March 12, 2011

Cinema Cowboys

As a kid, my favorite cinema cowboy, by a long shot, was Hopalong Cassidy. Hoppy and Topper were Saturday morning trail buddies every Saturday morning during the mid 1950s at one of the movie theaters in downtown Plainview, Texas. Oh I knew about Gene and Roy and thought they were mostly okay but I spent my nickels to go see William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy (and I still have my Clover Lake cup with a picture of Hopalong Cassidy on it). I thought Gene Autry spent too much time singing and not enough time chasing the bad guys. I knew all three of these guys, Hoppy, Roy and Gene, from the picture shows and not from television.

Our family didn't own a television set until I was a senior in high school in Odessa, Texas and by then I was mostly too busy to watch television shows - of course, I had also outgrown most of the saddle buddy movies.

I did like some of the television cowboys that came later - I paid attention to the Bonanza crowd (mostly because I worked the light boards and had a couple of bit parts in the production of Green Pastures at Odessa College when Edna Powell talked her former Sul Ross pupil Dan Blocker into reprising his role as De Lawd from Green Pastures.

I always had a soft spot for Pernell Roberts because he wrote some nice liner notes on an album I had of Gale Garnett's. And though I wasn't initially a big fan of Michael Landon's, the work he did after Bonanza was most worthwhile and appreciated.

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