Song of the Gringo (November 22, 1936)
Released on November 22, 1936: In Tex Ritter's first motion picture, he goes undercover and pretends to be an outlaw to infiltrate a gang that is terrorizing gold miners.
Directed by John P. McCarthy
Written by John P. McCarthy, Robert Emmett Tansey , Wellyn Totman and Al J. Jennings.
The Actors: Tex Ritter (Tex), Joan Woodbury (Lolita Maria Dolores Del Valle), Fuzzy Knight (Slim Zony), Monte Blue (the Sheriff), Ted Adams (Evans), Warner Richmond (henchman 'Cherokee'), Al J. Jennings (the judge), Martin Garralaga (Don Esteban Valle), William Desmond (bailiff), Forrest Taylor (prosecuting attorney), Robert Fiske (defense attorney), Rosa Rey (Rosita the maid), Jose Pacheco (orchestra leader), Bob Burns (Norman Conklin), Budd Buster (cowhand), Jose Dominguez (Pedro), Earl Dwire (Chief Marshal), Frank Ellis (court deputy), Jack Evans (cowhand at trial), Jack Hendricks (cowhand), Jack Kirk (cowhand), Carmen Laroux (fiesta dancer), Tex Phelps (Bill Henderson), Bud Pope (deputy), Bill 'Shorty' Scott (fiddle player), F.R. Smith (Deputy Henry), Glenn Strange (henchman Blackie), Wally West (cowhand), Slim Whitaker (deputy).
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Until I was 15 years old I never had my hair cut by anyone but mom. She cut dad's hair and mine every week until she passed on. After mom was gone dad gave me a dollar and a quarter every other Friday and I would stop at the barber shop in Shanksville, Pennsylvania that was on my way home from school. In those days men went to barber shops and women went to beauty salons. Today it is difficult to find a real old-fashioned barber shop, and both men and women go to the style shops that dot the landscape. Once in a while at the shop where I now frequent, the gal cutting my hair will finish up by slapping a bit of that old-fashioned talcum powder on the back of my neck, just like the barber used to do. And that familiar smell of fresh talcum always brings a smile to my soul, remembering days gone by. Depending on my mood, and the hands of the stylist, I almost fall asleep as she cuts my hair. There is just something terribly relaxing about it. Well, that is what happened to Tex Ritter before he made this, his first motion picture, and it almost put an end to his movie career before it got started. Let me tell you about it.
Tex Ritter, born Maurice Woodward Ritter, got an academy award for writing and singing the song that opened the famous movie 'High Noon.' He acted in 75 motion pictures, and on Broadway and on radio and television besides performing at the Grand Ole Opry for several years. But his movie career might not have happened because of his haircut just before filming began on this movie, his very first. It seems that he fell asleep in the barber chair before giving his barber any instructions, and his barber chopped off all of the hair that he had been growing for his appearance in this cowboy movie. You never saw a cowboy with a crew cut or butch haircut, but that is what Tex wound up with a few days before filming began. That is why the only time you will see him without a big hat stuck firmly on his head is during the trial at the end of the movie, where he wears a wig.
One more thing that you will notice if you watch carefully . . . as the plot is progressing, and he is about to mount his new white horse and go with Fuzzy Knight to shoot a couple of miners, he gets into the saddle and says quite clearly and distinctly, "Let's Roll," just like one of our heroes from September 11 on the plane that crashed about a mile from my teen home in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Kinda brought a tear to my eye . . .
Al J. Jennings as the judge at Tex's trial
Al J. Jennings
Forrest Taylor as the prosecuting attorney
Fuzzy Knight and Warner Richmond enjoy watching Joan Woodbury dancing the fandango
Fuzzy Knight at the trial, before all the shooting starts
Fuzzy Knight as Slim Zony, cowhand
Joan Woodbury and Martin Garralaga
Joan Woodbury at her birthday fiesta
Joan Woodbury dancing the fandango at her birthday fiesta.
Joan Woodbury dancing the fandango
Joan Woodbury with Martin Garralaga after he has been shot in the back by Evans
Martin Garralaga is questioned by Monte Blue
Martin Garralaga in Song of the Gringo
Monte Blue and Bud Pope at the birthday fiesta
Monte Blue and Martin Garralaga at the birthday fiesta
Robert Fiske as the defense attorney at Tex's trial
Rosa Rey and Joan Woodbury at the trial
Ted Adams and Tex Ritter
Tex Phelps and Bob Burns
Tex Ritter and Fuzzy Knight
Tex Ritter and Joan Woodbury at the fiesta
Joan Woodbury dresses Tex Ritter's wound
Tex Ritter and Monte Blue shoot it out with the bad guys at the trial
Tex Ritter as outlaw hiding from the sheriff
Tex Ritter on the witness stand
Tex Ritter singing and playing his guitar for the cowhands at the ranch.
Tex Ritter with a beard as he is pretending to be an outlaw so that he can infiltrate the gang
Tex Ritter singing and playing his guitar
Warner Richmond and Ted Adams at the trial
Warner Richmons as henchman Cherokee