| Fantastic bargains for Hopalong Cassidy fans!|
Echo Bridge Entertainment has a complete set of the 66 Hopalong Cassidy films on DVD for about $40.00. There's two different DVD compilations, the $40.00 one which is available now and another DVD set which is listed as coming soon but no price listed (DVD cover shown below left). Links to both sets:
Amazon has the set number two collection shown below. Available about September 1, and you can pre-order and the price is about $50.00. There's ten DVDs: http://www.amazon.com/Hopalong-Cassidy-Ultimate-Collectors-William/dp/B00ZRBQO2U/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1439818469&sr=1-2&keywords=Hopalong+Cassidy+Ultimate+Collector%27s+Edition
The Shout Factory has the complete 52 episodes of the Hoppy TV show on 6 DVDs for about $30.00: https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/western/hopalong-cassidy-the-complete-series
| Great news! The complete set of Dick Foran's twelve Warners westerns from 1935-1937 will be available on MOD (made on demand) DVD in late July, 2015.|
Foran had a likeable screen persona and a good voice ... and he rode the palomino Smoke/Smoky several years prior to Roy Rogers and Trigger at Republic Pictures. Production values were better and slicker than other B oaters from that period. And the casts included pretty leading ladies as well as no-goods and other faces that generally weren't seen in B westerns churned out by Poverty Row companies.
My Foran favorites: CALIFORNIA MAIL (1936) with Foran versus Edmund Cobb and Milt Kibbee and there's a fabulous and frantic stagecoach race; and EMPTY HOLSTERS (1937) has Foran railroaded into a prison sentence and Emmett Vogan doing a superb job as nasty brains heavy "Ace Cain".
The Dick Foran Warners westerns DVD collection is about $33.00: http://www.wbshop.com/product/dick+foran+western+collection+%28mod%29+1000565166.do?sortby=ourPicks&refType=4#
|Got e-mail reminders from Ron Blalock, Ralph Unroe and Minard Coons on the new Monogram Cowboy Collection Volume 8 from the Warner Archives Collection. This is a four disc set with twelve films.|
My understanding is that the 12 films are:
6 of the 8 Rough Riders trio series with Buck Jones, Tim McCoy and Raymond Hatton: Arizona Bound (1941), The Gunman from Bodie (1941), Forbidden Trails (1941), Below the Border (1942), Ghost Town Law (1942) and West of the Law (1942).
3 starring Johnny Mack Brown and Raymond Hatton: Law of the Valley (1944), West of the Rio Grande (1944) and Silver Range (1946).
And 3 Johnny Mack Brown solo oaters: Over the Border (1950), Six Gun Mesa (1950) and West of Wyoming (1950).
This looks to be a good but confusing mix of Monogram titles - i.e., didn't they have good prints on the other two Rough Riders adventures?
Priced at about $40.00 from the Warner Archives: http://www.wbshop.com/product/monogram+cowboy+collection+volume+8+1000491422.do
|Brian Shaw e-mailed about Sony issuing the lost/missing Charles Starrett and Smiley Burnette LIGHTNING GUNS (Columbia, 1950). This MOD DVD is to be released about April 1, 2014 and is available from Amazon for about $21.00 and about $17.00 from Critics Choice Video. I did not find it listed in the Sony Choice collection at the WB Shop. Go to: http://www.amazon.com/Lightning-Guns-Gloria-Henry/dp/B00IXMF18S/ and http://www.ccvideo.com/movies/2762817/lightning-guns|
In a follow-up e-mail, Brian advised that another lost/missing Starrett, THE HAWK OF WILD RIVER (Columbia, 1952), is to be released May 6 and the announcement was on the Digital Bits website: http://www.thedigitalbits.com/columns/my-two-cents/032414_1500
Critics Choice Video has THE HAWK OF WILD RIVER for about $17.00: http://www.ccvideo.com/movies/2772233/hawk-of-wild-river
and Amazon has it for about $19.00: http://www.amazon.com/Hawk-Wild-River-Charles-Starrett/dp/B00JQHOI6U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399169467&sr=8-1&keywords=%22hawk+of+wild+river%22
C'mon Sony - this is a Starrett/Durango Kid adventure. Why does your HAWK cover art have Syd Saylor and Smiley Burnette and no Starrett?
|Ron Blalock sent me an e-mail advising that the Warner Archives Collection just released a Tim Holt Western Classics Volume 4. This is a three disc set containing nine of Tim's RKOs, most of which are his early 1940s oaters prior to his leaving for World War II duty.|
Priced at about $35.00 from the Warner Archives, and this link also has the list of film titles: http://shop.warnerarchive.com/product/code/1000484228.do?ref=FBWACNR31814&utm
|As the B western faded away in the 1950s, Wild Bill Elliott put on a suit and badge and did some mystery/detective movies for Allied Artists.|
Warner Archives has a five film collection of "Bill Elliott Detective Mysteries" on DVD for about $30.00: http://shop.warnerarchive.com/product/code/1000460846.do?ref=WACFBNR128&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=WACFBNR128
|Tom Goethe was at K-mart and came across a new 12 movie Lash La Rue two DVD set from Echo Bridge Entertainment which was released in May, 2013. K-mart had it in their discount bin for $7.50.|
These are not Lash's films at PRC, but the dozen he and Al 'Fuzzy' St. John did for producer/director Ron Ormond and his Western Adventure production company during 1948-1952.
More at the Echo Bridge website and when I checked the site on December 28, 2013, the price was $8.00: http://www.echobridgeentertainment.com/dvd/Lash_La_Rue_Collectors_Set_14054
I checked Amazon on December 28, 2013 and their price was about $8.50: http://www.amazon.com/Lash-LaRue-Collectors-Set/dp/B00BG4RJG2/
E-mail from pal Minard Coons: I bought the Lash La Rue Collector's Set from Echo Bridge through Amazon. Disc one has Great picture quality, but the sound is fuzzy. Disc 2 has great picture and sound. I haven't been through disc 2 all the way and have only found one flaw in it. During the film transfer of THE DALTON'S WOMEN (1951), they got reel 2 and 3 reversed, so story goes from reel one to reel three and then reel two. After that it is okay. I'll let you know about the remaining five films on the 12 film set. But it is a great Lash La Rue set for any La Rue fan.
|Tom Goethe e-mailed about the latest release of the Lone Ranger TV program. Classic Media has released The Lone Ranger: Collector's Edition as of June 4. It has all 211 of the Clayton Moore and John Hart shows on 28 DVDs. Discs are in a Coffee Table Book. Two additional discs are included with the two Lone Ranger color movies, THE LONE RANGER (1956) and THE LONE RANGER AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD (1958). Also includes the Lassie episode featuring the Lone Ranger, 1960's cartoon and an Original Radio Broadcast. Slipcase around book contains graphics and the book has an episode guide with synopsis for all 221 programs. The suggested price on the DVD set is about $200.00. As always - shop around the online stores for the best price.
Amazon has it for about $124.00: http://www.amazon.com/The-Lone-Ranger-Collectors-Edition/dp/B00BSU0FPG/
Before buying the set, I suggest you look at the Amazon product reviews. Some reviewers mention that you may want to skip this set if you already bought The Lone Ranger - 75th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD set. And there are comments about the image and sound quality, whether some episodes were originals or syndicated versions, etc. The reviews are at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Lone-Ranger-Collectors-Edition/product-reviews/B00BSU0FPG/
The TV Shows On DVD website has a pretty good review and look at this set: http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Lone-Ranger-Collectors-Edition/18346
|VCI Entertainment released another cliffhanger in May, 2013. This one has future Three Mesquiteer hero Robert Livingston wearing a black costume, cape and carrying a whip as "The Eagle". He and sidekicks Raymond Hatton and Big Boy Williams lead a group of vigilantes doing battle with Fred Kohler, Robert Warwick and Bob Kortman who want to turn California into a Russian colony. Good role for Fred Kohler Sr. as a conniving, mad dictator. And Bob Kortman does his dastardly deeds wearing a Russian Cossack uniform.|
THE VIGILANTES ARE COMING (Republic, 1936) was among the earliest of Republic's serials, released soon after the company was formed in the 1935 merger of Monogram, Mascot, et al. The print used is not pristine, but is pretty good.
Available direct from VCI for about $16.00: http://www.vcientertainment.com/index.php?route=product/product&filter_name=vigilantes+are+coming&product_id=802&path=59
Available from Amazon for about $17.00: http://www.amazon.com/Vigilantes-Are-Coming/dp/B00CA3M85K/
|Monogram Cowboy Collection Volume 5 MOD (made on demand) three DVD set of nine Johnny Mack Brown Monograms was released in March, 2013. The Warner Archive website didn't list all of the titles as of March 1, but we understand the films are: THE TEXAS KID, PARTNERS OF THE TRAIL, LAW MEN, GHOST GUNS, GUN SMOKE, FRONTIER FEUD, BORDER BANDITS, RAIDERS OF THE SOUTH and CANYON AMBUSH.|
The DVD set is available for about $35.00 at the WB Shop: http://www.wbshop.com/search.do?query=johnny+mack+brown
GHOST GUNS (Monogram, 1944) is a personal favorite of Ye Old Corral webmeister - apparently Monogram needed to fill some time on this feature, so they included several minutes highlighting Evelyn Finley's riding skills as well as JMB's amazing gun twirling routine.
|Several years ago, the Video Kart, Ltd./Films Around The World began issuing DVDs which you could buy via their Video Kart website, and we had that info on this videotape/DVD webpage.|
Times have changed ... and DVD MOD (made on demand) seems to be the current rage. In 2012, Films Around The World started a new label called "Mr. FAT-W Video", discontinued their Video Kart website, and partnered with Amazon.com to manufacture DVDs to order, as well as offering downloads, streaming, etc. They have over a hundred films available through amazon, and that includes about 60 westerns (John Wayne Lone Stars as well as PRC oaters with Dean, Lash, Wayne, Crabbe, Steele and the Texas Rangers). Films Around The World is also the source on all/most all of the Dean, Lash, Crabbe, Wayne/Lone Stars and Steele/PRCs shown on Encore's Westerns channel.
Their MOD DVDs are about $10.00-$15.00 each, and the following link will take you to amazon.com and the full listing of titles:
|Rob Mohr, the proprietor of Hermitage Hill Media, e-mailed with some good news. Chapters 1-6 of the lost/missing Tom Tyler CLANCY OF THE MOUNTED (Universal, 1933) serial are now available on a single DVD for about $13.00. Chapters 7-12 are still lost/missing.|
January 6, 2013 update: not sure what happened, but am getting "Hermitage Hill Media is out of business" on the homepage at: http://www.hermitagehillmedia.com/
Rob has a clip online at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cwhuiqha6w
|Ron Blalock continues to monitor the Warner Archives and keep us updated on their new DVDs.|
Three MOD (made on demand) DVD sets were released in mid January, 2013, and can be ordered from the Warner Bros. Shop for about $19.00 each. Shop around and do price comparisons, as these should be available shortly on online stores such as Amazon.
The three film DVD set of George O'Brien oaters has MARSHAL OF MESA CITY (RKO, 1939), LEGION OF THE LAWLESS (RKO, 1940) and TRIPLE JUSTICE (RKO, 1940):
As the B western faded away in the 1950s, decorated World War II Navy pilot Wayne Morris starred in a brief series, and this two film DVD includes THE MARKSMAN (Allied Artists, 1953) and THE FIGHTING LAWMAN (Allied Artists, 1953):
Wild Bill Elliott is the hero in a double feature DVD containing FARGO (Allied Artists, 1952) and THE HOMESTEADERS (Allied Artists, 1953):
|Ron Blalock continues to monitor the Warner Archives and their release of Monogram westerns. Monogram Cowboy Collection Volume 4 MOD (made on demand) DVD set contains 9 Johnny Mack Brown and Jimmy Wakely Monograms. Titles on this three DVD set are: LAND OF THE OUTLAWS (1944), BLAZING BULLETS (1951), COLORADO AMBUSH (1951), TEXAS CITY (1951), SPRINGTIME IN TEXAS (1945), MOON OVER MONTANA (1946), RAINBOW OVER THE ROCKIES (1947) and SIX GUN SERENADE (1947). Also included is the lost/missing JMB title MONTANA DESPERADO (1951).|
Got a January, 2013 e-mail from pal Minard Coons who bought the DVD set: "Another top notch Monogram Films package. Quality can't be beat."
The DVD set is available for about $35.00 at the WB Shop: http://www.wbshop.com/product/monogram+cowboy+collection+volume+4+1000351399.do?sortby=ourPicks&from=Search
Critics Choice Video lists the DVD as in stock (and also priced at about $35.00): http://www.ccvideo.com/Movies/2494619/Monogram-Cowboy-Collection-Monogram-Cowboy-Collection-Vol-4-DVD
|Several folks have e-mailed about a company called Olive Films and many Republic westerns that they plan on releasing in DVD and Blu-Ray. There's a couple website articles about this, and the releases include some Mesquiteers ... and perhaps, the lost/missing John Wayne OREGON TRAIL (Republic, 1936).|
More info can be found at:
Olive Films website: http://www.olivefilms.com/
Their section on DVD and Blu-Ray westerns: http://store.olivefilms.com/+/Western.68/
|Before Kirby Grant became TV's Sky King, he did some westerns at Universal and portrayed a Canadian Mounted Police officer in a series for Monogram.|
In Summer, 2012, Warners Archives released a "Made On Demand" (MOD) DVD with three of Grant's early 1950s mountie films which feature Chinook the Wonder Dog.
Titles are YUKON MANHUNT, YUKON GOLD and NORTHWEST TERRITORY.
|There's more info at the WB Shop (and you can order for about $18.00): http://www.wbshop.com/product/kirby+grant++chinook+adventure+triple+feature+1000324035.do|
|In June, 2012, the WB Shop released a three DVD set containing 9 Johnny Mack Brown Monograms. Titles are: THE GHOST RIDER (1943), THE STRANGER FROM PECOS (1943), SIX GUN GOSPEL (1943), OUTLAWS OF STAMPEDE PASS (1943), RANGE LAW (1944), NAVAJO TRAIL (1945), FLAME OF THE WEST (1945), SHADOWS ON THE RANGE (1946) and LAW OF THE PANHANDLE (1950).|
Minard Coons bought this set: "Warner's Monogram Volume 3 is another high quality issue from Warner. Picture and sound top grade. If you are a Johnny Mack fan, add this to your collection."
Film titles and more info at the WB Shop (and you can order for about $35.00): http://www.wbshop.com/search.do?query=monogram
|Sometimes you get lucky when checking the DVD "bargain bins" at Target, Walmart, etc.|
On the right is a 3 DVD set from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment with John Wayne in THE BIG TRAIL (1930; B&W Full Frame), NORTH TO ALASKA (1960; Color and Widescreen) and UNDEFEATED (1969; Color and Widescreen) . The price on this was $9.95.
|The WB Shop released Monogram Collection DVD set Volume 2 in January, 2012, and it includes 8 films on 3 DVDs - 6 with Whip Wilson and 2 with Rod Cameron. Two of the Whip Wilson's are MONTANA INCIDENT (Monogram, 1952) and THE GUNMAN (Monogram, 1952), which are on our lost/missing westerns list.|
Film titles and more info at the WB Shop (and you can order for about $35.00): http://www.wbshop.com/product/monogram+cowboy+collection+volume+2+1000275061.do?from=Search
Buddy Minard Coons bought Volume 2: "Just finished the second Monogram western set. It is top quality picture and sound like Set #1. I never was a big Whip Wilson fan, but I found these westerns had good stories and cast and were most enjoyable. I even got to like old Whip a whole lot more."
|Michael Nella and Ron Blalock e-mailed me on this. The Warner Archives have started to release some of the 1940s Monogram westerns. Their Monogram Collection DVD set Volume 1 was released in late November, 2011, and there's 9 films on 3 DVDs - 4 with Johnny Mack Brown, 4 with Jimmy Wakely and one with Rod Cameron. One of the Wakelys is COWBOY CAVALIER (Monogram, 1948), which is on our lost/missing westerns list.|
Film titles and more info at the WB Shop (and you can order for about $35.00): http://www.wbshop.com/product/monogram+cowboy+collection+volume+1+1000252051.do?from=Search
Old Corral contributor Minard Coons bought the Volume 1 set and reports: "... finished the Monogram Cowboy Collection Vol. 1. Great westerns and they are crystal clear and excellent sound. Looking forward to Warner Bros. coming out with a Vol. 2."
|The Warner Archives have released two more DVD sets of Tim Holt's RKO series. Each set has five DVDs and ten films.|
Volume 2 was released in September, 2011 and contains ten of Holt's pre- and post World War II oaters.
Volume 3 was released around November 1, 2011 and has ten of Tim's 1950s westerns.
Each set is about $40.00 plus postage direct from the Warner Archive shop.
Scroll down this page for info on the Warner Archive Tim Holt DVD collection Volume 1 which was released in early 2011. The quality on Volume 1 was superb, and I'm assuming Volumes 2 and 3 will be the same.
Film titles and info for is at: http://www.wbshop.com/search.do?query=tim+holt+western+classics
|In October, 2011, VCI Entertainment released a two DVD set containing the final two films of Al 'Lash' LaRue, ALIEN OUTLAW (1985) and DARK POWER (1987). Both of these ultra low budget sci-fi/horror flicks are in color, and were shot in North Carolina by producer/director Phil Smoot. I was surprised with the color quality of ALIEN OUTLAW which stars pretty Kari Anderson as a sharpshooter and includes a cameo by Sunset Carson (with his twin six-guns, cowboy hat, etc.). In the ending of DARK POWER, Lash lets loose with about a hundred bullwhip snaps as he decaptitates a Toltec Indian spirit/zombie.|
I had never seen either of these films prior to this VCI DVD. My recollection from years past was that most everyone panned both movies. So I was intrigued and wanted to see if these were as bad as previously reported. Spent a interesting couple hours watching a greying, bearded LaRue who was in his late sixties when he did these two films. Lash has meaty roles and a good deal of dialog and screen time in both movies. But I kept thinking of him wearing black and wondering where was sidekick Fuzzy St. John. Overall, I did not find these films terribly bad ... nor terribly good either. Lash fans may want to order this. Oooh ... there is some nudity. There's some extras on the DVDs, and you can read more at VCI: http://www.vcientertainment.com/index.php?route=product/product&filter_name=alien+outlaw&product_id=585&path=59
This two DVD set is quite sharp and clear, and you can order direct from VCI for about $15.00. Amazon has it for about $13.50. As always, shop around for the best price.
|Here's three B+ or A- oaters from VCI and the print quality and DVD digital mastering on all three is quite good.|
TENNESSEE'S PARTNER (RKO, 1955) - John Payne gets first billing over Ronald Reagan. This has Payne opting to be a gambler rather than dirtying his hands mining for gold. And he partners up with the fast drawing Reagan. Payne is interested in red-headed Rhonda Fleming, the boss of a gambling and "entertainment" establishment. Reagan's love interest is Coleen Gray. Rough, tough Anthony Caruso plays a no good. All in glorious Technicolor.
SILVER LODE (RKO, 1954) - Respected Silver Lode citizen John Payne is about to marry Lizabeth Scott when Dan Duryea and his cronies (Harry Carey, Jr., Stuart Whitman, Alan Hale, Jr.) mosey into town to arrest Payne for murder and theft. Duryea, who is posing as a lawman, gets his come-uppance in a bell tower gunfight. Tense and well crafted, this is a good one. In Technicolor.
APACHE RIFLES (20th Century Fox, 1964) - William Witney directs Audie Murphy as a cavalry Captain that hates Indians and is in constant conflict with Michael Dante and the Apaches. But things change when gold is found on Indian land ... and Audie meets a lady missionary who happens to be part Indian. Extras include an interview with Michael Dante about director Bill Witney. Color by Deluxe.
You can order directly from VCI. I also did a price check at amazon and these were in the $10.00 - $12.00 range.
|VCI Entertainment released a two DVD set of the 13 chapter RED BARRY (Universal, 1938) serial in 2010. And I thought I had put up a blurb on this DVD, but didn't. Now catching up.|
Will Gould created the short-lived Red Barry detective King Features comic strip circa 1935 as competition to Dick Tracy, and it ran in the newspapers until the late 1930s.
BARRY was Buster Crabbe's third of five serials at Universal and it was helmed by action vets Ford Beebe and Alan James. Wise cracking detective Crabbe has the Chinatown beat, and does battle with mobsters, Russians and Chinese who are out to locate stolen bonds in the pre- World War II days. The female lead is cute Frances Robinson as a fast talking newspaper reporter with a Southern drawl. Wade Boteler is Crabbe's boss. And Frank Lackteen has one of his meatiest roles as the no good "Quong Lee".
This two DVD set from VCI is quite sharp and clear, and you can order direct from them. Amazon has this serial for about $18.00. As always, shop around for the best price. For example, Tom Goethe e-mailed that he bought his copy at Fry's for about $13.50.
|Circa 1976, MEANWHILE BACK AT THE RANCH was released on videotape, and I got it on either a Beta or VHS tape. This B western compilation/tribute was a collaborative effort of Packy Smith and Richard Patterson - Richard directed and Smith provided his B western knowledge, selected the heroes and film clips, etc. For those who had the original videotape - and for those who didn't - this compilation consists of scores of B oater movie clips put together into a wild and crazy western plot that runs nearly 90 minutes long. Pat Buttram does the narration.|
There's good news. The original 35mm source material was re-used to create a new DVD-R titled MEANWHILE BACK AT THE RANCH - THE ORIGINAL DIRECTOR'S CUT. What's great is that you can turn on the DVD subtitle option and the original film title will be shown under the clips. And I'm bettin' that you'll have a smile on your face watching lots of saloon brawls, cattle stampedes, and Indian attacks.
|The Gene Autry organization and Timeless Media released a multi DVD set of THE PHANTOM EMPIRE (Mascot, 1935) serial in June, 2011 and the price is about $35.00. The source print is from Gene Autry's personal film archive.|
I've got about a dozen versions of this serial on Beta, VHS and DVD, and don't need or want another. If someone buys this Autry Entertainment version, shoot the Old Corral webmaster an e-mail about the quality, extras, etc.
More info at the autry.com website where you can order the serial: http://www.autry.com/musicmovies/dvds/phantomboxset.html
|In late June, 2011, got several e-mails from ol' buddy Minard Coons who purchased the serial. Minard writes: "Got the PHANTOM EMPIRE from the Autry people. A great print. Just a few bad spots ... and they are only seconds long. Clearest print I have seen. Sound is perfect and worth the money. I got mine through Amazon. I have both the VCI and Serial Squadron tinted version DVDs of PHANTOM EMPIRE and I do believe the Autry one is better. The only thing that bugs me (with the Autry Organization version) is every so often they superimpose the Autry logo on it. Gives you the feeling you are watching TV. But other than that, it is the best version I believe."|
from Roan Group
|I don't recall ever buying a Roan Group DVD. I'm not sure what magic Roan used to create this DVD, but the print of WHERE TRAILS DIVIDE (Monogram, 1937) is absolutely gorgeous ... about the best you'll find for a lowly B-western. This is a good one with lawyer Keene finding his brother, portrayed by a youthful Dave Sharpe, working for a gang bossed by Warner Richmond.|
The Sinister Cinema DVD of Keene's THE PAINTED TRAIL (Monogram, 1938) is also quite sharp.
The Sinister Cinema DVD of BEYOND THE ROCKIES (RKO, 1932) utilizes a C & C Television print which has a soft focus ... but is reasonably decent. This one has Keene with three sidekicks - Ernie Adams, Julian Rivero, and Hank Bell.
The Alpha Video DVD of Keene's GOD'S COUNTRY AND THE MAN (Monogram, 1937) is just OK. In this one, Billy Bletcher is Tom's helper. And there's a brutal cliff top battle between Keene and Charlie King. Though the DVD cover shows Tom on a paint hoss, he rides a nondescript brown horse in this one.
Check the various DVD sources for the best price. Amazon has these for $10.00 or less.
from Sinister Cinema
|The Jeff Bridges version of TRUE GRIT was released in early June, 2011 in both standard DVD and Blu-ray versions.|
If you're interested, shop around for the best price. A quick check on amazon.com has the pricing at about $18.50 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo plus a Digital Copy) or about $15.50 for a plain DVD.
While you're at it, you might want to pick up the original John Wayne version on DVD - amazon has the regular DVD for about $8.50 and a Blu-ray at about $13.50.
The Bridges and Wayne versions are from Paramount and I would expect the quality to be very good.
from Sinister Cinema
from Televista, Inc.
|While doing research on Rex the Wonder Horse, I bought three of his Hal Roach/Pathe silents.|
NO MAN'S LAW (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1927) is from Sinister Cinema and can be ordered from them or through amazon.com. The price at amazon was about $8.50. The overall print quality is pretty good and playing the lead heavy - and wearing an eye patch - is Oliver 'Babe' Hardy.
One evening while searching on amazon.com and oldies.com, I found a Rex double DVD set with BLACK CYCLONE (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1925) and Rex's first starring film, THE KING OF WILD HORSES (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1924). The DVD manufacturer is listed as Televista, Inc. and the price was about $28.00. I took a chance and ordered, and the quality on this double DVD set was better than I expected. The human hero of CYCLONE is Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams.
I watched all three films in one sitting ... and then re-ran them a few days later. I thought Rex was good in the Mascot sound serials. But he's amazing in these adventures, exhibiting emotion and solid acting skills ... and the Hal Roach production people did a fine job filming Rex as well as the wild horse herds, hoss battles, etc. Overall, I had a great time viewing these.
Haven't yet ordered, but it looks like Grapevine Video has Rex in THE DEVIL HORSE (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1926) and WILD BEAUTY (Universal, 1927).
|VCI Entertainment continues to release western double features on DVD-R. The source prints used on all four of these DVDs are pretty good.|
The Range Busters Volume 6 DVD has TEXAS TROUBLE SHOOTERS (Corrigan-King-Terhune) and TEXAS TO BATAAN (King-Sharpe-Terhune). BATAAN has supreme stuntman Sharpe all over the saloon in a great brawl.
FUGITIVE SHERIFF and HEIR TO TROUBLE are the titles on the Ken Maynard Volume 9 DVD. These films are from his mid 1930s Columbia series and both are directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet.
The Tom Tyler Volume 4 DVD has ORPHAN OF THE PECOS and PHANTOM OF THE RANGE, both pretty good entries from Tyler's series for Sam Katzman's Victory Pictures.
The Buster Crabbe Volume 3 double feature has one of his best PRC oaters, DEVIL RIDERS, along with GHOST OF HIDDEN VALLEY.
Each is of these is about $15.00 direct from VCI.
|VCI Entertainment continues to release western double features on DVD-R. The source prints used on all four of these DVDs are quite good, and the mastering is also very good.|
I get weary of watching Republic after Republic ... or Monogram after Monogram ... or PRC after PRC. Seeing other heroes from other major or Poverty Row production companies is a nice break and here's four double features.
Melodious James Newill takes us North of the border in two RCMP yarns, including his first Renfrew.
There's a pair of Big Boy Williams oaters, including 'Big' and Al St. John in the 1935 THE LAW OF 45's, the first screen adaptation of a Three Mesquiteers story written by William Colt MacDonald.
I always wondered why Rex Bell didn't become a bigger western hero, and this DVD double feature has a pair from his mid 1930s Colony series (which includes an early role for a very young Dave Sharpe in Bell's THE IDAHO KID).
And there's singin' cowboy Bob Baker in his last two solo hero roles, the 1939 HONOR OF THE WEST and THE PHANTOM STAGE. The leading lady in HONOR is Marjorie Bell who later became Marge Champion of the Marge and Gower Champion dance team in MGM musicals.
Each is of these is about $15.00 direct from VCI.
|In March, 2011, VCI Entertainment released a single DVD of the 13 chapter Sam Katzman produced BRENDA STARR, REPORTER (Columbia, 1945). Inside the DVD case is a pamphlet noting that the source material isn't up to VCI's normal quality standards ... but that's all that exists of this serial ... and due to fan requests, they decided to bring this long missing cliffhanger to DVD. Some chapters look better than others. Because the original material had decomposed or been lost/tossed, there's sound and/or picture elements missing in Chapters 3 and 4 along with additional nitrate damage occuring in other parts. The pamphlet does include a synopsis of Chapters 3 and 4.|
Brenda is played by the luverly Joan Woodbury with assistance from Kane Richmond and Syd Saylor.
Rather than nitpick on the negatives, I'm just plain happy that this serial is now available to the home video market. Even with the noted glitches, the quality is very good ... better than I expected.
Priced at about $20.00 from VCI: http://vcientertainment.com/brenda-starr-reporter-p-706.html
Amazon has it for about $15.00: http://www.amazon.com/Brenda-Starr-Reporter-Serial-1945/dp/B004HCC2AI/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1300333858&sr=1-1
Leonard Maltin's review of BRENDA STARR, REPORTER: http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/archives/brenda_starr_reporterrescued/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed
Below is a screen capture of Woodbury from the opening titles and credits.
|In early March, 2011, Ron Blalock
sent me an e-mail advising that the Warner Archives Collection just released a Tim Holt Western Classics Volume 1 DVD set which has 5 DVDs containing 10 of Tim Holt's early, pre-World War II oaters. This is a "made to order" set from Warner Archives. Ron writes: "I ordered this set and received it yesterday. The picture quality of the DVDs in this set is mint. I highly recommend it to all b western fans."|
The Warner shop has the set for about $40.00 plus postage: http://www.wbshop.com/search.do?query=tim+holt+western+classics
Amazon has the set for about $34.00: http://www.amazon.com/Tim-Holt-Western-Classics-1/dp/B004P8R9LG/ref=sr_1_8?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1299419287&sr=1-8
|Over the last couple years, the Allan Lane DAREDEVILS OF THE WEST (Republic, 1943) has been shown at several nostalgia/film conventions. There's more wonderful news - the Serial Squadron has released a two DVD set of the serial and the price is about $30.00 plus a few bucks for postage. I received my copy in mid February, 2011. Directed by John English - and with Republic's quality pattern of action and stuntwork - this cliffhanger has twelve slam bang chapters with Lane, Kay Aldridge and Eddie Acuff vs. Robert Frazer, William Haade, Ted Adams and George J. Lewis. There's some missing sound in Chapters 1, 6, 7, and 8 which has been replaced with dubbing of the missing dialogue.|
Rather than concentrate on the few negatives, I'm thankful to Eric Stedman ("Dr. Grood") at the Serial Squadron for all his work to restore this exciting serial and bring us a very watchable, very enjoyable DVD.
You'll find details on the restoration work, along with some screen captures, and more at: http://www.serialsquadron.com/dvds/soundserials/daredevilsofthewest/
|There's a December 15, 2010 announcement at the official Gene Autry website - "... Timeless Media Group is the new DVD home of Gene Autry's feature films and his television series The Gene Autry Show." More info is at: http://geneautry.com/news/2010/timeless-new-dvds.html|
|Jack Tillmany bought this DVD collection, was completely disappointed, and e-mailed me with a BUYER BEWARE! warning for those who might be considering purchasing this. Thankfully, Jack's comments arrived in time as ye Old Corral webmeister was about ready to order the set.|
This six DVD / 20 film "Roy Rogers - King of the Cowboys" collection is from Timeless Media Group and labeled as "Authorized by the Roy Rogers Estate", "Licensed by the Roy Rogers Family Trust", "Digitally Remastered for the Best in Audio and Video Quality", and "Compiled with the assistance of Roy 'Dusty' Rogers Jr. and Jeffrey Kramer".
With all that fanfare, the expectation is that the films would be high quality, certainly better than other versions of Roy's films that have been churned out over the years on VHS and DVD from various bargain priced vendors and collectors. Checking the backs of the DVD covers, every movie is listed with running times between 62 minutes and 78 minutes, which implies that you're getting full length features, not 52 - 54 minute cut-down versions that fit a one hour time TV slot.
Priced at around $60.00 - $70.00 at online stores such as amazon.com and Barnes and Noble, this set is expensive ... and a very disappointing mix of B&W and Trucolor oaters, many of which are not in great shape. Most are not full length but are shortened versions with the Happy Trails Theater interviews that were done by Roy and Dale on The Nashville Network many years ago.
The creators of this DVD are even confused - for example, they list SONS OF THE PIONEERS (1942) as 64 minutes long and in Color (the original film was about 55 minutes and in B&W). The B&W SONS version in the set is 52 minutes long. Add in Roy, Dale and Ruth Terry doing Happy Trails Theater and the whole shebang totals about 61 minutes. Yet COWBOY AND THE SENORITA (1944) is complete at about 78 minutes and includes the Republic logo and opening/closing titles, but no Happy Trails chit-chat before or after.
On the positive side, there are the Happy Trails Theater interviews, a tour of the now closed Roy and Dale Museum, and some other special features.
|You'll find more info, including all the film titles and special features, at the Timeless Media Group website: http://timelessvideo.com/dvds/royrogers6dvd.html|
And there's a discussion about this DVD set at the Nitrateville website: http://nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?t=5838
|Great news - the Criterion Collection is restoring and doing a digital master of the John Wayne STAGECOACH (United Artists, 1939) which was directed by John Ford with filming in Monument Valley.|
Price is about $32.00 for either the regular DVD or BLU-RAY versions.
You'll find more info at: http://www.criterion.com/films/980
|Over the last thirty years or so, I've had a dozen or more versions of the 1938 Republic LONE RANGER serial. There were early Beta and VHS versions as well as a dark, murky and unwatchable 16mm mess. The Serial Squadron recently released a two DVD set of this 15 chapter serial and Eric Stedman (AKA Dr. Grood) spent about 400 hours working on the restoration. And the result is probably the best you'll see ... unless a miracle occurs and somebody finds an original and complete 35mm (which isn't likely). You need to be aware of the problems and issues, and there's a page on the Old Corral devoted to this aptly titled "Republic's Lone Ranger Serials" (click HERE and separate window will open). You can read about the restoration at the Serial Squadron website: http://www.serialsquadron.com/dvds/soundserials/loneranger/.|
You can order direct from the Serial Squadron website for about $30.00 plus postage.
On that same webpage, you'll find info on Serial Squadron's restoration of the second LR serial, THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1939) which starred Bob Livingston.
|VCI Entertainment continues to release serial DVDs. The image and sound quality of their Buster Crabbe BUCK ROGERS (Universal, 1939) cliffhanger is very, very good, and rivals the earlier Image Entertainment DVD releases of the trio of Crabbe's FLASH GORDON serials as well as VCI's DVDs of the two GREEN HORNET serials. Been a long time since I saw this 12 chapter serial - was great seeing Buster battlin' Anthony Warde as "Killer Kane".|
Includes lots of extras and bonus features: a history of Buck Rogers; a long audio commentary by Crabbe about his life and career that he did in 1972; two Buck Rogers radio programs; a wild and crazy Buck Rogers short from 1935; more. This two DVD set is about $30.00 directly from VCI. Shop around and you can find it for a bit less.
|VCI Entertainment has released a single DVD of the Mascot THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1932).|
That serial is one of my guilty pleasures, and VCI doesn't disappoint with this DVD ... and the print they used was quite sharp and clear.
Filmed over 75 years ago, MOHICANS stars Harry Carey, Sr. as Hawkeye. There's the monotone drone of female lead Edwina Booth. And there's Bob Kortman in his finest role as "Magua", war chief of the Hurons. Priced at about $20.00 from VCI, but it can be found for a few bucks cheaper at online stores.
|Another serial release from VCI Entertainment. The image and sound quality of their RADIO PATROL (Universal, 1937) is good but not equal to their BUCK ROGERS or GREEN HORNET serial DVDs. However, it is much better than the couple of VHS copies that I had from years ago. Looks like the print they used is from a 16mm Sherman S. Krellberg re-release. The hero is Grant Withers and his sidekick in Adrian Morris (the brother of Chester Morris). That same pair worked together in an earlier cliffhanger, THE FIGHTING MARINES (Mascot, 1935). Easy to spot Eddie Parker doubling for Withers. Frank Lackteen (as "Tahata") is one of the villains. Dick Botiller, who did bits in lots of films, gets some screen time and dialog as mustached henchman "Zutta". This single DVD is about $20.00 directly from VCI. Check the online sites and you'll find it for a few dollars less.|
|Tom Goethe e-mailed that the John Ford directed WAGON MASTER (Argosy/RKO, 1950), with Ben Johnson and Harry Carey Jr., has been released on DVD by Warner Home Video. Tom bought his copy at Fry's for $13.99 which is the same price that Amazon is selling it for. Best buy has it for $14.99. Tom said the picture quality is very good and was clear and sharp with no noticeable jumps or flickers like you sometimes see in older movies. The sound was good and the actors voices were clear and easy to understand. James Arness has a minor role as one of the bad guys along with Olympic Champion Jim Thorpe as a Native American. Included is a commentary by Harry Carey Jr. and Peter Bogdanovich. Tom said he was somewhat disappointed with this as he hoped it was a set down interview with the two of them. Instead of an interview, both do a voice over commentary as the film is run. So if you want to listen to their comments, you have to watch the movie a second time.|
|Tommy and Kathy Hildreth at Comet Video recently acquired a nice 16mm Trucolor print of the full length (approximately 75 minute) version of one of Roy Roger's best, SPRINGTIME IN THE SIERRAS (Republic, 1947) which was directed by William Witney. Lots of superb action with Roy, Jane Frazee, Andy Devine and the Sons of the Pioneers battlin' Stephanie Bachelor and Roy Barcroft.|
Has a great ending with Frazee in a fist fight with Bachelor, while Roy (Rogers) and Roy (Barcroft) slug it out on horseback with their empty Winchesters.
Comet can provide on DVD-R for about $10.00 plus shipping.
|VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films have released a two DVD "Big Iron Collection" containing the half dozen Jimmy "Shamrock" Ellison and Russ "Lucky" Hayden westerns which were released though Lippert Pictures in 1950 and directed by Thomas Carr. The films are: FAST ON THE DRAW, COLORADO RANGER, HOSTILE COUNTRY, MARSHAL OF HELDORADO, WEST OF THE BRAZOS and CROOKED RIVER. The producer was Ron Ormond who was also involved in the late 1940s - early 1950s films starring Don Barry and Lash La Rue. To minimize costs, all six were filmed together over a month long period and later edited into six features. The same cast appears in all the films: the heroine is lovely Betty Adams (better known a few years later as Julie Adams); and baddies and support players include Raymond Hatton, Fuzzy Knight, Stanley Price, Stephen Carr, George Chesebro, Bud Osborne, John "Bob" Cason, Dennis Moore, and a very old looking Tom Tyler.|
Some people are critical of these oaters, but I've always found them to be enjoyable. And Hayden and Ellison do work well together.
It's amazing that director Tommy Carr was able to keep things together and get these edited into some decent westerns. Carr (1907-1997) directed many of the Sunset Carson adventures at Republic, some Whip Wilson, Jimmy Wakely and Johnny Mack Brown Monograms, and then went on to helm early TV shows like SUPERMAN, RAWHIDE, WILD BILL HICKOK, more.
Nice job by VCI on the video restoration and mastering. You can order this two DVD set directly from VCI, and discount video sites like amazon have it for about $27.00 with free shipping. Got an e-mail from Byron Davidson and he bought the DVD at deepdiscount.com for $18.36 with free shipping. So check around for prices on any DVD.
Universal (1940), 13 chapters, and stars Gordon Jones, Keye Luke and Anne Nagel
|While the Old Corral is about B westerns, many of us are also fans of the cliffhangers. VCI Entertainment has come out with the two Universal Green Hornet serials. And the digital mastering and restoration is superb.|
Each comes on two DVDs. Also included on the DVDs are Green Hornet radio broadcasts along with extensive liner notes from author Martin Grams, Jr., who along with Old Time Radio expert Terry Salomonson, is writing a book on the Hornet which is due out in 2010.
You can order directly from VCI. Other video outlets also offer these serials, and amazon.com has them for about $25.00 each. Tom Goethe e-mailed - he picked up both GH serials at Fry's for about $20.00 each.
Universal (1941), 15 chapters, and stars Warren Hull, Keye Luke and Anne Nagel
|Back in 1979, there was a one hour color TV special that featured lots of television western heroes and performers. Titled "When The West Was Fun", the show had 50+ guests appearing live on the show. And there's lots of film clips.|
Appearing in person were: Michael Ansara, Neville Brand , Pat Buttram, Iron Eyes Cody, Chuck Connors, Johnny Crawford, Ken Curtis, Milburn Stone, James Drury, Doug McClure, Glenn Ford, Alan Hale, Jr., Will Hutchins, Jack Kelly, Guy Madison, Jock Mahoney, Clayton Moore, Slim Pickens, John Russell, Peter Brown, Larry Storch, John Ireland, Barry Sullivan, Lee Van Cleef ... and many more familiar faces.
I recorded this show on my first VCR, a Quasar VHS machine (which still works). A DVD was available, but looks like it's out of print. As of January, 2014, Amazon and CD Universe have some (extremely expensive) new and used DVDs: http://www.amazon.com/When-West-Was-Fun-Western/dp/B000NQ28K6
|VCI Entertainment has released a four DVD set containing the 29 episodes from season one of DICK POWELL'S ZANE GREY THEATER TV show. Powell hosted the series which premiered in late 1956 on CBS and continued for five seasons. It was produced by Four Star Productions which was owned by Powell, Ida Lupino, David Niven and Charles Boyer. Each episode is a story unto itself and there's scores of familiar A and B film actors and actresses in the casts. Overall, a very good series and VCI did an excellent job with the DVD image and audio. And with the mix of storylines and performers, you won't get bored. Over the five season run of the show, several episodes wound up being spun off into their own TV series. Included in this season one DVD is "Badge of Honor" starring Robert Culp as Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman, and Culp continued that role in his 1957-1959 CBS series TRACKDOWN. Directing five of the season one episodes was John English (who paired up with William Witney to create some great Republic serials).|
You can order directly from VCI. Amazon has the DVD for about $35.00. Tom Goethe sent an e-mail that Frys.com has this for about $25.00.
|Sinister Cinema has a lot of westerns and I bought these a couple months back. On the left is the DVD cover for TEXAS TORNADO (1928), the only surviving FBO silent starring Tom Tyler and Frankie Darro. And for years, I've been looking for a nice quality version of the Ken Maynard COME ON, TARZAN, and the Sinister DVD-R is pretty good. You can order directly from Sinster. I ordered mine through amazon.com and these were about $8.50 each.|
|Kit Parker Films and VCI Entertainment have released a DVD six-pack which they've titled as "Darn Good Westerns".|
The six films are HELLGATE (with Sterling Hayden and Ward Bond), FANGS OF THE WILD (with Charles Chaplin, Jr. and Onslow Stevens), TRAIN TO TOMBSTONE (with Don Barry and Robert Lowery), the Sepiatone PANHANDLE (with Rod Cameron), OPERATION HAYLIFT (with Bill 'Kit Carson' Williams), and the Cinecolor WILDFIRE (with Bob Steele and Eddie Dean).
Many of the two-strip color films done in Cinecolor are pretty bad. WILDFIRE is gorgeous - probably the best Cinecolor video I've seen. Eddie Dean is a lawman and Steele's helper. Eddie gets to sing. And about six months later, Dean began his starring series for PRC.
|On the left and right are DVD covers from two Mascot serials from Alpha Video/oldies.com which I recently purchased.|
BURN 'EM UP BARNES stars Frankie Darro along with Jack Mulhall and Lola Lane and is one of the better Mascots. The Alpha Video/oldies.com version (which came on two separately purchased DVDs, Volumes 1 and 2) is in pretty good shape.
On the right is the cover for THE DEVIL HORSE which stars Harry Carey Sr. and features young Frankie Darro as "the wild boy" who has been raised with a band of wild hosses. This comes on a single DVD and the quality is OK - not great and not bad. This serial features the stuntwork of Yakima Canutt where he holds on to the neck of Apache, the Devil Horse, and the animal tries to shake him off.
|VCI Entertainment has released DVDs of the Cisco Kid films starring Gilbert Roland and Duncan Renaldo.|
On the left is the DVD cover for three of the Duncan Renaldo Cisco adventures from Monogram and United Artists. The films are: THE CISCO KID RETURNS and IN OLD NEW MEXICO (featuring Martin Garralaga as Pancho) and THE GAY AMIGO (with Leo Carrillo as Pancho).
On the right is the multi DVD set containing six of the Gilbert Roland Cisco Kids which were released 1946-1947 by Monogram. The films are: THE GAY CAVALIER, SOUTH OF MONTEREY, BEAUTY AND THE BANDIT, RIDING THE CALIFORNIA TRAIL, ROBIN HOOD OF MONTEREY and KING OF THE BANDITS.
|Tom Goethe reminded me of some additional bargain priced DVD collections of western films and TV programs from Mill Creek Entertainment at: http://www.millcreekent.com/|
On the left is a 20 film collection (on 4 DVDs) of the Bob Steele and Buster Crabbe "Billy the Kid" oaters. On the right is a 20 film collection of Roy Rogers (on 4 DVDs).
Bruce Love has also been buying multi DVD sets from Mill Creek Entertainment. On the right is a DVD cover for one of their 50 film collections (on 12 DVDs). On the left are DVD covers for two of their 100 film collections (on 24 DVDs).
If you have a bunch of free time, there's always Mill Creeks' 250 western pack on 60 DVDs. You can find these Mill Creek DVDs at various online sellers including amazon.
A bit of caution when buying these. There are so many of these sets available that it does get confusing, and you don't want to get a bunch of duplicate films. At the Mill Creek website, they do list the film titles in each set, and clicking on a film title will tell you which sets contain that film. For example, the Roy Rogers HANDS ACROSS THE BORDER is included in the Roy Rogers 20 Movie Pack, The Way West collection, and The Guns of the West - 100 Movie Pack compilation
|Several years ago, Image Entertainment digitally mastered the trio of Buster Crabbe/Flash Gordon serials onto DVD, and the result was stunning. At that time, each serial was in the $25.00-$35.00 range.|
For price conscious shoppers, there's good news. Late in 2008, Image packaged the 3 serials together, and the bargain price for all 3 is around $20.00 suggested retail.
Tom Goethe mentioned that he recently bought the Flash Gordon serial 3 pack at Best Buy for $14.99.
I checked Amazon.com and their price was about $18.00.
|Thanks to Tom Goethe for sending me an e-mail reminder on this. Classic Media owns the rights to the Lone Ranger. In November, 2008, they released a beautiful THE LONE RANGER: 75TH ANNIVERSARY - SEASONS 1 AND 2 DVD set that contains all 78 episodes from Season 1 and 2. All have been digitally remastered and all star Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels as the Lone Ranger and Tonto. There's 13 DVDs in the set - 12 DVDs are for the 78 TV shows and the 13th contains special features. Also included is a poster, trading cards, an 88-page souvenir booklet, more.|
I got my copy of this wonderful set (which has a list price of about $120.00) for about $84.00 (includes free shipping) from amazon.com. While that's a fairly large pricetag, remember there are 13 DVDs in the set.
There's an interview with Classic Media about this box set at: http://www.homemediamagazine.com/tv-dvd/classic-lone-ranger-rides-dvd-nov-11-13556
|One of the oaters on our Lost and Missing B-Westerns list was the Tex Ritter ROLLIN' WESTWARD (Monogram, 1939).|
Alpha Video/Oldies.com has released that lost Ritter film - paired up with Tex's ROLLING HOME TO TEXAS (Monogram, 1941) - and the price is about $6.00: http://www.oldies.com/product-view/5753D.html
|The Old Corral is about the B grade western. But you may be interested in this 4 DVD set of Errol Flynn Warners westerns, as the DVDs also contain a batch of the Warners western shorts. The Errol Flynn Westerns Collection includes MONTANA, ROCKY MOUNTAIN, SAN ANTONIO and VIRGINIA CITY features. Included are the following Robert Shayne Santa Fe Trail series shorts: OKLAHOMA OUTLAWS, WAGON WHEELS WEST, the lost/missing GUN TO GUN, ROARING GUNS, TRIAL BY TRIGGER, and FRONTIER DAYS. Also on the DVDs is the Dennis Moore short WELLS FARGO DAYS (originally titled THE MAN FROM TASCOSA).|
|Thanks to Tom Goethe for the reminder on the silent film WITH SITTING BULL AT THE SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE (1927).|
This features a young Bob Bradbury, Jr. (before he became Bob Steele at FBO) along with a young Chief Yowlachie (as Chief Sitting Bull). This was churned out by Anthony J. Xydias' Sunset film production company circa 1927, and the director is Bob Steele's father, Robert North Bradbury. This DVD is about $18.00 from amazon.com.
The American Film Institute (AFI) has a good summary on this silent: http://www.afi.com/members/catalog/AbbrView.aspx?s=1&Movie=1685&bhcp=1
|On the right is the DVD cover of VCI Entertainment's new digital restoration of the serial THE PHANTOM EMPIRE (Mascot, 1935) which starred Gene Autry and featured Frankie Darro, Betsy King Ross and Smiley Burnette.|
I've got some screen captures from the DVD - click HERE.
|On the left and right are DVD covers of two of the John Wayne 1932-1933 series of oaters for Warners. In 2006, Warners released these on triple feature DVDs. In 2007 - in honor of Wayne's 100th birthday celebration - the six westerns were released as single feature DVDs. The eerie HAUNTED GOLD is the best of the bunch. These DVDs are available through many online video retailers.|
|Eric Stedman of the Serial Squadron worked long and hard to bring out the best quality in his restoration of the second Lone Ranger cliffhanger, THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN. If you're not familiar with the issues on the two Lone Ranger serials - and the less than pristine quality of the available prints - take a gander at the Old Corral menu item "Republic's Lone Ranger Serials". Part of Eric's restoration efforts included the removal of the Spanish sub-titles.|
You may also be interested in the restoration work on the second Allan Lane King serial KING OF THE MOUNTIES which is also available on DVD from the Serial Squadron.
You can read more about the restoration of THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN at: http://www.serialsquadron.com/
And info on the KING OF THE MOUNTIES restoration is at: http://www.serialsquadron.com/
The Serial Squadron has done more "collector-to-collector" cliffhangers including ZORRO'S FIGHTING LEGION, FLAMING FRONTIERS, THE VANISHING LEGION, THE PHANTOM EMPIRE and THE SIGN OF THE WOLF, more: http://www.serialsquadron.com/
|VCI Entertainment continues to do digital mastering and DVD releases of lots of serials. Below are DVD covers of some of their western and non-western cliffhangers. BATTLING WITH BUFFALO BILL (Tom Tyler) and WHITE EAGLE (Buck Jones) are 2008 releases. They've also digitally remastered and released Grant Withers in JUNGLE JIM, both the 1937 and 1945 versions of SECRET AGENT X-9, Johnny Mack Brown in FIGHTING WITH KIT CARSON and FLAMING FRONTIERS, Republic's KING OF THE ROYAL MOUNTED with Allan Lane, Dennis Moore in RAIDERS OF GHOST CITY, OVERLAND MAIL with Lon Chaney Jr., and Bill Kennedy in THE ROYAL MOUNTED RIDES AGAIN. Recent non-western releases include: JUNIOR G-MEN OF THE AIR, THE PHANTOM CREEPS, SCOUTS TO THE RESCUE, three DICK TRACY cliffhangers, Ruth Roman as the JUNGLE QUEEN, and the two TAILSPIN TOMMY serials.|
|On the left and right are DVD covers from two of the beautiful digital restorations of Gene Autry's features and TV series. Quality is superb on these DVDs from Image Entertainment - best you can find on Gene's films. The TV show DVDs include four complete episodes and some extras. The official Gene Autry website lists the available VHS and DVDs of Gene's films, including the Republics and Columbias that have been remastered. These are available through the Autry website as well as many online DVD vendors.|
|Tom Goethe sent an e-mail about various TV western DVD box sets from Timeless Video/Timeless Media Group. Included are THE TALL MAN with Barry Sullivan and Clu Gulager, TATE with David McLean, CIMARRON CITY with George Montgomery, THE RESTLESS GUN with John Payne, LAREDO with Neville Brand, RIVERBOAT with Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds, THE LIFE AND LEGEND OF WYATT EARP with Hugh O'Brian, BRANDED with Chuck Connors, THE GUNS OF WILL SONNETT with Walter Brennan ... as well as DVDs on THE LONE RANGER and CISCO KID programs. Tom bought his DVDs at Fry's but mentioned that amazon also has them.|
|VCI Entertainment has a multi DVD set containing three of Republic's Zorro serials: ZORRO'S FIGHTING LEGION, ZORRO RIDES AGAIN and ZORRO'S BLACK WHIP.|
ZORRO'S FIGHTING LEGION (Republic, 1939) is among Republic's best and stars Reed Hadley. ZORRO RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1937) has melodious John Carroll in the lead versus Noah Beery, Sr. and Richard "Dick" Alexander, and this serial is one of my favorites. ZORRO'S BLACK WHIP (Republic, 1944) stars lovely Linda Stirling.
Yakima Canutt was involved in the stuntwork and/or second unit work in all three cliffhangers.
|Kit Parker Films and VCI Entertainment have a three DVD set containing six of the Lippert westerns from circa 1950. The films are: THE GREAT JESSE JAMES RAID (with Willard Parker), RENEGADE GIRL (with Ann Savage), RETURN OF JESSE JAMES (with John Ireland), GUNFIRE (with Don Barry), DALTON GANG (with Don Barry), and I SHOT BILLY THE KID (with Don Barry).|
|One of the several DVDs authorized by the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans organization is the Cinecolor TRAIL OF ROBIN HOOD. Sadly, this is the 1988 "Happy Trails Theater" version - not the full length version - and is from Goodtimes Video. Roy and Dale do the introduction, and their Happy Trails Theater guests include Iron Eyes Cody and Penny Edwards.|
TRAIL OF ROBIN HOOD (Republic, 1950) was released in December, 1950, and in keeping with the Holiday season, the plot has baddies stealing Christmas trees from Jack Holt's tree farm. Roy is helped by a bunch of helpers and guest stars: Rex Allen, Allan 'Rocky' Lane, Monte Hale, Gordon Jones (who was Roy's sidekick at that time), Kermit Maynard, Tom Tyler, Ray 'Crash' Corrigan, Tom Keene, William Farnum, George Chesebro, and Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage. TRAIL OF ROBIN HOOD was the last of Roy's Trucolor westerns, and he did five more starring films before exiting Republic to concentrate on his TV series. The DVD includes several nice extras including a Roy/Dale museum tour, a lengthy memories piece about Roy's sidekicks, more.
|On the left and right are DVD covers from two of the western serials from Alpha Video/oldies.com.|
Oldies also has other serials, including many of the Mascots such as Clyde Beatty in THE LOST JUNGLE and Red Grange in THE GALLOPING GHOST.
|Alpha Video/oldies.com specializes in B movies and serials, and most are public domain. They have a ton of westerns and the price is about $5.00 per DVD. The quality does vary from poor to quite good, depending on the source print. Above and below are covers of a half dozen of their western DVDs.|
|Tom Goethe sent me an e-mail about a series of DVDs called "Zane Grey Western Classics". Lions Gate Entertainment has partnered with the Zane Grey organization, and brought out a batch of (primarily) B-westerns that were based on Zane Grey novels. Cover art for the James Warren CODE OF THE WEST and Tim Holt UNDER THE TONTO RIM are shown on the left.|
In addition to Warren and Holt RKO films, there's: Gary Cooper in FIGHTING CARAVANS (Paramount, 1931); Randolph Scott in WAGON WHEELS (Paramount, 1934); Buster Crabbe in THE ARIZONA RAIDERS (Paramount, 1936); Tim Holt in THUNDER MOUNTAIN (RKO, 1947); Robert Mitchum in NEVADA (RKO, 1944) and WEST OF THE PECOS (RKO, 1945). You can find individual DVDs for less than $9.00 and there are some four film box sets for about $25.00.
|VCI Entertainment's Johnny Mack Brown collection includes BAD MAN FROM RED BUTTE (Universal, 1940) which features Bob Baker and Fuzzy Knight, and RAWHIDE RANGERS (Universal, 1941). In RED BUTTE, Brown has a dual role as twin brothers, one good, one bad. Anne Gwynne is the heroine. in RAWHIDE, JMB seeks revenge on the killer of his brother. Kathryn Adams and Nell O' Day portray sisters.|
VCI's Roy Rogers Collection includes BELLS OF SAN ANGELO and UNDER CALIFORNIA STARS, both in Trucolor and both in uncut (long) versions. SAN ANGELO is one of my favorite oaters, and includes the brutal fight between Roy and stuntman Dave Sharpe (who portrays cantankerous, just plain mean "Gus Ulrich").
|Grapevine Video specializes in silent era films.|
Silent oaters include adventures starring Jack Perrin, Hoot Gibson, Jack Hoxie, Bob Custer, Bill Patton, Neal Hart, Fred Thomson, Tom Mix, and others as well as animal stars Rin Tin Tin and Rex, the Wonder Horse. For Yakima Canutt fans, Grapevine has a couple of his silent starring westerns. And they even have some silent starring films of Edmund Cobb who became a prolific sound era baddie and support player.
Grapevine also has some sound westerns and cliffhangers.
|VCI Entertainment has issued DVDs of THE ADVENTURES OF RED RYDER serial and many of the Red Ryder features starring Bill Elliott, Allan Lane and Jim Bannon.|
It was great to see THE ADVENTURES OF RED RYDER serial in DVD format (I have the Nostalgia Merchant tape of this from 25+ years ago). And hitting the pause button to try to determine faces of the supporting players was great also - the freeze frames were clear and it was easy to spot Dave Sharpe stunting for Don Barry. RR is definitely one of the top western themed serials of all time.
On the left is one example of VCI's RR double and triple features. Their DVD double feature #2 has Allan Lane as Red Ryder and Bobby Blake as Little Beaver in STAGECOACH TO DENVER and VIGILANTES OF BOOMTOWN. STAGECOACH has Roy Barcroft as the brains heavy and a meaty role for Peggy Stewart as the cigarello-smoking good/bad girl named "Beautiful". VIGILANTES is the story of the fight between Jim Corbett (George Turner, future lead in Republic's 1947 serial, SON OF ZORRO) and Bob Fitzsimmons (John Dehner). Included is a lengthy interview with Peggy Stewart in which she fondly remembers Billy Elliott, Mickey 'Sunset' Carson, her ex-hubby Don Barry ... the toupees worn by the Republic leading men ... and when she started calling Allan Lane "bubba butt" (or is it "bubble butt").
|Artisan released the Tom Tyler ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL serial on DVD in late 2003. Artisan became part of Lions Gate Entertainment, and the serial is still available direct from Lions Gate or through online sellers including amazon.|
Some comments and cautions on "bargain bin" DVDs.
At your local dollar store or drug store or whatever, there is generally a DVD and VHS tape "bargain bin" of public domain films and cartoons which sell for a buck or two. Included are some John Wayne Lone Star westerns, the Superman cartoons, etc. Some of these tapes and DVDs aren't bad ... but many are terrible quality.
I got lucky with this $1.00 DVD on the left which has a pair of Eddie Dean PRC oaters, HAWK OF POWDER RIVER and BLACK HILLS. Quality was reasonably good on this double-sided DVD. The DVD hub ring and the back of the DVD cover listed this as a "Treasure Box Collection".
There are scores of collectors and videotape suppliers that cater to fans of the old B western and serial.
The following is a listing of the ones which I'm familiar, and I've gotten tapes and DVDs from some of them in the recent or distant past.
If you click on a link below, be aware that the Old Corral is NOT part of any money-making 'associates' or 'referral' programs with click-thru icons that take you to websites to purchase videos or whatever. And none of these companies or individuals are sponsors or pay to have a link included below.
There are lots more videotape suppliers which you can find via Internet Search Engines and the like. And don't forget that you may be able to purchase/order some videos through your local video rental store. Lastly, don't forget to check your local library which may have some westerns and serials for you to view.
The sources below are of two types:
1. 'mass market' vendors that sell major video releases ... and they also have some westerns and serials.
2. vendors that specialize in westerns and cliffhangers, and cater to the 'secondary market' and 'collector-to-collector'.
I don't have any way to identify and keep track of the quality, price and such on the thousands of videotapes, DVDs, and DVD-Rs that are available from the sources listed below. Nor can I keep track of their service, response and prices. There's one general rule - do not expect a 60 year old western or serial to be in the same shape as a new movie. Remember also that some of these old westerns and cliffhangers are in poor shape due to the age and condition of the source prints used in creating the master (and a good example of poor quality source prints are the two Lone Ranger serials of the late 1930s).
Additionally, I'm not trying to create a massive list of every videotape supplier that has a website address or e-mail. Nor am I trying to keep track of every western and serial DVD that gets released. There's a fairly large group of Old Corral regulars and contributors and we regularly communicate with each other. I will gladly add additional video links if the recommendations come from those folks. The reverse is also true - if I hear from some of the regulars/contributors about problems with one of the video suppliers below, I will probably remove them from the list.
These are not listed in any order or priority ranking. And nothing should be implied by the absence of a website in this listing.
Latest additions and updates will be at the top of the listing.
|Videotape and DVD Companies/Suppliers/Mail Order vendors|
(not in any particular order)
|The Warner Bros. archives has been doing some quality westerns on made on demand (MOD) DVDs such as their recent collections on Tim Holt, Johnny Mack Brown, Jimmy Wakely, Whip Wilson and Kirby Grant: http://www.wbshop.com/|
|The Warner Bros. Shop carries the Sony Pictures Choice Collection which includes made on demand (MOD) DVDs featuring Russell Hayden, Buck Jones, Bill Elliott, Charles Starrett/Durango Kid, more: http://www.wbshop.com/category/wbshop_brands/warner+archive/sony+pictures+choice+collection.do|
|The Screen Archives website has DVDs: http://www.screenarchives.com/|
|The South Carolina ETV are selling DVDs of Sunset Carson's "Six-Gun Heroes" PBS TV series. But the DVDs are very expensive - as of April, 2012, they were $34.95. The following link will take you to their DVD store. In the top left search box, type in 'Six-Gun Heroes' and run the search: http://etvstore.org/|
|Carl Bennett operates the Silent Era site which caters to those early films. Included is info on silents released in VHS and DVD: http://www.silentera.com|
|VCI Entertainment offers a variety of westerns and serials on VHS and DVD: http://www.vcientertainment.com/ and http://vcient.com|
|Tommy & Kathy Hildreth at Comet Video have lots of serials and westerns on VHS and DVD-R: http://www.cometwesterns.com/|
|Timeless Music / Timeless Media Group has DVDs of many TV westerns as well as some John Wayne and Roy Rogers films: http://timelessvideo.com/westerns.html and http://timelessvideo.com/|
|Mill Creek Entertainment in Minneapolis, Minnesota has a variety of multi-DVD packages of westerns, as well as the first LONE RANGER serial. Their homepage is at: http://www.millcreekent.com/ and in the left side menu, click on Westerns.|
|One of the first places to check for a videotape, Laserdisc, DVD or films is the eBay auction website (especially useful in locating movies which are no longer offered/discontinued by the commercial vendors). This link will take you to the eBay DVDs and Movies page: http://dvd.ebay.com/|
|There are several mail order websites that offer discounts on DVDs:|
|Looking for DVDs and want to check for the best prices:|
try the DVD Price Search website: http://dvdpricesearch.com/
try amazon.com (in the search box at the top of the webpage, click on 'Movies and TV' category): http://www.amazon.com
|Kit Parker Films licenses their film titles (from Robert L. Lippert, Supreme, Weiss Brothers-Artclass) to companies that produce DVDs for the commercial/home market including VCI Entertainment and Criterion Collection. More info, including their extensive film catalog, is at: http://www.kitparker.com/|
|Lions Gate Entertainment does the Zane Grey series DVDs as well as THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL serial, more. Go to: http://www.lionsgateshop.com/|
|Ron McKnight sent a July, 2005 e-mail. He ordered the 18 DVD Kirby Grant SKY KING TV series collection and was satisfied with the quality. The box set includes all 72 episodes which were digitally mastered from the original film reels in the correct order as they were broadcast on TV. There is also a 132 page book about the Sky King series and performers. The box set runs about $250.00 plus shipping and you can find more info and ordering details at: http://www.skyking.com/|
|Fred Shay specializes in serials, but has other stuff. E-mail your questions and wants to Fred at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or telephone him at 973-398-7336 from 8 AM to 9 PM eastern time.|
|Finders Keepers Video has a lot of TV shows as well as B-movies and serials: http://www.otrdvd.com/|
|The TV Shows on DVD website has various television shows available. Their homepage is at: http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/. The following link will take you to their westerns page: http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/releaselistshows.cfm?Genre=15&Studio=0&ShowName=H|
|The Hopalong Cassidy/US Television/Sagebrush Entertainment organization has restored, full length Hoppy films, Hoppy TV shows, and some of the Republic film library. The initial batch of 8 Hoppy DVD double-features were done through Image Entertainment. The Hoppy website homepage is at: http://www.hopalong.com/home.asp|
As of Summer, 2004, US Television/Hopalong Cassidy has partnered with Platinum Disc for their next round of Hoppy DVDs: http://www.hopalong.com/whatsnew.asp
But as of December, 2006, Hoppy DVDs are being produced by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment (which acquired or merged with Platinum in 2005). Their Hopalong Cassidy films and TV page is at: https://www.echobridgeentertainment.com/search.php?keyword=hopalong+cassidy§ion=homeent
|In addition to the Hoppy films, Echo Bridge Home Entertainment has many western movies and TV series: https://www.echobridgeentertainment.com/search.php?keyword=western|
|The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans official website at royrogers.com is being rebuilt (when I checked in July, 2013, and same status when I re-checked in August, 2014): http://www.royrogers.com/|
|The official Gene Autry website lists available VHS and DVDs of Gene's films, many of which have been restored to nice quality: http://www.autry.com/musicmovies/|
|Video Kart/Films Around The World is releasing various PRC westerns and other features through amazon's made on demand (MOD) service: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dmovies-tv&field-keywords=%22Mr.FAT-W+Video%22&rh=n%3A2625373011%2Ck%3A%22Mr.FAT-W+Video%22|
|Image Entertainment - if you search for a particular title, check to see what company is the provider as Image's website catalog includes their own products as well as stuff from other vendors: http://www.image-entertainment.com/|
|oldies.com/Alpha Video has a lot of westerns, serials and various B-grade films, many of which appear to be public domain. And they also sell DVDs from other companies at discount. Go to: http://www.oldies.com/|
|Once in a while, the overstock.com site has some westerns or serials at reduced prices: http://www.overstock.com|
|The Serial Squadron continues to bring out some cliffhangers in VHS, regular DVD, and DVD-R formats on a collector-to-collector basis: http://www.serialsquadron.com/|
|Dan Harville, 3639 Midway Drive B-326, San Diego, California 92110: http://www.lifeisamovie.com|
|Boyd Magers, Western Clippings/VideoWest, 1312 Stagecoach Road SE, Albuquerque, NM 87123. Boyd's e-mail address is: email@example.com and his website is at: http://www.westernclippings.com/|
|Greg Luce at Sinister Cinema has a variety of serials and westerns on VHS and DVD-R: http://www.sinistercinema.com|
|Earl Blair, Captain Bijou: http://www.captainbijou.com|
|Movies Unlimited (on the leftside menu, click on 'Category' and you'll see menu items for Westerns and Serials): http://www.moviesunlimited.com/|
|Grapevine Video has an extensive catalog of silent westerns and serials as well as other films and vintage TV shows: http://www.grapevinevideo.com/|
|Shokus Video (TV Shows): http://www.shokus.com/|
|Critics' Choice Video: http://www.ccvideo.com/|
|amazon.com (at the top of their webpage, select 'Movies and TV' category): http://www.amazon.com|
|You may also want to check various mass marketing, book and electronics stores such as:|
Best Buy (click on 'Music, Movies and Books' when you get to their site, and then select 'Movies'): http://www.bestbuy.com/
Barnes and Noble (click on 'Movies & TV' when you get to their site): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/
WalMart (click on 'Electronics', then on 'Movies' when you get to their site): http://www.walmart.com/
Target (in the menu at the top of their webpage, click on 'See More', then 'Movies'): http://www.target.com/
Frys (in the tabs at the top of their webpage, click on the 'Movies' tab): http://frys.com/
|Below - websites which were on our original video list, but are no longer working:|
|Unsure of the status of Richard Orsak, Western Trails Video, who did serials and westerns on VHS and DVD-R. Couple of years ago, he was planning to do a website at: http://www.westerntrailsvideo.com/ but it is was not in operation when I checked in April, 2013 and-August, 2014.|
|Nostalgia Family Video (formerly Discount Video/Hollywood's Attic) - as of August, 2011, the website was no longer working: http://www.hollywoodsattic.com/|
|The Hal Roach organization had been releasing Laurel & Hardy material on DVDs. The website was no longer working as of January, 2008: http://www.halroachstudios.com/|
|Suppliers - Film, Silents, Blackhawk Films library, et al
(few if any westerns or cliffhangers)
|One of the first places to check for 8mm/16mm/35mm films is the eBay auction website. This link will take you to the films webpage (various formats including VHS, Laserdisc, DVD and films). Click on "films": http://dvd.ebay.com/|
|Milestone Film & Video, P.O. Box 128, Harrington Park, New Jersey 07640-0128: http://www.milestonefilms.com/|
|Festival Films, 6115 Chestnut Terrace, Shorewood, MN 55331: http://www.fesfilms.com/|
|WEBSITE WAS NO LONGER WORKING AS OF JANUARY, 2008 - Golden Era Films, P.O. Box 223, Wanaque, NJ 07465: http://www.goldenerafilms.com/index.php|
|Can't Remember A Film Title?
Check These Movie Databases/Listings.
There are several movie databases available on the Internet. The main issue is that they are generally updated by folks like you or I, thus some of the data may be inaccurate or incomplete. But if you have a question about a movie title or a person associated with films, you should check these websites:
|PAL, SECAM & NTSC: For those of you who are not in the U.S., you need to be aware of the different videotape/television standards that are utilized throughout the world - NTSC is the U.S. Standard, but PAL and SECAM are standards used in many other countries. Thus, a VHS tape that you buy in the U.S. will be NTSC, and can NOT be played on a VHS machine that is PAL format. You can read more about this at:|
|About DVD-R: (pronounced DVD dash R): DVDs in the DVD-R format are available from several dealers (which are noted in the listing above with a red DVD-R). These are NOT the standard "pressed" video DVDs that you rent at the neighborhood video store. These are recordable DVDs that are made via a personal computer. Most newer DVD players can play these. However, older DVD players may have a problem. If you have a reasonably new PC with a built-in DVD player, DVD-R should play OK on your monitor screen ... or through the PC and onto a TV if you have that capability. If you're confused or unsure about DVD-R capabilities, check the manuals that came with your PC or DVD player ... or find the website of the manufacturer of your PC or DVD player and check there.|
Need more info - the DVD FAQ is at: http://www.dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html
More on the compatability issue is at: http://www.dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html#4.3
Info/listings of DVD players that are compatible/incompatible with DVD-R is at: