Friday, June 4, 2021

Zane Grey Week -- Riders of the Purple Sage and Others -- June 4, 2021

Motion Picture News, 21-May-1921

Zane Grey was a popular Western novelist in the first half of the Twentieth Century. I had read about movies made from his stories, so I took a few novels out from the Anza Branch Library. It turns out that he was not a very good writer, but he did produce interesting characters and descriptions.

I thought I might join with producer Benjamin B Hampton and have a Zane Grey Week.

One of the books that I read was his most popular, Riders of the Purple Sage. It introduced Lassiter, a classic Western hero. Aside from some startling anti-LDS business, Riders of the Purple Sage has a good story. 

Moving Picture World, 08-June-1918

The first screen adaption of Riders of the Purple Sage was made in 1918, by the Fox Film Corporation. It starred William Farnum, a big, tough movie star who appeared in many westerns. "Millions have read the book/Millions demand the picture."

South Bend News-Times, 15-September-1918

"This will be the first of four big six-reel sensational western dramas from Zane Grey's novels."

Great Falls Tribune, 01-April-1918

Lassiter returned in Zane Grey's sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage, The Rainbow Trail. William Farnum appeared in Fox's production.

"So successful was "Riders of the Purple Sage" when shown at a private screening in New York that William Fox immediately purchased two more of Zane Grey's books. These are 'The Last of the Duanes' and 'The Lone Star Ranger,' and each of them has sold into the millions of copies in book form" (Moving Picture World, 10-August-1918).

Moving Picture World, 10-August-1918

Fox released another Zane Grey adaption with William Farnum, The Lone Star Ranger, in late 1918. The book's Buck Duane was renamed Steele for no apparent reason.

Washington Sunday Star, 14-December-1919

Fox's next Zane Grey adaption with William Farnum was The Last of the Duanes. Farnum's character was not named "Duck" Duane. He was "Buck Duane."

The Pullman Herald, 16-June-1922, 16-June-1922.

In 1922, Fox produced a fifth Zane Grey novel, The Last Trail, but it starred Maurice Flynn instead of William Farnum. You will notice that Flynn's name is not mentioned in the ad.

Wilmington Evening Journal, 03-June-1921

Tomorrow: Tom Mix Takes Over.

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