Sunday, October 31, 2010

King of the Cowboys

In 1943, Roy Rogers (1911 - 1998) made King of the Cowboys.  I just wrote about Irving Bacon (1893 - 1965), who was in that film as the jailer, but it had a much bigger cast.

Of course, the Sons of the Pioneers and Bob Nolan (1908 - 1980) were high on the cast list.  You can't have a good Roy Rogers film without some good singing.  And Pat Brady (1914 - 1972) was also listed.  Trigger (1932 - 1965) went uncredited.  Let's look at just one of the small parts.

Dick Wessel (1913 - 1965) had a small part, probably as a bad guy.  But he also had 289 other titles to his credit on IMDb.  Another gold mine to be reviewed.

His acting career started in 1935 and that year he was in Bonnie Scotland with Laurel and Hardy.  In 1938 he was in Racket Busters with Bogart and Angels with Dirty Faces with Cagney.  I recognize so many movies in his list that this could be a long post!

They Drive by Night (1940)
Men of Boys Town (1941)
They Died with Their Boots On (1941)
You're in the Army Now (1941)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Action in the North Atlantic (1943)
Blondie's Big Moment (1947) - Plus several other Blondie films.
Father of the Bride (1950)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
An American in Paris (1951)
Them! (1954) - That was the one with giant ants.

Each one of these films would be a good topic for a blog post!

Wessel dabbled in TV in the early 1950s, and then in the middle of that decade he was guesting on many shows.  They were varied, just like his movies.  He was in westerns, family shows, comedies and dramas.  Everything from "Lassie" to "December Bride," "Alcoa Theatre," and "Grindl."

He continued making movies as well.  Francis in the Navy (1955), Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), No Time for Sergeants (1958), and Who's Minding the Store (1963) with Jerry Lewis (b. 1926).

Wessel had a regular role on "Riverboat" around 1960.  His last TV appearances were mostly westerns, including "Gunsmoke," "Daniel Boone," "Wagon Train," and "Petticoat Junction."  A good mix.

He went uncredited in his final movie, The Ugly Dachshund.  Released after Wessel's death in 1966, it starred Dean Jones (b. 1931) and Suzanne Pleshette (1937 - 2008)...and our hero, Dick Wessel, played a garbage man.  A sad end for an amazing Bit Actor.

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