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Oh Susanna! (August 19, 1936)

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Gene Autry in Oh Susanna!

Released on August 19, 1936: A bandit tosses Gene Autry off the train and assumes his identity, framing Gene for murder.

Directed by Joseph Kane

The Actors: Gene Autry (Gene Autry, aka Tex Smith), Smiley Burnette (Frog Millhouse), Frances Grant (Mary Ann Lee), Earle Hodgins (Professor Ezekial Daniels), Donald Kirke (Flash Baldwin), Boothe Howard (Wolf Benson), The Light Crust Doughboys (Western band), Clara Kimball Young (Aunt Peggy Lee), Edward Peil Sr. (Mineral Springs Sheriff), Frankie Marvin (henchman Hank), Carl Stockdale (Jefferson Lee), Roscoe Gerald (irate farmer), Roger Gray (Sage City Judge), Fred Burns (Cottonwood Sheriff Jones), Walter James (Sage City Sheriff Briggs), Lee Meehan (henchman Pete), Fred 'Snowflake' Toones (train proter), Silver Tip Baker (Sage City townsman), Roy Bucko (Mineral Springs Deputy), Zeke Campbell (guitarist with The Light Crust Doughboys), Horace B. Carpenter (Sage City Autry fan), Tommy Coats (Mineral Springs Deputy), Edward Coxen (Sage City townsman), Rube Dalroy (Sage City townsman), Bert Dodson (standing Bass player with The Light Crust Doughboys), Curley Dresden (Sage City deputy), Earl Dwire (excited Sage City townsman), Oscar Gahan (Sage City barber), Clifford Gross (fiddle player with The Light Crust Doughboys), Jack Hendricks (Sage City townsman on bench), Alfred P. James (the judge), Jack Kirk (Sage City deputy and Jefferson Lee ranch hand), Tracy Layne (Sage City deputy), William McCall (Sage City whittling townsman), Merrill McCormick (Cottonwood deputy), Bruce Mitchell (train conductor), Marvin 'Smokey' Montgomery (banjo player with The Light Crust Doughboys), George Morrell (Sage City telegraph operator), Pascale Perry (knife throwing act assistant), Kenneth Pitts (fiddler with The Light Crust Doughboys), Bud Pope (Sage City deputy), Bob Reeves (ranch guest), Dick Reinhart (guitar player with The Light Crust Doughboys), Tom Smith (Mineral Springs deputy), Wes Warner (Sage City deputy), Jay Wilsey (Sage City deputy).


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I still remember standing outside our house in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on the sidewalk with my shiny silver pistol. I would load a small red roll of caps into the chamber, and as I pulled the trigger the roll would advance, and the hammer would crash down on a round 'bump' in the roll that contained some kind of black powder explosive, and a loud 'crack' with a whiff of smoke would escape into the air, and another bad guy would be taken down by this little cowboy. Sometimes I would have a roll of caps and not have my pistol handy, so I would unroll the caps slowly and hit each mound of powder with the sharp edge of a small rock and explode the caps, to much delight and amidst many imaginary battles with the bad guys. Any penny candy store or 'corner' store would have a good supply of caps . . . but I haven't seen them in many years . . . I imagine that, like matches that can be lit against almost any surface, they are much too dangerous for our protected children today. Sometimes I wonder how all of us old farts survived the dangers of childhood . . .

When I was a young boy I often watched a cowboy movie on television, usually on Saturday afternoons. What I never realized is that many of the classic cowboy adventures were filmed with a present day background. I always figured that cowboy stories were stories from long ago - maybe back in Civil War times or the late 1800's, but many of the Hollywood cowboy movies from the 1930's and 1940's were contemporary. This 1936 Western adventure features Gene Autry playing himself, a singing cowboy radio star, and the final obligatory chase the bad guy scene features Gene and the bad guy both racing through the western country in brand new 1936 automobiles! Yup, and this chase would have made 007 jealous . . . but we won't see James Bond for many more years. In fact, I may be weird . . . alright, I will agree to the premise that I am weird . . . but I would rather have seen a nice photo and screen credit for the 1936 convertible car that Gene Autry chased the bad guy in, instead of a screen credit for Champion, his horse. Pop your white kernel popcorn and drizzle plenty of warm melted butter on it, because you are in for a cowboy treat that will keep you excited from start to car-racing finish.

Gene AutreyFrances Grant
Gene Autry - 1936Frances Grant
Smiley BurnetteEarle Hodgins
Smiley BurnetteEarle Hodgins
Donald Kirke and Boothe HowardClara Kimball Young
Donald Kirke and Boothe HowardClara Kimball Young
Bert DodsonClifford Gross
Bert Dodson - Light Crust DoughboysClifford Gross - Light Crust Doughboys
Dick ReinhartMarvin 'Smokey' Montgomery
Dick Reinhart - Light Crust DoughboysMarvin 'Smokey' Montbomery - Light Crust Doughboys
Champion, the horseGene Autry and Boothe Howard
Champion, the horseThe chase scene with Gene Autry and Boothe Howard