Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hopalong Cassidy rides off into the sunset


First there is this link to an article about Hopalong Cassidy.

And there is this personal postscript:  

I miss watching TV westerns, and I wonder why they have disappeared? Why do you suppose they have become extinct? Perhaps it has something to do with political correctness and guilt. After all, given the new attitudes in American culture, we seem to be quite busy revising or erasing a lot of chapters in American history. TV westerns might be incompatible with those new attitudes. So, what do you think?




39 comments:

  1. R.T.--good question. I tried watching _Have Gun Will Travel_ a few years ago. It was one of my favorite westerns way back when. However, when I watched them again, I quickly lost interest and didn't watch more than three or four episodes. Richard Boone, though, was a fine actor, and I always enjoyed him in whatever films I found him in.

    Perhaps it was the 30 minute format which eliminated any sense of complexity to the story. It really struck me as simplistic this time around.

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    1. Good point, Fred. I've watched some episodes of Gunsmoke recently, and the experience was a mixture of positive and negative. Perhaps contemporary scripts, directors, actors, and production techniques could deliver some good shows.

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    2. we watched as much Gunsmoke as we could get, not too long ago and really liked it; but we're both rather, even tho old, rather child-like...

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    3. Mudpuddle, three cheers for child-like. It beats being old and serious.

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    4. I'm a Richard Boone fan myself. Did you see him in Against a Crooked Sky? Someone really needs to update and remake that film.

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    5. Sharon, I've like Boone in every performance I've seen.

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  2. TV westerns usually included clear 'good guys' and 'bad guys,' Tim. Perhaps that's part of what made them so popular. This is just my personal opinion, but I don't see things as 'black and white.' And I know that history wasn't really the way it's often portrayed in those old westerns. I suppose that's why they've honestly never appealed much to me.

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    1. Margot, perhaps boys rather than girls were bigger fans. That sounds rather politically incorrect, doesn't it?

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    2. It's quite possible that westerns were more interesting to boys, Tim. I don't think my gender is the reason they've never appealed to me. But subconsciously, who knows?

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  3. The story of the hero who arrives on the scene to right wrongs is mythic, not naturalistic. It is the tale of the knight errant.

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    1. Frank, the archetype ought to work still, so why not in TV westerns now? The pattern appears in plenty of other films and TV shows.

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    2. i think it did: it's all John Wayne's fault...

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    3. Mudpuddle, John Wayne also made being military more appealing but challenging: it was hard to live up to being made in his image.

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  4. Tim,

    I loved watching westerns in the 1950s and 1960s and I'm recording and watching some of the old shows on MeTV, such as "Gunsmoke," "Have Gun Will Travel," Rawhide," and others.

    TV series today, mostly, it seems to me, are about awful people. Viewers today tend to like deeply flawed and troubled characters rather than well-adjusted and heroic ones. And although I too watch dark comedies and dramas about awful people, I'd like to see more shows like "Blue Bloods,' a show about a decent law enforcement family.

    Or a good, old fashioned TV western...

    Paul

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    1. Paul, I wonder if an audience exists now for the blasts from the past we old farts so much enjoy? You're right about so many awful people in contemporary series, but the good guy heroes still exist; see Frank's observation about knights in shining armor.

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    2. the only modern tv series we've been able to watch is "Chuck"... and even it's a bit iffy at times...

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    3. Mudpuddle, my wife dragged me through the several years of the Fargo series: grim stuff! I prefer Mayberry.

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    4. I think Foyle's War is like that. I usually can't stand amoral characters but Inspector Foyle has dignity and a strong sense of right and wrong. I've been pleasantly surprised by this series. Too bad netflix decided to stop streamlining it. Now we have to wait for the disc to come in the mail.

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    5. Sharon: we watched all the episodes and really liked them; the actor who played Foyle did a masterly job, imo...

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    6. Sharon--I've watched the complete Foyle's War series twice now and see no reason why I shouldn't go back for a third viewing sometime down the road.

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  5. MeTV, a channel that is doing well with old reruns, claims to have young viewers as well.

    James Arness noted before he died that a good number of young people had discovered "Gunsmoke" and were huge fans of the old western.

    Andy Griffith said the same thing about "The Andy Griffith Show."

    But for TV advertisers, we oldsters don't purchase enough to count, so most TV shows are aimed at the young consumers...

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    1. Paul, of course, you're right. It's all about the money!

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  6. I just realized something. While I watched numerous westerns on TV and also many, many western films, I never got interested in reading westerns. I've read a few, but that's all. I wonder why that is.

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    1. Fred, I wonder: age is a factor. Plus there is this: reading and watching are such different activities for the mind.

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    2. Fred: Zane Grey is pretty good: i've read five or six of those... the trouble with most of them is that they're so badly written...

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    3. Mudpuddle, which are worthwhile?

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    4. R.T.--or perhaps I just overdosed on TV and film westerns.

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    5. Mudpuddle--you just reminded me of something I had forgotten. Long ago my father belonged to the Zane Grey Book of the month club or something like that, so as far as I know I have read all of his westerns. Maybe that's why I don't read westerns now.

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    6. Fred: !!! impressive! he wrote a bajillion books, and not all westerns... he loved the woods and wrote books about hunting and hiking and horse riding also...

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    7. Mudpuddle--it was only the westerns that I read. I don't remember anything other than westerns that my father got.

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  7. Fred,

    "True Grit," "Lonesome Dove," and "The Shootist" are three great western novels, all made into fine films/TV series. I'd also recommend Elmore Leonard's great western stories, which he wrote before he covered modern crime stories.

    Paul

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    1. Thanks, Paul. I second the motion on Leonard's westerns.

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    2. Paul--I've seen two of those films, but didn't know they were based on novels. I'll keep them in mind. Thanks.

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  8. When I was a kid I loved Gunsmoke and my favorite was the Wild Wild West. I fantasized about being a Cowboy. The incongruity of me as a little girl riding my horse into the sunset with Robert Conrad and company did not strike me at the time.

    I think a lot of today's shows are built on pretension. People watch them not because they are so good but because they think they are being "sophisticated" by watching them.

    Also, young people are inexperienced. When you've only eaten poptarts how do you know what a meal at a Michelin starred restaurant tastes like? Your standards are stunted.

    Not that I would necessarily compare old westerns with Michelin restaurants but you get my drift...

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    1. Sharon: that's an excellent comment on the value of education...

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    2. Mudpuddle, which is more valuable: education or experience? If someone is bright, either helps. If a person is not bright, neither helps. Of course, I do like Poptarts. And I'm wary of overpriced restaurants. I'm beyond help.

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    3. RT I like poptarts too, but if that is all you've ever had or are only satisfied with that I think it is because you haven't had anything better. (Not you personally, I mean the universal "you").

      I am thinking of some friends of mine who just love, love, love books that are not written well and are, in fact, baby pap in substance. I think it is because they have not exposed themselves to quality literature.

      Sure it's great to read the occasional light, yummy summer read, but I wouldn't want that to be my only mind food.

      I think I'm lecturing now. Sorry.

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    4. Sharon, lecturers are welcome here. Will there be a quiz?

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    5. Sharon: we're on the same page about education... i haven't the foggiest about where to draw the line between experience and education, but i know from my own history that experience without education is like toast without peanut butter...

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