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B Western Boo-Boos
Image reversals,
Continuity lapses,
No time or money for retakes,
Problematic names,
Borrow, re-use, recycle ... use whatever is handy,
And old Hollywood could've used spell-checkers.

Over these many years working on the Old Corral website, I've seen a bunch of errors and lapses and misspellings. And occasionally, I'll get an e-mail about an image reversal in a lobby card or poster - and wondering why the hero suddenly became a left-hander. Following are some real life examples. There are many more - but I'm not going to create a webpage of every boo-boo that we (and you) spot in the old B western. That would take too much time and too many pages to document.

This isn't meant to be a super criticism of the B western. People make errors - I do and so do you. The folks trying to do a western in 4-5 days of shooting and a budget of $10,000 - $15,000 were under a lot of pressure. I remain amazed that they could function in that kind of low budget, no retakes environment. So give a round of applause to producers and directors like Sam Newfield, Bob Tansey, Robert North Bradbury, Spencer Gordon Bennet, Paul Malvern, Ed Finney, Harry S. Webb, and many others for being able to churn out reels of enjoyment ... and an occasional western gem.

Continuity Lapses, No Retakes.

There were scads of continuity lapses in the B western - be they errors in the scripting, foulups in the filming/editing, or just plain sloppiness due to the meager budgets. Typical lapses included:

•  the hero or the baddie has the hat on ... and then the hats off ... and on.
•  a holster is empty and then is shown with a sixgun inside.
•  a missing father, ranch owner or lawman suddenly re-appears at the end of the film without any explanation of how or why.
•  mismatched library stock footage got added to pad the running time ... and save some production costs.

A very common "how'd he do that" relates to our hero - after a lengthy brawl on a dusty western street, his hat, shirt and pants are covered with sweat and grime. Next scene - he's clean ... spotless ... grimeless. Must have had a clean shirt, pants and hat in his saddle bags.

Some specific continuity lapse examples:

A B western chock full of boo boos and production sloppiness is the Buster Crabbe FRONTIER OUTLAWS (PRC, 1944), and I re-watched it while I was doing this webpage. It includes lots of wasted scenes to pad out the time and Crabbe even does a Mexican bandit impersonation (somewhat better than Tim McCoy, but still terrible). FRONTIER OUTLAWS also includes an oft mentioned "ouch scene" - after relieving saloon owner and brains heavy Charlie King of a money bag, Buster exits out the saloon office window and cracks his head on the window frame. That wasn't the only "ouch scene" in Crabbe's PRC series - at the tail end of STAGECOACH OUTLAWS (PRC, 1945), Buster is carrying St. John and Fuzzy's head meets a door jam and you can hear him moan. No time or money for retakes at PRC.

Monogram also had budgetary and time constraints which meant no retakes. Robert Emmett Tansey was the producer, director and did the story for the Trail Blazers' WESTWARD BOUND (Monogram, 1944). This Ken Maynard, Hoot Gibson and Bob Steele entry is fun to watch, but there is a noticeable lapse. In the rootin' tootin' finale, Hoot tosses dynamite sticks at the fleeing baddies. And he does this about a half-dozen times. If you watch closely, you can see the dynamite landing in the town street but the set explosions go off several feet away. As the dust and smoke from the blast dissipates, you can spot the pretend dynamite sticks still laying on the ground. And Bob Steele is hatless in his slugfest with Harry Woods. Then all of a sudden, Bob's hat is on ... then it's off.

For those of you who might have read about some camera foulups in the Tex Ritter DOWN THE WYOMING TRAIL (Monogram, 1939), the answer is "Yup!". Purportedly, this was one of the more expensive Ritter oaters, with cast and crew on location in cold, snowy Wyoming. But cameraman Marcel Le Picard had problems and some of the chase/riding scenes across the snow are at an annoying "fast" and "jerky" speed. Back process screens were used for shots of the elk herds, and at the end, Tex is singing "There's A Valley In Wyoming" to heroine Mary Brodel with the snow and critters milling around behind them. Watch closely and you can see a 'blip' as the herd film ends and restarts over from scratch. It's easy to hit the DVD or VCR rewind and play buttons to view this over and over.

Spelling Errors and Problematic Names.

There were some performers whose names seemed to cause all kinds of spelling chaos in posters, lobby cards, pressbooks and film credits (if their names were printed or were listed in the film credits).

Some examples: in the opening titles of Tom Keene's COME ON DANGER! (RKO, 1932) and SCARLET RIVER (RKO, 1933), old Roscoe Ates is spelled "Rosco". And in the opening titles from Gene Autry's THE PHANTOM EMPIRE (Mascot, 1935), Smiley Burnette is "Burnett".

Here's a longish list of other folks whose names were frequently mangled:

Edmund Cobb (sometimes Edwin or Edmond)
Bud Osborne (sometimes Osbourne, Osborn)
Edward Peil, Sr. (sometimes Piel)
George Chesebro (sometimes Cheseboro, Cheseborough, more)
Chief Thundercloud, Thunder Cloud, Thunder-Cloud
Frank Yaconelli (sometimes Yacanelli)
Milburn/Milt Morante (sometimes Moranti)
Earle Hodgins (sometimes Earl, sometimes Hudgins)
Murdock MacQuarrie (several last name variations)
Franklyn Farnum (sometimes Franklin)
Richard 'Dick' Cramer (sometimes Kramer)
Le Roy Mason (sometimes Le Roy, LeRoy, Leroy, Roy)
Budd Buster (oftentimes spelled Bud)
Carleton Young (sometimes Carlton)
Roscoe Ates (sometimes Rosco)
Earl Dwire (sometimes Earle; sometimes Dwyer)
Karl Hackett (sometimes Carl, sometimes Hacket)
Jay Wilsey (sometimes Wiltsie or Wilsie)
Syd Saylor vs. Sid Saylor
Charles 'Slim' Whitaker (sometimes Whittaker)
Glenn Strange (Glen, Glenn)
Lucile Browne (sometimes Lucille)
Cecilia Parker (not Cecelia)
Lew Meehan (sometimes Lou)
Lash LaRue or La Rue (with or without a space in last name)
Director Harry Fraser (not Frazer with a Z)
Director Spencer Gordon Bennet (not Bennett with 2 TT's in last name)
Douglass Dumbrille (first name sometimes spelled Douglas)
Dick Botiller (sometimes Botilier or Botiler, other variations)
Frank McCarroll (sometimes McCarrol, other variations)

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Note there are two spelling errors in this pressbook ad - Carlton Young should be Carleton (with an e), and heroine Louise Curry should be Louise Currie.

Yes ... the story is true. The opening title for the Buffalo Bill, Jr. LIGHTNING BILL (Superior, 1934) is misspelled as LIGHTING BILL.

Above are the opening title credits from the Rin-Tin-Tin Jr. adventure, CARYL OF THE MOUNTAINS (Reliable, 1936). Note the spelling of Earl Dwire's last name.

Above are the opening title credits from the John Wayne WEST OF THE DIVIDE (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934). Earl Dwire is spelled correctly, but three boo-boos are present. Heroine Virginia Faire Brown is really Virginia Brown Faire. Loyd Whitlock should be Lloyd Whitlock. And youngster Billie O'Brien is spelled Billy.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Sante spelled with an E? The correct spelling is Santa Fe.

(From Old Corral collection)

Note the spelling of bad guy Karl Hackett as Hacket in this title lobby card from WHISTLING BULLETS (Ambassador Conn, 1937).

On this RAWHIDE ROMANCE poster, there are two spelling errors:  the real life wife of Jay Wilsey/Buffalo Bill, Jr. was Genée Boutell, and her name is spelled Genee BoNtell. And Marin Sais is spelled as MariOn Sais.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Note the Directed by Spencer Bennett credit line at the bottom of this pressbook ad - should be Spencer Gordon Bennet (with only 1 T in Bennet).

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a pressbook ad for PRAIRIE LAW (RKO, 1940) which starred George O'Brien and included "Slim" Whitaker as the sidekick.  Note the spelling of Whittaker (with 2 tt's).

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

In the above ad, notice that Edmund Cobb is billed as 'Edwin'.  And Frank Walker is really Francis Walker.

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