This morning Turner Classic Movies showed two of the most iconic and wonderful westerns of the 1950s and early 1960s era. “Gold of Seven Saints” and “Fort Dobbs” both starring Clint Walker, opposite two stars who became huge names in Hollywood. Roger Moore and Virginia Mayo. Mayo now deceased became a major contract player also at Warners in the 1950s and ‘60s and Moore went on to the huge casting of James Bond for a time. Perhaps one of the most popular of the franchise. Though John Gavin would have been a great one, but was edged out by Sean Connery, who went on to success in the Bond series as well.
No western genre star became as famous as Clint Walker did in the 1950s in his hit number one ABC TV series “Cheyenne.” There is still a huge following for “The Big Guy” in the United States, Japan, Germany and not only throughout Europe, but even in Australia. Somehow classic movies and TV shows never fade. TCM is smart enough to showcase them on a daily basis, but wouldn’t it be great if Warner Brothers released the entire “Cheyenne” series and if Paramount with Anchor Bay would release on DVD Clint’s favorite film to make, “Night of the Grizzly.” That bear Satan still sends chills down my spine, and to millions of Walker fans, they’d love to see this film in pristine fashion. I understand that Paramount still has it in mint condition in the vault, so now it’s time to unveil it, say for Father’s Day in June?
Walker continues to appear at events and shows throughout the Southwest when time permits, with wife Susan by his side. And he remains touched by the fan support he receives not only from new fans who are just learning about his work, but the longtime fans who have been fascinated by, interested in and supportive for close to 60 years now. Western fans are similar to soap fans and the famous “Star Trek” fans; they simply never forget their favorites. Now with icons such as James Arness and others gone with the wind, in a much better place, James Garner, Clint (Walker) and Clint Eastwood remain at the top of the list of western films and TV series lovers. But none quite like “Cheyenne.”
This was Warner Bros. effort at the first adult western, after years of shows such as “Roy Rogers,” which had been created and generally written for kids. Though like TV series of the era, “Adult” did not have the connotation that it does today. Children could also watch the very dramatic storylines, but it engrossed everyone from the ages of 9 to 90, and beyond. It still does.
Those interested in Walker autographs can find them at www.ClintWalker.com. We’ll be chatting with Clint soon at Highlight Hollywood. Until then, please tune in to Turner Classic Movies all month for more westerns, and support family oriented TV, or be prepared to be bombarded with and sick of “Reality TV.”
Happy Trails, to you!
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photograph is Courtesy: Warner Bros. Studios
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