John Wayne & Duke (The Wonder Horse)

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    • John Wayne & Duke (The Wonder Horse)

      JOHN WAYNE
      & DUKE
      (The Wonder Horse)

      THE WARNER BROS. SERIES
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      Introduction
      When Warner Bros., absorbed First National in the late 1920's
      it acquired an impressive silent film list that included Ken Maynard's
      well produced westerns.

      Sidney Rogell, a former First National executive insisted
      that Maynard's films still had value and aproached Warner's
      produced Leon Schlesinger with a novel plan.

      Ken Maynard


      Ken Maynard

      Although Maynard's career was moving downhill in an alcholic fog,
      although he had never been much of an actor,he was a great stunt rider
      having once been the leading attraction in the
      Kit Carson Show and Ringling Brothers Circus.
      He could stand on a horse, swing under a horse, perform trick roping,
      and his horse Tarzan was the best in the business.

      For more, please see:-
      Ken Maynard

      Rogell believed it was a shame to allow Maynard's First National
      work to waste away in storage.

      Leon Schlesinger

      LoonPlat2-12.jpg
      Leon Schlesinger

      For more, please see:-
      Leon Schlesinger

      He had a simple plan. Recycle the best part of the films.
      Schlesinger liked the idea and he and Rogell convinced Jack Warner
      to make a series of low budget westerns including the Ken Maynard
      stunt sequences.
      Budgeted at $28'000 each, the westerns were designed
      for Warner's rural markets and as the bottom half of double features.
      All they needed was sound effects and another actor who looked something like
      Ken Maynard for dialogue and close-ups.

      Duke had the same wiry build as Maynard and
      looked enough like him to pull off the trick

      Rogell and Schlesinger hired him for $825 a picture on 6 picture contact.

      In the year between mid-1932 and mid-1933
      Duke and Duke the Wonder Horse'
      who looked like Maynard's 'Tarzan. made:-

      Haunted Gold (1932)
      Ride Him Cowboy (1932)
      The Big Stampede (1932)
      The Telegraph Trail (1933)
      Somewhere in Sonora (1933)
      The Man from Montery (1933)

      (Please click on movies above
      for individual profiles and reviews)

      Four of the films are direct remakes of Maynard pictures
      and the other two use footage from them.
      In each, Duke played a character who's first name was always 'John'
      and the films combined Maynard's stunts, with humour and romance.

      Standard material but as the Motion Picture Herald commented about one of the films,
      "John Wayne's drawl and deliberate style of movement
      are fitted to effect a likeable picture"

      They were modest productions and none of them attracted much attention
      at Warner's, a studio that viewed westerns as a social disease.
      However they returned excellent profits and received enthusiastic reviews

      Legacy
      Desperate to move on to, hopefully better things
      Duke after a three fill in movies for Warner Bros.
      The Life of Jimmy Dolan (1933) Baby Face (1933) & College Coach (1933)
      was approached by Director
      Robert North Bradbury for the Poverty Row studio
      Monogram Pictures
      to star in a series of westerns
      under the title of
      Lone Star Productions
      Best Wishes
      Keith
      London- England

      The post was edited 16 times, last by ethanedwards ().