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Those Old Western Movies

If you are like me (in the late 70s age group in 2020), you may remember going to the movies on Saturday afternoon as a kid. I remember the 9 cent admission charge in our small town in Minnesota and, with my mother giving each of us a dime, my brother and I could still buy a piece of candy for a penny. The matinee often featured a western movie or had an ongoing serial which would last several Saturdays in a row as an introduction to the main movie. You might see the Lone Ranger and Tonto, the Cisco kid and Pancho, the Durango Kid or other cowboy stars like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans.

Those Saturday afternoon memories came rushing back when my brother sent me a website link he thought I would enjoy. It was a link to an ten-minute slide video entitled "Whatever happened to those old westerns and their stars?. Over 60 cowboy actors are shown against a backdrop of one or more of their western movie posters. The year of their birth is listed for each along with their year of death if appropriate. While watching the cowboy stars going by, you hear the Statler Brothers singing "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott?" followed by Duane Eddy performing the theme song music from "High Noon" and the "Paladin" TV series.

That video was updated in 2020 and is now available on YouTube (click here to view). For those actors who had not died nor had a death year listed in the original 2006 video, the update by WF Willis inserts death years for the actors through the first part of 2020. Unfortunately, but as expected, many more of those actors have been admitted to cowboy heaven since 2006 such as James Garner (Bret Maverick), Hugh O'Brian (Wyatt Earp), Clint Walker (Cheyenne), and Kirk Douglas (Posse). Adding those who have died since the latter part of 2020 would include James Drury (The Virginian) and western character actor L. Q. Jones.

In December of 2021, Willis put together another video entitled "Those Old Westerns--Part II, The Women Stars." He identifies 190 women (and their birth year and death if applicable) who starred in western movies. Besides Dale Evans, remember Amanda Blake in Gunsmoke and Grace Kelly in High Noon? John Wayne had a number of women actors starring in his movies such as Ina Balin in Comancheros and Kim Darby in True Grit. That video is now attached as a choice at the end of Willis' first video on male western stars or can be specifically viewed on You Tube at (click here to view).

By the way, if you enjoy this video you might want to view a similar seven-minute "Cowboy Movie Star Tribute" video on YouTube from the Henager's Museum website (click here to view).