Cowboy Legends TCM - in progress

dvd "Cowboy Legends" Collector's Set 8+ hours John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd), and Gene Autry in black and white, from 1934-49. This purchase was triggered by my love of Louis L'Amour westerns: authentic flavors from real experience, research, and campfire tall tales, author's website has official book-based films.

On YouTube: Canada's 50 year copyright expired, even U.S. 75 on some; minimal ads; some blurry; surprisingly many films, TV shows, books, related videos; grouped by hero, for your delectation. Filled in clips and asides - started reviews. Hoped posting earlier would let you can watch more before I do, but one full movie gone, maybe others will vanish.

TCM dvd - doesn't ship to Canada, L'Amour films, L'Amour books, Western TV shows, hundreds, Toy company sponsored Playlist

I. John Wayne
1 Hell Town 1937 55'
Hell Town from Zane Grey full

2 The Man From Utah 1934 51'
Man from Utah full

II. Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd), side-kick California (Andy Clyde)
Kindergarten kiddy nickname "Hoppy" applied to big strong gun-fighter. Knockout punches sound like slap. Official. Unofficial Fan site - Boyd photos. Trailer. Buy DVD.

3* 3 Border Patrol 1943 65' Full
Rocky pine scenery could be wonderful earthy reds and succulent greens if in color. Hero Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd) in black on white horse good contrast; handsome dark deputy Johnny (Jay Kirby) adds romantic interest; comic relief is goofy sidekick California (Andy Clyde); female (Inez - Claudia Drake) is stupid, stubborn, and dangerous without redeeming qualitiy. "A man can't get in trouble flirting with food" unless the senorita slips in fierce chili peppers. After she sees Texas Ranger Hoppy and his deputies standing over dying man, hot-tempered hacienda owner seeking missing Mexicans, especially her "novio" Enriqué, forces the trio across to Mexico at gunpoint. California translates "novio" as uncle for smitten Johnny. The sensible Commandant (Duncan Renaldo) reviews their credentials and accepts their help in the search for 25 kidnap victims, maybe others from American side.

Rumor is the Silver Bullet mine in the mountains needs workers. (Echoes of hilarious exciting Zorro with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.) Sheriff Orestes Krebb (Russell Simpson) "the law here" is bartender and judge, convinces the trailing senorita to testify against the interlopers for murder, sentences the trio to hang after dinner, when cooler. Hoppy whispers for her to tour mine. Finally she pays attention to the evidence, and offers to cook, including prisoners' last meal. California tries to refuse, others lost appetite.

"Rocks in the pickles" turn out to be bullets for the gun hidden under flatbread in bean pot. Girl watches until Handsome lifts her behind his saddle. She takes another mount and leads to mine, and her sweetheart Enriqué (George Reeves). Yahoo! Shoot-out getaway chases. Dramatic death falls. Triumphant trumpet fanfares.

4* 4 Doomed Caravan 1941 62'
Handsome shy guy this time is Lucky Jenkins (Russell Hayden). Jane Travers (Minna Gombell), uncle Stephen Westcott (Morris Ankrum), niece Diana Westcott (Georgia Hawkins)
Good old days knew how to open, with "shootin' shindig" bangup battle, blazing houses, wagons, rifles; hats peer round wheels; gang flee mounted. Hoppy brings gold bullion to stern same-age Jane politely "Can I hold the gun for you ma'am?". Whether tree frogs or crickets, country background sound reverberates realistically. Outlaws from Crescent City want funds to take over settlement, ambush soldier troop, steal uniforms. Hoppy suspects their unusual total number twelve, fatal bullet holes "cigarette burns", scruffy boots, and initials J.F. on Sergeant Spencer's hat. Hoppy apologizes, changes mind on support duty, back-trails to find circling vultures, blood-stained clothes, evidence against disguised bandits, fast gallop to catch up. Doesn't that waste ammo scaring instead of targeting? Good to see gals whip gun from villain and charge off.

Lucky is the blabbermouth screwup whose bragging in front of pretty Diana betrays them to traitor Stephen and villain, who suggests fiesta distraction, to jail old Governer Don Pedro and gold wagon train. Helped by senora Carmen, who fed always-hungry California, Hoppy escapes. Tussling in the dark, gunshot flashes most effectively. No need for fancy computerization. If unarmed good guys out-number bad guys, why don't they jump them in surprise? Jane again participates, pausing to change from dress to comfortable clothes. Dust cloud chases dust cloud. How could they tell good from bad?

III. Roy Rogers Roy sings Yippee-Aye Elton John sings Roy Rogers 2 verses Roy TV, Desert Fugitive, from Toy playlist

5 Hands Across the Border 1944 53' Full

6 Billy the Kid Returns 1938 57' Full

7 The Eyes of Texas 1947 70' Clip Trigger gargles, fist fight. Judge Roy Bean TV episode, from Toylist

IV. Gene Autry
TV - Outlaw of Blue Mesa, Toylist
& Champion horse gets first bill. Songs from start to stop FF.

2* 8 Riders of the Whistling Pines 1949 69' Trailer
Many gimmicks spoil realism: phony chorus supporting solo rider, symmetrical styrofoam boulder rolling downhill, flat painted background for runaway buggy, stock footage of timber operations, fake biplane skyscape. Complicated plot with infected forest. Sweet adult male soprano evokes eunuchs; vocals pleasant more comprehensible than modern, except for "dooley ooley ooh" yodels; Hollywood plucked brows but didn't surgically mass-snip noses. If big dance distracting, why should good guys find villains? Screwdriver, handy phone-ringing watch, and fire-extinguisher foam smarter than punch-ups. Stupid big-mouth babe has pointy bra-boobs, no brains, blabbers twice. Her second slip discloses Gene has bullet to identify killer by ballistics.

Sauntering on horseback, Gene singin', pal drinkin', riding to home ranch, tries out new rifle on mountain lion, thinks he accidentally shoots friend forester Carter, but fleeing charge did before he could phone about infestation they discovered. Villain shows head forester Mitchell. Carter's screechy daughter Helen swears revenge. Doctor Dan gives her "life insurance" money and assistant job offer. Gene reports bugs to Mitchell, but villain tags along to ambush him.

Supervising job dangerous - DDT spray 100K acres from low elevation flying, plus building strip in 30 days, offer job to Gene, but he already sold his ranch to caretakers. Fellow foresters confess they gummed up sights too low on new gun, so Gene realizes someone else killed Carter, and takes job after all. Villains stir up ranchers against pesticide, poison stock and wildlife with super potent solution, spread rumors. Pilot Joe drinking on the job illegal in Canada 24 hours before flight. Law

1* 9 The Big Show 1936 53'
Opening credits with names under top half body shots helpful: roll-eyed buffoon Smiley Burnett, Kay Hughes, Sally Payne, Willliam Newell, Max Terhune, singing groups white or black, none mixed. Full YouTube video gone, maybe others in listing.

Motion picture crew highlights Gene, stand-in double for star Ford, in speeded up silent style, fight Injuns chasing wagon, slide under horses too, cum Indiana Jones, but corny jokes, such as split pants, ambitious stunt man jumps into horse rear end instead of on top. Ford takes off on vacation, so Beany-hat convinces Gene to fill in at personal appearance Dallas Centennial and fool old man Schwarz. When truck skids off and lets horned steers loose, pretty owner Mary jibes Gene into chasing them down, he wrassles last into ditch by hand, and Beany says Gene is Ford.

Ford owes gambling debt to Tony Rico, who hears parade on radio, goes after Gene, forces at gunpoint signature on cheque. FF. Being inducted into Texas Rangers is fine, adoring female fans ripping off long underwear pants not so fine. Ventriloquist dummy, more songs. FFF. Ford and real fiancee hear radio songs and newspaper article about engagement to Mary. On phone, stupid beanie head says "we're just rehearsing" instead of calling police, then Rico blackmails pal for $25K by 4, or he blows whistle. Beany telegrams for cash to Schwarz, where real Ford, who cannot sing, has just stormed in. Rico and two thugs run off with satchel of money, just as Gene confesses on radio, singing preferred by audience. Beany describes two dark suits, one grey, calls on Rangers to keep on fair grounds, but trio hear, change clothes, escape in stagecoach. Gene does trademark jump on from back of horse. Squeaky curly blonde follows in rickshaw. Big chase. FF.

Blonde took money when thugs changing clothes. Rickshaw fell into river. Beany jumps in after rickshaw. Last scene Gene proposing to Mary, singing cowboy poster outside shows success. Song Nobody's Darling. Full Big Show

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