Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Of all the cameo guest stars in the big poker game that dominates the "Maverick" movie, not many of the characters had actual names.  Of course, this is a bonus for ye old Toobmeister because then I could declare them to be characters from some of the old great TV Westerns.
But there were a few with "names" - Bill Henderson was named Hightower, for example, and we'll be coming back to him.  Dan Hedaya played a character called "Twitchy" and Dennis Fimple was referred in the credits as "Stuttering".  (Although as pointed out at some point this month in the blog, he was actually playing his character from 'Alias Smith And Jones', Kyle Murtry.)

Henry Darrow was in the movie as one of the riverboat gamblers, but he was not credited with a name.  However, on a web site promoting his autobiography, Darrow is identified as "El Duque" when you run the cursor over the picture.

For my money, he was returning once again to the role that was perhaps his most famous, that
of Manolito Montoya who worked as a ranch hand for Big John Cannon's 'High Chaparrel' Ranch in the Arizona Territory.  (In a way he was part of the family as Big John had married Manolito's sister.)

So could he be Manolito Montoya as well as "El Duque"?  I don't see why not, especially since "El Duque" is just a title.

But where would Manolito get such an appellation?  It's not like the Montoyas were part of the Spanish nobility.

I think he got the title because of his life after he left the High Chaparral. 

I doubt he would have remained on that ranch forever, living in the shadow of his sister's marriage.  After awhile he may have felt that he needed to prove himself, that he could strike out on his own without being propped up by his brother-in-law.

So where would a name like "El Duque" come into play?  I think it's likely that he hired on with one of those frontier circuses, with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show being the model on which all the others were based.
Manolito Montoya could have been hired to be a trick shooter and used "El Duque" as his stage name.  And eventually he would have saved up enough money to enter the Big Game.
Of the frontier circuses in Toobworld, I'm thinking Cartright's Sensational Congress of Heroism and Courage* would be a nice fit, especially since they lost their last star on the circuit, Daring Dan (also known as Mule Canby), when he perished in a fire just outside of 'Centennial', Colorado.

Happy Trails To You!

* I can't remember if that was the name of the frontier circus in the TV series adaptation, but that's the name of the circus that came into town in James Michener's book.

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