Frontierado is coming up on Friday, August 4th! Here’s a brief look at two films presented on The Texas 27 Film Vault that match the old west theme of this holiday season: Frontier Marshal and Billy the Kid vs Dracula.
FRONTIER MARSHAL (1939)
Original Broadcast Date: Saturday October 25th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.
Serial: An episode of Mysterious Doctor Satan was shown before the movie. This 1940 serial presented the title villain trying to take over the world with a big, goofy robot while being opposed by a masked superhero called Copperhead.
THE MOVIE: Frontier Marshal, directed by Allan Dwan, has a well-deserved reputation as the worst and weirdest cinematic depiction of the events leading up to the Gunfight at the OK Corral. Randolph Scott turns inhis usual bland performance as Wyatt Earp with Cesar Romero a very unlikely Doc.
As usual Doc steals the show from the hopelessly dull and straight-arrow Wyatt. Ward Bond shows up as a cowardly lawman, Lon Chaney, Jr, plays one of Curly Bill Brocius’ thugs and Balladeer’s Blog’s old friend John Carradine is the movie’s main villain … Carter. No, not Clanton or even McLaurey but “Carter”.
Here’s just some of the hilariously distorted bits from this Parallel Universe version of the events in Tombstsone, Arizona:
Doc Holliday’s name is Halliday for some reason and is pronounced “Hale-i-day”. Characters say “Hale-i-day” so many times that if you made it a drinking game you’d be dead of alcohol poisoning about half-way through.
Doc Holliday, excuse me – Hale-i-day – drank only milk in the west until the woman he loved back in Georgia (his cousin in real life) showed up in Tombstone. Then he started drinking whiskey to escape the pain of seeing her again.
Wyatt was the only Earp in Tombstone. Not one of his brothers shows up in this rendition.
Doc was out west for just two years by the time he rolled into Tombstone. Like most of the distortions of the facts there is no reason for this in the context of the story. It’s just wrong for the hell of it.
Doc was a medical doctor in this version, not a dentist. (To be fair there are other movies that get that part wrong.) A hilariously maudlin tale gets told about Doc risking his life to deliver a baby back in Georgia.
Wyatt became a lawman in Tombstone when the previous badge-holder was too frightened to arrest a drunk Mexican.
Wild West comedian Eddie Foy delivered deadlier kicks than Jackie Chan.
Doc Holliday, er, Hale-i-day, is killed by the bad guys even BEFORE the gunfight at the OK Corral. In real life Doc lived until years after that event. Here he is buried in Tombstone under the last name “Halliday”. Needless to say his year of birth is VERY wrong on the gravemarker.
The famed gunfight at the most famous Corral in history takes place AT NIGHT and Wyatt’s only ally is A WOMAN – a cheap saloon girl who had a thing for Doc.
Throw in typically awkward faux-western dialogue, a couple of cringe-inducing songs and a stage-coach chase that features the all-time worst rear projection ever seen in a movie. And I mean EVER!
At the time this episode of The Texas 27 Film Vault aired Cesar Romero was starring on the prime-time soap opera Falcon Crest, which no doubt provided some additional comedy fodder for Randy and Richard.
Serial: An episode of The Phantom Empire was shown before the movie. This 1935 serial starred Gene Autry as a singing cowboy who saves the world from a scientifically advanced underground civilization that comes complete with killer robots in cowboy hats.
Movie: Billy the Kid vs Dracula is the notorious companion piece to Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter. Both were directed by William “One-Shot” Beaudine.
Words cannot describe the ineptitude of Billy the Kid vs Dracula. John Carradine is over-the- top as the vampire, day-for-night shooting is incredibly overdone and there’s the infamous scene where bullets have no effect on Dracula, prompting Billy the Kid to THROW the empty six-gun at Drac.
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