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Tex Ritter Collection, Vol. 1 [5 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Hittin' the Trail
Filmed on location at Kernville, California, this otherwise average Tex Ritter singing Western employed on of the better stunts in Hollywood history. When the Bad Guys stampede a herd of horses, Ritter (or his double) jumps from his steed White Flash to the nearest horse, working his way from animal to animal until he reaches his quarry, head villain Earl Dwire. Ritter played Tex Randall, a cowboy mistaken for the notorious Tombstone Kid (Archie Ricks). Saloon owner James Clark (Dwire) clear up the misunderstanding only to trap Tex into buying a herd of stolen horses. Aided by his comic sidekick Hank (Heber Snow), Tex gets the last laugh, however, and later reveals himself to be an agent for the railroad company. A friend of Ritter's from his days on Broadway, lanky Heber Snow later changed his name to Hank Worden. Another newcomer, Jerry Bergh played Ritter's inanimate romantic interest. A New York debutante somewhat forced upon producer Edward F. Finney, Miss Bergh was conventionally pretty but a bit of a comedown from Ritter's Trouble in Texas leading lady, Rita Hayworth. Along with The Range Ramblers (Ray Whitley, Ken Card and the Phelps Bros.), Ritter performed I'm Hittin' the Trail for Home, I'm a Natural Born Cowboy, Blood on the Saddle and other selections, all of which he would also record on the Decca label. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Headin' for the Rio Grande
In his second "Range Rider" music Western for poverty row newcomer Grand National, Tex Ritter played Tex Saunders, the troubadour brother of the sheriff (Forrest Taylor) of Rio Grande, Texas. When Tex and sidekick Chilo (Syd Saylor) on behalf of Laurie Hart (Eleanor Stewart) begin to look into what appears to be a gangster-style protection racket, saloon-owner Ike Travis (Warner Richmond) has the troubadour framed for killing bandit Red Dugan (James Mason). An angry populace demand an arrest and Tex is saved in the nick of time from being lynched. Outriding the posse, Tex manages the round up the racketeers, including the real killer.Headin' for the Rio Grande was filmed for around $8000 at Hollywood's Talisman studios and at the Monogram ranch near Placerita,, California. Ritter, who was under a personal contract to producer Edward Finney and not Grand National, earned a flat fee of $2000 for each of his Westerns. Reportedly, Ritter convinced Grand National to hire silent clown Snub Pollard for a small supporting role, having admired Pollard's silent slapstick comedies as a child in East Texas. Pollard would return in later films as Ritter's comic sidekick. In his first of 25 appearances opposite Ritter, veteran Bad Guy Charles King played one of the villain's henchmen. "I must have killed old Charlie King at least twenty times," Ritter would later reminisce. "Usually behind the same rock." ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Song of the Gringo
Written by John P. McCarthy (who also directed), Robert Emmett Tansey, and, rather incongruously, former real-life outlaw Al Jennings, this musical Western marked the screen debut of Tex Ritter, a former Broadway and radio crooner. Ritter played Tex (of course), a lawman going undercover as a bandit in order to infiltrate a gang of claim jumpers. As it turns out, the leader of the gang, Evans (Ted Adams), is using the ranch of Don Esteban del Valle (Martin Garralaga) and his daughter, Dolores (Joan Woodbury), as his headquarters, dragging the innocent rancher into a scheme to take over the local mines by any means possible, including murder. In between his detective work, Ritter finds time to sing such song as "Out on the Lone Prairie," "My Sweet Chiquita," and "You Are Reality," the latter composed by leading lady Joan Woodbury, the wife of actor Henry Wilcoxon. Ritter was discovered for films by Edward F. Finney, the former promotional director for Republic Pictures, who released the Ritter series through newcomer Grand National. Despite the crowd-pleasing presence of comic sidekick Fuzzy Knight and Ritter's horse, White Flash, Song of the Gringo proved an inauspicious opener. According to Ritter himself, Finney had his star outfitted with a hideous-looking toupee; and director John P. McCarthy, a holdover from the silent era, proved an unwise choice as well. Both hairpiece and McCarthy were gone by the second instalment, Headin' for the Rio Grande (1936), replaced by Ritter's natural receeding hairline and Robert North Bradbury, yet another veteran but at least one with an eye for pacing. Ritter, who achieved perhaps his lasting fame singing "Do Not Forsake Me" over the main titles to Fred Zinneman's High Noon (1952), was the father of 1970s television star John Ritter. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

The Man from Texas
After having terrorized singing cowboy Tex Ritter in 19 consecutive Westerns, veteran Bad Guy Charles King found himself relegated to that of a minor henchman in The Man from Texas. The chief villain this time was the now forgotten Vic Demourelle, Jr., who played Jeff Hall, a nasty rancher plotting to take over his neighbor's spread. Said neighbor, Speed Dennison (Kenne Duncan), hires Ritter to help protect the property from Hall's hired gunslingers. One of them, the Shooting Kid (Charles B. Wood), is a friend of Ritter's and is being blackmailed by Hall. Unless he can get his cattle to the railroad station in time, Speed will forfeit his ranch, but Hall refuses him passage through his land. Aided by Sheriff Happy Martin (Hal Price), Tex and Speed nevertheless manage to get the cattle through Hall's illegal barbed wire fencing but in the ensuing shootout, the Kid is mortally wounded after taking a bullet meant for Tex. After the villainous Hall has been apprehended, Ritter reveals himself to be an agent for the railroad and that Hall was trying to steal the Dennison spread hoping to sell it to the company for a profit. Filmed on the Monogram ranch in Newhall, California, The Man from Texas was even cheaper than Ritter's previous efforts and the former radio crooner only got to sing two songs: Prairie Lights and Men Who Wear the Stars, both composed by Frank Harford. On a more positive note, this was the first Ritter Western sans the so-called comedy relief by Snub Pollard and/or Horace Murphy ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Rollin' Plains
Filmed after the star and his producer already had signed a new deal with rival company Monogram, this Grand National Tex Ritter Western slashed the usual parsimonious budget even further by recycling the entire final reel of Ritter's previous Sing, Cowboy, Sing. Filmed back-to-back with Utah Trail, Ritter's final Grand National Western, Rollin' Plains once again burdened the star with perhaps the worst comic sidekicks available at the time, Horace Murphy and Snub Pollard, the latter still sporting the paint-on mustache he had used since the silent days at Keystone. The three played rangers coming to the assistance of Gospel Moody (silent screen star Hobart Bosworth), a cattle rancher in trouble with an ornery sheepman, Trigger Gargan (Charles King). Soon, Gospel is accused of killing old Hank Tomlin (Horace B. Carpenter), an act actually committed by his half-brother Cain (Ernie S. Adams). With Tex's help, Moody stages his own "death," only to come back as a "ghost." Accompanied by a group calling themselves The Beverly Hill Billies, Ritter performed Rollin' Plains by Whitcup, Samuels and Powell, Me, My Pal and My Pony by Frank Harford, and Rock of Ages by Augustus Montague Toplady and Thomas Hastings. Hank Worden, a friend of Ritter's from his days on Broadway, appeared in a bit part, still billed under his real name, Heber Snow. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Tex Ritter
    Tex Ritter - Tex Randall
  • Image coming soon
    Jerry Bergh - Jean Reed
  • Tommy Bupp
    Tommy Bupp - Billy Reed
  • Image coming soon
    Earl Dwire - James Clark
  • Image coming soon
    Archie Ricks - Tombstone Kid
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.