A Night of 50’s Television with Edmond O’Brien

Time for another piece from the pen of Gordon Gates. This one is diversion into an area I don’t tend to cover myself, mainly due to the fact I’m not so well informed about it. Gordon, on the other hand, is very much on his home ground writing about the early years of broadcast television, a field where he has an enviable depth of knowledge.
Most people think of early television as an endless string of comedy, western and detective shows. There was however another genre that populated the airwaves.This was the anthology series. These shows, such as Alcoa Theater, Schlitz Playhouse, Ford Theater, Robert Montgomery Presents, Climax, General Electric Theater, Studio One, Stage 7, Lux Video Theater and so on were extremely popular, Some of these series ran for over a decade and produced hundreds of episodes each.The format was stand alone stories that had a drama one week, a western next, a horror then a noir etc. As movie making slowed in the 50’s, many top flight actors, directors and cinematographers etc switched to television.More than a few Oscar types ended up on the small screen.Here is a small example of just one actor’s work. I asked all if they were fans of Edmond O’Brien and everyone answered in the affirmative. Here we go.
A Night of 50’s  Television with Edmond O’Brien.
Here are three different episodes from three different series all starring Mister O’Brien. The episodes are all film noir tinged.
First up is from LUX VIDEO THEATER: To Have and Have Not (1957)
No need to retell the story as we all know it. I will just describe the changes from the 1944 film. The two leads are played by Edmond O’Brien in the Bogart role and Beverly Garland filling in for Bacall. O’Brien plays the role with a far more violent and menacing edge than the laid back “leave me out it” style Bogart used in the film. Beverly Garland likewise turns it up and does her part as if she is just a step away from being a tramp. This really causes the sparks to fly when the two are in the clinches. One would swear they were going to drop their linen any second. There is some real chemistry here. John Qualen does a straight up copy of the Walter Brennan role and does not stand out at all. Dan Seymour reprises his role from the film as the slimy head of the Vichy Secret Police. Frances Bergen does the role played by Polly Moran while Lyle Talbot plays the American fisherman. Though there is no Hoagy Carmichael, we do have Sir Lancelot belting out a calypso tune. Lancelot had a small role in the 44 film but most will recall him from Brute Force. He was the soulful singer of the cell block in that film. The rest of the cast is Ken Terrell, Richard Flato, Edward Barrier and Jean De Val. Jean Yarbrough directs. Given the confines of television at the time, this production works very well. There is the odd short-cut. For example, we only get to see the cast going to, or from the boat. None of these short cuts hurt the story and in fact speed up the action. This is one of the best bits I’ve ever seen Garland in. A top flight TV noir.
Second up is from SUSPICION: Death Watch  (1958) – This one has 3 Oscar winners involved.

Janice Rule plays a live-in nanny who witnesses her employer shot to death by a mob boss. She soon regrets that she agreed to testify for the Police after she gets several death threats, and a bullet through her car window. The police soon have her put away in protective custody. The detective in charge is your buddy and mine, Edmond O’Brien. O’Brien moves Rule to the 10th floor of a big hotel and puts together a crack team of detectives to look after her. As the trial date draws near, Rule becomes convinced that the mobster behind the murder, Phil Donati, will get her. O’Brien does what he can to calm the woman including having the windows covered in case of a sniper. Two days before the trial O’Brien hears from an informant that a hit has been arranged. The hitter? He is told it will be one of his own squad. Which one could it be? O’Brien has known them all for years. He approaches the D.A. and his Captain with the info. Change the detectives with others from a diff squad is their suggestion. O’Brien decides instead to go with the same crew and see if he can flush out the traitor. He assembles the detectives and tells them what he has heard. O’Brien figures that they will now keep a watch on each other. This he hopes will give him the time he needs to catch the turncoat. The next day, Edward Binns, the senior detective, is approached by O’Brien. “I need to trust someone and you are it”. He tells Binns that he suspects one of the police women on the squad. O’Brien wants Binns to sit in with her while he steps out to make a private phone call. O’Brien steps out followed shortly by the police woman who needs to “powder her nose”. Binns pulls his gun and enters Rule’s room and walks up to her. He begins to level the gun when O’Brien pops out of the shadows and lets him have it. It seems O’Brien had let himself in through a hallway door. “How did you know”? whispers Binns. O’Brien responds. “You were the only one on the detail not to report the bribe attempt the mob made to all the rest.” Binns is hauled away and Rule is safe to testify.

The rest of the cast include, Jeanne Bates, Clark Howat, Horace McMahon and Mary Gregory. Actor and sometimes director Ray Milland helmed this well paced episode. The d of p was 6 time nominated and 2 time Oscar winner, Ray Rennahan. The story was by John Hawkins who wrote Crime Wave, The Killer is Loose and The Shadow on the Window.

To finish off the evening we go with an episode of STAGE 7: Debt of Honor (1955)

Edmond O’Brien and Charles Bronson are the stars in this episode. The episode is based on the Cornell Woolrich novel, I.O.U. One Life.

Our man O’Brien is a cop with a perfect life. He has a loving wife, a young daughter and a nice home in the burbs. He has even received a nice promotion at work. His job? He is now a lieutenant with the force. He decides that a night out with the family in the town is in order. They are involved in a car wreck which results in them crashing off the road and into a lake. The wife, Kasey Rogers, gets out, O’Brien is thrown out but knocked unconscious. The daughter, Wendy Winkelman, is still trapped in the slowly sinking car. A passing motorist, Charles Bronson, dives into the water and pulls the child to safety. A somewhat groggy O’Brien comes to and thanks Bronson. He tells Charlie that he is forever in his debt. Bronson jumps in his car and drives off before O’Brien can get his name. A year goes by and O’Brien is now a Captain. He is in charge of a unit assigned to hunt down a killer. O’Brien looks at the suspect’s mug shot and recognizes Bronson. What to do? To avoid being involved, he puts his aide, Steve Pendleton, in charge and heads home.
“Good thing the wife and daughter are out of town” O’Brien thinks to himself. A couple of hours later and there is a knock at the door. Standing in the doorway is Bronson who has come to ask O’Brien to honor his “debt”. There is some great back and forth as the two men discuss the “debt”. Bronson says, “I gave you your daughter’s life! Now I want mine!” “I’m a cop you fool! I can’t do what you ask”! answers O’Brien. O’Brien finally tells Bronson he can stay the night but if Bronson is there in the morning, he is taking him in.

The episode is directed by Lewis R. Foster whose work included the noir Crashout and Manhandled. The episode was photographed by one of noir’s best, George Diskant. His work included Desperate, Riff-Raff, They Live By Night, Port of New York, On Dangerous Ground, A Woman’s Secret, Kansas City Confidential, Between Midnight and Dawn and The Narrow Margin. What more could a person ask for, O’Brien and Bronson in a Cornell Woolrich penned story. A real top flight time-waster!!!!

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Gordon Gates

106 thoughts on “A Night of 50’s Television with Edmond O’Brien

  1. A very interesting change of pace here from Gordon. I read and enjoyed the piece and will return later to watch what he has put up.
    I have a couple of episodes of “Suspicion” and they are well-crafted, with one starring Rory Calhoun. Then of course Four Star TV put out a lot of good TV series, including two very successful anthology series: “Four Star Theatre” and “Zane Grey Theatre”.
    I also have a lot of episodes from “Alcoa Theatre” and they were very well done also, with the likes of Robert Ryan starring.
    Here in the UK, the BBC showed some episodes in 1956 of “The Star And The Story”. I vividly still remember the first episode shown as it was a ‘town’ western starring Dan Duryea. Next week a modern-day kidnap thriller with Eddie Albert.
    I agree with Gord that these anthology series were an important part of early US TV. One important feature was that an episode would be a pilot for a potential future series. For example, “A Tale Of Wells Fargo” was a 1956 episode from the long-running “Schlitz Playhouse”.

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  2. Thanks, Jerry
    Amazing how many series pilots started as you have pointed out, as stand alone episodes of various anthology series. John Payne’s THE RESTLESS GUN pops to mind for one. The quick pace, great casts and crew are all a real treat for me. They often supply a chance for the viewer to see actors who had never worked together in films. These here today are just a few examples of O’Brien’s work in the medium.

    Gord

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  3. I recall To Have and Have Not at the time. Well done for live television and well cast, especially O’Brien and Lyle Talbot. The same series did a Casablanca reboot with Paul Douglas, Arlene Dahl and Hoagy Carmichael as Sam. My memory of that is warm and loving.

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  4. Barry
    “To Have and Have Not”, surprised me on just how well put together it was. Both the cast and crew hit all the marks. I must admit I have not seen the “Casablanca” reboot with Paul Douglas, Arlene Dahl and Hoagy Carmichael. Sounds Like something I need to see. Thanks for the heads up on it.
    Gord

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  5. Gorden,

    Thank you for this nice write-up on O’Brien. About 10 years ago I saw a “Playhouse 90” episode called “The Comedian” with Edmond O’Brien. It’s about a cruel and abusive comedian, played by Mickey Rooney, who treats everyone with brutal disdain. Rooney’s character, Sammy Hogarth, is one of the most despicable characters you’ll ever encounter in any medium. Edmond O’Brien is extraordinary as Sammy’s head writer. Mel Torme is a revelation as Sammy’s weak-kneed brother who takes the brunt of his abuse. The production also stars Kim Hunter, Constance Ford, Whit Bissell (in a meaty role as the snide critic Otis Elwell), KIng Donovan, and H.M. Wynant. The screenplay is by Rod Serling from a novel by Ernest Lehman who did the screenplays for “Sweet Smell of Success”, “North by Northwest”, “West Side Story”, etc. “The Comedian” (1957) is available on Youtube.

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    • It’s also available as part of a Criterion set (Golden Age of Television) and is available as Netflix rental. I’m noting this because I have it on my own list.
      I know how well-regarded it is and have heard about it for years and plan to see it soon. Coincidentaly, reading about O’Brien here last night prompted me to look it up on IMDb and read some of the comments there. I expect to like it, I know Frankenheimer was a very creative director in his TV days. Also that Mickey Rooney can take his considerable talent in many directions over a range of roles (my favorite always being DRIVE A CROOKED ROAD, where he is intensely sympathetic), but it’s surprising to hear just how much singer Mel Torme impressed everyone in this–I’m not doubting it but he wasn’t a dramatic actor so someone made an inspired casting decision there if he is as good as everyone says.

      I actually did see a lot of these TV anthologies back in those years, and Playhouse 90 especially but someone I missed this. So something to look forward to.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Frank
    No problem on the name thing, I have also seen said episode of “Playhouse 90” called “The Comedian”, and I concur, excellent. Rooney gives a real hard-faced performance as the slime ball, Sammy. Glad you liked the O’Brien piece.

    Gord

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  7. Gordon, a good write-up of Edmond O’Brien appearing in television anthologies. O’Brien is a very good actor. You helped trigger my memories of the outstanding anthology series that used to be on regular network and local television, here in the USA. NBC-TV’s THE DUPONT SHOW OF THE WEEK(1961-64), THE RICHARD BOONE SHOW(1963-64), THE KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATRE(1963-65), BOB HOPE PRESENTS THE CHRYSLER THEATRE(1963-67), CBS-TV’s THE TWILIGHT ZONE(1959-64), THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR(1962-65, ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS FROM 1955-62), ABC-TV’s THE OUTER LIMITS(1963-65), and DEATH VALLEY DAYS(1952-70), which was a syndicated Western series sold to local television stations. These are the anthology shows that I first remember watching during the 1963-64 television season. These shows had a mix of everything in drama and comedy The guest stars were some of the best of the “Golden Age.”

    Sadly all these anthologies were gone from network prime time by 1967, except for DEATH VALLEY DAYS, which never aired during prime time. You can find several episodes of these shows on YouTube, but the quality varies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Walter
      The amount of anthologies on air was amazing when I was a kid, and then, as you say, they all vanished by the mid-60s. While most of my collection deals with the 1950’s, I do have episodes from all the series you mentioned. Been collecting tv shows for over two decades and amassed somewhere in the 7500-8000 episode area. Needless to say I’ll need to live to 100 to get through them all. LOL
      Gord

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  8. I remember “THE RICHARD BOONE SHOW” fondly. Boone had just come off the success of his long-running “HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL” series and was presumably doing something close to his heart. It had a cast of stock players who rotated the importance of their roles each week. Just like repertory theatre in fact. I guess it didn’t catch on like his previous series. But it was good. I remember Bethel Leslie, Lloyd Bochner, Jeanette Nolan, Ford Rainey in particular.

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  9. Jerry
    There are several episodes of “THE RICHARD BOONE SHOW” I recall. One with Robert Blake called RUN PONY RUN, sticks out in my memory. This talk of these shows brings back some fun memories of my younger days.
    Gord

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  10. Firstly, while I’m nowhere near as familiar with some of the shows under discussion as others, I do have a fondness for the anthology format. It has fallen out of favor in recent years and been overtaken by the rolling, arc-driven variety. Now both formats have their merits, and I’d say an audience exists for more than one type. Personally, I like having the ability to dip in and out – something that might well cause sleepless nights to advertisers and such – without the need to commit to an ongoing narrative; just the idea of having to follow developments religiously is more stress than I need.

    So yes, I enjoy the anthology show, and that stand alone aspects is a big part of the reason. I also enjoy the range of cinema trained talent on view, something which is especially true of the kind of classic era TV being looked at above.

    My own exposure to many of these shows has been limited to what has turned up on DVD and the like over the years. Of course I watched reruns of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents on broadcast TV when I was a youngster, but that type of scheduling dried up long ago. In later years, the advent of DVD allowed me to enjoy things like The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond, The Barbara Stanwyck Show and Thriller among others.

    Something I have noticed is that while these shows essentially disappeared from US schedules in the mid to late 1960s this wasn’t replicated in the UK. Of course the UK arguably had it’s golden age of television later and I well remember enjoying prime time broadcasts of anthology shows such as Thriller (the Brian Clemens version, not the one featuring Karloff mentioned above) and Tales of the Unexpected in the late 1970s and on into the 1980s.

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    • Colin
      Growing up in Canada we had the good fortune of getting quite a few UK series to go with the US productions. I recall “Tales of the Unexpected” and something called i think “Armchair Theater” Great stuff.
      Gord

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  11. Frank, you triggered my memory of the first time that I saw “The Comedian.” During the Summer of 1982 my wife and I were living in an apartment over a flower shop. We had a 13 inch black and white portable RCA TV and that is what we watched an amazing PBS series on. Thank goodness for kinescope, because otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to watch the re-broadcast of THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION(1981). Eight live shows of Classic TV by way of kinescope broadcasts of “Marty”(1953), “Patterns”(1955), “No Time for Sergeants”(1955), “A Wind from the South”(1955), “Requiem for a Heavyweight”(1956), “Bang the Drum Slowly”(1956), “The Comedian”(1957), and “Days of Wine and Roses”(1958). The teleplays and all the top notch acting and the ingenious technology of the day done all live, only heightens the renown for these noteworthy achievements.

    “The Comedian” is hands down, the most dynamic of the above live shows. It’s the performances of Edmond O’Brien and Mickey Rooney that are most memorable, Although Mel Torme and the always good Whit Bissell, are rather good. I’ve always wondered who writer Ernest Lehman, who wrote the short story “Comedian,” had in mind when he wrote his story? Was it Milton Berle and his brothers Frank and Jack? Barry Lane, any ideas?

    Gordon, WOW! Between 7,500 and 8,000 TV episodes collected in over twenty years, I’m envious. How many do you have of THE RICHARD BOONE SHOW?

    Jerry, was THE RICHARD BOONE SHOW televised in the UK? I don’t think it has ever been shown in syndicated reruns here in the USA.

    Scott, that is really a neat haunting theme from ONE STEP BEYOND. I first caught this show in syndicated reruns in the early 1980’s and enjoyed it.

    THUMBS UP TO ALL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Walter,
      Not exactly an idea but a memory tinged with observation. In the early sixties, I was at the Morris office, that was good five years after The Comedian. In an adjacent office, sat Milton’s brother Frank, a quiet, rough-looking but not acting guy. His job was to help visiting theatrical people enjoy New York; arrange for House Seats, dinners at fine restaurants, and some travel. In other words, in the service part of the agency. I did not know him well, barely at all, but he was always described as Milton’s brother and Milton was not well thought of, at least at that time in that office. The Comedian was referred more than once, and while I bought that, and still do, I do not see it as biographical, just a jumping-off point. Milton was arrogant and loud, but I do not believe anyone could last who lived as Rooney’s character did. My experience is and has pretty well always been, successful people are usually calm and respectful; maybe not always, but …

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barry, I knew that you would come through with, as you say, “a memory with observation.” Good observation and I tend to agree with you about the Sammy Hogarth character being, “a jumping-off point” for story writer Ernest Lehman and teleplay writer Rod Serling. I think Milton Berle was a good jumping-
        off point, just as Walter Winchell, the syndicated newspaper gossip columnist and radio news commentator, was a good jumping-off point for Ernest Lehman’s character Harvey Hunsecker(J.J. Hunsecker in the movie SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS) in his novelette “Tell Me About It Tomorrow!” which was first published in COSMOPOLITAN(April, 1950).

        Barry, thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Walter, back when I first saw “The Comedian” I read that Sammy Hogarth was based on Arthur Godfrey. Godfrey was not a comedian strictly speaking but he had a reputation of being nasty. He once fired Julius LaRosa on live TV. Snooping around the internet today I read that Sammy’s character could have been modeled after Milton Berle, Red Buttons, Ernie Kovacs, Sid Caeser, and the aforementioned Arthur Godfrey. He may have been a composite of several or all of these performers. But I don’t think any of them was the monster that Sammy was — what a diabolical character!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Frank, as Barry Lane said, these personalities could be used as “jumping-off points. Good writers, as well as bad, sometimes use two, or more models combined into one to make the one character in the story more interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Walter
    Started with vhs tapes in the trading circles that were popular back years ago. The biggest collection I laid my greedy paws on was from a fellow in Texas about 10-12 years ago. He worked at one of the first television stations there from the early 50s till mid 80s. Every time they cleaned out the storerooms he would keep it all and save it from the trash. He and his grandkids then spent a year or two in about 2006-7r putting it all on dvd-r. I do not recall the actual disc count but it was 800 to 1000 that I bought. Each disc has two to four episodes of various mostly 50’s series. The only problem was there was no master list of what was on the discs. I spent months going through hundreds of discs getting the titles for my own list. Needless to say that wore thin quickly. The time involved was too much. Most of the discs are still unseen and I have no idea what they hold. I grab a few whenever I hit the storage unit. THE RICHARD BOONE SHOW you ask of were found in this collection. I have about 10 that I have found so far. Great fun whenever I find a series or episode I had never heard of before.

    Gord

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    • Gordon, thank goodness for the Texan TV station worker and others like him, who save so much treasure from the trash. Your task as a TV archaeologist is a daunting one, to say the least. I encourage you to keep at your listing of the titles, when you can. Too bad I don’t live closer, because I would help you.

      Are there any of the Classic DRAGNET(1951-59) episodes in your collection, besides the 64 public domains, which aren’t in very good condition. There are 276 episodes of this high-profile series. I can’t hardly believe that this 1950’s series has never been restored and put on regular DVD or Blu-ray. I’ve read where it could be the quality of the elements of what is left in the UniversalNBC vaults, or that the masters are lost. Who knows?

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      • Walter
        Off the top of my head I can’t tell you about any DRAGNET episodes I might have. All my lists are in my jumble of a storage unit at the other end of town. We had once in 100 year flood tear through Calgary 5 years ago. I had to move in a hurry and get things to high ground. I lost some discs and the lists I had recorded on disc. It was just good luck that the paper copies of the lists survived. They are all in a old bank type account binder. I hit the unit every couple of months or when the knees will cooperate. I’ll try and dig it out of what ever box it is in next time I’m up there..
        Gord

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        • Gordon, I know how floods and fire can be, especially when your trying to save things of value. Thank goodness for paper copies. Today, I was just looking through some old paper copies of lists I’ve made. I’ve got so much stuff on old VHS tapes.

          Don’t go to any trouble on my account the next time you go to your storage unit. Take care and stay healthy.

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  13. Walter, (hello there), yes “THE RICHARD BOONE SHOW” was televised in the UK, probably BBC as I don’t think the show was spoiled by advert breaks, in 1963. Probably the whole 25 episodes but sadly never rerun. We also had the more successful “DICK POWELL THEATRE”, another good anthology series. That even continued running after Powell had to be substituted as presenter when he went down with lung cancer.

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    • Jerry, I’ve always been interested in good TV shows that didn’t make it and were canceled. THE RICHARD BOONE show is a good example. Also, Stuart Whitman’s 90 minute TV Western series CIMARRON STRIP(1967-68) and several others. Television’s graveyard is full of them and some were able to rise from from the grave and walk right into syndicated reruns, where they actually did better than when first run in prime time, because more people got a chance to see them. Remember, we didn’t have VCR’s to tape shows and watch them later back in the GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION years. THE RICHARD BOONE SHOW never even got a chance in syndicated reruns, at least in the USA.

      THE DICK POWELL SHOW another top notch anthology with good scripts, directors, and strong casts. Dick Powell’s Four Star Productions could really draw the talent in.

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      • Walter
        I recall paying $679 for the first VCR I bought. That was a whole lot of cash at the time. But the thing ran for damn near 15 years before giving up the ghost. LOL Like you say, few folks had one at the time.
        Gord

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          • Walter
            $1,280.WOW!!!! No, it was later than 1977 when I got mine. Mid to later 80’s if I recall right. Needless to say, that after I bought it the prices started to come down every couple of months. Always seems to be the way when I buy something. LOL

            Gord

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            • Scott
              My brother bought a BETA and still rants about it today. LOL I should talk because I bought one of those big laser disc players when they came out. A real boat anchor that turned out to be.
              Gord

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            • My first was a Beta, 1980, about $525 with tax. That was a lot of babysitting and graduation money, plus money from my first job added in, but I was desperate to be able to be able to record my soap and other favorite shows so I wouldn’t miss them when I went off to college that fall! I couldn’t afford to have more than a couple of tapes to record on over and over as they were about $25 a tape back then.

              Best wishes,
              Laura

              Liked by 1 person

              • The first VCR I had was some time in the mid-80s and it was a rental, I don’t know how common that concept was or whether it even existed for those across the Atlantic. Cassettes were very expensive for a good many years and even when they did become cheaper I only ever had a small number of prerecorded titles and perhaps ten or so blanks which I used and reused repeatedly.

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  14. Jerry

    Thanks for the memory jog with “DICK POWELL THEATRE”. I have heard of it but I do not believe that I have seen any episodes of the series.
    Gord

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  15. Although not part of the “Golden Age of Television” one show that had unique production values and talented guest actors was “Route 66” which debuted in 1960. It was extraordinary in that every episode was shot on location. Even the interiors were shot at the locale where the story took place. They’d shoot an episode in say, Mississipi, drive to Louisiana and film the next episode. As they were on a tight schedule, they couldn’t wait until the weather conditions were perfect. If the sky was overcast, they went ahead with filming.

    Most of the locales were not glamour spots. I recently watched an episode filmed in Youngstown, Ohio with belching smokestacks at the edge of the city. Downtown Youngstown, now a forlorn place, was vibrant with shoppers and workers. The country has changed so much in 60 years!

    I count 17 Oscar winners among the guest stars and many more Oscar nominees. George Sherman, Sam Peckinpah, Arthur Hiller were among the directors.

    I was 11 when Route 66 came on the air and although the storylines were geared toward adults, I watched virtually every episode. I envied these two guys who drove all over the country in a Corvette convertible, worked all kinds of jobs, and invariably got into fistfights with the local bullies. I did drive from Boston to California in 1962 with my family. You couldn’t drive all the way on superhighways. We drove on Route 66 which was a two-lane road for long stretches. It was wonderful driving through small towns, cornfields, seeing a buck saunter across a Rocky Moutain road (not Rt 66). And Burma Shave signs!

    The two leads were played by George Maharis and Martin Milner. While Maharis’ streetwise character (Buzz Murdock) hailed from Hell’s Kitchen, Milner’s (Todd Stiles) attended Yale. His father owned a shipping company that went bankrupt and the only thing he left Todd in his will was the Corvette.

    I recommend only the first two seasons. After that Maharis was ill, had disputes with the producers, and eventually left. Some of the later episodes are OK but, to be safe, stick with the early seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s interesting, Frank, about later seasons of “ROUTE 66”. I was 12 when it started in the UK and watched every week with my parents. We all loved it. But we must only have received the early seasons here, I think. Good series.
      I mentioned earlier in this thread that I remember seeing episodes in 1956 of “THE STAR AND THE STORY” anthology series. By an amazing coincidence our wonderful Talking Pictures TV channel is next week showing an episode!! This will be my first viewing of this series in in 64 years. The series was introduced by Henry Fonda and this particular episode stars Howard Duff.

      Btw, wouldn’t we have some fun if Walter and I were able to come over to your place , Gordon, and help with your listing of TV episodes. I have some 4,500 classic TV episodes myself but thankfully I have them all listed in a Word file (a BIG Word file)!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Frank, Jerry
    ROUTE 66 Now there was a well enjoyed series. Loved it as a kid and found the episodes still watchable when I caught several a few years ago.

    Gord

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  17. Time again for FILMS FOR THE WEEKEND

    First up will be 1949’s STAMPEDE with Calgary’s own Rod Cameron.
    Next will be FREAKS from 1932
    Then I’ll take in an early Wayne film called TELEGRAPH TRAIL from 1933.
    SPECIAL AGENT 1935 with Bette Davis and George Brent followed by SOUTH OF SUEZ 1940 with George Brent and Brenda Marshall to finish off the weekend.

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    • I found Freaks a tough watch on the one occasion I saw it. The term gets thrown around a bit carelessly at times but describing this movie as “shocking” is appropriate. The ending, as well as a number of the ideas and images sprinkled throughout, packed a punch and has never left me. To be honest, I don’t think it’s a movie I’d want to see again.

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  18. A nice diverse set of films for the weekend, Gord!
    I have seen “FREAKS” a couple of times long ago and it is shocking for the fact that there are no special effects used; these unfortunates are the real thing.
    “PANHANDLE” is a favourite of mine. Rod Cameron made a good half-dozen westerns that stand high IMHO and this was one of them. They were mostly made for either Republic or Allied Artists and I feel the AA films have the edge, just.
    Bit of a George Brent kick too. I shall look forward to your thoughts on all the films.

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  19. Colin
    Never seen FREAKS, so when it popped up on cable I recorded it. Now for sure I need to watch it after reading your comments.
    Gord

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    • Gordon…..FREAKS is a must see. A lifestyle brought to the screen that few imagined. The first time I viewed ‘Freaks’ I was so completely mesmerized of what I was viewing I had little focus on the actual story line. It wasn’t until subsequent viewings I realized it was more than just staged carnival. Truly a one of a kind.

      Like

    • A very young and affable Wallace Ford plays the sympathetic male lead in “Freaks”. I don’t think the uncensored version is available nor can it be restored. The version we have is simply too much for sensitive viewers. I don’t know if Tod Browning had genuine compassion for the people he used in the film or whether he exploited them. But beneath the painful and controversial subject matter, I think there is a humane message present in “Freaks”. It’s not mere exposition — there’s definitely a story there with some dramatic tension. In fact, I found the last 15 minutes or so of the film to be exciting. I’ve seen “Freaks” twice and that’s enough for me.

      Like

  20. Scott, No I didn’t buy a $1,300 Sony Betamax in 1976. fact is I didn’t know what a VCR was at the time. I was too busy herding cattle, chickens, and rattlesnakes on Owl Holler Ranch. Although, I did buy a Sanyo Beta in the 1980’s for $150. For that time, it taped good clear videos off of TV, which I would watch later when I had the time. At that time I couldn’t afford to buy $99 movies, so I just used it for time shifting, which I thought was really neat. The first movie I taped was RIO BRAVO. I later transferred the Beta taped movies to my JVC VHS recorder, which I bought for about $300. The good old 1980’s.

    Jerry, WOW! 4,500 TV EPISODES and all titled in a big Word file. I am envious. Yes, it would be fun to help Gordon title his TV episodes. TALKING PICTURES TV really sounds like a good channel to have. I don’t think I’ve ever seen THE STAR AND THE STORY(1955-56) anthology, Henry Fonda as the presenter does sound familiar. Did Fonda do the sponsor’s commercials?

    Frank, personally I don’t think THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION ended with the demise of PLAYHOUSE 90 in 1960. I think it lasted a few more years and in my opinion ROUTE 66(1960-64) is very much part of that GOLDEN AGE. It is one of my all time favorite TV shows. I really enjoyed reading your memory filled review of this excellent TV show. That sounds like quite a family trip you made back in 1962. Remember the logo, “Where were you in ’62?”

    Gordon, you’ve stirred some memories. I’m sitting here at the Barnes Jewish Hostital in St. Louis, Missouri waiting on my wife to get through all her blood work and so forth. We will be glad to be on our way home, because we are here in the “belly of the beast” when it comes to the Coronavirus. It is spreading like wildfire here in St. Louis. My wife is still in remission from her cancer and is doing real well. Take care and stay healthy everyone.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Walter, I don’t remember the detail now (64 years is a while!) but as it was shown by the BBC the advert breaks from the sponsors would have been cut out. The BBC is not allowed to advertise products.

    I hope you and Lee can leave St. Louis quickly. Just stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Everyone
    Thanks for all the comments on FREAKS. I had no idea it was so well known. Tonight will be my turn to join the flock.
    Gord

    Like

    • Gordon….as a first time viewer it will be very interesting to know your thoughts of where you think this film belongs in the ranks of cinematic history. I’m sure it will be thought provoking getting your arms around this one.

      Like

  23. Weekend films.
    I spent the whole afternoon and evening in front of the tv.

    FREAKS I think some people will find this movie somewhat grotesque and disturbing, I did not. It was most interesting and rather touching to a degree. I’ll need more time to digest this one before giving any sort of real review. I think I’ll need to also take a look at some of Tod Browning’s other films.

    Next was the early John Wayne film, TELEGRAPH TRAIL, from 33. A real waste of 58 minutes imo. There was so much stock footage being used I lost track of what film it was.

    SPECIAL AGENT 1935 with Bette Davis and George Brent. Watchable Warner Brothers Government Agent going after a mob boss, Ricardo Cortez. Well paced and enjoyable.

    Then SOUTH OF SUEZ 1940 with George Brent and Brenda Marshall. Not sure what to say here. Starts out as a Africa adventure film, then becomes a love story in England before ending as a murder drama. Not one of Brent’s better films.

    STAMPEDE 1949 A well paced western from ALLIED ARTISTS starring big Rod Cameron and Johnny Mack Brown. Longtime rancher Cameron does not like the settler type moving into the area. This of course starts a range war. But it really crooked lawyer types John Miljan and John Eldredge stirring the pot. Also in the mix is Gale Storm and Don Castle. I liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Oops!! When you wrote you had “STAMPEDE” up for viewing this weekend, Gord, I read it as “PANHANDLE”(??!!)(senior moment). Actually, I like “STAMPEDE” even more. My type of western.

    Gord, somehow I knew you would find “FREAKS” fascinating. Pretty unpleasant but a most unique piece of cinema.

    Like

  25. Jerry
    STAMPEDE is a pretty good duster and it was nice to see Johnny Mack Brown in the same film.
    FREAKS is for sure something different. I’m still running it through my mind to get a better grip on it.
    Gord

    Like

    • Fully agree with Barry. “SHORT GRASS” is another of the half-dozen Rod Cameron westerns I rate highly and is in fact one of the best of that group.

      Like

  26. Jerry
    A second recommend is always a plus. I see that the same director as STAMPEDE, Lesley Selander, is at the helm of SHORT GRASS. A good man to handle the controls.

    Gordon

    Like

  27. Gordon, I’ll chip in and recommend PANHANDLE(filmed 1947, released 1948) and SHORT GRASS(1950) also, and I knew that you would enjoy STAMPEDE(1949). I think these movies were some of the best Western programmers made at that time. Rod Cameron/John C. Champion/Blake Edwards/Thomas W. Blackburn/Lesley Selander made a solid combination in making Western movies.

    My wife and I made it home to Buffalo River Country and thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts and wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome back to a place of safety and comfort, Walter.

      Fully agree with Walter’s comments above. The other two Rod Cameron westerns that I strongly recommend (both from Republic) are “BRIMSTONE” (1949) & “RIDE THE MAN DOWN” (1952).
      For me, these are some of the very best westerns made in the mid-range (A-).

      Like

  28. Jerry and Barry thank you. Well, Jerry we seem to be agreeing on Rod Cameron Westerns of the late ’40’s and early ’50’s. I also like SAN ANTONE(filmed 1952, released 1953). It has Joe Kane at the helm with a Steve Fisher script, and Bud Thackery behind the camera. The cast is really top notch with Cameron, Arleen Whelan, Forrest Tucker, Katy Jurado, Adolfo Acosta, Roy Roberts, Bob Steele, Harry Carey, Jr. and Jim O’hara. I always like the War of the Rebellion and its aftermath, along with the Texas/Mexican French occupation period of 1861-67 stories. With cattle drives mixed in with gunplay and a good knife fight thrown in for good measure and its not between the men either!

    Like

  29. Jerry and Walter, I am also a fan of westerns from Rod Cameron in the late 40s and early 50s. Pirates of Monterey is another entertaining movie from Rod Cameron. Best regards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you Chris, ‘Pirates of Monterey’ was a really good vehicle for a good looking, fit and slim Rod Cameron. Cameron matched well and more than held is own with Universal’s Technicolor Queen Maria Montez. The use of Technicolor is the driving force behind the high production values this film offered…. most noticeably, the coordination of costume and color. I still can’t get out of my mind the contrasting, eye catching, gold belt buckle worn by Cameron. Another thing that caught my eye was Cameron’s accomplished skills at swordsmanship. The sequence of sword’s play between he and Gilbert Roland was both well staged and convincing. A most enjoyable film.

      Like

      • Chrisk and Scott, as Jerry Entract said about SAN ANTONE, I’ll pass along the same concerning PIRATES OF MONTEREY(filmed 1946, released 1947), Nice to hear warm words about PIRATES OF MONTEREY, as it doesn’t often receive them. I also think this movie is well worth watching. It’s a Western, not a Pirate movie, and Its not a great Western, but they don’t all have to be, and this lively tale of the Californio Era has some aspects going for it.

        Yes, Universal-International couldn’t make a movie with the “Queen of Technicolor” Maria Montez in black and white, and I so agree that the use of technicolor is a driving force here. The production values were really good. I liked the look of the movie, not only in the costuming, but in the use of the correct firearms for the time period. My eye caught the caplock pistol that Captain Phillip Kent(Rod Cameron) had stuck behind that gold belt buckle. Gunrunner Kent(Cameron) was transporting, from the St. Louis Armament Company, the latest in weaponry. Caplock breech loading Hall carbines were being packed by Missourian Kent’s mules, or Missouri Canaries as he called them. The production people were doing a good job of making these details look authentic for that era. I presume it was 1830’s California.

        The storyline was actually based on factual History. There were Spanish Royalists attempting to reconquer Mexico for Spain. Mexico had been an independent country since 1821, but Spain didn’t recognize the independence of Mexico until 1836. I enjoy watching a movie that, at least, will make attempts to be somewhat factual and entertaining. So, I enjoyed the PIRATES OF MONTEREY.

        Like

        • Hi Walter and anyone else that may be interested…..knowing the history of California makes this film more interesting with a much greater appreciation of the events depicted. If I may, I would like to tighten it up a bit. First a little background…..The Mexican War of Independence with Spain was between 16 September 1810 – 27 September 1821. The revolution mainly took place in mainland Mexico. The region what was known as Alta California encompassed all of today’s California. The capital city of Alta California was Monterey. Unlike mainland Mexico, Alta was mainly colonized and governed by Spaniards. Subsequently, when Mexico won their Independence in 1821, ‘The Spanish Colony of Mexico’ in Alta, which Spain thought to be an ally, embarked on a war of Independence of their own from Spain. Later that same year ‘The Colony’ won Independence. Until 1846 Mexico gradually began to re-established itself in Alta, but found governing to be difficult because of the long distance from Mexico City. Consequently, in 1846 the US supported ‘Bear Flag Revolt’ defeated Mexico and then Alta California became The California Republic.

          So what is the time frame of this movie? I would say shortly after of what Spain would consider the rebellion of 1821. The players……a mix of Alta California Spanish colonists (to a lessor degree), an ethnically diverse Mexican/Spaniard military, sympathizers loyal to Spain (royalist) and presumably the Spanish warship San Felipe full of unsavory characters (pirates). Another thing of note – Gilbert Roland (Major De Roja) verbally states to Cameron he is going to take over Alta California. Anyway, when you put it all together it goes a long way in being historically correct.

          Like

          • Scott
            Always useful to get historic info that has been worked into films. Thanks for your bit here on early California history.

            Gordon

            Like

  30. All
    Thanks guys for the suggestions on those Rod Cameron films. Rod was from here in Calgary and holds the record for most leading film roles (53 or 58 I forget which) for someone from Calgary.
    Gord

    Like

  31. Nice to hear warm words for “SAN ANTONE” , Walter, as it doesn’t often receive them. But I agree with you and any movie that gives Bob Steele a decent role is a plus with me!

    Considering Rod was so associated with westerns it is surprising that his three TV series were cop shows in a way. But he was good in all of them and “STATE TROOPER” was filmed and set in Nevada so the West was never far away.

    Like

    • Jerry
      LOL
      CITY DETECTIVE which is set on the US east coast, actually had an episode set in the middle of the desert outside of Vegas. It is a pretty good episode, guest starring veteran western sidekick, Andy Clyde, of all people.
      Gord

      Like

  32. Jerry, well, next to the Rod Cameron Westerns that had already been mentioned, SAN ANTONE isn’t as good, but I still like it. Bob Steele actually gets to sing in this one and any movie or TV show with the lovely Katy Jurado in it, is worth a look see.

    Yes, it is rather surprising that Rod didn’t star in a TV Western, although he guest starred on the excellent LARAMIE(1959-63) series six times. This isn’t surprising because John C. Champion, who co-produced and co-wrote PANHANDLE and STAMPEDE was producer/writer on the series. Also, directors Joe Kane, Lesley Selander, and William Witney all worked on the show, and just so happens Rod guested in episodes that they directed.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Walter
    Katy Jurado had a pair of the most expressive eyes of any woman in film. I get lost in them every time I look at her.
    Gordon

    Like

  34. Gordon, with just those extraordinary beautiful penetrating eyes, Katy Jurado could act circles around many. Also, she had such a strong screen presence. When she is on the screen, I can’t take my eyes off her, and why would I want to.

    Like

  35. I’m enjoying this Rod Cameron love fest-SHORT GRASS
    and SAN ANTONE both very fine movies.
    The punch up between Rod and Jeff York in SHORT GRASS
    is a real doozy and very brutal for it’s era.
    I love the “twisted” ending in SAN ANTONE where Rod figures
    Forrest Tucker and Arleen Whelan are so rotten they will end up
    as a couple and eventually destroy each other.
    They do ride off in the sunset together-talk about revenge is a dish
    best served cold.
    Still enjoying the Republic flicks on Talking Pictures TV watched
    FLAME OF THE ISLANDS a nice print in the correct ratio 1.66
    Yet another tale of sublimated passion from Edward Ludwig,
    not as much fun as other Ludwig lust fests like COAST GUARD,
    CARIBBEAN,THE VANQUISHED,SANGAREE and JIVARO,
    but still enjoyable.
    Of course Universal and Douglas Sirk did this sort of thing much
    better,but Yvonne De Carlo is the whole show in this one and that’s no
    bad thing.
    Best bit James Arness steals a kiss from Yvonne:
    YDC “You sure don’t kiss like a preacher”
    Arness “I’m not all preacher”

    Like

  36. For UK readers and overseas readers with all region Blu Ray players I can give the new BFI Blu Ray of THE GOOD DIE YOUNG my highest recommendation. THE GOOD DIE YOUNG (1954) is a generally unheralded Brit Noir with a powerhouse cast,. At last the BFI have given us a wonderful restored version in it’s correct ratio (1.66)
    Also included is the stronger export version considered too “Anti Establishment” for UK audiences at the time. The only difference from the released version is a brief dialog exchange detailing how many who fought in the war found it hard picking up the pieces on return while those who stayed behind prospered. Some of this dialog was in the released cut but the export version is stronger, more acerbic and actually “name drops” the title of the film which was deleted from the original UK cut. THE GOOD DIE YOUNG has always been among my all time fave Noirs, with Laurence Harvey as the Homme Fatale who entangles three basically decent guys (Richard Basehart,John Ireland Stanley Baker) in his devious web. Performances are aces throughout and the constant overbearing feel of doom keeps the audience in unease during the entire show. Film is given another lift from Bernard Robinson’s outstanding art direction. Robinson,of course was the genius behind the “look” of Hammer Films. Another outstanding vintage entry from Lewis Gilbert who in his early work was not afraid to confront touchy subjects that still echo today in England.
    COSH BOY: Teenage Gang Violence
    EMERGENCY CALL: Racism
    A CRY FROM THE STREETS: Child Poverty.
    The BFI Blu Ray has an enticing raft of extras including part of a 1995 interview with Gilbert at London’s National Film Theatre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of my favourite British movies too, John. I shall be shopping for this BluRay. Thanks for the tip.

      I am also enjoying the Republics on TPTV. “FLAME OF THE ISLANDS” was fun. “FIGHTING COAST GUARD” was good too but the best was “THE ETERNAL SEA”, a mature and intelligent war film starring an excellent Sterling Hayden. Now looking forward to our Rod in “HELL’S OUTPOST”.

      Like

  37. Westerns and Noir films and television all need one item in order to make them work.
    A BAD GUY
    Here is a short list of my favorites ranked in order. Could you good folks give me your rankings of the same gentlemen.
    1- Jack Lambert
    2- Bob Wilke
    3- Ray Burr
    4- Jack Elam
    5- Lee Van Cleef
    6- Charles McGraw
    7- Neville Brand
    8- Lawrence Tierney

    Thanks all

    Liked by 1 person

    • As has been mentioned, I think Lee Marvin should be included here. Such was his screen presence and personality that even his small early roles had color and an added dimension – there was a charm and intelligence that was apparent and that’s the type of thing which makes a villain interesting, or perhaps more villainous.
      Raymond Burr was another of note, and the shape of his overall career is indicative of his talent and versatility. He essentially reinvented himself on screen and with great success. Again, that ability to bring something sympathetic to a bad man’s part is often the key. Dan Duryea displayed this too, and you can see it with the A-list stars as well: think Richard Widmark, for example.
      Actually, this is a subject deserving of a post of its own.

      Like

    • I think one of the greatest villains of the cinema was Robert Ryan. Think about all the hateful, bigoted, psychotic, and just plain evil characters he played. Here is a partial list:

      > “Crossfire” (1947) – Ryan plays a homicidal anti-semite.
      > “Caught” (1949) – Big Bob is Barbara Bel Geddes’ insane and sadistic husband
      > “Clash by Night” (1952) – creepy and brutish lover of his friend’s (Paul Douglas) wife (Barbara Stanwyck)
      > “The Naked Spur” (1953) – weirdo killer Ben Vandergroat
      > “Bad Day at Black Rock” (1955) – Reno Smith, the bigoted murderer of a Japanese-American
      > “House of Bamboo” (1955) – Ryan is Sandy Dawson, a psycho American who heads a Japanese crime gang.
      > “Odds Against Tomorrow” (1959) – Ryan plays the self-destructive racist, Slater, who screws everything up.
      > “Billy Budd” (1962) – Although this is nowhere close to being a Western or film-noir, Ryan is the very personification of evil in his portrayal of Master-of-Arms, John Claggart. Claggart is right up there with Iago as one of literature’s greatest villains.
      > “Hour of the Gun” (1967) – Ike Clanton (although I think Walter Brennan’s Ike was nastier)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well….if we are talking standout super nasty performances I got to include Ernest Borgnine as Sgt. ‘Fatso’ Judson in From Here to Eternity and as Coley Trimble in Bad Day at Black Rock.

        Liked by 2 people

        • And Lee Marvin as Hector David was a nasty piece of work as well.

          I posted the following as “Trivia” on the IMDB page for “Bad Day at Black Rock” some years back: “Five of the cast members won a total of eight Oscars. Spencer Tracy had two, Walter Brennan had three and Dean Jagger had one. Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine would later win one apiece. (Robert Ryan was nominated for Crossfire (1947), but did not win.)”

          Liked by 1 person

          • Frank……another bit of trivia regarding Black Rock. I read somewhere when filming first began Brennan made it a point to remind Tracy he had only two Oscars to his three. The incident arose due to Tracy being difficult during the initial stages of filming.

            Like

  38. Scott/Walter, I was always fascinated with movies depicting California/Mexico during the rule of Spain. Several interesting episodes of tv western Cheyenne were themed against the said period. Offhand I could not recall that many movies except Vera Cruz and San Antonio. Best regards

    Like

    • Chrisk,

      “Seven Cities of Gold” deals with a Spanish expedition to California in 1769. It stars Anthony Quinn, Richard Moreno, Michael Rennie and features a 24-year-old Rita Moreno. “Captain from Castille”(1947) deals with the Spanish invasion of Mexico before Spain had established rule there. I mention it because it is filmed entirely on location in Mexico complete with a smoking volcano.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chris…….Disney’s 1957 TV series of Zorro starring Guy Williams was depicted beginning in 1820 Monterey and subsequently moving to Los Angeles. Let’s not forget The Mark of Zorro (1940) starring Tyrone Power and of course, all the other Zorro adaptations. As a side note – Many of today’s California communities were resurrected based upon previously given Spanish Land Grants given to Rancheros’.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. All, good calls. Thank you, Zorro, yes set against the said era. If I am not wrong, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly can also be classified therein. Somehow, the cutthroats, desperadoes and villains of such movies were depicted as meanest and cruel adversaries of the righteous. Best regards.

    Like

  40. Gordon, you have a good list of “Bad Guys,” so you want a re-ranking of these los chicos malos. Well, here goes. (1) Jack Elam (2) Lee Van Cleef (3) Neville Brand (4) Lawrence Tierney (5) Raymond Burr (6) Robert J. Wilke (7) Charles McGraw (8) Jack Lambert. Actually they are all top notch and I could name some more.

    Lee Marvin for his brutal performance as Liberty Valence in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALENCE(filmed 1861, released 1962). All you had to do was watch his face as he beat Ransom Stoddard(James Stewart) almost to death, without showing anything but Valence’s face and body motions.

    Leo Gordon, who director Don Siegel(RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11,filmed 1953, released 1954), referred to Gordon as “the scariest man I ever met.” In real life, Gordon was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to four years at San Quentin Prison, where he earned a reputation as a tough inmate. The intensity he brought forth in his roles wasn’t too far fetched. Who can forget all those knock down drag out fight scenes with Clint Walker, which they actually did without stunt doubles.

    Richard Boone, especially as Frank Usher in THE TALL T(filmed in 1956, released 1957) and as Cicero Grimes in HOMBRE(filmed in 1966, released 1967). Boone’s ability, as the ruthless Frank Usher, to reach down and show deep conflicting emotions. This was a complex razor sharp performance as “Paladin” gone bad. As Cicero Grimes the vicious outlaw in HOMBRE, Boone seemed to be having a lot of fun with this evil malo in a casual frightening way.

    Walter Brennan as the cruel bad man patriarch, Newman “Old Man” Clanton in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE(1946) and Brimstone “Pop” Courteen in BRIMSTONE(1949). Brennan is a manipulative cruel old man with a mean streak a mile wide in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE and he plays it to a hilt. How bad can he get? Well, he shoots Virgil Earp(Tim Holt) in the back in retaliation for killing his son Billy(John Ireland). He orders his scruffy brood of scoundrel sons, Ike(Grant Withers), Phin(Fred Libby), and Sam(Mickey Simpson) to saddle up their horses and head out for the showdown at the O.K. Corral. In BRIMSTONE, Brennan is aptly named and here, he carries on as an extension of his Old Man Clanton character. In this movie he has more screen time and some really good lines in which he literally and figuratively relishes knocking down his sons(Jim Davis, James Brown, and Jack Lambert) when he thinks they get out of line.

    Now, with little doubt, in my opinion, onward to one of the most ruthless cold blooded murderers portrayed in Western Movies, by an unlikely, in this type of role, actor. In his very first scene we see the massacre of a family and then as the camera comes around we see the face of the leader responsible for this atrocity. Its Henry Fonda as Frank in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST(1968). This one scene tells it all by just looking at his face.

    I could write all day about the bad guys and gals(Barbara Stanwyck, Marie Windsor, Arleen Whelan, and many others). Also, Kudos to Frank Gibbons for his spot on comments about Robert Ryan and his top notch bad guy performances.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can add a couple of more baddies from an international realm……..

      Richard Loo…….In WW2 movies no one was more villainous on-screen than this guy. No need to get into the specifics…..but he was quite convincing. In real life Richard Loo was third generation Chinese-American……Chinese by ancestry and Hawaiian by birth.

      Alfonso Bedoya (Mexican Film Actor)……..”Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”. Enough said……….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqomZQMZQCQ

      Like

      • Scott
        Loo is a good choice for a villains list. Just a few weeks ago I saw him as a gunman type in a superb 1961 episode of Rod Taylor’s HONG KONG series.
        Gord

        Like

  41. And this weekend my films are…
    TIMBER STAMPEDE 1939 George O’Brien New for me
    THE DESPERADO 1954 Wayne Morris, Beverly Garland, Lee Van Cleef New for me
    CHERNOBYL 5 part UK mini series New for me
    RACKET BUSTERS 1938 George Brent, Gloria Dickson, Bogart- Saw it many years ago so I need another watch
    THE GIANT CLAW 1957 Another of those fun 50’s sci-fi quickie productions. Jeff Morrow and the always pretty Mara Corday.

    Like

  42. Republic Studio’s resident top bad hombre was Roy Barcroft who was a good actor and varied his bad guys considerably. His name and long service in westerns deserves mention.

    Like

    • Yep, he sure does. Only thing is when I think of Roy Barcroft my mind immediately switches gear to television’s Mickey Mouse Club’s serial Spin and Marty (1955 and 1957) when he played Col. Jim Logan, the kindly owner of the Triple-R Boys’ Ranch. It kind of took the edge off when seeing him in anything prior to. Same thing happened to me with another baddie, Joe Sawyer as Sgt. ‘Biff’ O’Hara on TV’s The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (1954-1959)

      Like

  43. Returning to the original theme of this thread, I got to watch the episode (will it be a one-off, I wonder) from “THE STAR AND STORY” series from 1955-6 yesterday. First time I had seen one of these in 64 years! Put out by Four Star TV, it featured a different star each week introducing a story of his/her choice.

    Whatever other films I go for this weekend, one definite will be my new BFI-restored BluRay of “THE GOOD DIE YOUNG”. A cracker of a ‘noir’ with a terrific cast of British and American actors. Thanks to John K for bringing it to our attention.

    Like

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