Blog


FROM OUR ARCHIVES

RSS Feed

Home

Posts By Category

American Legion Post 43 (2) Articles (1) ASC (1) Barnsdall Park (1) BLACKOUTS (3) Brown Derby Restaurant (10) Charles Chaplin Studio (1) Charles E. Toberman (1) Chinese Theater (13) Ciro's Nightclub (3) Cirque du Soleil (1) Cocoanut Grove (1) Coconut Grove (7) Crossroads of the World (1) Earl Carroll Theater (2) Ernest Torrence (1) Farmers Market (2) Garden of Allah (1) Garden of Allah Hotel Photos (9) Gay Pride Parade (1) Gilmore Stadium (1) Grauman's Chinese Theater (2) Grauman's Egyptian Theater (2) Griffith Observatory (3) Hancock Park & Windsor Square (1) Hand and Footprint ceremonies (2) Hollywood (8) Hollywood Airfields (3) Hollywood Athletic Club (1) Hollywood Blvd. (11) Hollywood Bowl (10) Hollywood Canteen (41) Hollywood Canteen Book (2) Hollywood Fire Dept. (1) Hollywood Guild and Canteen (3) Hollywood Historic Places (1) Hollywood History (4) Hollywood Hotels (3) Hollywood Images (17) Hollywood Legion Stadium (2) Hollywood Nightclubs (4) Hollywood Oil (1) Hollywood Palladium (6) Hollywood Photographs (8) Hollywood Photos (33) Hollywood Pictures (16) Hollywood Police Dept. (1) Hollywood Radio (1) Hollywood Real Estate Developments (1) Hollywood Restaurants (6) Hollywood School For Girls (2) Hollywood Sign (32) Hollywood Sign History (6) Hollywood Stars Baseball Team (3) Hollywood Studio Club (3) Hollywood Television (1) Hollywood Theaters (4) Hollywood Walk of Fame (42) Hollywoodland (2) Hollywood's Anniversary (1) Ken Murray's Blackouts (1) Larchmont Village (1) Laurel Canyon (6) Magic Castle (1) Millennium Hollywood (1) Mocambo Nightclub (2) Moulin Rouge (1) Movie Making (6) Movie Palaces (1) Movie Premieres (1) Movie Studios (20) New Photographs (1) Outpost Estates (1) Pan Pacific Auditorium (2) Pantages Theater (2) Parades (2) Paramount Studio (1) Paul DeLongpre (3) Pilgrimage Play (3) Pinterest (1) Poverty Row & Gower Gulch (2) Radio and Television (2) Republic Studios (1) Restaurants/Nightclubs (7) Runyon Canyon (2) Santa Claus Lane Parade (3) Santa Claus Lane Parade Photos (1) Schwab's Pharmacy (9) Sid Grauman (1) Sunset Blvd. (5) The Hollywood Canteen Book (1) Valentino (1) VJ Day (2) Walk of Fame (20) Wallich's Music City (2) Whitley Heights (1) William & Kate (1) Yamashiro Hollywood (1)

Posts By Month

Vintage Photos of Hollywood Cowboys

Hollywood Cowboys

Two of the screen’s greatest cowboys – Gene Autry and most revered Western movie actor of the silent era, William S. Hart – have left behind handsome museums that remain a testament to their legacy, and their love of both the real West and its Hollywood cousin. 

fghdf

Early Hollywood Cowboys

Though he wasn’t the first screen cowboy – that honor goes to “Bronco Billy” Anderson William S. Hart brought authenticity to the western movie. In his films, the landscape and environment of the country was every bit as important an element as the cast and scenario.  This would become the genre of film that a long line of actors such as Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, William “Hopalong Cassidy” Boyd, Tim McCoy, Gary Cooper, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood would bring to life.

A fancy-dressed dude by the tough standards set by silent film star Hart, Gene Autry took full advantage of his background as a radio star, and pioneered the character of the singing cowboy creating a demand that led to careers for ridin’, ropin’, sixgun-wieldin’ baritones including Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, Eddie Dean and Rex Allen. (Indeed, John Wayne made at least one film as government agent “Singin’ Sandy Saunders,” though his singing voice was dubbed by Bill Bradbury and the film – “Riders of Destiny” –remains an obscure footnote).

rhjyjy

William S. Hart

William S. Hart came to westerns from Broadway, where he was a successful actor with leading roles in “Ben-Hur” (where he played the villainous Messala), “The Squaw Man,” “Trail of the Lonesome Pine,” and a number of Shakespeare plays.

As a child, Hart’s father, an itinerate laborer, moved his family from New York (where Hart was born) to Oklahoma, the Indian Territories and the Dakotas. Having lived among settlers, young Bill developed a lifelong interest in cowboys and Indians – the real articles, whom he’d observed first hand. When he saw his first “western” movie, at a theater in Cleveland in 1911, Hart was distressed at the inauthenticity of the film’s costumes and characters. Hart, who had even learned to speak the Sioux language, planned to capture the West on his own terms.

hjkh

Ince Studio

His chance came when the Broadway show he was in, “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine,” toured the West Coast. In Los Angeles, he discovered that the head of a prominent studio was Thomas H. Ince, an acquaintance from New York . He telephoned the mogul, and talked himself into a series of shorts, which in many cases were written by Ince.

His popularity increased rapidly, with Hart’s characters (generally bad guys gone good) and his insistence on showing the real West, and his honest, taciturn portrayals were something new and refreshing. His horse, Fritz, became as well known in its day as would Gene Autry’s “Champion,” and Roy Rogers’ “Trigger”.  In addition to acting, Hart occasionally produced, directed and wrote his own pictures. At the peak of his career, Hart was one of the top three motion picture stars in the country – alongside Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford.  Though Hart had retired before the era of sound pictures, his last feature – 1925’s “Tumbleweeds,” set in the days of the Oklahoma land rush – is generally regarded as one of his best, and was rereleased many years later with a prologue spoken, onscreen, by Hart himself.

Following his retirement, Hart moved to his 265- acre ranch outside Los Angeles , where he built a 20-room mansion, costing approximately $100,000 at the time – more than $1 million in today’s dollars. He collected western-themed art and crafts, and entertained friends ranging from Hollywood stars to Amelia Earhart; and his activities included writing several short stories and novels – including one starring his beloved palomino, Fritz.

When he died in 1946, Hart willed the ranch to “the people of Los Angeles .” Today, it remains open to the public at no charge, with docent-led tours of the main house held several days per week.

hilfg

Later Cowboy Stars

Gene Autry was in many ways everything that Hart wasn’t: at 6’3”, Hart would have loomed over his predecessor; Autry had no background as an actor; and in all of his movies he was a good guy, named … “Gene Autry.” And while Hart never made a sound feature, Autry made his reputation as a singing cowboy, with numerous hit records in addition to his highly successful movies.

One of Hollywood’s most popular cowboys was Roy Rogers who was labeled “King Of The Cowboys”.  Like Gene Autry, Roy was a “singing” cowboy and did so while sitting on his horse named Trigger.  Married to Dale Evans, Roy made most of his movies at Republic Studios in the San Fernando Valley.

Vintage Hollywood Photos

The largest collection of movie studios is on the hollywoodphotographs.com website. In addition, there are thousands of historical Hollywood photos, including Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood Canteen, Brown Derby Restaurant and Sunset Blvd.

Post a Comment