Tag Archives: Westerns

Movie Wisdom – Bruce Cabot Edition

15 Aug

A few weeks ago, I received an email from my brother that contained an interesting link – the Wikipedia page for Bruce Cabot. For those who do not know, Cabot was an actor who became a favorite costar of John Wayne. Being raised on John Wayne westerns, we know Cabot’s work well. However, this link had information that we did not know.

Cabot’s father was Major Etienne de Pelissier Bujac, Sr. Of course, that means Bruce Cabot was Etienne de Pelissier Bujac, Jr. before taking on a three syllable stage name. Wait, I got off track.

Cabot’s father was a prominent attorney in Carlsbad, New Mexico. You may be wondering where he received his law degree. That would be from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee – the place from where my brother and I have degrees and the place where I teach.

The western movie nerd that I am thinks that connection to Bruce Cabot and John Wayne is awesome. To celebrate, here are some words of wisdom from a few of Cabot’s movies.

From King Kong

The public must have a pretty face.

From Angel and the Badman

Funny thing about pancakes: I lose my appetite for ’em after the first couple a dozen.

The Lord moves in mysterious manner at times, using strange methods and odd instruments.

Each human being has an integrity that can be hurt only by the act of that same human being and not by the act of another human being.

The practice of medicine is one of the most infuriating professions known to man. It takes thirty years of experience to teach you that – in the final analysis – there’s nothing to do but stand and watch.

From The Comancheros

Words are what men live by.

Never go to bed without makin’ a profit.

Do not be too conceited.

From Hatari!

The first sign of spring in the bush and the young bucks start butting heads.

From McClintock!

All the gold in the United States Treasury and all the harp music in heaven can’t equal what happens between a man and a woman with all that growin’ together.

There’s no such thing as free land.

You have to be a man first before you’re a gentleman.

From In Harm’s Way

All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.

On the most exalted throne in the world, we are seated on nothing but our own arse.

Fish, or cut bait.

Indecision is a virus.

From The War Wagon

The world needs more simple understanding to bring people together.

From The Green Berets

That’s newspapers for you. You could fill volumes with what you don’t read in them.

From Chisum

No matter where people go, sooner or later there’s the law. And sooner or later they find God’s already been there.

From Big Jake

You shouldn’t butt into things that aren’t your business.

You know what the problem with money is? Somebody’s always trying to take it from you.

From Diamonds Are Forever

One is never too old to learn from a master.

 

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The Movie That Launched a Thousand Television Careers

2 Jul

Last week, my family was traveling, and I spent a lot of time watching movies with my dad. I write that because I have been working on a post about those movies. However, another movie has interrupted the process.

This afternoon, I visited my parents, and my dad was watching a Western that I had never seen. There was a scene with a man and woman talking in a restaurant. The woman looked familiar, and I asked my dad to hit the Info button.

The movie was The Hangman, which was released in 1959, and the cast listing confirmed my suspicions. The woman was Tina Louise, who, in a few years, would gain fame as Ginger on Gilligan’s Island.

It is always cool to find familiar faces in old movies. It is almost like telling someone’s fortune. Do you know that you will soon become famous for being stranded on an island after a three-hour boat tour gone wrong?

Then, the waitress walked up, and she looked familiar. Yep, it was Betty Lynn, who, in a few years, would gain fame as Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show.

At this point, soon to be famous television actors were popping up everywhere. Jack Lord was in jail. In a few years, he would gain fame as Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O.

Fess Parker was the sheriff. At this time, he was once and future famous. In the 1950s, he helped start the coonskin cap craze as Davy Crockett. After this movie, he would attempt to relive the magic as Daniel Boone.

Then, there was Lorne Greene who played the marshal. The same year that The Hangman was released a new television show called Bonanza debuted. In a short time, he would be known throughout as Ben Cartwright, the patriarch who owned the Ponderosa.

As the title of the post says, The Hangman is the movie that launched a thousand television careers. Well, maybe not a thousand, but it came close.

The Gunslinger That Cannot Be Killed

23 Jan

In 1960, audiences went to the theaters and watched The Magnificent Seven, a Western that stars Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and a lot of other great actors. However, the leader of the Seven and the most memorable character is Chris, the black-clad gunslinger played by Yul Brynner.magnificent-seven

It was an iconic role and a memorable character for anyone who loves Westerns, but it could not be known that this character would live on in different incarnations and different genres. There have been many characters that have graced the screen in multiple films, but it is possible that none of them have a journey similar to this one.

The 1960s had sequels. There was James Bond movies, Derek Flint movies (starring Coburn) and Matt Helm movies. However, there were not many Western sequels. Well, Yul Brynner as Chris showed up in Return of the Magnificent Seven, which came out in 1966.

More “Magnificent Seven” movies were made, but Brynner abandoned the role. At least, people thought he abandoned the role. In 1973, he donned the black hat in Westworld, a movie about a futuristic theme-park where people can play out their fantasies with robots. This time, the gunslinger is not the hero. He is a robot in the middle of a robot overthrow. As people are killed across the park, Brynner chases Richard Benjamin, the last surviving human. Once again, he is the most memorable character.

Westworld was a hit, and it begat another film. Futureworld came out in in 1976, and the gunslinger came back to life. I may be wrong, but that could mean that Chris the Gunslinger is the only character to appear in two different pairs of sequels.

I started thinking about this because the character has made a return. The other night, we watched the 2016 version of The Magnificent Seven. This one stars Denzel Washington as the man in black who brings together a collection of tough guys to help out the citizens of a farming town. His name is not Chris, but it is the same character.denzel-magnificent

However, that is not the only time 2016 brought the gunslinger to new audiences. Westworld is an HBO show inspired by the old movie. In this one, Ed Harris plays a gunslinger in a black hat. However, he is human. He is not the character. In an homage to Yul Brynner, the gunslinger is seen standing in an old underground lab. Apparently, he has been taken offline.westworld

That may be true of the robot, but I am not sure it is true about the character. After all, how many characters have spanned the world of movies and television for 57 years? It looks like this gunslinger cannot be killed.

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.

Movie Wisdom – Yaphet Kotto Edition

29 Nov

Yaphet Kotto is an actor in several movies that I like. Some of them are Westerns. Some of them are Action. Some of them are from the Blaxploitation genre. Through them all, Yaphet Kotto always makes an impression.

With that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to see what wisdom we can find from the movies of Yaphet Kotto.yaphet-kotto

From 4 for Texas

A secret whispered in a coffee house is as confidential as a headline in a newspaper.

A man who’d try to con you when he has a gun held on him can’t be all bad.

You really need only a little patience and self-discipline.

From 5 Card Stud

A man don’t work, he ain’t respectable.

The funeral is for the living.

From Live and Let Die

Names is for tombstones.

From Friday Foster

You treat a person like a person.

From Brubaker

You can’t reform the system if you’re not in it.

From The Star Chamber

It turns out that right and wrong count.

From The Running Man

Don’t touch that dial!

 

The Third Most Interesting Man in the World

7 Jul

Over the holiday weekend, we did a lot of sitting around. We did other stuff, too. However, lounging was the primary activity. During this time of leisure, I found myself wandering down the Internet rabbit hole to occupy my mind and found an interesting bit of information.

It all started with a Dos Equis commercial that did not include the Most Interesting Man in the World. In fact, it was about the soon-to-be unveiling of the new Most Interesting Man in the World. That is when my mind started wondering. What happened to the old one? Was there a contract dispute? Did he die? Did he stop being interesting?Most Interesting

I did the Google thing and found out that Dos Equis decided that it was time to revamp the advertising campaign. I am not sure that will work, but there are a bunch of highly paid advertising executives who think differently. I also found out something else.

This is another picture of the Most Interesting Man in the World.Tommy

Those of you who watch Westerns may recognize him as Tommy, one of the gang that lynched Clint Eastwood in Hang ‘Em High. Clint did not die, and he spends the rest of the movie chasing down everyone who tried to kill him. This includes Bruce Dern, the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island, Ed Begley and Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor who is the Most Interesting Man in the World.

That is not all. I also found out that Jonathan Goldsmith tried to kill John Wayne in The Shootist. As you can see from this clip, that did not go well for him.

What did I learn from my holiday weekend research?

He may be able to speak Russian in French.

He may be able to kill two stones with one bird.

He may have won the lifetime achievement award twice.

However, the Most Interesting Man in the World could not measure up to Clint Eastwood and John Wayne.

From Tex Ritter to Tex Ritter

26 May

I have been out of town for a while, which means that I have been away from my iPod. It was good to get back to it because you never know what it is going to do. A good example of this happened a few minutes ago. Tex Ritter came through the speakers singing the theme to High Noon.Tex Ritter

Of course, this made me think of John Ritter, the son of Tex Ritter. Most people remember John Ritter as Jack Tripper on Three’s Company. However, I also remember him in a movie called They All Laughed. It was also the last theatrical starring role for Audrey Hepburn.

Of course, Audrey Hepburn was in a ton of great movies. However, Breakfast at Tiffany’s has always been my favorite. The only downside is Mickey Rooney’s turn in the racist comedic role of Mr. Yunioshi.

Of course, Mickey Rooney was known for his many marriages, the first of which was to Ava Gardner.

Of course, Ava Gardner was also married to Frank Sinatra. A famous quote about Frank Sinatra’s, ahem, anatomy has been attributed to her, but I have no idea if she really said it. Said or not said, the quote has gone down in history.

Of course, Frank Sinatra was the leader of the Rat Pack, which included Dean Martin, one of the great singers of all time.

Of course, Dean Martin, like Frank Sinatra, did more than sing. He acted in a bunch of great movies. Some were comedies. Some were serious. Some were Westerns. Rio Bravo was one of my favorite Dean Martin movies.

Of course, many movie critics and historians believe that Rio Bravo was John Wayne’s response to the theme and point of view of High Noon, for which Tex Ritter sang the theme that popped up on my iPod.