Posts by Heber Snow

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    I just got the box set of 'Tales Wells Fargo' (the early half hour black and white episodes) In the episode 'The Thin Rope' a young Chuck Connors guests, wearing what looks suspiciously like Duke's battered cavalry hat, right down to the nick in the crown. Could this have have been loaned to him by Duke as a 'good luck' gesture? Duke apparently acquired the hat because he wanted something as authentic as the one Ford wore. It was almost lost in a river crossing scene during the shooting of 'Rio Grande' and was obviously regarded by Duke as a kind of talisman.
    I read somewhere that the hat was finally ruined when he loaned it to Sammy Davis Jnr to wear in 'Sergeants Three'. Everybody kept pulling it down around his ears.

    Just read an interview with Fess Parker, who was aparently Ford's first choice for Martin Pawley. Parker at that time (just coming off Davy Crockett) was under personal contract to Walt Disney and Walt turned the part down without Parker ever knowing it was on offer! Parker only learned this from Walt when he and Jeffrey Hunter were driving to the location of 'The Great Locomotive Chase'.
    Its interesting to speculate how he would have been as Martin, and indeed how his subsequent career might have turned out...
    Interestingly, a few other Ford people as well as Hunter appear in 'The Great Locomotive Chase' - Harry Carey Jnr, Claude Jarman Jnr, and Stan Jones!
    Its a favourite of mine to this day!

    The Rio Bravo Dell comic book is illustrated by the late Alex Toth, a great fan favourite. He also did Wings of Eagles. He could do a superb likeness of John Wayne but the irony was that he wasn't allowed (for copyright reasons) to do an accurate likeness of the Duke, or the other leads (Walter Brennan has a big droopy mustache in the comic)
    Possibly this is because John Wayne also had his own comic published by Toby Press and his drawn likeness was possibly licensed exclusively to them. I'd like to know more if anybody out there can help??
    There were John Wayne Annuals published every year in the UK, a great Christmas present to get!

    Rio Lobo was a sad swan song for Howard Hawks and would have been better not made. A million miles away from Rio Bravo. I wish the Duke had chosen something more in keeping with his age. Same goes for the Undefeated. I wonder what other scripts he was being offered at the time?
    Its a convoluted plot with just odd flashes of warmth and redeemed by Jack Elam who never gave a bad performance in his career. Its not one I'll want to add to my collection...

    I find I like Chisum better now than I did at the time of its release. Its a great Wayne movie!
    Best bit is when Hank Worden does a great horse leap over the barricade 'cos he's gotta warn the stage!
    Hank did the stunt himself too. I'm suprised there isn't a thread about him since he appeared in almost all of the Duke's westerns not just the Fords.

    Some well cast bit parts in Rio Grande include corporal Bell's wife (a very vulnerable looking woman) who meets a horrible fate, the sour sheriff and his morose, silent obese deputy "The sergeant will pay for the drinks" and the (rare for Ford) close up of an exceptionally mean looking Apache letting off the arrow that downs Kirby York.

    The War Wagon also appeared in an episode of 'Desperado' some years back.
    Best thing about the movie was the Dimitri Tiomkin score (one of his last I think) It lifted the picture greatly, just as Elmer Bernstein's score elevated 'Big Jake'.

    Recently bought the box set of Wagon Train colour episodes which also has sixteen 'best of' monochrome shows. Sadly the Colter Craven Story isn't there. Some of the episodes look pretty corny now and there's a huge discrepancy between the usually excellent location shots, cutting to some very obvious studio 'exteriors'.
    They're well-written though and the early Ward Bond episodes are to my mind the best.

    I love the scene when Red Will first comes into the pub "I'm a man from Innisfree, and the best man...." and in the left corner of the frame we see Feeny pick up someone's unfinished pint, slyly look around, then drain the glass. Says everything about the character in a few silent seconds!
    Also the jolly scene when Sean buys drinks all round but never manages to got one himself as he keeps handing them out while Micheleen does very nicely! Beautifully choreagraphed, and worth running back to study!

    There's another dog scene earlier in 'Yellow Ribbon' where Nathan, Alshard and Tyree are discussing the markings on an arrow and Ben Johnson points to the sign of the Cheyenne Dog Soldier. Right on cue a dog trots by in the background, a typical example of Ford visually reinforcing a line.
    Similarly in 'McLintock', when Patrick Wayne tell Duke: "You're Wrong!", theres a chinese laundry across the street with the name 'Wong' prominently displayed!
    Spotting these little extra bits of business is fun and it might be nice to have more examples from anyone interested in this type of thing...

    If I had to make any criticism of The Searchers it would be the casting of Dorothy Jordan as Martha. Her acting, (the wonderful scene with Ethan's coat is incredibly moving) can't be faulted, but she just doesn't have the strong prescence and magnetism to be the love of Wayne's life and the reason he came back. She's just too 'ordinary' to be the motivation for the whole movie and hardly gets any screen time anyway. Maybe that's what Ford wanted of course, and yes, I know she was the producer's wife and she also appeared in other Ford films.
    There's also the descrepancy between Lana Wood's "Faithfully fulfill" and Ward Bond's "Faithfully discharge". Haven't seen the screenplay but suspect Lana's line reading was accurate and Bond's ad-libbed? It would be typical of Ford to let it go rather than do another take and lose spontenaitey.

    I vaguely remember reading in the mid-sixties that O'Hara and Wayne were to paired up for the movie "Yours, Mine and Ours' which was eventually made with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, then became the inspiration for 'The Brady Bunch'

    Anyone able to clarify this?