Cowboy Films

Things I've noticed watching Woody's Western Theater

The hero will be wearing a cowboy hat. There are no exceptions.

There will always be a horse in the movie. If the hero talks to his horse, then the horse will be smart enough to follow whatever instructions are given him. He will most likely rescue one of the main characters during the movie.

The setting is not limited to the old west. It can take place in New York, Mexico, Canada or even underground. The time frame is not set, either. It can take place before the civil war, or the year the movie was made in the 1930's or 40's.

The horse is not necessarily the hero's main mode of transportation. Many times the characters can be seeing driving cars, flying planes, riding in a train, or even driving a speedboat.

Unless the movie is about cattle rustling, cows are rarely seen. This leads to my assumption that a cowboy is a cowboy because of his hat, not because of his occupation!

The title of a cowboy movie generally has absolutely NOTHING to do with the plot. Generally, they are given western sounding names like, Trigger Trail, Prairie Dawn, Red Sunset, etc . . . These titles can be interchangable!

If the star of the movie is a singing cowboy, then the title is most likely the name of one of the songs he sings sometime during the film.

Any animals featured in the movie (other than horses or cows) will be very intelligent and helpful to the hero. Dogs are very common. If the animal belongs to the sidekick, it will be something odd, like a rat or a skunk.

The villain will be dressed in black - including a black cowboy hat. The hero will wear a white cowboy hat. There are a few exceptions to this rule (i.e. Hopalong Cassidy always dressed in black).

If there is a large window in the saloon, and it is fully displayed for more than 2 seconds, it will be broken sometime during the movie.

The hero of the film always has a sidekick. His role is purely comic relief. Sometimes he's actually useful to the hero, but mostly you wonder why the hero puts up with him.

There will always be a female love interest. She will need rescuing sometime during the movie. If it's a serial film, she will need to be rescued at least 7 times.

The female lead's mother is rarely mentioned. If a father is mentioned, he has either just been murdered, died years ago, or is alive and well and in trouble. Sometimes he's causing the trouble, other times he's being harrassed by the villain.

The villains don't sing.

If you see a man dressed in a long stockingcap, suspenders and high-waisted pants, he will have a fake French accent and say, "ho ho!" a lot.

Teenagers and children are usually not seen. If they are, they are usually in trouble or in danger, generally as a direct result of the villain.

If the hero is a "singing cowboy", he must sing to the female lead during the movie. He doesn't necessarily get the girl in the end.

If a town in the movie doesn't have a sheriff, chances are high that the hero will become sheriff.

Bankers are villains, unless they are being threatened by villains.

Town officials are either corrupt or trying to stamp out corruption.

Government officials are expendable. They come quickly to the hero's call for help, and 8 times out of 10 are killed before they reach their destination.

Villains have terrible aim when shooting. The hero's aim isn't much better.

If someone is shooting at an inanimate object, they hit dead on target every time. Villains can only successfully shoot lackeys and minor characters.

If someone runs out of bullets, they will then continue to fight by jumping on the person they are fighting with. Since both hero and villain have terrible aim, they should have done this in the first place and saved time.

The villain has three options at the end of the movie. He can be shot and live, he can be shot and die, or he can be arrested. There is no escaping in the night.

A popular show on HCTV is Woody's Western Theater. In each episode, Woody Moore discusses the old cowboy movies of the 30's, 40's and 50's, and then shows a serial cowboy film, and then a feature B cowboy film.
B meaning budget, there were thousands made with a supposed "cowboy/western theme." I got to assemble quite a few of these episode each year, which means sitting and watching these old films. They're great! After a while you start to notice similarities in this particular genre.


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