Sunday, December 28, 2008

Old Western Movies and TV Shows

Year’s End is traditionally a time of looking back, assessing not only the past year but the years of one’s life in general.

One of my favorite observations is that “Age doesn’t necessarily bring wisdom, but it does provide perspective.” The more years an individual has seen, the better viewpoint is available. Well, I perhaps have a few more years on me than most current bloggers. Okay, maybe a few more DECADES. I kind of enjoy it.

Old friend and coworker Robert Powell passed along a
flash movie file called Those Old Westerns which provides a fascinating look back along the happy trails of my youth. Watch it now, or read my scribbling and THEN take a look. Do yourself a favor and spend the few minutes to watch the entire presentation. And make sure your volume is set to hear the accompanying music.

Western movies were a BIG deal when I was a kid. I was just a touch too young to recall the first-run days of the Saturday afternoon matinees founded on the rush-produced two-reelers. Most of those, I saw on a series of old, snowy, black-and-white television screens. Oh, I saw my share of Saturday flicks, too, and was enthralled by them. In the ensuing few years, there were literally dozens of western-themed television series advancing the cowboy culture ideal over the then-new medium. But TV did NOT replace the western on the movie screen, but rather was a valuable adjunct.

I believe one of the main meanings behind the site linked above is the reminder of the core values of that simpler, happier era. It’s hard to say if those films were primarily responsible for instilling the basic principles of the age in my malleable mind. I think not entirely. I learned much -- often without being aware of it -- from my family. Rather, I think the movies provided a backdrop, a visual aid, illustrating how strength, self-reliance, honesty, and loyalty would see us through in the face of adversity. Those western guys INSPIRED us, as did the all-too-few staunch, strong-willed female stars alongside ’em.

Anyhow, without going TOO far into this hip-pocket philosophizing, I submit the presentation. It was a valuable reminder of the kinder, gentler days of yesteryear. I enjoyed the look at the names of the heroes and villains. Some of them are as well remembered and timeless as John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. Others evoke a striking, “Oh yeah! I remember HIM.” And all too many were not recalled at all, simply providing a backdrop against which my favorites would perform.

Year-end nostalgia. Wallow in it. I did, and enjoyed every minute of it.


Glenn Bartley said...

I've got to tell ya partner, that brought back some memories of a time long ago, and with it some tears to my eyes. I am 53 and remember most of those show, and am pretty sure I forgot some of em. I remember most of the actors and actresses too (remember when we made that distinction). It is truly amazing how many of them are still alive today. It also amazes me, with much of the junk on TV today, and all the incessant repeats of junk, that more slots are not found for some of these classics.

I think the westerns, the 60's spy shows, the detective shows, all had a strong influence on me and my choice of lifestyle and career as a federal agent. Of course, back when I watched much of this those types of show, I had to get permission first - so you can bet my upbringing also had a similar influence.

Great stuff thanks for the link.

Old NFO said...

Sigh... Good memories there, and my daughters found some old Red Skelton stuff on video that I watched last night. It WAS a better, simpler time, no question.

OldCop said...

I agree, I spent many afternoons and evenings watching Maverick or "The Rifleman" or "Have gun will travel" then there was "Gunsmoke, Rawhide, The Rebel... .................

(thanks for the info on the Python)

Jay G said...

Rio Bravo is one of my all-time favorite John Wayne movies...

Think I'm gonna have to look for it on DVD. Thanks JPG!

Seth from Massachusetts said...

You can't have a really good western unless Gabby Hayes plays the sidekick.

Anonymous said...

I am looking for the name of a movie. I believe it's a Jimmy Stewert western that I watched years ago. In the movie he is hunting a grizzly bear with a missing toe and he has a Rotweiler that is later killed by the bear. Any help would be appreciated.

JPG said...

Anonymous - -

I can't recall or locate any such James Stewart movie with that plot line. Check out Internet Movie Database's "Filmography" of Mr. Stewart's work at

It's supposed to list his entire body of work and is worthwhile reading. Please leave another comment is you do locate the title you're seeking.

Anonymous said...

The problem is I'm not sure it was Jimmy Stewart. It could have been someone else and the bear hunt was not the main plot but a subplot I believe. It's been years since I have seen the movie but I remember that the dog traveled in a saddle bag on the horses side and was killed by the bear and found floating down a stream. I'm sorry for being so sketchy about it.

Rufus said...

Can anyone help me find the title to an old movie?

The scene I remember is a father (and mother?) coming home to find the ranch burning and their son who's about 12, lying with an arrow in his belly, still alive. There's a brief, touching scene where the father says how proud he is of the boy, then the boy dies.

JPG said...

Rufus - -
Sorry but that doesn't ring any bells for me.
Can anyone else provide anything?

Stinkrock said...

I saw a western 8 years ago in Arizona that never has left my mind. Can you identify it? Boy sees his family slaughtered before him at home... he hides. He goes then to the hill on his property, and as a boy is shooting at bottles... then the scene changes. He is now a tall, slender man... and he is with the pistol, like Jimi Hendrix on the Guitar. When he thinks of the man that killed his family, the man dressed in black, an image appears over his head. It is now time to go into town and find the man in black. He enters into a small shop... I think it is?? I don't know, but there is a scuffle in there... he just straightens it out, no violence, no fists, just smooth & easy. The woman there notices him, and does say there is this man like he is looking for. Now the man (good-guy) looks like this…Randolph Scott or Chuck Connors (rifleman)... but there is a straight, no-nonsense, all business, not a tough guy, just a guy that knows what he wants... not much talking. He meets up in the middle of town with the "man inblack"... who is laughing at him... the draw... my guy only shoots the 'man in black' in the hand... the woman is so pleased she takes him away… not too much damage done... it is in black & white... it is not 'Death Rides A Horse'.
A girl I met from Switzerland says that it is a German film of Carl May... I have never been able to find even the name... can you name the film?? Please!!