"Gene Autry B-Western Series ... Down Mexico Way (1941) ...
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 08/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Republic Pictures present "DOWN MEXICO WAY" (15 October 1941) (78 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- relive those thrilling days when the "First Singing Cowboy" Gene Autry took us down the dusty trails with hard riding and straight shooting hitting the bull's eye with excitement every time --- the Gene Autry series of B-Westerns were a staple of Saturday matinees in the 1930s and 1940s --- The Following Segments are from the "Melody Ranch Theater", which originally aired on the Nashville Network in 1987 --- Hosted by Gene and longtime sidekick Pat Buttram the program showcased many of Gene's classic motion pictures and featured personal anecdotes about how the films were made --- Information on costars and significant happenings in Gene's personal life and career. --- don't miss any of the Singing Cowboy's features loaded with action and songs that will leave you wanting more of Gene Autry's B-Western Adventures --- The sale of this DVD will further the educational and cultural mission of the renowned "Autry National Center in Los Angeles".
Under Joseph Santley (Director), Olive Cooper (Screenwriter), Don Dorrell (Short Story Author), Albert Duffy (Screenwriter), Dorrell McGowan (Screenwriter), Stuart E. McGowan (Screenwriter / Screen Story), Jack A. Marta (Cinematographer), Raoul Kraushaar (Musical Direction/Supervision), Howard O'Neill (Editor), Ralph Oberg (Art Director), Harry Grey (Associate Producer), Al Wilson (Production Manager) - - - - - - Our story line and plot, has our favorite leading lady Faye McKenzie and she is excellent as Marie Elaina --- This oater included Smiley Burnette as Gene's usual side kick and Harold Huber as the duo's guide, what a comical combination --- watch for Duncan Renaldo who has a small role in this oater (later had a lead in The Cisco Kid, TV Series) --- will the con-men get away with this fraud, or can Gene come to the rescue and prove the guilt of these evil badmen producers ----- Gene's song "Maria Elena" led the Top 10 favorite tunes as U.S. Jukebox reported for 12 weeks in a row --- the Motion Picture Herald tradepaper in 1941 listed Gene the #1 among his "Western Winners" followed by Williams Boyd, Roy Rogers, Charles Starrett and Smiley Burnette --- some wonderful tunes, "DOWN MEXICO WAY" (Studio Singers), "BEER BARREL POLKA" (Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette and Cast), "SOUTH OF THE BORDER" (Gene Autry), "LA CUCARACHA" (Smiley Burnette), "LA CACHITA" (Fay McKenzie and The Herrera Sisters), "HARMONICA IMPROVISATION" (Smiley Burnette), "THE COWBOY AND THE LADY" (Gene Autry), "GUADALAJARA" (The Herrera Sisters), "DOWN MEXICO WAY" (Gene Autry), "A GAY RANCHERO" (Gene Autry and Extras), "MARIA ELENA" (Gene Autry), "DOWN MEXICO WAY" (Gene Autry, Fay McKenzie and The Herrera Sisters) - - - - - - some Autry fun facts, When he was a young man, Gene received an offer from a professional baseball team to become a player. Gene turned down the offer because it would have meant a fifty-dollar-a-month pay cut from his telegrapher's job.
the cast includes
Gene Autry ... Gene Autry
Smiley Burnette ... Frog
Fay McKenzie ... Maria Elena Alvarado
Harold Huber ... Pancho Grande
Sidney Blackmer ... Gibson
Joe Sawyer ... Allen
Andrew Tombes ... Mayor Tubbs
Murray Alper ... Flood
Arthur Loft ... Homer Gerard
Duncan Renaldo ... Juan
Paul Fix ... Henchman Davis
Julian Rivero ... Don Carlos Alvarado
Ruth Robinson ... Mercedes
Thornton Edwards ... Mexican Rurale Capt. Rodriguez
The Herrera Sisters ... Singers
Hank Bell ... Barbeque guest
Fred Burns ... Barbeque guest
The Lone Star Cowboys ... Singers at barbeque
Eddie Dean ... Barbeque guest
Al Haskell ... Pancho rider
Maria Antonia Herrera ... Member, The Herrera Sisters)
Maria Esther Herrera ... Member, The Herrera Sisters
Reed Howes ... Henchman
Jack O'Shea ... Truck passenger
1. Gene Autry
Date of Birth: 29 September 1907 - Near Tioga, Texas
Date of Death: 2 October 1998 - Studio City, Los Angeles, California
Special footnote, Orvon Gene Autry was an American performer who gained fame as The Singing Cowboy on the radio, in movies and on television --- Discovered by film producer Nat Levine in 1934, he and Burnette made their film debut for Mascot Pictures Corp. "In Old Santa Fe" as part of a singing cowboy quartet; he was then given the starring role by Levine in 1935 in the 12-part serial "The Phantom Empire" --- Shortly thereafter, Mascot was absorbed by the formation of Republic Pictures Corp. and Autry went along to make a further 44 films up to 1940, all B westerns in which he played under his own name, rode his horse Champion, had Burnette as his regular sidekick and had many opportunities to sing in each film --- Autry became the top Western star at the box-office by 1937, reaching his national peak of popularity from 1940 to 1942. His Gene Autry Flying "A" Ranch Rodeo show debuted in 1940 --- Gene Autry is the only celebrity to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one in each of the five categories maintained by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce --- Radio, Films, Recordings, Television and Live Theater.
2. Smiley Burnette (aka: Lester Alvin Burnette)
Date of Birth: 18 March 1911 - Summum, Illinois
Date of Death: 16 February 1967 - Encino, California
Second special footnote, Lester Alvin (Smiley) Burnette an American singer-songwriter who could play as many as 100 different musical instruments, was a successful comedy actor in Western films over three decades --- The popularity of Burnette's Frog Millhouse character, with his trademark floppy black hat, was such that when Autry left for World War II service he did sidekicks duties with Eddie Dew, Sunset Carson and Bob Livingston, plus nine other films with Roy Rogers. After leaving Republic Pictures in 1944, Burnette became the sidekick to Charles Starrett at Columbia Pictures in the long Durango Kid series. Starrett starred in the series from 1944 until 1952, and that pairing resulted in more than 50 films. After the Starrett series was over, Burnette joined Autry for his final six films, all released by Columbia Pictures in 1953.
1. Reminiscing with Gene Autry and Pat Buttram at the "Melody Ranch Theater"
2. "Don't Touch That Dial", Gene Autry is on the air - excerpts from the Original "Melody Ranch Radio Show"
3. Production and Publicity Stills
5. Poster and lobby Card Art
6. Trivia and Movie Facts
7. Original Press Kit Material
Check out a new book from Empire Publishing - "GENE AUTRY WESTERNS" (Hardcover) - by author Boyd Magers, like no other book on Gene Autry --- all of Gene's Mascot, Republic and Columbia westerns included, as well as his half-hour TV Episodes --- each segment contains the release date on each film ... major production credits ... complete cast (including character played) ... all songs included, songwriter and who performed them in the film ... running time of each film ... dates of the filming ... bios on the cast and major players (Smiley, Pat Buttram, Cass County Boys, Herbert J. Yates, directors, leading ladies, songwriters and various heavies, etc.) ... locations that were used ... budgets and negative cost ... stunt people involved ... analysis and synopsis on each film ... notes and comments (including film and cast background info, salaries paid, working titles, etc) ... comments from Gene and many other cast members on each film ... theater exhibitors comments at the time of the films release ...this tribute was written from the heart and it shows.
Hats off and thanks to Les Adams (collector/guideslines 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 '20s, '30s & '40s and B-Westerns ... order your copy now from Amazon where there are plenty of copies available on DVD --- stay tuned once again for top notch action mixed with deadly adventure --- if you enjoyed this title, why not check out Image Entertainment where they are experts in releasing B-Westerns --- all my heroes have been cowboys!
Total Time: 78 min on DVD ~ Image Video #2391 ~ (7/25/2006)"
A really funny movie
J. Lovins | 02/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gene, Smiley, and Pancho are a great team. Smiley is very funny. Gene does some great songs like "South of the Border, Cowboy and the Lady, and Maria Elena. Pancho is great. Makes everybody laugh."