The Devil's Playground (November 15, 1946)
Released on November 15, 1946: Hopalong Cassidy helps a young lady in search of hidden gold, but a corrupt judge will try to kill her and anyone else that stops him from getting the gold.
Produced by William Boyd
Directed by George Archainbaud
Written by Ted Wilson from characters created by Clarence E. Mulford
The Actors: William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Andy Clyde (California Carlson), Rand Brooks (Lucky Jenkins), Elaine Riley (Mrs. Evans), Robert Elliott (Judge Morton), Joseph J. Greene (Sheriff), Francis McDonald (Roberts), Nedrick Young (Curly Evans), Earle Hodgins (Deputy Daniel), George Eldredge (U.S. Marshal), Everett Shields (Wolfe), John George (Shorty), Hank Bell (poker player), Bob Burns (barfly), Tex Cooper (townsman on jail porch), Jack Evans (barfly), Herman Hack (henchman), Merrill McCormick (posse rider), Dewey Robinson (Deputy Ed Garrity), Blackie Whiteford (barfly), Henry Wills (wagon driver)
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Hopalong Cassidy Takes Over
Harry ‘Pop’ Sherman began peddling silent movies during the first days of motion pictures, and eventually began producing his own independent movies. His one big success was Hopalong Cassidy, with William Boyd. By 1942 he was producing Hopalong Cassidy movies that United Artists distributed and those Hopalong Cassidy features came in at number two at the box office.
That is when Harry Sherman made a terrible decision. After 54 Hopalong Cassidy movies starring William Boyd, Sherman decided that he could use someone else to play the part of Hopalong Cassidy and save a bundle of money. He found a fellow to screen test with hair whitened to look like William Boyd’s hair, and he brought the screen test to United Artists proclaiming that this new fellow would be the next Hopalong Cassidy. Unfortunately for Sherman, William Boyd found out about the screen test to replace him, and he walked off the set.
William Boyd sold his ranch and moved into a small apartment, and with every cent he could raise, he began negotiating with Clarence Mulford and United Artists for the rights to everything connected to the character. Sherman had enough films already shot to release Hopalong Cassidy movies through the spring of 1944, and after that Harry Sherman never found great success in any motion picture venture that he tried.
United Artists contracted for 6 movies from William Boyd to be delivered within twelve months, and this is the first one. They would buy six more the following year, bringing the total number of Hopalong Cassidy movies to sixty-six - a record for any one movie character that stands to this day. William Boyd hired George Archainbaud to direct them because he had directed many of the Sherman produced episodes and was familiar with the routine. You may notice a subtle difference in how the scenes are framed by the director, and there was a reason for that.
In 1946 television was a very new invention and not in many homes yet, but Boyd saw the future of television, and predicted that one day television would become a lucrative market for Hopalong Cassidy. At Boyd’s suggestion the movies that he produced would be framed with the small television screen in mind. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy
Andy Clyde, Rand Brooks and William Boyd
Andy Clyde and Rand Brooks
William Boyd, Francis McDonald and Robert Elliott
Earle Hodgins, WIlliam Boyd and Elaine Riley
Earle Hodgins and William Boyd
Elaine Riley and William Boyd
Elaine Riley and William Boyd
Joseph G. Greene
Rand Brooks, William Boyd and Andy Clyde
Robert Elliott, Francis McDonald and Joseph J. Greene
Robert Elliott, Joseph J. Greene and William Boyd
Robert Elliott and William Boyd
William Boyd and Rand Brooks
William Boyd and Elaine Riley