The Law of Contact

Zane Grey's Desert Gold (March 27, 1936)

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Buster Crabbe in Desert Gold

Released on March 27, 1936: Indian Chief Moya has a secret gold mine, and Chet Kasedon will stop at nothing to find out the location of the mine and steal the gold.

Directed by James P. Hogan

The Actors: Buster Crabbe (Indian Chief Moya), Robert Cummings (Fordyce 'Ford' Mortimer), Marsha Hunt (Judy Belding), Tom Keene (Randolph Gale), Leif Erickson (Glenn Kasedon), Monte Blue (Chet Kasedon), Raymond Hatton (Doc Belding), Walter Miller (henchman Hank Ladd), Frank Mayo (henchman Bert Lash), Billy Bletcher (Bob, wedding guest), James P. Burtis (sleeping stage passenger), Si Jenks (stage driver Bert), Willis Marks (J.T. Winters, assayer), Robert McKenzie (wedding guest serving punch), John Merkyl (Indian tribal elder), Art Mix (henchman), Philip Morris (sentry), Gertrude Simpson (wedding guest), Ed Thorpe (American Indian), Anders Van Haden (Indian Tribal Elder).

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When I got out of college and decided that I was not going to become a preacher like my father, I got a job on the construction crew at a steel mill in McDonald, Ohio. It was 1973 and I was earning a whopping $3.15 an hour - three times the current minimum wage level, and I thought I was rich! I also had good medical benefits as a steel worker which included a generous dental plan. So I figured that as long as it was mostly paid for, I might as well see a dentist and make sure everything was all right. I made an appointment with a dentist on Market Street in nearby Youngstown, Ohio. The fellow couldn't find anything to fix, so he suggested that I might want to have my wisdom teeth removed. They were not causing me any trouble, but he said that they might in the future, and it did no harm to remove them now. I think that he must have had a boat payment to make or something, and decided to get that money from my teeth. Well, I was young and dumb, and it wasn't going to cost me any cash to have it done, so we went for it. The doc started on one tooth, but it was stubborn and wouldn't come out. After trying several things, he actually put his knee on my chest to give him more leverage, and he grabbed one of my wisdom teeth with his pliers and tugged until he was sweating profusely. That tooth would not budge. So he moved to another of my four wisdom teeth and tugged, prodded and pulled, with no luck. Finally he took an x-ray of the area and discovered that the roots of my wisdom teeth had curled towards each other, almost connecting in a ring around my gums. He then took another instrument and cracked the first tooth in half, and was able to pull each half out along with its curled root. After doing the same thing to the wisdom tooth on the other end of my lower jaw, he quit for the day. He told me that he would take out the upper two teeth in a future visit. I left the office fat, dumb and happy, only to discover the worst pain I had ever experienced as soon as the pain drugs had worn off. After a week of agony, I decided that I wouldn't call the office for a return visit and an adventure with my upper wisdom teeth, and the doctor's office never called me back to schedule the next visit. That was my first and last visit to that dentist, and I learned firsthand why many comedy skits revolve around the dentist office. We love to laugh at the misery of another.

This Zane Grey movie is the only comedy that the famed author ever penned – I was amazed at the amount of laughing that I did during this serious struggle between the good guys and the bad guys. Sure there is a bad guy who is about to marry the only pretty girl in the cast, and a good guy who will woo the damsel from him before ending his evil ways. But there is a young Robert Cummings in this story, and his comedy is infectious and never ending. I remember him from his 1950's television situation comedy, Love That Bob, but he was never this funny in that show. I almost split a gut when he had his ordeal in the dentist chair with a determined doctor, after having one tooth pulled in a racing stage coach in the opening scene. And his nit-wit personality continues to provide laughs all the way through this amazing story of the old west and the dealings of the white men with the American Indians. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn and drizzle lots of real melted butter on it and enjoy a comedy adventure as our good guys and bad guys search for the hidden gold mine on the Arizona mountain where the Indians live.

Larry 'Buster' CrabbeTom Keene
Larry 'Buster' CrabbeTom Keene
Monte BlueRobert Cummings
Monte BlueRobert Cummings
Marsha HuntRaymond Hatton
Marsha HuntRaymond Hatton
Glenn EriksonFrank Mayo nad Walter Miller
Leif EriksonFrank Mayo and Walter Miller
Buster Crabbe - 1936Tom Keene and Robert Cummings
Buster Crabbe - 1936Tom Keene and Robert Cummings in 1936
Tom Keene and Marsha Hunt 
Tom Keene and Marsha Hunt