Books, Print Media, Newsletters
Several folks have asked about books and print media related to cowboy films and cliffhangers. I'm not peddling books and periodicals, but the following info and weblinks may help you locate some interesting readin' and reference material.
|Purchase & Search for New, Used, Rare, Out-of-Print books:
eBay Auction website - books
AddAll Book Search Search
Barnes and Noble
Advanced Book Exchange
Powell's Books (New & Used)
Hamilton Bargain Books
Oldies.com has a lot of film-related books
The official websites for Gene Autry and John Wayne have books:
Autry National Center of the American West
John Wayne Birthplace Museum
The following publishers have a lot of books on cinema, TV, and radio:
University of Oklahoma Press
Bear Manor Media
|Merrill T. McCord has written a wonderful biography on Nell O'Day titled Ballerina on a Horse, The Life, Careers, and Times of Nell O'Day.
To most B western fans, Nell O'Day is best remembered as the fast ridin' cowgirl and helper to Johnny Mack Brown in thirteen of his early 1940s oaters for Universal.
Born 1909 in Texas, Mildred Nell Roach became a dancer and singer, and in the 1920s, toured with the Tommy Atkins Sextet and also did some theater. In the early 1930s, she performed in New York stage plays as well as movies. Nell's first western was SMOKE LIGHTNING (Fox, 1933) with George O'Brien.
She also was the heroine in the serial PERILS OF THE ROYAL MOUNTED (Columbia, 1942) and B westerns with Tim Holt at RKO, Republic's Three Mesquiteers, Monogram's Range Busters, and PRC's Texas Rangers.
She was married twice and both ended in divorce. In her later years, she concentrated on writing screenplays, TV scripts, stage plays, magazine articles, more. And in the 1950s, she did some industrial films (information and instructional films for companies). A multi-talented lady, Nell shared her life and experiences as a guest star at several 1980s film fests.
This 8 1/2 x 11 softcover has 219 pages, over fifty photos, and a complete film listing as well as a year-by-year careerology.The book is $25.00 ($20.00 plus $5.00 U. S. postage), and can be ordered from:
Merrill T. McCord
10208 Fleming Avenue
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
Merrill did a presentation on his Nell O'Day book at the September, 2023 Mid Atlantic Nostalgia Covention in Maryland. YouTube has a video of his presentation at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuplfZ1wrjo
An earlier book from Merrill T. McCord was Brothers of the West, a super biography of the Randall brothers - Bob Livingston and Jack Randall.
|Leo Pando's An Illustrated History of Trigger - The Lives and Legend of Roy Rogers' Palomino was published over ten years ago and was deemed by self and many others as the definitive work on Roy Rogers' famous palomino and many look-alikes, doubles, etc.
In 2019, Leo's Trigger - The Lives and Legend of Roy Rogers' Palomino - second edition adds recently discovered info and lots more details on Trigger, Little Trigger, more, and includes nearly a hundred new photos, many of which have never been published. New material includes much on the move of the Roy and Dale Museum in Victorville, California to Branson, Missouri ... the failure and closing of the Branson venture in 2009 ... and the sale/auction of Trigger, dog Bullet, et al. Forewards by Corky Randall, the son of horse trainer Glenn Randall, and Roy and Dale's daughter Cheryl Rogers - Barnett.
This 7 x 10 softcover has 373 pages and is about $40.00 from McFarland.
A great read from Leo with significant updates from his earlier Trigger volume.
Info on author Leo Pando and his Trigger books: https://leo-pando.com/
More on the updated Trigger book at the McFarland website: https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/trigger/
Also available for about $40.00 from amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Trigger-Lives-Legend-Rogers-Palomino/dp/147667163X
|Film historian Ed Hulse has authored Behind the Mask: The Making of Republic's Lone Ranger Serials.
Published in late 2018, this 7 x 10 trade paperback has 93 pages and is chock full of photos, posters, lobby cards, correspondence, etc. on THE LONE RANGER (Republic, 1938; 15 chapters), THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1939; 15 chapters), and HI-YO SILVER (Republic, 1940), the feature version of the first serial.
Hulse had access to files of George W. Trendle, the broadcasting magnate who owned Detroit's WXYZ radio station and the Lone Ranger character. He also includes comments and behind-the-scenes details from his interviews with co-director William Witney, writer Barry Shipman, stunt man Yakima Canutt, cast members George Montgomery, Herman Brix (Bruce Bennett), others.
The relationship between Trendle and Republic Pictures was not peaceful and quiet, and Trendle was livid over the unmasking of Lee Powell as the LR in the first serial. Lots of other tidbits are covered - a few examples: there's contract details, legal wranglings and lawsuits; John Wayne was (briefly) under consideration to portray the masked rider in a feature; Bob Livingston was really unhappy about Republic putting him back in westerns and giving him the starring role in RIDES AGAIN; and Universal Pictures almost landed the Lone Ranger for a cliffhanger planned for the 1940-41 release season.
The creation and evolution of the LR radio program is also covered with details on Trendle, director James Jewill, writer Fran Striker, the 1941 death of Earle Graser in an auto accident, Brace Beemer taking over the role, etc.
Behind the Mask is a great and fun read. Priced at $12.50, you can order from Hulse's Murania Press website or from Amazon:
|A GATHERING OF GUNS: A HALF CENTURY HISTORY OF TV WESTERNS (1949-2001) by Boyd Magers covers the 50 year evolution of the Western on TV from 1949 to 2001.
Info on 196 series, and the book is 478 pages and over 1,600 images and photos. Organized chronologically, each series has the stars, network affiliation, times and days of the week aired, number of episodes, color or B/W, start and end dates, network competition, directors, producers and writers. Virtually every series includes quotes and anecdotes from the stars and guest stars.
Price is about $50.00 postpaid in the U. S.
Book details and ordering info at Boyd's Western Clippings website: http://www.westernclippings.com/
|THE HAPPIEST TRAILS by John Brooker is a fantastic trip down memory lane, and many of the chapters are from interviews that John did with B western guys and gals. John hails from the UK and has always been fascinated by the low budget oater. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he toured the U.S. via bus ... and that's when he chatted with dozens of our B western players.
The 8 1/2 x 11 softcover version is massive - there's about 575 pages, loads of photos, lots of interviews, and articles about various aspects of the B western and the people working in the genre.
The "Who's Who" section in the back of the book runs about 65 pages and has over a thousand small face shots of heroes, heroines, stunt people, villains, henchmen, etc.
A good read and addition to your personal library. Printed on demand and you can order from lulu.com:
Softcover is about $50.00: http://www.lulu.com/shop/john-brooker/the-happiest-trails/paperback/product-23135647.html
Hardcover is $60.00: http://www.lulu.com/shop/john-brooker/the-happiest-trails/hardcover/product-23165064.html
|SATURDAY HEROES Photos & Fascinating Facts is Bobby Copeland's last book. He was working on it when he passed away October 5, 2016.
Thankfully, Bobby's wife Joan and Bill Russell finished the book.
It's a glossy cover paperback, 8 1/2 x 11 inches, and has 138 pages. This book does not follow Bobby's previous book formula and layout. Inside are full page and half page images of many of our western heroes. And underneath the images are various facts and trivia about their life, marriages, divorces, real names, colleges, legal problems, birth, death, etc. Major B western stars like Starrett, Autry, Rogers, Boyd, and a few others get multiple page coverage.
Interesting and fun read with a lot of tidbits on many western movie players.
Available from the BookPatch (publish-on-demand printer) for $15.95 plus postage: http://www.thebookpatch.com/BookStore/saturday-heroes-photos-and-fascinating-facts/e370e288-e200-4ca8-a213-10194ec9ecd1
|I was about six or seven years old (1949-1950) when I saw my first B western ... and that hooked me on the genre. There was a Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie paired up with SONG OF OLD WYOMING (PRC, 1945) which starred new singin' cowboy Eddie Dean, Al La Rue (before his days as "Lash"), and one of my favorite sidekicks, whiskered old-timer Emmett Lynn.
Texan Eddie Dean spent his early years performing on the road, on radio, and doing records for various companies. His first movie appearances were minor, uncredited roles in 1938-1939 Gene Autry and Hopalong Cassidy adventures. He finally got his chance as a western hero in 1945 for producer, director and jack-of-all-trades Robert Emmett Tansey at lowly Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). From 1945-1948, Eddie starred in 18 oaters (19 if you count PRAIRIE OUTLAWS, the re-edited B&W version of WILD WEST). Five were shot in Cinecolor, and Dean was the first B western star to have a series shot in color.
Author Stephen Fratallone has done a marvelous job on Eddie Dean: The Golden Cowboy. Included are lots of details on the family and early days of Eddie (and brother Jimmie) ... there's many family photos ... tidbits gleaned from various audio interviews with Eddie and others ... and family remembrances, much of which came from Eddie's son Ed Jr. He also did a lot of radio, and you'll learn more about his time on the WLS "National Barn Dance", Gene Autry's "Melody Ranch", the "Judy Canova Show", more. There's also tie-ins to Dean's many pals and business associates including Autry, Glenn Strange, Max Terhune, Andy Parker (of the Plainsmen singing group), Johnny Bond, Smiley Burnette, the Sunshine Boys, Les Paul and Mary Ford, music composer Fred Rose, celebrity manager Art Rush, more. Eddie is considered by myself (and many others) as having the most beautiful voice of all the singin' cowboys. This is a great - and long overdue - tribute.
Published by BearManor Media, this 6 X 9 softcover has 464 pages, several hundred photos and movie art work, record/album discography, film listing, info on Eddie's brother Jimmie, more.
Available directly from BearManor Media and priced at about $33.00: https://bearmanor-digital.myshopify.com/products/eddie-dean-the-golden-cowboy-by-stephen-fratallone?_pos=1&_sid=5b50599f5&_ss=r
Paperback, hardbound and Kindle versions are available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Eddie-Dean-Golden-Stephen-Fratallone/dp/1593937806/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426460910&sr=1-1&keywords=eddie+dean
|The Texas Rangers: Two Decades on Radio, Film, Television, and Stage by Ryan Ellett and Kevin Coffey chronicles the life of the Texas Rangers western singing group which was together from the early 1930s through the early 1950s.
Their initial home was Kansas City's KMBC radio station. The quartet did westerns with Gene Autry and Johnny Mack Brown as well as a few other features with Judy Canova and the Hoosier Hot Shots. They were also the first group that Autry used in the initial season of his Melody Ranch radio show. Occasionally, they expanded with four additional members (on musical instruments), and you can see that eight member contingent in Autry's COLORADO SUNSET (Republic, 1939).
This book is an interesting perspective on the Rangers and the individual members - as they did westerns, radio shows, personal appearances, early television, et al. And its full of insights documenting their ups and downs, peak entertainment years during the Depression and World War II period, and their fade in the post WW2 years.
A good read, the paperback edition measures about 9 x 6 and has 345 pages. There's a filmography, recording sessions, radio program details, more. Most recall the Sons of the Pioneers as the main (or only) singing group in the old B western. We tend to forget that there were many other talented songsters in those ol' cowboy films. Glad the Texas Rangers are getting credit for their many years of work.
Published by BearManor Media and priced at about $26.00: https://bearmanor-digital.myshopify.com/products/the-texas-rangers-two-decades-on-radio-film-television-and-stage-by-ryan-ellett-and-kevin-coffey?_pos=1&_sid=c3a7e37ff&_ss=r
Paperback, hardbound and Kindle versions are available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Texas-Rangers-Decades-Television-Hardback/dp/1593935900/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410617737&sr=1-2&keywords=kevin+coffey
|I Am Mister Ed ... Allan "Rocky" Lane Revealed by Linda Alexander is available from BearManor Media.
While there's a lot of info floating around on the early and later Hollywood careers of Harry Leonard Albershart (Allan Lane), there were many mysteries about semi-pro football, stage plays, New York photography business, several marriages ... and life after his film career ended. Linda Alexander has done a bang-up research job and her book has a treasure trove of new and corrected info on Lane before and after he was a cowboy and cliffhanger hero at Republic Pictures.
After the exit of her first husband, Lane's mother Anne married Will Costello. Linda connected with the Costello family who fondly recalled "Uncle Harry" and provided lots of new insight and many photos. Must reading for Lane fans, this softcover is about 6 X 9, has a tad over 300 pages, and the price is about $27.00 from BearManor Media: https://bearmanor-digital.myshopify.com/products/i-am-mister-ed-allan-rocky-lane-revealed-softcover-edition-by-linda-alexander?_pos=2&_sid=178bd557d&_ss=r
Amazon has the paperback and Kindle editions: http://www.amazon.com/Mister-Allan-Rocky-Lane-Revealed/dp/1593935730/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411043793&sr=1-1&keywords=I+Am+Mister+Ed+...+Allan+%22Rocky%22+Lane+Revealed
|If you're are a fan of the B western, you probably also listened to several - or many - of the western themed radio programs. Radio Rides the Range - A Reference Guide to Western Drama on the Air, 1929-1967 was edited by Jack French and David S. Siegel and is another great book from McFarland. About twenty Old Time Radio historians cover about a hundred programs, including some that may bring back fond memories - you'll learn about radio's Lone Ranger, Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry's Melody Ranch, the Roy Rogers Show, Straight Arrow, Ken Maynard's Tales from the Diamond K, Buck Jones' Hoofbeats, Red Ryder, Sky King, All-Star Western Theater, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, The Six Shooter, lots more. There's information on surviving audio copies, availability of original scripts, a year-by-year timeline of shows, and a two-page listing of obscure westerns where little if any info is available.
This 7 x 10 inch paperback has 232 pages and is about $50.00. A Kindle digital version is also available for about $16.50.
There's more on the book at McFarland (and you can order from them): https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/radio-rides-the-range/
Amazon also has it: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/185-2343179-1358342?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=%22radio%20rides%20the%20range%22
Google has some preview pages online: http://books.google.com/books?id=VfLaAQAAQBAJ&pg=PR7&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false
|Boyd Magers has published his B-Western Movie Reviews - Volume 1 - 3, and the three volume set contains over 2200 reviews.
For more on book content or to order, visit Boyd's Western Clippings website: http://www.westernclippings.com