Melody Ranch

Last updated

Melody Ranch
Melody Ranch (1940 poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joseph Santley
Screenplay by
Produced by Sol C. Siegel
Starring
CinematographyJoseph H. August
Edited byLester Orlebeck
Music by Raoul Kraushaar (supervisor)
Production
company
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
  • November 15, 1940 (1940-11-15)(U.S.)
Running time
84 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$181.275 [1]

Melody Ranch is a 1940 Western musical film directed by Joseph Santley and starring Gene Autry, Jimmy Durante, and Ann Miller. Written by Jack Moffitt, F. Hugh Herbert, Bradford Ropes, and Betty Burbridge, the film is about a singing cowboy who returns to his hometown to restore order when his former childhood enemies take over the frontier town. [2] In 2002, the film was added to the National Film Registry by the National Film Preservation Board and selected for preservation as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Contents

Plot

Gene Autry (Gene Autry) returns to his hometown of Torpedo as guest of honor at the Frontier Days Celebration, where he meets his childhood enemies, the Wildhack brothers—Mark (Barton MacLane), Jasper (Joe Sawyer), and Bud (Horace McMahon)—who are now local gangsters. The Wildhacks own a saloon next door to the school, and when their shooting and brawling endangers the safety of the children, Gene protests and threatens to expose them during his next radio broadcast. The Wildhacks stop the broadcast and beat Gene up.

Realizing that Hollywood life has softened him to the extent that he can't hold his own against three assailants, Gene decides to remain in Torpedo and get into shape again. He is encouraged by his friend Cornelius J. "Corney" Courtney (Jimmy Durante) and Pop Laramie (George "Gabby" Hayes). Refusing to return to Hollywood, Gene now broadcasts his radio shows from Torpedo.

Julie Sheldon (Ann Miller), a debutante with theatrical aspirations, sees Gene in his natural setting and begins to take an interest in the cowboy she formerly scorned. Meanwhile, Gene rounds up the Wildhacks and fights them single-handed, forcing them to sing on his broadcast. When the brothers become determined to get revenge, Gene runs for sheriff so he will be in position to clean up the Wildhack political machine for good, and also make use of the "Vote for Autry" song. During the battles that ensue, one of Gene's friends is killed. Gene discovers evidence that identifies the Wildhacks as the killers. [3]

Cast

Production

Casting

Melody Ranch marks the first romantic leading lady role for dancer Ann Miller. In one love scene Miller and Autry kiss. Negative advance publicity, however, led Republic Pictures to cut the kiss from the final print. [4] Autry later recalled,

Actually we kissed there at the telephone. There was a lot of (advance) publicity over that. The public relations department at republic put out a story I was going to be kissing Ann Miller in a picture. So they were flooded with a lot of letters from the kids saying 'Don't let Gene Autry kiss Ann Miller in the picture—that's sissy!' So finally at the last minute (Republic) said, 'You're taking a chance on it—why raise a controversy with the kids?' so they cut it all out. [4]

Miller would later claim incorrectly that she received Gene's first screen kiss, a distinction that belongs to Barbara Pepper and Ann Rutherford. [4]

Filming and budget

Melody Ranch was filmed September 16 to October 5, 1940. The film had an operating budget of $181,275 (equal to $3,506,229 today), and a negative cost of $177,520. [2]

Stuntwork

Filming locations

Soundtracks

Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio

In 1953, Gene Autry purchased the 110-acre (0.45 km2) movie ranch, the Monogram Pictures Ranch property in Placerita Canyon State Park near Newhall, California and renamed it the Melody Ranch after this film. [6] [7]

Related Research Articles

<i>Man from Music Mountain</i> (1938 film) 1938 film by Joseph Kane, Betty Burbridge, Charles E. Ford

Man from Music Mountain is a 1938 American Western film directed by Joseph Kane and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and Carol Hughes. Written by Betty Burbridge and Luci Ward, based on a story by Bernard McConville, the film is about a singing cowboy who fights corrupt land developers who try to cheat honest ranchers who are unaware of the gold lying beneath their land.

<i>Gold Mine in the Sky</i> 1938 film by Joseph Kane, Betty Burbridge

Gold Mine in the Sky is a 1938 Western film directed by Joseph Kane and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and Carol Hughes. Based on a story by Betty Burbridge, the film is about a singing cowboy and ranch foreman who, as executor of the owner's will, must see that the daughter and heiress does not marry without his approval.

<i>The Big Sombrero</i> (film) 1949 film by Frank McDonald

The Big Sombrero is a 1949 American Western film directed by Frank McDonald and starring Gene Autry and Champion. Written by Olive Cooper, the film is about a singing cowboy hired as foreman of the Big Sombrero ranch by a man working against the interests of the ranch's absentee owner and workers.

<i>Down Mexico Way</i> 1941 film

Down Mexico Way is a 1941 American Western film directed by Joseph Santley and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and Fay McKenzie. Based on a story by Dorrell and Stuart E. McGowan, the film is about a singing cowboy who comes to the aid of the townspeople of Sage City who are victims of a nefarious scam.

<i>The Strawberry Roan</i> 1948 film by John English

The Strawberry Roan is a 1948 American Western film directed by John English and starring Gene Autry.

<i>Ridin on a Rainbow</i> 1941 film by Lew Landers

Ridin' on a Rainbow is a 1941 American Western musical film directed by Lew Landers and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and Mary Lee. Based on a story by Bradford Ropes, the film is about a singing cowboy whose investigation of a bank robbery takes him to a showboat, where he finds that a teenage singer's father has been working with the robbers to provide for her future. The film received an Academy Award nomination for best original song for "Be Honest with Me".

<i>Home on the Prairie</i> 1939 American film

Home on the Prairie is a 1939 American Western film directed by Jack Townley and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and June Storey. Written by Charles Arthur Powell and Paul Franklin, the film is about a cattle inspector's efforts to prevent a corrupt cattle rancher from shipping to market a herd of cattle infected with hoof and mouth disease.

<i>Prairie Moon</i> 1938 film by Ralph Staub

Prairie Moon is a 1938 American Western film directed by Ralph Staub and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and Shirley Deane. Written by Betty Burbridge and Stanley Roberts, the film is about a singing cowboy who takes care of three tough boys sent west from Chicago after their father dies and leaves them a cattle ranch.

<i>Mountain Rhythm</i> 1939 American film

Mountain Rhythm is a 1939 American Western film directed by B. Reeves Eason and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and June Storey. Based on a story by Connie Lee, the film is about a cowboy who organizes his fellow ranchers to oppose an Eastern promoter's land grab scheme.

<i>Colorado Sunset</i> 1939 film by George Sherman

Colorado Sunset is a 1939 American Western film directed by George Sherman and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and June Storey. Written by Betty Burbridge and Stanley Roberts, based on a story by Luci Ward and Jack Natteford, the film is about a singing cowboy and his buddies who discover that the ranch they bought is really a dairy farm—and worse, it's subject to intimidation from a protection racket that prevents dairy products from safely reaching the market.

<i>Rancho Grande</i> (film) 1940 American film

Rancho Grande is a 1940 American Western film directed by Frank McDonald and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and June Storey. Written by Bradford Ropes, Betty Burbridge, and Peter Milne, based on a story by Peter Milne and Connie Lee, the film is about a singing cowboy and ranch foreman responsible for completing an important irrigation project and for the three spoiled grandchildren of his former boss who come out West to the ranch they inherited.

<i>Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride</i> 1940 American film

Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride is a 1940 American Western film directed by Frank McDonald and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and June Storey. Written by Winston Miller, based on a story by Betty Burbridge and Connie Lee, the film is about a singing cowboy who inherits a meat-packing plant and must face stiff competition from a beautiful business rival.

<i>The Singing Hill</i> 1941 film by Lew Landers

The Singing Hill is a 1941 American Western film directed by Lew Landers and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and Virginia Dale. Based on a story by Jesse Lasky Jr. and Richard Murphy, the film is about a singing cowboy and foreman of a ranch that may be sold to an unscrupulous banker by the young madcap heiress who is unaware that the sale will result in the local ranchers losing their free grazing land and their ranches. In the film, Autry introduced the song "Blueberry Hill" which would become a standard recorded by such artists as Louis Armstrong (1949), Fats Domino (1956), and Elvis Presley (1957). The song became one of Autry's best-selling recordings. In 1987, "Blueberry Hill" received an ASCAP Award for Most Performed Feature Film Standards on TV.

<i>Back in the Saddle</i> (film) 1941 film by Lew Landers

Back in the Saddle is a 1941 American Western film directed by Lew Landers and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and Mary Lee. Written by Richard Murphy and Jesse Lasky Jr., the film is about a singing cowboy who attempts to bring peace between ranchers and the operator of a copper mine whose chemicals are poisoning the area's water supply. The film features several of Autry's hit songs, including "Back in the Saddle Again", "I'm An Old Cowhand", and "You Are My Sunshine".

<i>Call of the Canyon</i> 1942 film by Joseph Santley

Call of the Canyon is a 1942 American Western film directed by Joseph Santley and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, the Sons of the Pioneers, and Ruth Terry. Based on a story by Maurice Rapf and Olive Cooper, the film is about a singing cowboy who leads a group of cattlemen against the corrupt agent of a large packing company looking to swindle them by undercutting the buying price for beef. The film features three songs by Autry and the Sons of the Pioneers, including the classic "Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle".

<i>Under Fiesta Stars</i> 1941 film by Frank McDonald

Under Fiesta Stars is a 1941 American Western film directed by Frank McDonald and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and Carol Hughes. Based on a story by Karl Brown, the film is about a singing cowboy and rodeo champion who inherits a ranch and mining property along with his foster father's niece. She wants to sell but needs his consent, and he wants to work the mine according to his foster father's wishes. Problems arise when the niece unwittingly gets involved with unscrupulous lawyers who are plotting to steal the mine. The film features the songs "Purple Sage in the Twilight", "When You're Smiling", and the title song.

<i>Sunset in Wyoming</i> 1941 film by William Morgan

Sunset in Wyoming is a 1941 American Western film directed by William Morgan and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, George Cleveland, and Maris Wrixon. Based on a story by Joe Blair, the film is about a singing cowboy who goes up against a lumber company clearcutting the timber from a local mountain causing catastrophic flooding and endangering the lives of valley ranchers. The film features the songs "There's a Home in Wyomin'" and "Sing Me a Song of the Saddle".

<i>Cowboy Serenade</i> 1942 film with Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Fay McKenzie

Cowboy Serenade is a 1942 American Western film directed by William Morgan and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, and Fay McKenzie. Written by Olive Cooper, the film is about a singing cowboy and cattleman who goes after a gambling ring after they fleece the cattlemen association's representative of their cattle. The film features the songs "Nobody Knows", and "Sweethearts or Strangers", and the title song.

<i>Heart of the Rio Grande</i> 1942 film by William Morgan

Heart of the Rio Grande is a 1942 American Western film directed by William Morgan and starring Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Fay McKenzie, and Edith Fellows. Based on a story by Newlin B. Wildes, the film is about a singing cowboy and dude ranch foreman who helps a spoiled teenager and her business tycoon father discover what is most important in life. The film features the songs "Let Me Ride Down in Rocky Canyon", "Deep in the Heart of Texas", "Dusk on the Painted Desert", and "Rainbow In the Night" performed by Edith Fellows.

<i>Gene Autrys Melody Ranch</i>

Gene Autry's Melody Ranch is a Western variety radio show in the United States. A 15-minute pilot show aired on December 31, 1939. The program ran from January 7, 1940 to August 1, 1943, and from September 23, 1945 to May 16, 1956. The show's entire run was broadcast over the CBS radio network, sponsored by Doublemint gum. The approximately two-year interruption resulted from Autry's enlistment in the United States Army to serve in World War II. Initially titled Doublemint's Melody Ranch, the show's name was changed to Gene Autry's Melody Ranch in early 1941. Episodes were 30 minutes long except for a 15-minute version that ran from September 23, 1945 to June 16, 1946. The theme song was "Back in the Saddle Again".

References

Citations
  1. 1 2 3 Magers 2007, p. 174.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Magers 2007, p. 175.
  3. Magers 2007, pp. 174–175.
  4. 1 2 3 Magers 2007, p. 176.
  5. Magers, pp. 173–174.
  6. Worden, Leon. "Melody Ranch: Movie Magic in Placerita Canyon". SCV History. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  7. "Melody Ranch". Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
Bibliography