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.
In this Volume 5 we have five films of the following:
UNDERCOVER MAN (1942/68 mins/B&W)
Boyd (Hoppy), Andy Clyde (California Jack Carlson), Jay Kirby (Breezy Travers), Antonio Moreno, Jack Rockwell, Nora Lane
Hoppy is sent for to see if he can find the outlaw gang working both sides of the border..each side suspecting the other...romance this time is provided by California...spanish actors have excellent roles in this film...good mystery as you're guessing till the very end.
THREE MEN FROM TEXAS (1940/76 mins/B&W)
Boyd (Hoppy), Andy Clyde (California Jack Carlson), Russell Hayden (Lucky Jenkins), Morris Ankrum, Dick Curtis, Glenn Strange, Esther Estrella.
Excellent B western...more serious than most and one of the very best...Hoppy and his sidekick are two Texas Rangers who leave the service and take up ranching on the Bar 20...Hoppy unites the caballeros and town folk together to fight the gang and bring law and order to the town...another winner for the Hopalong Cassidy series.
STICK TO YOUR GUNS (1941/63 mins/B&W)
Boyd (Hoppy), Andy Clyde (California Jack Carlson), Brad King (Johnny Nelson), Jennifer Holt, Dick Curtis, Tom London, Jimmy Wakely (song & entertainment)
A former Bar 20 cowhand is now a cattle rancher and having trouble with rustlers. once again Hoppy takes on a disguise as a dude gambler...and the Bar 20 gang ride in and surround the the bad guys...another victory for Hoppy and the Bar 20.
THE DEAD DON'T DREAM (1948/62 mins/B&W)
Boyd (Hoppy), Andy Clyde (California Jack Carlson), Rand Brooks (Lucky Jenkins), Francis McDonald, John Parrish, Don Haggerty.
The three Bar 20 boys arrive for Lucky's wedding only to find it called off as Lucky's fiancee's uncle is found murdered...on each of the next two nights a man is found missing the next morning...Hoppy has many suspects and announces the murderer is right here among them...Hoppy takes that same room for the night hoping to flush out the murderer...can he do it, will Hoppy once again prevail...stayed tuned and find out.
COLT COMRADES (1943/67 mins/B&W)
Boyd (Hoppy), Andy Clyde (California Jack Carlson), Jay Kirby (Johnny Travers), Robert Mitchum, Earl Hodgins, Victor Jory, George Reeves, Douglas Fawley
Cassidy and his Bar 20 comrades buy half interest in a ranch...Hoppy is framed for cattle rustling...and California and Wildcat Kelly strike oil, as they were drilling for water...that's just the tip of the iceberg of the adventure that is in store for Hoppy & California,
Hoppy's interaction with California Carlson (Andy Clyde) is always a shot in the arm with his down-to-earth humor and sentimentality, theses scenes are pure Americana! Boyd, with his silver hair, black clothes and white horse (Topper) rode into our lives and we've never been the same since...your children and grandchildren will enjoy this clean wholesome entertainment...Hoppy always wore two silver white handle six shooters, never drank or smoked, when the good guys always won and the moral to the story was fair-play...outstanding role model...gotta love it!
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 Andy Clyde (California Carlson) for comedy, left the field of romance and action wide open, Hayden filled those "boots" perfectly.
William Boyd was my hero, this collection of five films are perfect, clear and give me hope for the future. Our youth should have such a hero to look up to today. Must mention the fact that I still miss one of my all-time-favorite sidekicks though, George "Gabby" Hayes, you're durn tootin'!
Paramount and Clarence E. Mulford's fictional western character Hopalong Cassidy comes to life through William Boyd as Hoppy and Andy Clyde as California with films from the '40s...horse operas directed by Lesley Selander and George Archainbaud...some of the best hard riding and smokin' gunplay that ever came across the big screen from the Bar 20 boys...just the way we like 'em.
Total Time: 340 mins (5 films) DVD ~ Platinum 21129 ~ (8/31/2004)