NEW ‘WINNETOU’ ON AMERICAN TURF!
(Author Karl May dressed as Old Shatterhand)
Winnetou, the Mescalero Apache chief created by German Western writer Karl May well over a century ago, may have a new life onscreen. Virtually unknown in the United States, where they are set, the tales of Winnetou, Old Shatterhand, Old Surehand and Old Firehand are among the most beloved and oft-read stories in the non-English-speaking world. But they’ve rarely been translated into English.
In the 1960s, the tremendously successful series of Winnetou films based on the books, made my Germans in what is now Croatia, were the start of the European, later Spaghetti, western film industry. All starring Pierre Brice as Winnetou, and most starring Lex Barker as Shatterhand, the mostly European casts included Rod Cameron, Stewart Granger, Guy Madison and Mario Girroti, later known as Terence Hill.
The shooting locations are the site of annual pilgrimages (see my article WINNETOU-PALOOZA HERE)
and various German television versions have been made over the years. Now the German film mini-major Constantin Film announces that they’ve signed Michael Blake, who scripted DANCES WITH WOLVES from his own novel, to adapt WINNETOU. Intended to shoot next year in New Mexico, it would be the first time one of May’s stories was filmed near its geographical setting. Incidentally, May did visit the U.S. once, in 1908, and despite frequent claims to the contrary, he wrote at least one more Western, WINNETOU IV, after the sojourn. Incidentally, there are other Winnetou projects in the works – the property is in public domain – and I’ll tell you more when I know more.
HONEST ABE SURROUNDED!
You may remember that the previous Round-up was devoted to the proposition that Westerns are NOT dead in spite of industry disappointment at COWBOYS & ALIENS’s box-office take (currently $110 million!). Speaking of bloated budgets, I said, “We’ll have to wait and see how ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER does with its $70,000,000 outlay. As a Paramount Pictures insider put it to me, it’s a movie that should be made. But it should be made by The Asylum for $250,000.”
I just heard from The Asylum partner and production honcho David Latt: “Hey Henry! Thanks for the suggestion...and you'll be happy (sad?) to know that ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES is already in the works. Ours will cost less than $70 million. Promise.” And I bet I’ll enjoy their’s more.
ROY ROGERS’ 100th BIRTHDAY CELBRATIONS CONTINUE!
Events have been going on all summer around the country. Roy’s actual 100th birthday will be on November 5th, and the summer is a whole lot more convenient a time to celebrate. What promises to be a terrific event will be taking place Saturday, August 27th at Roy and Dale’s old Double R Bar Ranch in Victorville. Among those taking part in the festivities will be Roy’s daughter Mimi Rogers and grand-daughter Julie Ashley Pemilla, actors Dick Jones, Ty Hardin, Hugh O’Brien, Andrew Prine, Bo Hopkins, Dan Haggerty, Donna Martell, Darby Hinton and Beverly Washburn, and authors Julia Ann Ream and Charlie LeSueur. For all the particulars, go HERE.
AND WATCH ROY IN ‘BELLS OF SAN ANGELO’ AT THE AUTRY
Also on Saturday, August 27th, at 2:00 p.m., the Autry will celebrate Roy Rogers’s 100th birthday with a special screening of Bells of San Angelo (1947). It features Roy, Dale, Andy Devine, David Sharpe, and of course, Trigger. It’s directed by William Witney from a Sloan Nibley screenplay. There will also be a discussion about the Autry’s efforts to conserve the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Archive.
THE WEST OF LEONE RETURNS - ALMERIA WESTERN FILM FESTIVAL
Spain’s fabled location of hundreds of Spaghetti Westerns will play host to the ALMERIA WESTERN FILM FESTIVAL September 8th through the 11th. In addition to screenings of TRUE GRIT and RANGO, here are some of the films which will be featured: BLACKTHORN, starring Sam Shepherd as Butch Cassidy, living in Bolivia under the name of James Blackthorn. GOODNIGHT FOR JUSTICE, a new western directed by Jason Priestly and starring his BEVERLY HILLS 90210 costar Luke Perry. THE MOUNTIE, a north-of-the-border tale starring Andrew Walker as a lone man in red who comes to clean up a corrupt town. THE WARRIOR’S WAY stars Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, and Dong-gun Jang, who plays a warrior/assassin hiding out in the American Badlands. THE SCARLET WORM, starring Spaghetti Western vets Brett Halsey and Dan van Husen. THE DEAD AND THE DAMNED, about ‘49ers getting Zombified. The festival jury will be presided over by actor Fabio Testi (FOUR OF THE APOCALYPSE) and director Eugenio Martin (BAD MAN’S RIVER). For more information, go to the official website HERE. http://www.almeriawesternfilmfestival.info/home.html
FAY MCKENZIE, JULIE ADAMS, JIMMY LYDON TO BE HONORED AT CINECON AUGUST 1ST THROUGH 5TH
For 47 years the Cinecon Classic Film Festival has been a Labor Day tradition for Hollywood movie-lovers. Based at the Egyptian Theatre, the screenings and shopping at discussions start on Thursday, August 1st and end on Monday, August 5th. Among the highlights will be Q&As, by Julie Adams on Thursday at 8:35 pm; Jimmy Lydon on Saturday at 4:53 pm (I’m not making these times up); and Fay McKenzie on Sunday at 5:53 pm, following a to-be-announced Gene Autry film.
It’s almost hopeless trying to pick movie highlights because the range is so wide and eclectic. Western fans will be delighted to see the Civil War story THE COWARD (1915) from Ince Triangle Kaybee, just after noon on Monday, the western BLAZING DAYS (1927) directed by William Wyler on Thursday at 9:10 pm, but you’ll really need to visit their site to plan your time. The cost is $100 for the entire event, or $25 to $30 a day (some days are longer than others). Get all the details HERE.
TCM FANATIC - WESTERN NOW ONLINE!
And speaking of TCM, have I mentioned that the segment I was interviewed for is now viewable here?
THE AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER
Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepeneur Gene Autry, and designed by the Disney Imagineering team, the Autry is a world-class museum housing a fascinating collection of items related to the fact, fiction, film, history and art of the American West. In addition to their permenant galleries (to which new items are frequently added), they have temporary shows. The Autry has many special programs every week -- sometimes several in a day. To check their daily calendar, CLICK HERE. And they always have gold panning for kids every weekend. For directions, hours, admission prices, and all other information, CLICK HERE.
HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE MUSEUM
Across the street from the Hollywood Bowl, this building, once the headquarters of Lasky-Famous Players (later Paramount Pictures) was the original DeMille Barn, where Cecil B. DeMille made the first Hollywood western, The Squaw Man. They have a permanent display of movie props, documents and other items related to early, especially silent, film production. They also have occasional special programs. 2100 Highland Ave., L.A. CA 323-874-2276. Thursday – Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. $5 for adults, $3 for senior, $1 for children.
WELLS FARGO HISTORY MUSEUM
This small but entertaining museum gives a detailed history of Wells Fargo when the name suggested stage-coaches rather than ATMS. There’s a historically accurate reproduction of an agent’s office, an original Concord Coach, and other historical displays. Open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Admission is free. 213-253-7166. 333 S. Grand Street, L.A. CA.
FREE WESTERNS ON YOUR COMPUTER AT HULU
A staggering number of western TV episodes and movies are available, entirely free, for viewing on your computer at HULU. You do have to sit through the commercials, but that seems like a small price to pay. The series available -- often several entire seasons to choose from -- include THE RIFLEMAN, THE CISCO KID, THE LONE RANGER, BAT MASTERSON, THE BIG VALLEY, ALIAS SMITH AND JONES, and one I missed from 2003 called PEACEMAKERS starring Tom Berenger. Because they are linked up with the TV LAND website, you can also see BONANZA and GUNSMOKE episodes, but only the ones that are running on the network that week.
The features include a dozen Zane Grey adaptations, and many or most of the others are public domain features. To visit HULU on their western page, CLICK HERE.
TV LAND - BONANZA and GUNSMOKE
Every weekday, TV LAND airs a three-hour block of BONANZA episodes from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They run a GUNSMOKE Monday through Thursday at 10:00 a.m., and on Friday they show two, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. They're not currently running either series on weekends, but that could change at any time.
NEED YOUR BLACK & WHITE TV FIX?
Check out your cable system for WHT, which stands for World Harvest Television. It's a religious network that runs a lot of good western programming. Your times may vary, depending on where you live, but weekdays in Los Angeles they run DANIEL BOONE at 1:00 p.m., and two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.. On Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. it's THE RIFLEMAN again, followed at 2:30 by BAT MASTERSON. And unlike many stations in the re-run business, they run the shows in the original airing order. There's an afternoon movie on weekdays at noon, often a western, and they show western films on the weekend, but the schedule is sporadic.
RFD-TV has begun airing THE ROY ROGERS SHOW on Sundays at 9:00 a.m., with repeats the following Thursday and Saturday.
Also, AMC has started showing two episodes of THE RIFLEMAN on Saturday mornings.
That's it for this week! In the next week or two I'll have the story of my visit to the GANG OF ROSES II set at Paramount Ranch!
All Contents Copyright August 2011 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved