|Gene Autry fought the war off-screen|
|Written by Bill Baird|
|Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:02 PM|
My latest Gene Autry movie to watch on Encore westerns channel at noon on Sunday was Stardust on the Sage (1942).
Unlike John Wayne (1907-1979) who only fought World War-II on film, my two real life movie star heroes were James Stewart (1908-1997) and Gene Autry (1907-1998) who actually joined the U.S. Army Air Corp. and flew planes during the war even though they were over the draft age as was Wayne.
Autry would make two more films in 1942 before he left for war, Call of the Canyon and Bells of Capistrano.
Unlike most “B” low budget westerns with good guys, bad guys, horses and cows, as I’ve said before, Autry’s films were part of the Old West, mixed with the West during the era the films were made that included the modern modes of transportation at the time.
Since Gene started out singing on radio, there were usually radios and radio stations in his films.
These films always had good singing by Gene, and in this film Edith Fellows (1923-2011) sang a few songs.
A different theme or plot was always a feature of Autry’s films. The usual shoot each other between the good and bad guys was present, but not as the usual plot was with lesser low budget “B” westerns.
Stardust on the Sage features Emmett Vogan (1893-1969) as the villain boss posing as a good guy. He operated a hydraulic gold mine and tricked the ranchers into buying stock in the mine.
Vogan had several henchmen, including Roy Barcroft (1902-1969), who we all loved to hate from his many bad guy roles in “B” Westerns during the 1930-40’s.
From 1931 until his death, Barcroft was in 375 roles in films and TV, but he is best remembered as the bad guy.
He also was a good guy in Disneyland (1958 to 1966) and The Adventures of Spin and Marty (1955) TV series.
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