Gene Autry, Vol. 2 [DVD]

The Gene Autry Show ran for five seasons in the 1950s, and this entry in the Platinum Disc Corporation's TV Classic Westerns series brings together four episodes. Digitally mastered and featuring 5.1 surround sound, the disc includes the episodes "Public Cowboy No. 1," "Ride, Ranger, Ride," "Rim of the Canyon," and "Yodelin' Kid From Pine Ridge."
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Overview

Synopsis

Rim of the Canyon
Gene Autry plays a dual role in the above-average Columbia oater Rim of the Canyon. Our hero plays "himself" and his own father, a famed sheriff. Twenty years ago, Autry Sr. threw a trio of outlaws (Walter Sande, Jock Mahoney and Francis McDonald) into jail for stealing a large sum of money. When the crooks escape and head for the hidden loot, it's up to Autry Jr. to track them down. Unlike previous Columbia Autrys, Rim of the Canyon downplays the musical element in favor of fast, sometimes violent action. Even Autry's faithful horse Champion gets in on the act by trampling one of the crooks. Autry's leading lady this time out is Nan Leslie, later a busy TV character actress; another future TV favorite, Alan Hale Jr., essays a supporting role. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Ride, Ranger, Ride
The Texas Rangers vs. the United States Cavalry. That is basically the main thrust of the plot in this tuneful, fairly engrossing Gene Autry music Western. That Autry's singing-style is rather more endemic to 1936 than the late 19th century is merely part of the Autry phenomenon. While supposedly aiding Cavalry Colonel Summerall (Robert E. Homans), Indian sign interpretor Duval (Monte Blue) is instead plotting with the Comanches to attack a supply train. Ranger lieutenant Gene Autry and his sidekicks Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnette) and Rube (Max Terhune) attempt to warn the colonel but are instead jailed on a trumped up charge. The governor of Texas, however, reinstates Autry and Co. and the rangers save the cavalry from a massacre. The plot is, as always, merely a framework for the Autry magic, which includes serenading leading lady Kay Hughes, as the colonel's daughter, and a running gag that has Burnette pursued by an Indian (Chief Thundercloud) with a scalping complex. The only departure from the routine comes at the end when Autry actually marries the colonel's daughter, a union, so to speak, between the Texas Rangers and the United States Cavalry..Ride, Ranger, Ride was filmed at Newhall, California, by former editor Joseph Kane, who included plenty of stock footage to give the film a more sumptuous look than the stingy Republic Pictures would allow. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Public Cowboy No. 1
In this 20th-century western, hero Gene Autry uses his old-fashioned horse and six-shooter to foil the plans of cattle rustlers who ply their trade via airplanes, refrigerated trucks and shortwave radios. Songs include: "The West Ain't What It Used to Be?", "I Picked up the Trail When I Found You", "Heebie, Jeebie Blues" (sung by Smiley Burnette) and "Defective Detective from Brooklyn" (also by Burnette). ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Yodelin' Kid from Pine Ridge
The prolific Jack Natteford wrote this unusual Gene Autry Western -- or, to be accurate, "Eastern" -- which reportedly suffered cuts after censors found it too violent. Gene, as usual, plays Gene Autry, this time the son of a Georgian cattleman (Charles Middleton) waging a war against the areas "turpentiners," harvesters of pine tree sap. Disowned by his father after siding with the turpentiners, Gene takes up with Colonel Millhouse's (Smiley Burnette) traveling Wild West Show. The show returns to Pine Ridge two years later and Gene discovers that a gang of rustlers is now using the turpentiners as a cover for their crimes. While Gene is occupied with the rustlers, the Wild West Show audience grow restless and Millhouse sends in an imposter (Art Mix), who mimes to a recording of Autry's voice. The leader of the rustlers, Len Parker (LeRoy Mason), takes this opportunity to get rid of his enemy and has the imposter killed. The real Gene, meanwhile, finds his father murdered by what appears to be someone connected by the leader of the turpentiners, Bayliss Baynum (Russell Simpson), and when Autry Sr. is likewise found slain, Gene becomes the natural suspect. The turpentiners demand swift justice, but Gene manages to track down the real culprit with the aid of Baynum's daughter, Milly (Betty Bronson), and the Wild West Show performers. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Gene Autry
    Gene Autry - Gene Autry, Gene Autry The Elder
  • Nan Leslie
    Nan Leslie - Ruth Lambert
  • Thurston Hall
    Thurston Hall - Big Tim Hanlon
  • Clem Bevans
    Clem Bevans - Loco John
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