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The most outstanding series of westerns began in 1935 from Paramount Pictures under the guiding hand of producer Harry "Pop" Sherman...continued well into the '40s proved to be the most successful 'B' Westerns ever made...based on Clarence E. Mulford's stories, they strived in changing Cassidy's image, which was both original and influential...the hero, played by William Lawrence Boyd, was mature and generally rather inactive, and the plots also tended to inactivity until a sudden burst of climactic action in the last reel, usually a frantic chase backed by tension-building music.
In all, Boyd made sixty-six Hopalong Cassidy Westerns, early films included Uncle Ben and Windy Halliday, both played by veteran actor George "Gabby" Hayes...was a steady favorite as a hitchrack, was chosen five years in succession as one of the 10 best money-making Western sidekick stars...like most western comics, had his share of narrow escapes being thrown from his horse, burned by blanks...but that was all in a days work...his one-liners will never be forgotten..."You're dern tootin'"..."Never trust a female, they're pure poyzin"...or my all-time favorite ~ "Persnickgordy Women"...this crusty old-timer stole many a scene from John Wayne, Randolph Scott and yes even William Boyd.
"Hills of Old Wyoming", features Stephen Morris (Morris Ankrum) using both names on the screen, as the "western heavy", came to Hollywood and Westerns directly from supporting Orson Welles on Broadway, Sherman and Boyd must have seen the evil this actor could portray, as he appeared in several "Hoppy films"...another pick for "Pop" Sherman was a new sidekick for the Cassidy films...a newcomer Lucky Jenkins, played by Russell Hayden had his job cut out for him, with Boyd (as the hero) and Hayes (for comedy), left the field of romance and action wide open, Hayden filled those "boots" perfectly.
"North of the Rio Grande", Morris Ankrum again, with a young Lee J. Cobb as one of the good guys...as the Bar-20 gang strive to derail the plans of evil, so that good and right can prevail...this was the formula that director Nate Watt used in all the "Hop-A-Long Cassidy" films, and it worked!
Total Time: 79 Mins (Hills of Old Wyoming-1937)
Total Time: 71 Mins (North of the Rio Grande-1937)