Yesterday was supposed to be film day. I’m sorry I didn’t get that post written on time. I’m still getting used to blogging. Anyway, let’s get to the Saturday Theater. The film is about to start!
On October 13th, 1937, Roy Rogers became a contracted actor at Republic Studios. He was hired to put pressure on Gene Autry, the most popular singing cowboy hero at the time. Autry felt that the studio wasn’t paying him enough for the work he did. He was threatening to “go to the mat” for the pay raise he deserved. Republic hired Roy so that if Autry followed through with his threat, they could simply fire Autry and promote Roy as the new cowboy hero. It worked for a while. In fact, for the first couple of months Roy didn’t do much of anything. A few bit parts here and there, but nothing major. He was just there to remind Autry that there was another cowboy available. Then Autry up and quit – the morning that filming was supposed to start on his newest film, Washington Cowboy. The studio called Roy in and offered him the leading roll. Roy was happy to get it, though he certainly didn’t like the way it came about. Despite all the press stories about their rivalry, Roy and Autry were friends and respected each other. With a few minor script revisions and a change of title, Roy’s first starring role was made. This is the film we’re going to “see” today.
Under Western Stars
65 minutes (black and white)
Producer: Sol C Siegel
Director: Joseph Kane
Screenplay: Dorrell and Stuart McGowan and Betty Burbridge
Cast: Roy Rogers, Trigger, Smiley Burnette, Carol Hughes, Maple City Four, Guy Usher, Tom Chatterton, Kenneth Harian, Alden Chase, Brandon Beach, Earle Dwire, Jean Fowler, Dora Clement, Dick Elliott, Burr Caruth, Charles Whitaker, Jack Rockwell, Fred Burns, Tex Cooper, Earle Hodgins, Jack Kirk, Jack Ingram, Frankie Marvin
Plot: Roy’s first starring feature film finds him involved with dust bowl conditions of the west during the 1930s. He is elected to Congress by ranchers in his district in an effort to get the attention of Washington politicians.
Carol Hughes plays the daughter of Roy’s opponent in the Congressional race. She supports Roy even though her father scolds her for it.
Roy performs his first dangerous stunt at the end of this film. He leaps off Trigger onto a wagon full of dynamite. He then climbs to the front and turns the wheels, thus heading the wagon away from the dam it was intended to blow up. He jumps clear just before the wagon explodes.
Trigger is not called by name in this film, though Roy addresses the horse directly in his next film Billy the Kid Returns.
Songs: “Dust”, “Send My Mail to the County Jail”, “Back to the Backwoods”, “Rogers for Congressman”, and “When a Cowboy Sings a Song”
If you would like to watch Under Western Stars, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vMu2v_qP30
You can also buy it as a DVD or Instant Video at http://www.amazon.com/Under-Western-Stars-Roy-Rogers/dp/B001PPGAQW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1376833328&sr=8-3&keywords=Under+Western+Stars