With the release of The Hateful Eight we presented a selection of short Westerns. The response was terrific, and we return with The Bride, The Son, The Daughter and/or The Revenge of Goes West to entertain you. There are comedies and animated selections.
The Gunfighter (2014) is a very funny, slightly raunchy Western comedy where the actors can hear the narrator and movie music. Director Erik Kissack’s newest film is the perfect way to start this week’s selection of shorts. Have fun.
The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)
See the opening two minutes and you will understand.
And then an action-packed sequence.
Gene Autry, science fiction, singing, thrills and kids….”Junior Thunder Riders to the Rescue” in The Phantom Empire (1935), a 12-chapter serial.
Two series, “The Three Mesquiteers” from Republic and “Range Busters” from Monogram were low-budget, action-packed one-hour B-Westerns always featuring a trio of cowboys ranging from John Wayne to Ray “Crash” Corrigan to our personal favorite, Max Terhune with his ventriloquist dummy Elmer. The two would often have sarcastic conversations while chasing the bad guys – who could be Nazis or foreign spies, such as in Texas to Bataan, as the series bounced back and forth from the Old West to the Old West in the early 1940s.
You can watch more online.
For extra weirdness, check out this sampling of trailers.
Horror westerns like Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966) and Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966) are only the tip of the Stetson in this genre. Learn more.
Long before Brokeback Mountain, Andy Warhol dared to challenge the cowboy myth in Lonesome Cowboys (1968). We could not find a trailer but these outtakes are entertaining.
African Americans starred in a series of Westerns from the 1920s into the 1940s. Bill Pickett was one of the first in Essanay’s Crimson Skull (1922). The film does not survive but some images do.
Herbert Jeffries and Spencer Williams were some of the stars. Jazz saxophonist Louis Jordan starred in Look-Out Sister, where he and other musicians got to play hits like “Caledonia.”
Read more at A Separate Cinema.
Westerns were popular in serials where each 16-20 minute short ended with a cliffhanger to bring audiences back the following week. Zorro was one of the most popular characters. This trailer will give you a hint of the fun.
Zorro’s Fighting Legion is considered one of Republic’s best. Watch all of Chapter One and you might get hooked.
And in Zorro’s Black Whip, Linda Stirling dons the mask, but you wouldn’t know it from the trailer.
You can get an idea of a cliffhanger without watching an entire chapter with the last minutes of Chapter 9.
Zorro wasn’t the only masked hero as you will see in The Vigilantes Are Coming
And of course there’s The Lone Ranger.
A favorite is The Lonesome Stranger (1940) – it may be politically incorrect but this MGM cartoon is very funny.
Drip-Along Daffy (1951) is a Chuck Jones classic starring Daffy Duck and Porky Pig in the lawless Western town of Snake Bite.
Tex Avery created anarchy on the screen. Drag-a-Long Droopy is a hilarious example (with the censored ending restored).
Long before South Park we had the outrageous Thank You Masked Man (1971), San Francisco animator Jeff Hale’s cartoon accompaniment to Lenny Bruce’s R-rated comedy routine about the Lone Ranger and his true relationship with Tonto. (Jeff Hale also played Auggie “Ben” Doggie in Hardware Wars, referenced in a previous Eat My Shorts.)
The Backwater Gospel (2011), a visually stunning and dark student-animated piece is about the Grim Reaper waiting for the residents of a small Western town to turn on one another.
After watching The Backwater Gospel, take a look at the “making of…” short.