazan and written by John Steinbeck, Anthony Quinn won one of his two Best Supporting Actor Oscars for his portrayal of Zapata’s brother.  Quinn’s daughter, and President of the Anthony Quinn Foundation, Katherine Quinn, will attend. 

On Sunday morning at 10 am, a new restoration of the Western musical CALAMITY JANE, starring Doris Day, directed by David Butler, will screen.  Starting fifteen minutes earlier, and not a Western, but one of my favorite films noir, NIGHTMARE ALLEY screens.  It stars  Tyrone Power as a guy who joins a sideshow with a mind-reading act, and becomes a world-renowned clairvoyant.  From the novel by William Lindsay Gresham, it’s one of the toughest, most chilling and thrilling stories to emerge from the shadows and onto the screen. 

There are dozens of great non-Western screenings as well.  And there are all sorts of ticket packages – from $300 to $1649!  Happily, you can also attend individual screenings, if they aren’t full, for $20 apiece.  Get there early, because lots of the shows fill up.  You can learn more, and buy tickets, HERE


A dizzying array of events are planned at the Fest, in William S. Hart Park, and at several theatrical venues within easy walking distance.  The only tough part is that, just like at a three-ring circus, you can’t possibly do everything.  $10 a day -- $7 if you’re a kid (free if you’re under three and don’t cry!) gets you admission to the park, with fifteen bands performing on four stages, living history, food, and vendors of clothes and everything western.  Among the performers will be Band of The California Battalion, The Haunted Windchimes, Mikki Daniel, Sons & Brothers, poet Chris Isaacs, Wild Horse Dancers, and that Segovia of the Spinning Sixgun, Joey Dillon. 

Also, at the Canyon Theatre Guild, Repertory East Playhouse, and the Vu Bar and Lounge, there will be ticketed reserved-seat concerts by Don Edwards, Waddie Mitchell, Sons of the San Joaquin, Dave Stamey, Six Silver Bullets, and many others – tickets run from $10 to $30. 

Joey Dillon

Actually, the fun starts before the weekend – on Wednesday, April 15th, at the Repertory East, you can see An Evening With Kristyn Harris and Jim Jones, the Western Music Association Female and Male performers of the year!   This is part of the OutWest Concert Series, sponsored by the OutWest Boutique, who also sponsor the all-important (yes, I’m part of it) Buckaroo Book Shop – Rendezvous With a Writer events at the Fest! 

What’ll that include, you ask?  There will be six writer-events on Saturday, and three on Sunday.  Starting Saturday at eleven it’s Wordsmiths: Poets Present their Favorites, with Almeda Bradshaw, Peter Conway, Andria Kidd, Tony Sanders and Peter Sherayko. 

At noon, at The Last Shootist, The Shootist and The Homesman, I talk with author and screenwriter Miles Swarthout. 

At one, the topic is The West In Song: Protect Your Creative Gold, and John Bergstrom will chat with President of Gene Autry Entertainment, Karla Buhlman, and songwriter Jim Jones. 

At two, it’s Unsung Heroes of Film: The Hollywood Stunt Horse.  I’ll be talking with Karen Rosa – Senior Consultant at the American Humane Association’s Film & TV Unit, Petrine Day Mitchum, Audrey Pavia, and Shirley Lucas Juaregui.

At three, the topic is Screenplay to Novel OR Novel to Screenplay? I’ll be talking to four screenwriter/novelists: Dale Jackson, C. Courtney Joyner, Stephen Lodge, and Miles Swarthout.

At four, the final event of the day will be Girls and Gunsmoke.  Joyce Fitzpatrick will talk with authors Margaret Brownley, Mikki Daniel, and Janet Squires.

On Sunday, the fun starts at eleven with Who Are Those Guys?  Little Known Lawmen and Detectives of the West.  Jim Christina will chat with Western non-fiction writers Margaret Brownley, Dale Jackson, and J.R. Sanders. 

At noon, for The West in Song, John Bergstrom chats with fellow songwriters Jim Jones and Almeda Bradshaw.

Finally, at one, it’s Name That Horse, and I’ll be chatting with Karla Buhlman, Shirley Lucas Jauregui, Petrine Mitchum, and Audrey Pavia. 

Next week I’ll have more information about special events tied to the Cowboy Fest, including tours of famous local movie locations; Don Edwards performing at ‘the Home of Ramona,’ Rancho Camulos; Miles Swarthout’s presentation about the making of John Wayne’s last movie, which he scripted, THE SHOOTIST; Peter Sherayko’s one-man-show, An Evening With Buffalo Bill, presented at the William S. Hart Mansion, and much more!  To learn more, and to purchase tickets, go HERE.  


Very sorry to read in Tom Betts’ BOOT HILL site that Lloyd Fonvielle, who scripted or co-scripted THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE, THE BRIDE, THE MUMMY, and GOOD MORNING BABYLON, has died.  He’d contacted me in 2011, having just e-published his first Western story, THE TRACKER.  I read it, liked it, and interviewed him.  Read it HERE
A very talented and original writer, he went on to write several collections of Western stories and Western novels.  The link to his listing on Amazon is HERE


More thrills, chills and suspense next week!

Happy Trails,


All Original Content Copyright March 2015 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved