Tag Archives: Walter Brennan

The John Russell Effect

27 Dec

The other day, I visited my parents and found my dad watching the Western Channel. He always watches that channel, and I am usually familiar with whatever is on. After all, me and my brother were raised watching old Westerns. However, I had never seen what he was watching this time.

It was a television show called Cheyenne that stars Clint Walker. Some of you Western aficionados probably know it. As I watched it, my mind focused on the actor playing the bad guy. With his features and his voice, I knew that I had seen him, and I had a feeling where. Despite my dad jumping on me for looking at my phone, I did a quick search.

The actor in question was John Russell, and I knew him from Rio Bravo. In that movie, he plays Nathan Burdette, the local land baron who goes up against John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennan. Obviously, he loses in the end.john-russell

That discovery was not surprising. However, it was surprising to learn that John Russell was in another of my favorite movies, The Outlaw Josey Wales. In that one, he makes a brief appearance as Bloody Bill Anderson.

Wait, there is more. He also plays the bad guy in Pale Rider and appeared in Honky Tonk Man, which was partially filmed in Nashville. Of course, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Pale Rider and Honky Tonk Man have something in common other than John Russell. They also star Clint Eastwood. Apparently, they were buddies.

I thought that I had seen John Russell in one movie. As it turns out, he has shown up in several places. Heck, he just got shot on my television screen as I typed this. The mysterious stranger got him in Pale Rider before disappearing into the distance. Coincidence? I am not so sure. It could be the John Russell Effect.

Advertisements

My iPod Has Issues – Grammy Edition

27 Jan

The Grammy Awards are on and taking my focus away from the blog. Between Twitter and the television, I am being inundated with information. Lorde has black fingers. Daft Punk has cool headgear. According to my wife, Keith Urban has a messed up haircut. Katy Perry tried to emulate the witchy aura of Stevie Nicks. All I can say is that she is no Stevie Nicks.Stevie Nicks

With my mind cluttered with the world of music, I may as well go ahead and add more music to it. That means putting the iPod on shuffle and teeing it up. I don’t know how many of these people won a Grammy, but being included on the playlist should make up for any previous snubs.

“Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” by Valerie Wellington

“Cindy” by Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennan

“Ballad of the Alamo” by Marty Robbins

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

“Workin’ for MCA” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

“I Threw It All Away” by Bob Dylan

“I See You Baby” by Groove Armada

“Highway to Hell” by AC/DC

“Rhiannon” by Stevie Nicks

“Pearl Necklace” by ZZ Top

“Immune” by Godsmack

“Don’t Bring Me Down” by The Animals

“Montana” by Sons of the Pioneers

“The Theme to Route 66” by Nelson Riddle

“Ecstasy of Gold” bu Ennio Morricone

“Oh, What a Night” by The Dells

“Save My Soul” by Blues Saraceno

“The Day Begins” by The Moody Blues

“I Don’t Trust Nobody” by George Thorogood

“Still…You Turn Me On” by Emerson, Lake and Palmer

I would like to see all of them on stage at the Grammy Awards.

The Westerns of Dean Martin

11 Jun

I have been reading about the Rat Pack and the exploits of its members – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Together, they were legendary. However, I have been thinking about their individual careers.

Obviously, Frank Sinatra is one of the most famous performers of all time.

Sammy Davis, Jr. also had a great career.

Peter Lawford is probably best known as a Kennedy in-law.

I’m not sure what else Joey Bishop did.

Dean Martin, though, is my favorite. He sang great songs and made great movies. Some of the best movies were Westerns. For a cool crooner, Martin was pretty handy on a horse and with a gun.

In my mind, his best Western was Rio Bravo, starring John Wayne, Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennan. Here’s a trivia question. How many people in Rio Bravo had records that reached Number 1? The movie is about a sheriff who has arrested the brother of a wealthy rancher. He and his deputies have to fight to keep him in jail and to stay alive. Martin plays Dude, a deputy who doubles as the town drunk.Dude

Another great thing, Rio Bravo was filmed at Old Tucson Studios, one of my favorite places to visit.

5 Card Stud is another good one. Martin plays Van Morgan, a gambler who has to solve a series of murders before he becomes the next victim.5 Card Stud

Everyone who is killed was playing in the same card game. It also stars Robert Mitchum and Inger Stevens but suffers from what I call the “law of diminishing suspects”. There are so few suspects that solving the mystery is too easy.

Bandolero! pairs Martin with James Stewart as brothers who have taken different paths but find themselves in trouble together.Bandolero

Along the way, they take Raquel Welch hostage.

My least favorite Dean Martin Western is The Sons of Katie Elder. It stars John Wayne and has the makings of a great story, but the “sons” are mismatched. The youngest “son” is way too young to play the part. I hate to say that a Western starring John Wayne and Dean Martin is bad, so I will say that it’s not very good.

Martin is the gambling brother, Tom Elder, and he follows older brother John in trying to figure out who killed their father. One of the best scenes has Martin playing a “fake eye” trick in a bar.The Sons of Katie Elder

Dean Martin made other Westerns, but these are the ones I have seen. Honestly, I don’t think I could make it through the comedy ones with Frank Sinatra.