Saturday, June 5, 2021

Zane Grey Week -- Tom Mix Takes Over -- June 5, 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. 

As we saw yesterday, the Fox Film Corporation had produced a group of four films based on Zane Grey novels, all starring William Farnum. Just a few years later, Fox remade all four movies, in a different order, featuring the biggest Western star of all, Tom Mix. 

Moving Picture World, 23-September-1923

In The Lone Star Ranger, Tom Mix plays Buck Duane who gets a lot of grief because his father was a bandit. Later he becomes a Texas Ranger.

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Omaha Bee, 09-November-1924

Tom Mix played Buck Duane again in The Last of the Duanes.

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Seattle Star, 11-April-1925

I don't think the ebullient Tom Mix was the perfect person to play Lassiter. A vault fire on 09-July-1937 destroyed most of Fox's silent films, including most of Tom Mix's silent features. Somehow, Riders of the Purple Sage, one of his least typical movies, survived the fire.

Photoplay, June, 1925

Seattle Star, 07-May-1925

Tom again played Lassiter in an adaption of the sequel, The Rainbow Trail

Seattle Star, 12-May-1925

Spokane Woman, 24-March-1927

In 1927, two years after Fox released The Rainbow Trail, they decided to make a second version of The Last Trail. This time it starred the man who had appeared in the other four movies, Tom Mix. Tom Mix played Tom Dane. 

Notice that the ad next to Fox's promotes Warner Brothers' Don Juan, the first feature film released with a Vitaphone, sound on disk, musical score.

Publishers Weekly, 30-April-1921

Tomorrow: Riders as a Talkie

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