"Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott"
When we hear a familiar western movie or TV actor’s name but haven’t seen or heard about them in awhile, it makes us wonder where they are now. We all miss the cowboy films, the Roy Rogers and Gene Autry movies we watched as children, and the adult weekly TV western shows, like “Gunsmoke,” “Rawhide,” “Rifleman,” “Lawman,” “The Virginian,” “Bonanza,” and “The High Chaparral” that we enjoyed in our living rooms.
We ask each other, “Whatever happened to the shows and cowboy actors that we loved?” One of the Statler Brothers’ old time hits, “Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott,” says it best:
Whatever happened to Randolph Scott ridin’ the trail alone?
Whatever happened to Gene and Tex, and Roy, and Rex, the Durango Kid?
Oh, whatever happened to Randolph Scott, his horse plain as could be?
Whatever happened to Randolph Scott has happened to the best of me.
Everybody’s tryin’ to make a comment about our doubts and fears
‘True Grit’s the only movie I’ve really understood in years.
You gotta take your analyst along to see if it’s fit to see
Whatever happened to Randolph Scott has happened to the industry.
~ Words by Reid and Wilson
Those who grew up going to $.25 Saturday afternoon matinees when they were kids regret that there are no westerns and cowboys on the movie screens anymore. The films were simple and uncomplicated, yet exciting. You always knew that the “good guys” would win out in the end and the “bad guys” would be hauled off to jail.
Many of those “good guys” who starred in the old movies and TV westerns are seniors and still around, making appearances at film festivals, and acting on stage or daytime TV. Some celebrities who have died are represented by their son, daughter or grandchildren at western festivals. They will be giving presentations, autographs and interviews at the annual Western Legends Roundup in Kanab, Utah on August 26, 27 and 28, 2010.
We’re sure movie buffs will recall many of these western stars who are on the roster for the Western Legends Roundup. You may not be familiar with their stage names but you will recognize their faces or the shows in which they played. Actors Clint Walker, Peter Brown, Cheryl Rogers Barnett, Ed Faulkner, Neil Summers, Wyatt McCrea, James Drury, Lee Meriwether, Don Collier, Ted Markland, Miles Swarthout, and William Wellman Jr., will be there.
Just to refresh your memory of those named above, Clint Walker played Cheyenne Bodie on “Cheyenne.” Peter Brown played young Deputy Johnny McKay on “The Lawman” and was Chad Cooper in “Laredo.” Cheryl Rogers-Barnett is the adopted daughter of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. You’ll identify actor Ed Faulkner’s and stuntman/actor Neil Summers’ faces from episodes of “Have Gun, Will Travel,” “Bonanza,” and a multitude of other movies and TV shows on which they’ve worked.
Wyatt McCrea is the oldest grandson of Joel McCrea and Frances Dee. Wyatt and his wife live on the family ranch in Thousand Oaks, Calif. You know James Drury as “The Virginian,” a show on TV for nine years. A resident of Houston, Texas, Drury also worked on “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide,” “The Rifleman” and others. Lee Meriwether, 1955 Miss America, played Betty Jones in “Barnaby Jones” with Buddy Ebsen from 1973-1980. She also worked on the Today show and currently acts on the “soaps”.
“The High Chaparral” was filmed in Old Tucson. Don Collier was Sam Butler in “The High Chaparral” and Will Foreman in “Outlaws.” He appeared in “Wagon Train,” “Bonanza” and “Gunsmoke.” Ted Markland played Reno on “The High Chaparral” and made over a 100 films and TV westerns. Famous screenwriter Miles Swarthout wrote the screenplay for “The Shootist,” adapted from his father’s novel. Miles will give a presentation about the writing and the filming of the John Wayne classic movie. William Wellman Jr. made 180 movie and TV shows. Son of the legendary director of 23 films, he grew up in a movie-star neighborhood and met many other leading actors on his father’s sets.
Kanab, Utah is known as the “Hollywood of the West.” It earned the title because of the natural beauty and variety of its incredible landscape. More than 150 commercials, TV and movie westerns, like “Gunsmoke” and “The Outlaw Josie Wales,” were filmed in the area.
Ray and I are western movie buffs and we plan to be at the Roundup. Look for future articles in the Fence Post about your favorite cowboy stuntmen, celebrity stars, western movies, TV shows and screenwriters that we hope to meet in late August.