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Best of the Badmen [Hardcover]

Morgan Woodward , Jr. Peters House , Michael Pate , Boyd Magers , Bob Nareau , Bobby Copeland
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Empire Pub (30 Nov 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0944019439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0944019436
  • Product Dimensions: 28.2 x 21.1 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,018,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By J. Lovins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Empire Publishing presents "Best of the Badmen", by Boyd Magers, Bob Nareau and Bobby Copeland telling the inside story in depth about some of the bad guys, the heavy and the villain who rode against the law and the heroes of our B-Westerns era...detailed bios, filmographies and photos galore of 325 actors who played outlaws, bandits and polecats on the big screen and small tube of westerns from the '30s through the '60s...every page has the breath and life as only the authors and these film historians can deliver through pen and paper...many of the chapters interview the actors, directors and other cast members who worked closely with the actors in this wonderful book...this tribute was written from the heart and it shows.

Table of Contents (Chapter, Title and Page Numbers)

Acknowledgments - 5
Dedications - 7
Foreword - 9
Introduction - 17
The Badmen: 20 through 317
The Rest of the Gang: 319 through 342
Bibliography - 343
About the Authors - 345

My favorite villains of all time were and there were three, Harry Woods, Charles King and Roy Barcroft...all three men set the standards for being rotten to the core, and you loved every minute they were on the screen...gave us the impression they were having the time of their lives committing all those dastardly deeds in every scene...please note, on page 8 Johnny Mack Brown gets the drop on the "Best of the Badmen" Harry Woods (left to right), Roy Barcroft and Charlie King in Universal's "West of Carson City" (1938, gotta love it .

BIOS:
1. Harry Woods (aka: Harry Lewis Woods)
(Woods was considered the dean of western heavies)
Birth Date: 5/05/1889 - Cleveland, Ohio
Died: 12/28/1968 - Los Angeles, California (uremia)
2.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Books Too! 14 May 2011
By A. W. Wilson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My resistance didn't last long. My wife bought me this book for my 66th birthday. For 2 days now I have been leaping in and out, and marvelling at the skill, time involved, and love of the subject that just leaps out of the pages. As a young lad I watched "Champion/Range Rider/Cisco/Lone Ranger?Early Tex Ritter/Eddie dean westerns on a pretty small screen courtesy BBC TV. For some reason it was nearly always the "heavy" that I remember, and looked forward to seeing. At that time it was Glenn Strange,Lane Bradford,Gregg Barton, Dick Curtis, James Griffith,Bob Wilke, Mike Ragan, Don Harvey etc etc that I would look forward to seeing, and even make notes as to which film/series they had been in. I never imagined there would be such a well researched and written book containing(nearly) all my faves (no Chuck Roberson or Alan Hale Jnr but that's totally imaterial) - Heck, Charles Horvath, Boyd Morgan are there, as are 100's of others some known to me some not. For Western fans this is an absolute must. Seek out this book and get it. I can almost promise you won't regret it. I'd love to ramble on and on - top 10 heavies etc, but no - Just get the book and enjoy. LATER....A humble and heartfelt apology! I rellay should read the Introduction before making any comment. So Sorry Authors..You explain quite clearly why Chuck Roberson (and Claude Akins) are not included, and of course it all makes sense. So, still an absolute 5 stars for just about the best book of it's kind..ever. Thankyou. AW 22 May 2011 U/K
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad and sometimes sad... 31 Jan 2006
By Rory Coker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
BEST OF THE BADMEN is the title of a 1951 RKO Western film starring Robert Ryan and a whole herd of the character actors who are the subject of the book under consideration here. Bob Nareau and Bobby Copeland have obviously spent a good deal of time striving to dig up biographical information on around 300 (!) often very obscure actors who worked in films from about 1929 to the early 1950s, and at times could still be seen in many filmed 30-minute Western TV series broadcast from 1956 on to the mid to late 1970s. Some of these actors, in consequence, had movie careers that spanned 50 years! As I understand the division of labor, the actual text was mainly written by Boyd Magers, who also supplied the many stills.

The actors generally form two groups, with some overlaps. There are the actors who began in films in the silent era, often playing lead roles, then shifted to character parts when talkies came in, typically vanishing in the late 1940s, and then there are the actors who began in films after WW II and made a fairly smooth transition to TV Westerns, vanishing only when the Western series also vanished from network TV. Problems with alcohol, other self-destructive behavior, and various personal tragedies, befell many of them. Life-spans as short as 40 or 50 years were not too unusual. And as you can surmise from the title, all of these actors made some mark playing "the bad guy," usually in B-western films. There are actually three categories of bad guy in the B-western. There's the "brains heavy" or "dress heavy," who wears a suit and often a pencil mustache. He's the banker or lawyer or mayor or crooked sheriff or wealthy rancher who has evil designs on the hero and heroine. There's the "non-com heavy," who takes his orders from the dress heavy, and there's his gang, a gaggle of five or ten "dog heavies" who do the dirty work. Even a fairly low budget B-western thus offered parts to up to a dozen character actors who could project or personify villainy.

So what you are getting here is usually short (often three or so paragraph) biographies of each of these generally unsung actors, and also for each, a short list of films, a "suggested sampling" of their heavy roles. If that's what you want and expect, you'll get it and consider your circa $40 well spent.

However, the book has some defects, and with due respect, I haven't seen such problems previously in the books or articles I have seen by any one of the three authors working solo. Have too many cooks spoiled the broth? I won't try to guess, but here are the problems that will annoy many potential readers to a greater or lesser degree.

(1) Poor photos. Poor photo reproduction is a problem with quite a few Empire Publishing efforts I have seen, but it's worse here than usual. Photos tend to be washed-out, fuzzed-out contrastless arrays of blobs. Example: on facing pages 214-215, good old Kermit Maynard has one eye and one nostril but the rest of his facial features must be guessed at, and Lew Meehan has only a hint of a mustache and a hint of a lipline, nothing else. Since many potential readers of the book will not know the actor's name and try to recognize him from his photo, the photo choices often present a real obstacle. I would never recognize Robert Wilke from the snapshot of him on p. 307.

(2) Odd omissions. For example, the entry on Robert Barrat completely omits any discussion of his B-western career, though that is the whole point of having an entry for him. It simply jumps right from the point where he makes his first Western, directly to his death 35 years later.

(3) Not written in english. A far-too-typical sentence, from p. 133: "Taken out of school at 15, the family covered the East Coast racing circuits." Almost every third or fourth sentence in the book has this structure, and very frequently it is a structure that is completely broken, a total grammatical trainwreck. Too often the break is not just annoying, but actually confusing, as terrible grammar generally is. For example, on p. 73, "Born July 29, 1888, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, his father, James Chesebro, was from Connecticut and his mother, Margaret Grant, was a native of Kentucky." It was the subject of the entry, George Chesebro, who was born in 1888, not his father!

I also encountered some really confusing misprints or suspect arithmetic. For example James Coburn was "born 1928" but "at 60, in 1978," was felled by arthritis. Numbers are also a problem when the authors casually refer to a given actor as "one of the five best," or "one of the ten best" screen heavies... with usually no hint whatsoever as to who were the other four, or other nine! On a personal note I was surprised to find actors who stood 6' 2" and weighed 190 pounds described as "hulking brutes." Things must have changed a bit because I stand 6' 2" and weigh about 190 pounds and I look like good old Wally Cox!

On this same page you should also find the standard non-review by "Mr. Jim," which just transcribes the table of contents and dust jacket or cover blurbs, and moves on to the next item, just as do all of his other 1,500 (or whatever the total is now) "reviews," so I won't need to get into that.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Leader of Western Movie Books...Empire Publications ~ Best of the Badmen (2005)" 8 Jan 2006
By J. Lovins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Empire Publishing presents "Best of the Badmen", by Boyd Magers, Bob Nareau and Bobby Copeland telling the inside story in depth about some of the bad guys, the heavy and the villain who rode against the law and the heroes of our B-Westerns era...detailed bios, filmographies and photos galore of 325 actors who played outlaws, bandits and polecats on the big screen and small tube of westerns from the '30s through the '60s...every page has the breath and life as only the authors and these film historians can deliver through pen and paper...many of the chapters interview the actors, directors and other cast members who worked closely with the actors in this wonderful book...this tribute was written from the heart and it shows.

Table of Contents (Chapter, Title and Page Numbers)

Acknowledgments - 5
Dedications - 7
Foreword - 9
Introduction - 17
The Badmen: 20 through 317
The Rest of the Gang: 319 through 342
Bibliography - 343
About the Authors - 345

My favorite villains of all time were and there were three, Harry Woods, Charles King and Roy Barcroft...all three men set the standards for being rotten to the core, and you loved every minute they were on the screen...gave us the impression they were having the time of their lives committing all those dastardly deeds in every scene...please note, on page 8 Johnny Mack Brown gets the drop on the "Best of the Badmen" Harry Woods (left to right), Roy Barcroft and Charlie King in Universal's "West of Carson City" (1938, gotta love it .

BIOS:
1. Harry Woods (aka: Harry Lewis Woods)
(Woods was considered the dean of western heavies)
Birth Date: 5/05/1889 - Cleveland, Ohio
Died: 12/28/1968 - Los Angeles, California (uremia)
2. Charles King (aka: Charles Lafayette King Jr)
(He was the heavy we loved to hate)
Birth Date: 2/21/1895 - Hillsboro, Texas
Died: 5/07/1957 - Hollywood, California (cirrhosis of liver)
3. Roy Barcroft (aka: Howard Clifford Ravenscroft)
(King of the Badmen- one of the nicest people in the business)
Birth Date: 9/07/1902 - Crab Orchard, Nebraska
Died: 11/28/1969 - Woodland Hills, California (kidney cancer)

Hats off to Rhonda Lemons and her staff at Empire Publishing, the authors Magers, Nareau and Copeland putting down on paper without a doubt the best book commemorating the actors and their rare talent that helped make the B-Western great...sharing many facts inclusive within their own individual sections in the book...we now have answers to the many questions about the B-Western era and the actors who chose to play the heavy...If you're into the memories of the B-Western, this is the one you've been anxiously waiting for...another winner from those early days when the western villain made it clear where he stood and Empire Publishing has captured the moment...just the way we like 'em!

Total Page: 352 ~ Empire Publishing 0-944019-43-6 ~ (11/30/2005)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Badmen 24 Mar 2006
By Ms. Linda C. Wood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you are a fan of the film and TV westerns, this is a must-have addition to your library! Featuring one-page biographies of over 300 American character actors who excelled as blackhat baddies, it is a book you both dip into for reference of a specific actor you may want to know more about, or just read through and enjoy the photos and listings of their respective most notable bad-guy roles. In-depth, accurate research has been carried out for every actor included in this book. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Badmen Unveiled 1 April 2007
By Tomw - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book might be called a "Coffee Table" book. The brief biographies, however, are very interesting. Your are introduced to and get to know many of the lesser known faces seen in movies and TV over the past 70 years. I did not know that Iron Eyes Cody was not a First American. He was in fact Italian. Truly fascinating book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating short filmographies and biographies of B-Western bad guys! 8 Feb 2014
By libraryjunkie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For a true fan of B-Westerns such as myself, I highly recommend this book. The authors are authorities on this kind of thing - visit Magers' website Western Clippings for lots more great reading on your favorite western actors. Writing is informative, frequently humorous, containing many interesting anecdotes from friends of the actors, and most of the actors were interviewed by Magers himself. Each entry includes a photo and a short filmography so you can catch your favorites in a variety of films. The book is pricey because the publisher is out of business - but I consider it worth the price. Great stuff.
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