Friday, February 6, 2009


I think it was my long-time Toobworld ally Hugh who first alerted me to the movie and TV blending to be found in the big finale of "Alias Jesse James". (Like Dr. Sam Beckett, I have a swiss-cheese memory, forgive me.) As the characters played by Bob Hope and Rhonda Fleming are pinned down in a shoot-out with the James Gang, a lot of TV Western stars of that time come to their aid.

(Hope's character thinks that it's his shots bringing down the bad guys, but it's these Western heroes - hidden away and firing at the same moment as Hope - who are notching up the kills.)

It's a visual joke that serves as the big payoff to the movie and as such achieves its purpose - giving the audience a laugh as these stars poke fun at their own images. Someone far less lazy than I would have to work out the timeline for this movie to determine the date when Jesse and Frank James could have crossed paths with historical figures like Annie Oakley and Wyatt Earp. Then you'd have to squeeze in the fictional characters like Tonto, Matt Dillon, and Major Seth Adams.

Forget about Davy Crockett and Roy Rogers - O'Bviously they are traveling through Time, as Roy was from the future of the 1950's, and Davy died at the Alamo in 1836.

Roy wouldn't be the only singing cowboy of the 1950s to travel in Time. Gene Autry and his sidekick Pat Buttram spent some in the Old West of the 1880's - unless those characters on 'The Gene Autry Show' were the ancestors of the later Gene and Pat; who not only bore the same names but had the same genetic make-up.

In Toobworld genealogy, this is quite common.....

As for Davy Crockett finding himself in the latter half of the 19th Century, there's a splainin as to how he traveled through Time. In an episode of 'Amazing Stories', a young boy at the battle named "Alamo Jobe" finds himself transported to the San Antonio of the 1980's. So it's possible that Davy Crockett also stepped through a similar temporal wormhole to find himself in the late 1880's. (Rogue temporal wormholes were common in the Old West, probably due to "leakage" from Project TickTock in Arizona, where 'The Time Tunnel' was located, and from the 'Quantum Leap' facility in New Mexico.)

Technically, Tonto is a time traveler as well, although he was in his own time period for this movie. But as we saw in a Jeno's Pizza Rolls blipvert, he and the Lone Ranger somehow ended up in the late 1960's at a very swank party. There were two other cowboys who rode to the aid of Milford Farnsworth (Bob Hope) in "Alias Jesse James", but they didn't come from TV shows. The first was played by Gary Cooper, who might have crossed over from the movie "High Noon". (Not that we can get any clues from his dialogue - all he says is "Yup". And the other was played by Bing Crosby, who showed that he was a serlinguist by talking directly to the audience. Finally, here's an interesting note from behind the scenes of this movie. Many sources online, including Turner Classic Movies - who ought to know better! - claim that James Garner appears in this sequence as Bret Maverick. I don't know if he filmed a quick cameo like the others but then was edited out of the final version; but as it stands, he isn't in the movie.

Does this movie count as being absorbed into the TV Universe because of this scene, to join other movies thus adopted like the 'McHale's Navy' movies, the 1966 'Batman', and the 'Star Trek' franchise (and even Mel Gibson's version of 'Maverick')? It's a tough call with so many obstacles that argue against it. But at the same time, it's hard to resist....

You can see
the shoot-out sequence here.

Toby O'B

And this marks my 3500th post to Inner Toob......

1 comment:

Michael Powers said...

As I understand it, James Garner as Bret Maverick was definitely in that Bob Hope picture along with the others but he's usually cut out for television rebroadcasts and DVDs etc. because of legal wrangles over the rights to the character, strangely enough. I've never seen Maverick in the movie either but by all accounts he was in it during the initial theatrical exhibitions.