Dale Robertson


  1. William Holden, Golden Boy, 1938.  One legend (from his agent?) said  Coloumbia czar Harry Cohn saw Robertson boxing in Wichita (earning some bucks while at the Oklahoma Military College) and invited him  to LA  to play Joe Bonaparte in the film of Cifford Odets’ play.  No, no, too busy training 17 polo ponies, and at 17  too young to leave home. Good tale but… Robertson was born in 1923 and was not, therefore, 17 until 1940. Cohn didn’t rate Holden at all.  But he wanted Barabra Stanwyck as Lorna – and La Barb wanted the swiftly golden Holden. Two years after the film was made.Robertson finally hit LA after spending WWII with the 777th Tank Battalion in the North Africa and the 322nd Combat Engineer Battalion in Europe. And made it as a TV star in Tales of Wells Fargo, 1957-1962.
  2. Rory Calhoun, Meet Me After The Show, 1950.   Or Don’t Fence Me In when one future TV cowpoke (Tales of Wells Fargo, 1957-1962) was replaced by another (The Texan, 1958-1969) In the Betty Grable trifle… already turned down by Cary Grant and Rod Cameron.  Betty stamped her foot and made sure got Robertson  when The Farmer Takes A Wife, 1952. 
  3. Gregory Peck, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1950.     Discovered in the   Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at UCLA: head Fox  Darryl F Zanuck was keen on the Gableasque Roberston for Ernest Hemingway’s alter-ego HarryStreet as late as July-August 1951.  Brando, Bogie – didn’t matter who was Harry because  the author disliked the movie for  swiping chunks from his other novels to pump up this simple tale of a dying Peck mulling over a wasted career.  Hemingway, however, adored Ava Gardner.  “And  the hyena!” 
  4. Tyrone Power, Pony Soldier, 1951.     Odd title  for a tale of a Mountie… Fox shoved Robertson and, indeed, Gary Merrill aside in order to squeeze one more film out of Power before he concentrated on the stage. His red tunic of the new, 300-member Royal CanadianMounted Police, circa 1876, proved more luminous than the movie.
  5. Robert Mitchum, River Of No Return, 1953.    According to the Los Angeles Times, May 15, 1952, Fox bought the Louis Lantz story with Robertson in mind. But Mitchum got the girl, “the dumbest girl in the world.”  She was Marilyn  Monroe, ex-wife of a co-worker when Bob toiled at the Lockheed Aircraft factory in Burbank.
  6. Edward G Robinson, The Ten Commandments, 1954.
  7. Gordon MacRae, Oklahoma, 1954.  Robertson would never be in such classy company again… Director Fred Zinnemann saw both but wanted actors rather than singers… Montgomery Clift, James Dean, Paul Newman, Dale Robertson, Robert Stack, plus singers Vic Damone and   Howard Keel, as Curly… Ann Blyth, Ailene Roberts, Eva Marie Saint, Joanne Woodward and singers Kathryn Grayson, Jane Powell… or even Piper Laurie for Laurey…  Ernest Borgnine, Marlon Brando, Lee Marvin, Rod Steiger or Eli Wallach for poor Jud Fry. However, the musical’s parents had casting approval – Rodgers and Hammerstein, agreed only about Steiger. And Oklahoma was played by… Arizona.

 Birth year: 1923Death year: 2013Other name: Casting Calls:  7