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The Whispering Skull
The Whispering Skull
Actors: Tex Ritter, Dave O'Brien, Guy Wilkerson, Denny Burke, I. Stanford Jolley
Director: Elmer Clifton
Genres: Westerns
NR     2003     0hr 56min


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Movie Details

Actors: Tex Ritter, Dave O'Brien, Guy Wilkerson, Denny Burke, I. Stanford Jolley
Director: Elmer Clifton
Creators: Edward A. Kull, Hugh Winn, Alfred Stern, Arthur Alexander, Harry L. Fraser
Genres: Westerns
Sub-Genres: Westerns
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 10/07/2003
Original Release Date: 12/29/1944
Theatrical Release Date: 12/29/1944
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 0hr 56min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Watchable Low Budget Western
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Tex and sidekicks Dave Wyatt and Panhaldle Perkins try to discover the identity of "The skull," a masked rider who rides a horse that makes no noise (unfortunately little is ever made of this last interesting characteristic). A typical low budget western with wooden acting from all but the 3 principals. Panhandle's comedy would probably steal the show (first he is almost hanged and then later he is made town marshall) except for Tex Ritter. With that distinctive voice, you always know when Tex is talking. Tex may not have been the best cowboy actor, but he was one of the very best singers and, next to John Wayne, had the most recognizable speaking voice. Tex sings only two short songs here (one is only partially completed)--one only wonders why? Alpha's DVD print is, as usual, unrestored, but it is better than some other prints in their catalog and it is watchable. There aren't any missing portions or other frustrating breaks. All in all, this western is far below the highest quality standard set by the superbly filmed Hopalong Cassidy westerns of the era, but then this film was shot by PRC on a low budget. There are so few Tex Ritter westerns on DVD that I recommend buying this one while it is still in print. The story isn't bad, Panhandle Perkins is an interesting character, but the chief reason for your purchase will be Tex Ritter."
A rather bland Tex Ritter B-western
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 01/19/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This here is your basic Tex Ritter B-western from 1944. As you might guess, the bad guy is called the Whispering Skull. Don't ask me why, though, as he wears a leather mask and I never heard him whispering. The whispering may actually refer to his horse, which makes no sound and leaves no prints when it runs. Don't ask me how the whole silent horse bit worked either; Tex eventually gets to take a gander at the horse's hooves, but he doesn't share whatever he finds with the audience. Anyway, Sheriff Jackson (George Morrell) calls in the help of the Texas Rangers (even though he claims to know exactly who the Whispering Skull is). Tex Haines (Ritter) and Dave Wyatt (Dave O'Brien) arrive in town accompanied by Panhandle Perkins (Guy Wilkerson); old Panhandle is what you would call comic relief, and he actually bumbles his way from almost being hanged to becoming the marshal. Of course, you can't have a western like this without some local fellows engaging in some shenanigans of their own, and that's where Duke Walters (I. Stanford Jolley) comes in.

The film features a few shootings, several big fight scenes, and little else. The sleuthing abilities of Tex and the boys didn't particularly impress me, and the identity of the Whispering Skull left me quite nonplussed. Tex does take the time to sneak a couple of songs into the film: In Case You Change Your Mind and It's Never Too Late. When you get right down to it, the three Texas Rangers are pretty good characters, but the story itself just doesn't seem to try very hard, and that makes The Whispering Skull a pretty average old western."
"Tex Ritter Series ... The Whispering Skull (1944)... Povert
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 01/10/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Poverty Row presents "THE WHISPERING SKULL" (29 December 1944) (56 mins/B&W) -- Tex Ritter was an American country singer and actor --- From his very first film in 1936 through some of his best loved singing Westerns of the mid '40s, he gave the American public some of the best B-Westerns of that era --- Ritter also worked on various radio programs --- In 1932, he starred on the WOR Radio show The Lone Star Rangers, which was New York's first broadcast western --- He sang songs and told tales of the Old West --- Ritter wrote and starred in Cowboy Tom's Roundup on WINS Radio in New York in 1933 --- This daily children's cowboy radio program aired over three stations on the East Coast for three years --- These shows marked the beginning of Ritter's popularity in radio, which paved the way for his upcoming singing career --- He also performed on the radio show WHN "Barndance" and sang on NBC Radio --- He appeared in several radio dramas, including CBS's "Bobby Benson's Adventures" and "Death Valley Days".

Ritter began recording for American Record Company (Columbia Records) in 1933 --- His first released recording was "Goodbye Ole Paint.", also recorded "Rye Whiskey" at that label. In 1935, he signed with Decca Records, where he recorded his first original recordings, "Sam Hall" and "Get Along Little Dogie."

In 1936, he moved to Los Angeles, California --- His motion picture debut was in "Song Of The Gringo" (1936) for Grand National Pictures --- He starred in twelve movies for Grand National, "B" grade Westerns, love that art deco "Grand National Pictures" animated clock logo at the start and finish of the movie --- Which included "Tex Rides with the Boy Scouts" (1937), and "Trouble In Texas" (1937) co-starring Rita Hayworth (then known as Rita Cansino). (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Under the production staff of:
Elmer Clifton - Director
Arthur Alexander - Producer
Harry L. Fraser - Screenwriter
Edward A. Kull - Cinematographer
Lee Zahler - Composer (Music Score)
Hugh Wynn - Editor

Our story line and plot, Texas Rangers Tex Haines (Tex Ritter), Dave Wyatt (Dave O'Brien), and Panhandle Perkins (Guy Wilkerson) arrive in Piyoute to apprehend the Whispering Skull, a night rider who wears a leather mask with a skull design and whose horse makes no noise and leaves no trail --- The Skull has just murdered Lafe Jeffers, who was holding a strange brown rock that the Rangers seem to think must be a motive for the murder --- In town, Duke Walters (I. Stanford Jolley), resident bad guy (as every town has one or two of them), plan to commit a series of crimes and be able to pin them all on the Skull --- Sheriff Marvin Jackson (George Morrell) (who sent for the Rangers) swears out a warrant for the Skull and says he knows who he is and will able to serve the warrant out to him before the night is over --- He is mysteriously shot in the back of Walters' saloon, but manages to live (known only by Tex, Dave, and Doc Humphrey) and is attended to so that he can reveal the Skull's identity --- Panhandle, in the meantime, is made marshall of the town by Walters with the job of rounding up the Skull, but is called by his fellow Rangers to stop Walter's intended holdup of the stage, which the Skull would also like to rob --- Tex sings two numbers: "In Case You Change Your Mind," and "It's Never Too Late."

the cast includes
Tex Ritter ... Tex Haines
Dave O'Brien ... Dave Wyatt
Guy Wilkerson ... Panhandle Perkins
Denny Burke ... Ellen Jackson
I. Stanford Jolley ... Duke Walters
Henry Hall ... Judge Polk
George Morrell ... Sheriff Marvin Jackson
Ed Cassidy ... Doc Humphrey
Bob Kortman ... Henchman Joe Carter
Wen Wright ... Arkansas Mike Coram

Tex Ritter (aka: Woodward Maurice Ritter)
Date of Birth: 12 January 1905 - Murvaul, Texas
Date of Death: 2 January 1974 - Nashville, Tennessee

Vol 1: Marshal of Gunsmoke & Oklahoma Raiders (VCI #7204)
Vol.2: Arizona Days & Arizona Trail (VCI #7294)
Vol 3: Rollin' Plains & Song of the Gringo (VCI #7302)

Marshal of Gunsmoke; Oklahoma Raiders; Arizona Days & Trouble In Texas

Hats off and thanks to Les Adams (collector/guidelines for character identification), Chuck Anderson (Webmaster: The Old Corral/B-Westerns.Com), Boyd Magers (Western Clippings), Bobby J. Copeland (author of "Trail Talk"), Rhonda Lemons (Empire Publishing Inc), Bob Nareau (author of "The Real Bob Steele") and Trevor Scott (Down Under DVD Com) as they have rekindled my interest once again for Film Noir, B-Westerns and Serials --- looking forward to more high quality releases from the vintage serial era of the '30s & '40s and B-Westerns --- order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment where there are plenty of copies available on DVD --- stay tuned once again for top notch action mixed with musical adventure --- if you enjoyed this title, why not check out Amazon or VCI where they are experts in releasing B-Westerns --- all my heroes have been cowboys!

Total Time: 56 mins on DVD ~ Poverty Row ~ (10/07/2003)"