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Rory Calhoun (1922-1999)

  1. Victor Mature, Samson and Delilah, 1949.        CB De Mille was unimpressed by Mrs Alan Ladd’s discovery. He became, mainly a B-cowpoke, despite two big films with Marilyn Monroe.
  2. Jay C Flippen, Jet Pilot, 1949.      Before Howard Hughes - hunting a jet age version of his 1929 Hell’s Angels - got his hands on Robert Hardy’s storyline, producer Paul Short was prepping it as a quickie for Audie Murphy, Calhoun and Rhonda Fleming. Hughes’ version was anything but quick. Shooting began in October 1949 and he then tinkered with it for so long - close to eight years - that the innovative jets he filmed were obsolete when the picture was released…   in October 1957.
  3. Robert Wagner, Stars and Stripes Forever, 1952.     Or, The Life of John Philip Sousa. Clifton Webb gave up The Band Wagon to be the March King. Calhoun and June Haver were early choices for the film’s young lovers, ultimately Wagner and Debra Paget. Apparently, several Sousa musicians  fled the world premiere in disgust. Obviously, their first biopic.
  4. Dale Robertson, Law of the Lawless, 1963.     Robertson’s phone rang at 11.30pm. “Hey,” said new producer AC Lyles, “Rory Calhoun in sick. Can you be on set sat 6am?” Sure and he headed the first of Lyle’s 13 el cheapo B Western programmers, all variations of the same story, shot in 10-14 days and providing work for pensionrs - hence the finales of William Bendix, Linda Darnell, Barton Maclane and director Lesley Sealander. Calhoun recovered in time for Lyles’ Young Fury, Black Spurs and Apache Uprising.
  5. Clint Eastwood, A Fistful of Dollars, Per un pugno di dollari, Italy-Spain-Germany, 1964.        Among the many asked to be The (then) Magnificent Stranger was the ex-TV star of The Texan on TV - the only Hollywood cowboy who had previously worked with Sergio Leone - on The Colossus of Rhodes.
  6. Robert Conrad, The Wild Wild West, TV, 1966-1969.       First choice for the sagebrush 007: West, James T West. Until knocked out of the park by the tiny Conrad - 5'8" without his 3inch heels. He lasted 104 episodes and never, according to CBS orders. with a female guest star over 5'6" in what was first called, The Wild West West.
  7. Jean Ferch, Eve, Canada, 1989.     For some reason, the job of voicing Lucifer was offered to cowboys Calhoun, Chuck Connors and Clint Walker. They all stayed in their saddles.



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