TALES OF THE FRONTIER
At the AMERICAN FILM MARKET, which has packed the hotels of
all week, many of the movies and TV series represented had a notable sameness – case in point, there are at least four DRACULA movies, three in 3D! There were Westerns, but not a ton of them, and there surely weren’t many anthology Western series. Truth be told, there never were all that many, series television always being dominated by continuing characters. Anthology series like DEATH VALLEY DAYS, which ran for eighteen years, and ZANE GREY THEATRE, which spawned both THE RIFLEMAN and WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE, had disappeared by the end of the 1960s. But lo and behold, there is a new one represented at the FILM MARKET: TALES OF THE FRONTIER. Santa Monica
Quietly shooting at some of the more distant Western locales like White Horse Ranch, Wooden Nickel Ranch, and even the fabled Pioneertown, director/producer Tino Luciano has put fifteen episodes in the can, and rolls on a new episode, entitled FATE, on Monday. In addition to being a Chaplain with the Sheriff’s Department of San Bernadino County, he’s been involved with westerns for about twenty years. He’s been on-camera on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, and in shows like WILD WEST TECH. “I own a stunt company called Real-Time Stunts, and all the stunts, the fights, the falls are choreographed by yours truly. On Wednesday we have a body-drag being done, one of the bad guys rides into town, and he’s dragging the deputy behind him. And I will be the stunt-dummy on that one. My DP has to step up and play the director role when I’m on the ground.”
When I caught up with him last night, at his home in
, I told him that with a name like Tino Luciano, I’d expect him to make spaghetti westerns. Apple Valley
TINO LUCIANO: (laughs) Not at all. We’re true to the old west. We started Law Dog Productions in early 2012. I’ve always been involved in Old West reenactment groups. . You ask any of the youth of today who Wyatt Earp was, and they have no idea. It’s a terrible thing. But the minute you ask who Justin Bieber is, they get all goo-goo eyed. I really want to preserve the old west, to keep the history alive.
HENRY: Are you a big fan of any western series, anthology or otherwise?
TINO: No, never got into those. Never watched HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL. I hated BONANZA, WAGON TRAIN (laughs) – you do know I’m being facetious, right? We’re going back to the days of old. One thing is we’re family-friendly – our goal is to bring families back together to where they can sit and watch TV, and not have to worry about language, nudity, violence, blood and guts. Go back to a HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL; when somebody got shot, they dropped. Well, I love nothing more than putting squibs on somebody and watching the chest explode, but we don’t do that on TALES OF THE FRONTIER.
HENRY: Do you have any continuing characters, or is it a completely different cast for every episode?
TINO: Out of the fifteen episodes we’ve got in the can, all of them have different casts except for one. We brought one person back.
HENRY: GUNSMOKE was originally a half-hour show, then switched to an hour format. I understand, due to the needs of the marketplace, you made the switch from a half to a full hour as well.
TINO: What we’re doing right now is putting together a six episode boxed set of hour shows, with one 30-minute run-time, we’re calling it a bonus. And this is what’s going to be shopped around, showing what we can do. Instead of going to a distributor or a network with a treatment on a piece of paper, saying ‘this is what we’re thinking about doing,’ we actually have product in hand. This is what we have done, and this is what we are capable of doing.
HENRY: I’m impressed that you travel so much for a single episode. I know you have four locations scheduled for this show.
TINO: We definitely try to get ‘out there.’ There’s nothing worse than watching an episode and it all takes place on the same exact location. They start in the kitchen, and they remain in the kitchen. I like to bounce around and get a variety of places. The script calls for two different towns, and the Wooden Nickel Ranch was kind to us. They let us get in there and dress the set and build what we wanted to. It’s actually a horse-boarding and training facility. They have an old town front that they actually purchased from Audie Murphy’s ranch and brought to their ranch.
HENRY: What is the new episode about?
TINO: FATE is about a town drunk, who receives a second chance at life; he foils a bank robbery, and goes from town drunk to hero. But then there are some bad men coming after him, and he has to make a decision: does he run, or does he stand up for this town.
Amy Jennings, who played Martha, Dr. Sarah’s right hand in YELLOW ROCK, is the female lead, the town-drunk-turned-hero’s romantic interest. “There’s a prostitute, and there’s my character, and we’re both widows. And because of his alcoholism he’s kind of gone down the wrong path. Tino and I actually met about another project, and he said, ‘I’ve got this thing going on right now. Would you be interested?’ I’m working with them on a feature that’s going to be shooting next spring. It’s also a western. And that’s something we’re really just in the beginning stages of writing.”
Amy Jennings, right with Lenore Andriel at Melody Ranch
I asked Tino about the feature, and he told me, “We’re slated for principal photography on March the 4th.” Tino told me what it’s about, and it’s a terrific premise. When he gives me the go-ahead, I’ll share it in the Round-up. In the meantime, to see the trailer for the TALES OF THE FRONTIER episode entitled RETRIBUTION, click the link below.
WESLEY SNIPES IS BACK IN ‘GALLOWWALKERS’ HORROR-WESTERN
He won’t be out of prison, for income tax evasion, until the summer of 2013, but Wesley Snipes has a new movie that just premiered as part of the
UK’s FILM4 FrightFest in London’s West End.
Shot in Namibia’s breathtakingly beautiful and stark Namib Desert in 2006, just prior to Snipes incarceration (he was allowed to go back to Africa and finish the film before entering lock-up), the story follows Snipes character, Aman, a gunslinger with a curse: anyone he kills will return from the dead to hunt him, so they’ll presumably have to be killed again, perhaps frequently. Also in the cast are
90210 regular Riley Smith, beautiful Simona Brhlikova of CASINO ROYALE, and Patrick Bergin, who stars in my film, DOUBLE CROSS. BEVERLY HILLS
Check out the trailer!
NEW WESTERN ‘MAGNIFICENT DEATH’ ANNOUNCED AT AFM
Nick Nolte, Jeremy Irons and Thomas Jane will star in A MAGNIFICENT DEATH FROM A SHATTERED HAND, to be directed by Jane from a script by Jane and Jose Prendes. In what suggests a western take on THE FUGITIVE, a former soldier falsely accused of rape and murder must keep on the run as he tries to discover the truth behind the crime, and clear his name. Jane told Dave McNary in VARIETY, “My intention is for the movie to utilize themes that characterize the classic Western films – of rugged individualism versus civic duty, of personal valor versus the violence of pre-civil worlds (pre Civil War?) – to create…rousing entertainment.”
Jeremy Irons, Oscar-winner for REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, made an impressive Western debut as the lead villain in 2008’s APPALOOSA. Thrice Oscar-nominated Nick Nolte has done little Western-work aside from a GUNSMOKE episode, but his first lead was in a 1969 WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY episode, ‘The Feather Farm,’ where he played a cowboy at an ostrich farm, and did a damned fine job of riding one of the birds!
‘LUCKY LUKE’ CARTOONS ON ‘CINEMOI’ AMERICAN TV!
Many English-speaking fans of the delightfully goofy movies and TV episodes starring Terence Hill as the cowboy hero Lucky Luke are unaware that the character first appeared in French comic strips in 1946, and has been tremendously popular ever since. Cinemoi, a cable channel with a French accent, is now running THE NEW ADVENTURES OF LUCKY LUKE cartoons in an hour block starting at 5:00 a.m. Western time. Both an homage and a spoof of Westerns, what I saw (admittedly not a whole episode yet) was pretty funny stuff.
BRANDO’S ‘ONE-EYED JACKS’ AT THE AUTRY SAT. NOV. 10
On Saturday, November 10th, at 1:30 PM, the Autry, in their continuing series, ‘What Is A Western?’ will show the only movie Marlon Brando ever directed, ONE-EYED JACKS (1961). Brando plays an outlaw freed from prison, who tracks down his accomplice Karl Malden, now a respectable lawman. With a dream Western cast that includes Katy Jurado, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, Timothy Carey, Elisha Cook Jr., Rodolfo Acosta, Hank Worden, and even Snub Pollard (Tex Ritter’s old sidekick). Before the great Calder Willingham and Guy Trosper finished the final screenplay, Rod Serling and Sam Peckinpah had taken a whack at it. Curator Jeffrey Richardson will introduce the film.
And speaking of TCM (okay, nobody was), have I mentioned that the segment I was interviewed for is now viewable here?
Built by cowboy actor, singer, baseball and TV entrepreneur 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 permanent 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.
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
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.
WESTERN ALL OVER THE DIAL
INSP’s SADDLE-UP SATURDAY features a block of rarely-seen classics THE VIRGINIAN and HIGH CHAPARRAL, along with BONANZA and THE BIG VALLEY. On weekdays they’re showing LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, BIG VALLEY, HIGH CHAPARRAL and DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN.
ME-TV’s Saturday line-up includes BRANDED, THE REBEL and THE GUNS OF WILL SONNETT. On weekdays it’s DANIEL BOONE, GUNSMOKE, BONANZA, BIG VALLEY, WILD WILD WEST, and THE RIFLEMAN.
RFD-TV, the channel whose president bought Trigger and Bullet at auction, have a special love for Roy Rogers. They show an episode of The Roy Rogers Show on Sunday mornings, a Roy Rogers movie on Tuesday mornings, and repeat them during the week.
WHT-TV has a weekday afternoon line-up that’s perfect for kids, featuring LASSIE, THE ROY ROGERS SHOW and THE LONE RANGER.
TV-LAND angered viewers by dropping GUNSMOKE, but now it’s back every weekday, along with BONANZA.
That's it for tonight's Round-up. We've got a lot of good stuff to look forward to: Speilberg's LINCOLN opens next week, and DJANGO UNCHAINED opens next month!
All Original Contents Copyright November 2012 by Henry C. Parke -- All Rights Reserved