Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Overlooked Films: Roy Rogers in ROUGH RIDERS ROUND-UP (1939)


Here's a Roy Rogers flick with a slightly different twist. But actually, it's so slight that if you miss the first five minutes, you probably won't notice. The film opens with Roy and a troop of Rough Riders, still in uniform, just returning from their exploits on San Juan Hill. Next thing you know they're getting off a stage at an Arizona Border Patrol station, to start their new careers. And that's it for the uniforms. Next time we see them, they're dressed like regular movie cowboys. 

Still, it's not quite your average Roy oater, because his crust old sidekick in this one is played by veteran cowboy actor Raymond Hatton, and he does a fine job of it. I have nothing against Gabby Hayes, but it's nice to see someone else in the role. Trigger was also absent, which is neither here nor there. The rest of the film is pretty ordinary Republic fare until the climax, when Roy calls on the gang of ex-Rough Riders to come to his rescue. 

Along the way, Roy finds time to sing two tunes. One has some cowboy flavor and the other is a sappy love song. I guess that's better than singing two sappy love songs. Here's the movie:


Your Overlooked Films Round-Up is at Sweet Freedom

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cap Gun Monday: Kilgore PRIVATE EYE

Is this the gun Stu Bailey carried? Mike Hammer? Peter Gunn? No, probably not. Heck it's not even the one I carried, back in my pretend private eye days (that was a Mattel Shootin' Shell .38). Still, this is a nice little piece - 6 1/2 inches of pure shiny pot metal. And it's still a virgin, because it's never fired a roll of caps. 

Lots more Cap Guns HERE

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Toy Soldier Saturday: MARX Round-Hat (Zorro) Mexicans - Part 1

These guys, designed for the Marx Zorro playset, are called Round-Hats to distinguish them from the shako-wearing Alamo attackers I featured HERE. Competent as these guys look, Zorro consistently made them look like schmucks. We'll meet the rest of this slap-happy gang in Part 2. 

More Toy Soldiers HERE.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Forgotten Books: HOME IS THE HANGMAN by Richard Sale (1949)

Richard Sale, the "Dumas of the Pulps" and the creator of Daffy Dill, authored ten novels, but this wasn't one of them. What is it is is a collection of two long magazine stories that have absolutely nothing to do with HOME and dang near nothing to do with a HANGMAN. Still, because Sale was such a great storyteller, I enjoyed this more than many novels written by lesser humans. 
The lead story, occupying 96 of the 160 pages, appeared in the August 31, 1940 issue of The Saturday Evening Post under the title "Sailor Take Warning." Near as I can tell, it was published under that title in Great Britain (and probably Australia) in paperback in 1942. For this Popular Library edition, though, the story was retitled "Home is the Hangman," and (I suspect) was given a slight makeover to update the text. It was also given a cover by the talented Rudy Belarski, no doubt recycled from one of the many Popular Publications pulps.
The story involves an American sent to Haiti to man a weather station after his predecessor is murdered. As you'd expect in a Sale story, he's caught up with a lot of weird and mysterious characters, and as you'd expect in the Saturday Evening Post, he has a little romance along the way. Much of the intrigue revolves around a sunken Nazi submarine, apparently the means by which a war criminal known as "The Hangman of Dachau" (not the historical Hangman, Emil Mahl, but a fictional one called Veilsen Reinhardt) escaped justice. And that's where the updating comes in. The story was originally published in 1940, but now takes place several years after the war, presumably 1949. One of these days I'll have hunt down that issue of the Post and confirm (or obliterate) my suspicions.
The rest of the book is a novelette called "Beam to Brazil," first published as a serial in the February, March and April 1943 issues of Country Gentleman. This one is firmly set during wartime, and features a radio operator sent to Peurto Rico to get a transmitting station up and running in time to direct an air convoy to Brazil, and then on to Africa. It's another crackling good yarn, and marginally more fun than the first, because the hero displays a touch of Daffy Dill-type attitude.

This week's other Forgotten Books are featured at pattinase. Next week, while Patti takes a well-deserved break, I'll be hosting the links right here.