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Cowboys, Creatures, and Classics: The Story of Republic Pictures

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Take one well-oiled effective killing machine, add a familiar hero on the ground, in the air, and on horseback; stir in a ghastly end that's surely impossible to escape, add action, add passion, made on a shoestring budget at breakneck speed, and you've got the recipe for Republic Pictures. Who, after all, cannot forget The Atomic Kid, starring Mickey Rooney, or The Untame Take one well-oiled effective killing machine, add a familiar hero on the ground, in the air, and on horseback; stir in a ghastly end that's surely impossible to escape, add action, add passion, made on a shoestring budget at breakneck speed, and you've got the recipe for Republic Pictures. Who, after all, cannot forget The Atomic Kid, starring Mickey Rooney, or The Untamed Heiress, with an un-Oscar-worthy performance by ing'nue Judy Canova? Exploding onto the movie scene in 1935, Republic Pictures brought the pop culture of the 30s and 40s to neighborhood movie houses. Week after week kids sank into their matinee seats to soak up the Golden Age of the Republic series, to ride off into the classic American West. And they gave us visions of the future. Visions that inspire film makers today. Republic was a studio that dollar for dollar packed more movie onto the screen than the majors could believe. From sunrise on into the night over grueling six day weeks, no matter how much mayhem movie makers were called upon to produce, at Republic Pictures it was all in a day's work. Republic Pictures was the little studio in the San Fernando Valley where movies were made family style. A core of technicians, directors, and actors worked hard at their craft as Republic released a staggering total of more than a thousand films through the late 1950s. Republic Pictures was home to John Wayne for thirty-three films. Always inventing, Republic brought a song to the West. It featured the West's first singing cowboy. Republic brought action, adventure, and escape to neighborhood movies houses across America. And they brought it with style. Scene from westerns such as The Three Mesquiteers and the Lawless Range gave screaming kids at the bijou a white-knuckle display of expert film making. Republic Pictures became a studio where major directors could bring their personal vision to the screen. Sometimes these were projects no other studio would touch such as The Quiet Man (which brought director John Ford an Oscar) and Macbeth. Killer Bs, Cowboys, Creatures and Classics: The Story of Republic Pictures is for anyone who likes B movies magic. It is the honest account of an extraordinary production house, one whose ability to turn out films quickly boded well for its transition into television production. Not only were its sets used for such shows as Leave it to Beaver and Gilligan's Island, stock footage from Republic's movies was used on such shows as Gunsmoke and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.


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Take one well-oiled effective killing machine, add a familiar hero on the ground, in the air, and on horseback; stir in a ghastly end that's surely impossible to escape, add action, add passion, made on a shoestring budget at breakneck speed, and you've got the recipe for Republic Pictures. Who, after all, cannot forget The Atomic Kid, starring Mickey Rooney, or The Untame Take one well-oiled effective killing machine, add a familiar hero on the ground, in the air, and on horseback; stir in a ghastly end that's surely impossible to escape, add action, add passion, made on a shoestring budget at breakneck speed, and you've got the recipe for Republic Pictures. Who, after all, cannot forget The Atomic Kid, starring Mickey Rooney, or The Untamed Heiress, with an un-Oscar-worthy performance by ing'nue Judy Canova? Exploding onto the movie scene in 1935, Republic Pictures brought the pop culture of the 30s and 40s to neighborhood movie houses. Week after week kids sank into their matinee seats to soak up the Golden Age of the Republic series, to ride off into the classic American West. And they gave us visions of the future. Visions that inspire film makers today. Republic was a studio that dollar for dollar packed more movie onto the screen than the majors could believe. From sunrise on into the night over grueling six day weeks, no matter how much mayhem movie makers were called upon to produce, at Republic Pictures it was all in a day's work. Republic Pictures was the little studio in the San Fernando Valley where movies were made family style. A core of technicians, directors, and actors worked hard at their craft as Republic released a staggering total of more than a thousand films through the late 1950s. Republic Pictures was home to John Wayne for thirty-three films. Always inventing, Republic brought a song to the West. It featured the West's first singing cowboy. Republic brought action, adventure, and escape to neighborhood movies houses across America. And they brought it with style. Scene from westerns such as The Three Mesquiteers and the Lawless Range gave screaming kids at the bijou a white-knuckle display of expert film making. Republic Pictures became a studio where major directors could bring their personal vision to the screen. Sometimes these were projects no other studio would touch such as The Quiet Man (which brought director John Ford an Oscar) and Macbeth. Killer Bs, Cowboys, Creatures and Classics: The Story of Republic Pictures is for anyone who likes B movies magic. It is the honest account of an extraordinary production house, one whose ability to turn out films quickly boded well for its transition into television production. Not only were its sets used for such shows as Leave it to Beaver and Gilligan's Island, stock footage from Republic's movies was used on such shows as Gunsmoke and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.

46 review for Cowboys, Creatures, and Classics: The Story of Republic Pictures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    A history of Republic Studio, a Hollywood entity known for making big profits off of B movies, but also producing John Wayne and other big stars. Goes into the ownership battles, the producers, directors, actors, and even the films themselves. Lots of great pictures, too. Recommended for the old time movie fan.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    If you are a of a certain age, you can recall your Mom dropping you off at the local second-class movie theater ( not the grander venues that showed the glossy A pictures with the glossy A-list stars ) where you would spend an afternoon watching a movie while Mom shopped . The movie, usually a western , would have starred Bill Elliot or Allen Rocky Lane, or if a horror flic like " Valley of the Zombies" or adventure movie like Jungle Jim and featured a firm-jawed hero, a beautiful woman and a vil If you are a of a certain age, you can recall your Mom dropping you off at the local second-class movie theater ( not the grander venues that showed the glossy A pictures with the glossy A-list stars ) where you would spend an afternoon watching a movie while Mom shopped . The movie, usually a western , would have starred Bill Elliot or Allen Rocky Lane, or if a horror flic like " Valley of the Zombies" or adventure movie like Jungle Jim and featured a firm-jawed hero, a beautiful woman and a vile criminal genius. There would also have been a serial, like Rocket Man or Captain Marvel to go along with the box of Rasinettes or Snowcaps in your sweaty, preteen hand. Most likely, all these features would have orginated with Republic Movie Sudios. "Cowboys, Creatures, and Classics" is an fond look back at the upstart make ' em quick and cheap" movie company that grew into a respected producer of such film classics as " John Ford's " The Quiet Man" , " Sands of Iwo Jima" , and " Wake of the Red Witch" , all starring John Wayne , Republic's greatest star. But it was the quickies , turned out five a week, that were Republic' s reliable bread and butter. Usually filmed and in the can in less than a week and made with a laughably low budget, the movies entertained millions, and occasionally earned decent reviews and kept the cash flowing into the tills. The book is interesting because it reminds this generation of what could be, what was done, with so little in these days when millions of dollars are lavished on movies that slip into the same obscurity as something like " Jungle Princess". Republic' s crews came to be respected and awarded by the industry, and no one more so than the special effects wizards, the Lydecker brothers. These men created -with little money and great talent- entire worlds from papier-mâché , clay and rubber, and taught the film world how to realistically, generally speaking, allow super- heroes to fly or how to survive an exploding train, or a car careening over a cliff. Such movie serials kept kids coming back every week, paying their dimes to the box office even as tv was beginning to shadow the end of the Hollywood studo system. "Cowboys, Creatures and Classics" is a must for anyone who loves old movies and misses the days when the only message a movie had was to have fun. You will have fun reading and remembering.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julia Bricklin

    I waited patiently for this book to come out, since my first home was built on a former Republic Pictures bungalow site. This is a must-have for anyone interested in film, film tech, John Wayne (think "The Quiet Man" and so many others), Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, the economics of filmmaking and publicity, Westerns, serial films, the history of stunts and stuntmen, films during WWII, and so forth. Herbert J. Yates was the most prolific studio owner and executive you might never have I waited patiently for this book to come out, since my first home was built on a former Republic Pictures bungalow site. This is a must-have for anyone interested in film, film tech, John Wayne (think "The Quiet Man" and so many others), Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, the economics of filmmaking and publicity, Westerns, serial films, the history of stunts and stuntmen, films during WWII, and so forth. Herbert J. Yates was the most prolific studio owner and executive you might never have heard of. His creative decisions and business practices both consolidated the best of smaller studios (into Republic) and also spawned other studios when he clashed with others and these others left. But no one has ever come close to the sheer volume and popularity of films Yates's studio put out: in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s--close to 600 films. This archival quality book contains all the "back stories" of some of the most famous actors and films ever made: "The Adventures of Red Ryder" serial; "The Spanish Lady"; the aforementioned actors plus the Lydecker Brothers, siren Vera Ralston, stuntman extraordinaire Yakima Canutt, actor John Carroll and so many more. As well, "Cowboys, Creatures" studies the way gossip columnists and radio publicity worked hand-in-hand with the studio and its stars. Really . . . no library of film studies is complete without this comprehensive study of Republic Pictures and everybody and everything in its orbit. Gorgeously produced with rare photos from the author's collection, too.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Grete

    Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 stars. This book is well-suited for anyone interested in older films and the beginnings of movie studios. The author has a great collection of artwork and photography related to the topic. The organization of this book didn't suit me, and there were some repetitive sections. Maybe that has been edited out in the final production copies. However, one section was word-for-word the same. It reminded me of reading master's thes Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. 3.5 stars. This book is well-suited for anyone interested in older films and the beginnings of movie studios. The author has a great collection of artwork and photography related to the topic. The organization of this book didn't suit me, and there were some repetitive sections. Maybe that has been edited out in the final production copies. However, one section was word-for-word the same. It reminded me of reading master's theses at universities. The writing isn't bad, but does seem a little sterile.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Received this book on the good reads giveaway and was pleasantly surprised how many awesome pictures from the old movies in there. My family members are huge John Wayne fans so they really enjoyed this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    An interesting history of the studio that was the most prolific producer of B movies and serials. It also introduced Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and John Wayne to film audiences.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Portia

    This was a gooreads win..and I’m glad. For anyone who loves old cowboy movies and old monster movies this book is something you should have..

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    I really like it the book and how it’s about John Wayne and cowboy movies it’s a classic book people that really like cowboy movies going to love this book . Great coffee table book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eddy Bryant

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I recieved my copy from good reads first reads. This is a great source for anyone who loves the old movies. Filled with stories and information about the stars and making of the classic movies

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amber Griffith

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    Melissa Cheresnick

  12. 5 out of 5

    Len Coombs

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    Michael

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carol

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    Joy Yerkie

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    David Crow

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    Genereams

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    Scott Summerton

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    Kim Friant

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    Frederick Rotzien

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    Fleet Sparrow

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    Lydia Wallace

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    Brie

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    Douglass Abramson

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    Teresa Roberson

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    lou brown

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    Trevor Soderstrum

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    Sam

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    Charissa Rate

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    John Iavarone

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    Kathleen

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    Judy

  45. 4 out of 5

    Fran Whitley

  46. 5 out of 5

    Dianne Robbins

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