Where Have All the Westerns Gone?
With the dissolution of studios like Warner Bros., Universal, RKO, Twentieth Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, MGM and Republic Pictures, studio presidents like Harry Cohn, Daryl F. Zanuck, Louis B. Mayer and Herbert J. Yates, were out of a job. During their heyday these studio head held a firm hand on their productions dictating their yearly line-up months in advance; independent star/producers of the time like John Wayne, Clarke Gable, Burt Lancaster or Kirk Douglas knew the value of a good western film. The Westerns revived careers of such big stars as Fred MacMurray, Henry Fonda, and James Stewart, while established stars like Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott became western film icons; Universal (International) created their own western stars like Audie Murphy, Rory Calhoun, Jock Mahoney, and Dale Robertson, who moved over from Twentieth Century Fox. Of course, there was the Duke who would make other genre films and then return to westerns much to the delight of fans excitedly telling all who would listen, "the new John Wayne western is in the neighborhood theater." There were established directors known for their westerns like, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Henry Hathaway, John Sturges, Anthony Mann and Budd Boetticher who always gave us their best. Today, with few exceptions, filmmakers are only able to find financing for blockbusters franchises. That's why we have so many sequels and spin-off project that go on and on after all as long as they make money why use any imagination? Most of these filmmakers didn't grow up with the western film and the television western boom of decades ago. They have no real reference point to go by, unless you're a Kevin Costner who values the western genre. "Where Have All the Westerns Gone?" explores the complaint from western film lovers that they just don't make westerns for film or television like they used too when the studio system dictated what would be made and who would star. Charlie makes the argument that the westerns are still out there, new and old, as many as during their heyday but you have to search for them through the myriad of entertainment modes offered to the viewer today. He makes the point that it's up to the paying theater goers to let filmmakers know what they want on the screen besides zombies, aliens, gangsters and hybrid science fiction films blending westerns, swashbucklers and war films of the 1940s, to create the next Star Wars franchise. If you enjoy "Where Have All the Westerns Gone?" please let Charlie know via, Amazon, www.silverscreencowboyz.com or Friends of the Old Hollywood Trail on Face Book.