Tuesday, August 24, 2010


In 1990, my then-girlfriend, the "Countess", and I, self-produced this sort of . . . book thing. We used pseudonyms we'd invented - Cat and Cole (guess who wuz who) - and titled our little book thing "Calamity Cat And Black Cole Kid's Uncomplicated GUIDE TO WESTERN MOVIES For The Simple-Minded Cowperson".

Basically it was just a list of Western movies we had watched together, along with our personal grade for each movie and (usually) just a sentence or two of our impressions about the movie in question. It was very simple, in keeping with our targeted audience. However, the guide was preceded by a 14-page essay that I had written for the book. It was called "Cowboy Movies And The State Of The Union (Opinionated words about Julie Newmar, Tow Truck Drivers, Policemen, And Even Cowboy Movies)".

Here is a brief excerpt from the essay, which I am posting in partial response to my friend The Great L.C. and his comment on my previous blog bit in which he writes:
"What I meant on "Return Of Josey Wales" is that I am surprised you watched the sequel since you did not seem to like the original."

From page 7 of "Cowboy Movies And The State Of The Union":
But what about this business of cowboy movies? How did this movie thing get out of hand? It all started one night in a Wherehouse Record And Video store, where Calamity and I were selecting movies to rent. She pleaded with me to get Silverado, a Western starring one of her favorite actors, Kevin Kline.

After we found the tape, I explained to her that although I enjoyed Westerns, I could think of only two that were truly great: Shane and The Outlaw Josey Wales.

At that time, I was not aware of my naivete. You see, I was raised on television's "B" Westerns. ...My heroes were Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, and... Sheriff John.

Shortly after seeing Silverado, we rented Josey Wales and Shane, and for inexplicable reasons, I began to review these movies on paper and affix grades to them and pestered Calamity to supply me with her impressions. We began to watch many of the more commercially successful pictures like The Magnificent Seven and Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, ...and eventually graduated to the obscure and unfamiliar.

After the first thirteen consecutive Westerns, I recall thinking that we were getting excessive. Little did I realize that, in the next nine months, we would see over two hundred with only four or five non-Westerns in between.
The other day, I posted a list of Western movies that I called "The Dreck Of The West". Some of the commentary for those movies I took from the old copy of my Western Movie Guide. In glancing through it further, I realized that I had not included any of Calamity Cat's comments, which I certainly should have because she could be pretty darn humorous when she wanted to be.

So, in correcting my inexcusable oversight, I am posting below Calamity's comments for three of the movies that appeared on yonder distant list (i.e., the blog bit below this one).

For Sagebrush Trail (1933) with John Wayne, Calamity said:
"Worst fighting ever, other than that it was pretty bad".
Ha! You a funny one, Countess!

For Ghost Town (1988) Calamity sez:
"Standard 1980s horror flick. Pretty scary . . .
scary acting, scary writing, scary directing".

In our Western Movie Guide, under Ride The Man Down (1952), Calamity simply wrote, "Simply awful". But my review consisted of actually letting the reader in on a short dialogue that really did take place between the Countess and myself while the movie was playing on our television screen. And here's how it reads . . .
The following conversation took place 15 minutes into the movie:
Cole: "This is an old movie, huh?"
Cat: "Uh-huh. It's an old B movie, isn't it?"
Cole: "Pretty damn much. . . . .Who is that guy there, who's doing the acting . . . or whatever?"
Cat: "Ha!-Ha!-Ha!-Ha!-Ha!"
Alright dudes and dudettes, that's it for today. But hopefully tomorrow I will find the time to post the next list which I intend to call "LOST DUTCHMAN'S MINE: 20 Little Western Movie Gems Unjustly Forgotten". See ya then. (Bring yer flashlight!)
~ "Lonesome Dogg" McStetson (aka Black Cole Kid)
YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


welcome to my world of poetry said...

Someone with a sense of humour, Loved the post Stephen, I still don't know many of the film, of course Butch Cassidy and the Sundancce Kid only because of who was appearing in it.

Anymore post like this????


Anonymous said...

Brother its too bad that guide is not on the market. Although you would have to continually update it (Which I'm guessing you haven't). If someone had published it I would have bought it (honest).

Brer Marc

Judy Harper said...

I know most everyone thinks John Wayne is a great cowboy actor, though I did like him in Mclintock, but I'd rather see Gary Cooper, Glen Ford, or Randolph Scott. Silverado is my all time favorite as well! Of course as far as TV goes, Richard Boone and Dale Robertson takes the prize!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You made your own movie guide - I like it! (And Ghost Town was awful.)

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Thanks! Yeah, the Countess had a good sense of humor. (Heck, I was her boyfriend: sense of humor REQUIRED!)

Yup, more posts like this one a-comin' I'm afraid.

Yes, you are correct, sir: the Guide has not been updated since 1990, and the Countess and I saw more Westerns together up until nearly the middle of '95.

Believe it or not, a few persons actually did buy our Western Movie Guide at $5. a pop. A nice guy who owned a video rental shop in Santa Monica, where the Countess and I were regular customers, agreed to put the Guide on display on his checkout counter for awhile. I priced it at five bucks and to my surprise, maybe three copies were purchased. Ha! I'm a professional author!

Dale Robertson I'm not familiar with, but Richard Boone was a good actor. Watch for him to appear in a forgotten gem mentioned later today in my next blog bit. In fact, Randolph Scott will make an appearance, too. But, John Wayne, he was unquestionably my favorite "cowboy actor".

You saw GHOST TOWN?! Dang. I figured Calamity Cat and I were the only two persons to have ever seen that movie. Say, aren't you also the person who had previously seen KOYAANISQATSI also? Or am I confusing you with Stephen Tremp?

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McStetson

DiscConnected said...

I still stand by my rules on your previous post, especially rule #2 about Clint Eastwood being the main man of the old west.

He stood for HOPE and CHANGE...as long as the sun was behind him and he had some chew to spit out and his six guns were loaded!

You had to HOPE he ran out of bullets before he got to you, and if so, you better run home and CHANGE your shorts!

You ought to try to shop that guide...I bet it'd find a willing publisher!

arlee bird said...

So you was trying to make a fool out of me about that Shane western, huh? Well let me tell you--no one can make a fool out of me! Only I can make a fool out of me. So there!

Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>> I still stand by my rules on your previous post, especially rule #2 about Clint Eastwood being the main man of the old west.

Clint is a ##ss#!

He's the U2 of Hollyweird. When did anyone go further with less real talent? (Well, OK, I'll admit it - Oprah gives him a run for his money.)

>> You ought to try to shop that guide...I bet it'd find a willing publisher!

I got a Dairy Queen Blizzard that says it wouldn't.

No, my friend, that sort of thing just isn't in the cards for me. Took me years to figure that out, but I finally got the message.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McStetson

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Uhm... no. I wouldn't try to make a fool out ya. I just temporarily forgotted that I had even heard of SHANE, much less that I done had actually seened it. But then I recallmembered it.

Don't go 'way mad.
"Come back, Lee! Lee, come back!"

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McEnglishmajor

Anonymous said...

I think that you should update that thang with all of the westerns you've seen so far.

I think you should expand your comments, and solicit Cat's (you still have contact, don't you?). A proper, well-written guide to westerns would indeed sell, and I would personally buy TEN copies of your book to distribute, keeping one for myself, of course.

You are a writer. As I have said before: you write. You write good. I'll buy.

Mr. Paul

Stephen T. McCarthy said...


>>You are a writer. As I have said before: you write. You write good. I'll buy.

Ha! Thanks!
Just send me your credit card number and I'll reserve 10 copies for ya. I won't charge your card until the book has been updated and mailed - I promise and stuffs. Ya know, like promise 'n' stuffs?

~ Olde Dogg McStetsondude

Anonymous said...

Your site is pretty slow to load when using Firefox.