Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tex Rides with the Boy Scouts (1937)

I was a Boy Scout leader for about 15 years and I am an Eagle Scout father, so the title above caught my eye.

Tex Rides with the Boy Scouts was Tex Ritter's ninth movie.  Westerns in the 1930s have incredible casts.  This one also stars Marjorie Reynolds who played Peg Riley in "The Life of Riley" on TV, Horace Murphy and "Snub" Pollard as Tex's sidekicks, and Tommy Bupp as one of the Boy Scouts.  Bupp was in It's a Gift (1934) a favorite of mine starring W. C. Fields.

Hank Wardon (1901 - 1992) has a small part.  He appears in Stagecoach (1939) with John Wayne.  But, he was in 16 of The Duke's films, starting with Stagecoach up to 1973 in Cahill US Marshal.  He's in a dozen Tex Ritter films.  He has over 200 roles on his list at IMDb.  Notably he was in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), several Ma and Pa Kettle movies, The Music Man (1962), Good Times (1967)  (This was billed as Sonny and Cher's only movie together, but they did make Wild on the Beach two years earlier.), and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1978, just to name some non-westerns.

Some other great Bit Actors in Tex Rides with the Boy Scouts were: Philip Ahn (1905 - 1978) with 180 roles, Ed Cassidy (1893 - 1968) with 267 roles, Lynton Brent (1897 - 1981) with 263 roles, and Forrest Taylor (1883 - 1965) with over 400 roles from 1915 to 1963.

A lot of these guys and gals got to work together in many films, and that may be one reason the early westerns are timeless.  Everyone knew what to expect from the others, and they were cast in parts that would take greatest advantage of each one's strength.  I would also imagine that rehearsal time was short because they all knew each other's moves.

I can't fail to mention that The Beverly Hill Billies band backs up Tex, and also cast was Troop 13 of the Los Angeles District of BSA.  I am sure they made this film to bolster BSA membership, but the story (and Tex Ritter) probably took the lead.  The ratings on IMDB weren't that great!

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