John Wayne with friends

I always loved the bit player in the movies.  The second banana or the little part which sticks in your memory.

John Wayne had a few players that if you look closely you will see in many of his films.

Ward Bond was one of them.  Gruff, burly American character actor. Born in 1903 in Benkelman, Nebraska (confirmed by Social Security records; sources stating 1905 or Denver, Colorado are in error.) Bond grew up in Denver, the son of a lumberyard worker. He attended the University of Southern California, where he got work as an extra through a football teammate who would become both his best friend and one of cinema’s biggest stars: John Wayne. Director John Ford promoted Bond from extra to supporting player in the film Salute (1929), and became another fast friend. An arrogant man of little tact, yet fun-loving in the extreme, Bond was either loved or hated by all who knew him. His face and personality fit perfectly into almost any type of film, and he appeared in hundreds of pictures in his more than 30-year career, in both bit parts and major supporting roles. In the films of Wayne and Ford, particularly, he was nearly always present. Among his most memorable roles are John L. Sullivan in Gentleman Jim (1942), Det. Tom Polhaus in The Maltese Falcon (1941) and the Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnson Clayton The Searchers (1956). An ardent but anti-intellectual patriot, he was perhaps the most vehement proponent, among the Hollywood community, of blacklisting in the witch hunts of the 1950s, and he served as a most unforgiving president of the ultra-right-wing Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. In the mid-’50s he gained his greatest fame as the star of TV’s Wagon Train (1957). During its production, Bond traveled to Dallas, Texas, to attend a football game and died there in his hotel room of a massive heart attack.

But most people do recognize him and then there is Hank Worden as guy who is in the background.  Yet to me he is as memorable as Bond.

Raised on a cattle ranch in Montana. Educated at Stanford and the University of Nevada as an engineer. Washed out as an Army pilot. Toured the country in rodeos as a saddle bronc rider. Broke his neck in a horsefall in his 20s, but didn’t know it until his 40s. Chosen along with Tex Ritter from a rodeo at Madison Square Garden in New York to appear in the Broadway play “Green Grow the Lilacs”, the play from which the musical “Oklahoma” was later derived. Drove a cab in New York, then worked on dude ranches as a wrangler and as a guide on the Bright Angel trail of the Grand Canyon. Recommended by Billie Burke to several movie producers. Became friends with John Wayne, Howard Hawks, and later John Ford, all of whom provided him with much work. Survived by adopted daughter Dawn Henry.

Both guys are in the Searchers.  Bond a bigger part but Hank a bit part with punch.

If you look closely you see these secondary roles in most films and yet some stand out.

Bond was the head of the Texas Rangers and Worden plays the crazy guy who in the end tells Wayne where to find the kidnapped girl.

The dearly departed.

Is it me or someone else in the mirror reflection?

I do not seem to love the meals I use to eat like desert confection,

And now the stomach rebels when confronted with heavy sauces,

Acid eroding erupting when I have conflict like with my bosses.

Getting old is not the dream I thought it was,

There is a certain pain that circles around the body with a blast,

And then there is my ego that seems to hang low, like half mast,

I find comfort in the old movies with a cast of the dead,

Unfortunately many of them gone now, obituaries I have read,

John Wayne has been dead for over twenty years ago,

James Arness is playing poker with him guns drawn on the table,

Marilyn Monroe is enticing the guys in heavens area with a sable,

Donna Douglas is in Beverly Hills with the critters,

Theodore Bikel is singing like Teyva in the sky,

So many gone in the deli eating pastrami on rye.

And the young do not remember those I watched in the movies long ago,

They have little knowledge of Larry, Curly and Moe.

The circle of life is coming around full circle and I try not to be morbid,

But I miss the old Charlie Chan’s and received the Academy Awards and other awards assorted.

Old school movies

Some old movies with bang. I recently saw Wait Until Dark. Made quite a while ago and most of the cast has passed on. But the picture builds to a climax which really has one on the edge of one’s seat.

Alan Arkin is the real bad guy. He and two cohorts want to get a doll that they smuggled into the United States. The doll has something in it. The woman who has it is Audrey Hepburn. She is blind and that is the basis of the story. The last eight minutes of her trying to outdo Arkin to stay alive is riveting. They do not make them like that anymore.

I find I am into the older stories than the new stuff coming out. The graphics are really overdone and the story line is one explosion after another. No one cares about character relationships or why one does what they do.

I am a big fan of the Thin Man. William Powell and Myrna Loy just played it right. The stories were interesting and I can watch them over and over.

Bud Abbot and Lou Costello were my favorite comedy team. I liked The Ghost one and Dracula and Frankenstein made me howl.

Charlie Chan with all three non-Asian men playing the lead was always something I watched. I have seen them on YouTube and although they are repetitious I still liked them.

I am a big fan of Bogey. His movies were always watchable. Guess I am old school.

Gary Cooper, Errol Flynn and John Wayne. Good and watchable.

The old movies had action, romance and a flair to them.

The movies of today have fake action, romance that is phony and no flair.

Just my opinion but I bet there are plenty of people out there who would agree.

Horses I have seen in the Movies.

 

 

Hildalgo
Set in 1890, this is the story of a Pony Express courier (Viggo Mortensen) who travels to Arabia to compete with his horse, Hidalgo, in a dangerous race for a big prize.   I saw this on television and although interesting was quite contrived. A lot of inane deaths in this movie. How much was hype and how much was not is a question in my mind. The sand storm was spectacular.

But the movie has in it some real facts about a real American Legend.  Frank T. Hopkins is that man.

Frank T. Hopkins’ shaking hands with Bud Tobel, his opponent,
after a hard riding contest, which he won. The horse is “Gypsy Boy,” descendant
from the little indian mare “White Y.” This stallion weighed a little over 900 and
Mr. Hopkins claimed he had the best set of running gear ever placed under a horse.
(photo courtesy – The Horse, March-April 1935)

 

 

The Black Stallion
Based on the Walter Farley children’s book of the same name, The Black Stallion is a film about a young boy who, after surviving a shipwreck, is stranded on an island with a mysterious black horse. The pair form a powerful bond that helps them, once rescued, to race against and beat the fastest horses in the country. The scene of the Black Stallion racing on the beach is the one I remember the most. But hidden is a strange thing. Mickey Rooney is in this movie. The great Rooney in a bit part. Kind of a last hurrah.

Miracle of the White Stallions
During World War II, the Lipizzan Stallions of the famous Spanish Riding School were in danger of being destroyed. They are rescued by General George Patton and the U.S. Army. I actually saw relatives of these animals and they are magnificent.

 

A Day at the Races. Marx Brothers. What can one say. One Marx brother movie is like the others, zany and crazy. This one has horses.

 

Note there are many not mentioned. That is because I did not see them. I never saw Black Beauty or Seabisket. They did not peak my interest. I never saw the Spielberg one either. I did like the horse references in True Grit. There is some connection with people and horses. Big animals that seem to mean a lot to people. I rode a couple but I am no John Wayne.

The Lego Movie is Awesome.

Who would I like to see in the next Lego Movie?

Who would be awesome?, who would stand out? who would I point to and go wow about?

I would like to see some of the cowboys of old, lead by John Wayne I note,

Leading Gene Autry with guitar and Roy Rodger and Dale Evans against the bad guys in fur coats.

I would love to see a mixture of George of the Jungle and Tarzan both,

swinging from the Jungle and joining the posse and taking the awesome oath.

Sherlock Holmes and Watson, working with Mr. Magoo and Topper solving the clues,

That would be a cast for me and all of my age who have fond memories and I hope they would use.

I know the mixture is above the norm, and they are a mixed group of humanity,

But they would be a special group of characters and voiced by some greats pushing insanity.

Of course there will be Emmett, a mini figure who has the greatest traits,

His lifestyle and moral character is a thing that I like children to view.

Red Movies

Cover of "Red Dragon [HD DVD]"

Cover of Red Dragon [HD DVD]

Cover of "Red River"

Cover of Red River

Red Dragon. This movie scared me. Not because of the scenes which were gruesome enough but because of the mental attitude that was depicted in the movie. Entering the mind of a serial killer is quite disturbing. The writer of the series even mentioned that it bothered him to write the novel. You have to have a special mind set to handle the depraved attitudes of the film. The real life agents who pursue these monsters must have a special ability to handle the stress and the mental levels that they must endure.

The Masque of the Red Death. Vincent Price had the voice that seemed to be as smooth as any I have heard. There was something about him that crossed into the realm of make believe. How could you say some of those lines without cracking up. This movie is for the those of us who like Poe and the weird.

The Red Badge of Courage. Audie Murphy is in this one. A real American hero of World War Two playing a coward. That was probably a stretch. The Civil War was the back drop and the red badge a symbol of honor of being wounded.

The Hunt for Red October. Sean Connery, alias James Bond, playing the traitor to the Russians (the Reds) and giving us a submarine. A real man’s movie.

The Big Red One. Starting one of my favorites Lee Marvin. Loved him in the Dirty Dozen and liked him in this one. A true story of a brave bunch of guys going through World War Two.

Red River. You kinda have a John Wayne movie in here. And this was one of his best. On the par with the Searchers which is the best western ever. This one had a cattle drive and a shoot out at the end that builds up during the movie. Another of my favorites is in this, Walter Brennan. He also plays along side Wayne in the first Rio movie as Stumpy.

Finally and certainly not least Red Dawn. The Russian invade the United States with an assortment of troops. Gritty and to realistic for my taste because I have had enough of the cold war. Russia was a real threat in those days, now we have enough threats on the table.

Comment if you have enough Red Movie you liked or did not like.

This Blog is going for the dogs.

Lady and the Tramp

Lady and the Tramp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover of "Old Yeller (Vault Disney Collec...

Cover of Old Yeller (Vault Disney Collection)

Thirty two percent of us have dogs. Man and women consider them their best friend. And to be expected dogs are in the movies and on television.

Here are some which made an impression on me.

The dog in Hondo. Hondo Lane portrayed by John Wayne calls the dog Sam.

Their relationship is different. There is no petting. Kind of a mutual respect for each ones space. In the middle of the movie there is a disturbing scene. The Indians have gotten Sam and he is seen lying on the ground with a lance through him. The movie depicts lots of people getting killed but I and I guess others remember the dog getting killed as downright wrong.

Wayne is in another movie where the dog is just like Sam. The dog name is aptly Dog. At the end of the movie the dog is killed by a machete in a really horrible scene. You do not see it but you know what is happening. Dogs do not do well in Wayne movies.

Lassie saves Timmy. That says it all. Timmy is caught in the mine, Timmy is in the house on fire, Timmy gets lost. For goodness sake Timmy get your act together. Lassie was a collie and for years that became the dog of choice.

Before Lassie there was Rin Tin Tin. A German Shepard who aided Rusty at Fort Apache. He aided the troopers in a western show on television. Pretty popular in my time. There were over one hundred episodes.

Disney used dogs. In fact there is a dog movie in cartoon form. The Lady and the Tramp. He was from the wrong side of the tracks and she was the lady from the right side of the tracks. But the one scene everyone remembers is the spaghetti scene. He has a strand in his mouth and she has the other end in her mouth. As they munch they get closer and closer. Love is a beautiful thing.

Finally Old Yellow. It was a great movie but the end made us all cry. A boy and his dog. Adventures galore and then the end. The dog gets rabies and the boy has to put his animal that he loves down. There was not a dry eye in the audience. The men secretly wiped away a tear and the children were confused that the animal had to be killed.

Dogs what are you going to say. Love of an animal is a strong bond. We have all heard of the dog who would not leave the grave of his or her master. Why such a strong bond? I do not know but it is there.