I began this blog post hoping to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music. Steve came up with the idea to find a way to incorporate the imagery of Salzburg, Austria and other postcards to celebrate this anniversary. I took on the task and failed the mission. This postcard is the best I could do.
|4CK700, Cor Unum, The home of the Von Trapp Family Singers, situated on |
Luce Hill in the shadow of Mt. Mansfield, near Stowe, VT.
During my Sound of Music research, I came across postcards of Western film actors. My plan is not to tell the history of Western-themed films; It's a story too long to be told. The basic formula is, you have rugged cowboys, outlaws, lawmen, "Native Americans," and soldiers chasing each other on a movie set that looks like 19th-century Western America (I put Native American in quotes, because the actors portraying them were of other races).
Western films were very popular during the silent-film era (1894-1929). The postcards below were some of the top-grossing actors during that time.
One of Western film's first star was William S. Hart (December 6,1864 - June 23, 1946): He started as a stage actor, but transitioned to film after seeing a cheesy nickelodeon Western sometime in 1913. He wanted people to see the real west and by 1914 he was a Western movie actor. His style of Westerns were known as gritty realism, with plain clothes, dusty sets, and run-down buildings, with all characters being flawed, but changed in the end. This trend of realism fell in and out of style throughout movie history.
|G4004, Wm. S. Hart,|
|G4003, William Hart with his iconic pinto pony Fritz. Fritz was the first horse to be named in the credits as a costar. Fun fact: He received his own fan mail, which sometimes included sugar cubes.|
Next came Tom Mix (January 6, 1880 - October 12, 1940): By the early 1920s, the gritty realism ran its cources in favor of Tom Mix's style: flashier costumes and the faster-paced movies with action. The movie plots had distinct good and bad guys, and the clean-cut cowboy always saved the day. Again, this trend also fell in and out of style throughout movie history.
|G4017, Tom Mix with his famous horse Tony. |
Tony was the first horse given equal billing with his human costars.
Fun fact: Tony's hoof prints were placed alongside Mix's hand prints outside Grumman's Chinese Theater
|G4018, Tom Mix|
Buck Jones (December 12, 1891 - November 30, 1942) and Hoot Gibson (August 6, 1892 - August 23, 1962) joined Tom Mix in the mid 1920s as the top cowboy actors. Buck Jones was known for his rugged baritone voice and it recorded well once films moved to the talkies. Hoot Gibson, originally a rodeo cowboy, became a film attraction and transitioned successfully to talkies too.
|G4010, Buck Jones|
|G4000, Hoot Gibson|
Gary Cooper (May 7, 1901 - May 13, 1961): He is probably one of the most well-known actors in film history. His career began in the silent-film era and spanned through the golden age of Classical Hollywood (1930-1963). He grew up in Montana and at one time worked as a full-time cowboy. This trade helped him begin his career as a silent-film Westerner. He worked hard to venture out of Westerns and develop into the star he is known as today.
|G3993, Gary Cooper|
Other Western Actors:
|G4007, Newton House|
|G4032, Tim McCoy as "The Masked Stranger" |
in Beyond the Sierras (1928)
|G4031, Tedd Wells in |
"A Made to Order Hero" (1927)
|G4029, Ted Wells in "The Fearless Ride" (1928)|
|G4001, Fred Gilman in |
"Wolves of the Range" (1928)
|G3995, Howard Davis in |
"Return of the Riddle Rider" (1924)
|G3990, Buffalo Bill, Jr. in "Roaring Broncs" (1927)|