John Wayne in The Three Mesquiteers

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    THE THREE MESQUITEERSduke_542.jpgIntroduction
    The Three Mesquiteers is the umbrella title for a
    Republic Pictures series of 51 Western B-movies
    released between 1936 and 1943, including 8 films starring John Wayne.
    The name was a play on mesquite and The Three Musketeers,
    and each film featured a trio of stars.

    The series was based on a series of western novels by William Colt MacDonald,
    which began with The Law of 45's in 1933.
    A film version of The Law of 45's was made by a different film company in 1935
    and introduced the characters Tucson Smith and Stony Brooke.

    The series blended the traditional Western period with more modern elements,
    which was not unknown with other B-Western films and serials.
    Towards the end of the series, during World War II, the trio of cowboys were opposing Nazis.


    The Three Mesquiteers series was extremely popular at the time of its release.
    The series was the only one of its kind to be specifically named and ranked
    in contemporary polls of the top western film stars.
    For example, from 1937 to the end of the series in 1943,
    The Motion Picture Herald consistently ranked
    the series in its top ten,
    reaching a peak of 5th place in 1938,
    when a pre-Stagecoach John Wayne was the series lead

    The success of the series led to many imitators at other studios.
    The first was The Range Busters (1940–43) from Monogram Pictures
    which starred original Mesquiteer Ray "Crash" Corrigan as the character "Crash" Corrigan.
    Monogram also released The Rough Riders (1941–42), again poaching a Mesquiteer
    in the form of Raymond Hatton, and The Trail Blazers (1943–44).
    Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) produced two similar series,
    The Texas Rangers (1942–45) and The Frontier Marshals (1942).


    John Wayne in The Three Mesquiteers
    Duke had just completed the disastrous Universal Series
    and made one more contracted out movie for
    Paramount, Born to the West (1938)

    Duke returned to Republic where Herbert J. Yates,
    welcomed him back with less than open arms.
    Rather than the $24'000 a year Duke
    had made by his earlier studio
    he received $16'000

    Duke said:-

    Quote from duke

    Yates put the screws on me....and I would have
    to go into those terrible series they had


    A series of 'B' Westerns, was being updated, with Duke
    being invited into the role of Stony Brooke,
    recently vacated by Bob Livingston.
    The Three Mesquiteers was a popular series for Republic
    and Duke's winning personality,
    soon worked in, with the established characters,
    Ray Corrigan, as Tuscon Smith,
    Max Terhune as Lullaby Johnson,
    and Terhune's dummy, Elmer.

    The 8 movies Duke starred as Stony Brooke were

    Pals of the Saddle (1938)
    Overland Stage Riders (1938)
    Santa Fe Stampede (1938)
    Red River Range (1938)
    The Night Riders (1939)
    Three Texas Steers (1939)
    Wyoming Outlaw (1939)
    Frontier Horizon (1939)

    (For individual movie profiles and reviews
    please click on the above links)

    George Sherman
    The Three Mesquiteers were all directed by
    George Sherman who also later directed Duke in
    Flying Tigers (1942) and Big Jake (1971)


    George Sherman was responsible for 9
    very important films for the Duke, and was involved in one other,
    as Second Unit Director (uncredited) Flying Tigers (1942)
    In reality George Sherman carried on,
    where Robert North Bradbury, had left off,
    but without anywhere near, the impact
    Bradbury,had been on Duke's career!!

    For more information
    please see:-
    George Sherman

    The Series
    The first six Duke starred in featured
    John Wayne .... Stony Brooke
    Ray Corrigan .... Tucson Smith
    Max Terhune .... Lullaby Joslin

    Ray Corrigan

    Max Terhune & Elmer

    The last two
    Wyoming Outlaw and Frontier Horizon (New Frontier)
    John Wayne .... Stony Brooke
    Ray Corrigan .... Tucson Smith
    Raymond Hatton .... Rusty Joslin

    Raymond Hatton

    While Duke's provincial fans loved The Three Mesquiteers
    the series was inexpensively produced
    and represented an embarrassing comedown for Duke

    Duke said, he found them to be dreary, and a drudgery.

    Quote from duke

    They were horrible montrosities

    he told writer Maurice Zolotow.

    However, what Duke didn't realise, is that they had exposed him,
    to a much bigger audience, including 'A' pictures, audiences.

    They may have been a drudgery, but within months
    around the corner was a Stagecoach
    with John Ford on board....

    Best Wishes
    London- England

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