January 29, 2010

Movies To NetFlix® From 1954

By Stephen Bly

In doing research for Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon, I learned a lot about the year 1954. For one thing, I was there as a 10-year-old. So was the narrator of this novel to be released June 2010, set in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I can’t tell you about television in 1954. We didn’t have one yet. Didn’t matter. Didn’t need one. When I came home from school, I did chores or played outside until dark and Mom made me come indoors. Now, that does sound like a century ago.
I listened to Sergeant Preston on the radio. What memories. How I wanted to be a mountie and own a dog like King.
And I went to the movies.

Here’s four western movies that might have been playing in downtown Albuquerque in 1954:
Broken Lance. . . cattle baron Matt Devereaux raids a copper smelter that is polluting his water, then divides his property among his sons. Stars Spencer Tracy and Robert Wagner.

Apache. . . Following the surrender of Geronimo, Massai, the last Apache warrior is captured. He escapes and heads for his homeland to win back his girl and settle down to grow crops. His pursuers have other plans. Stars Burt Lancaster and Jean Peters.

The Far Country. . .In 1896, Jeff Webster sees the start of the Klondike gold rush as a golden opportunity. Two cowboys in search of gold in Alaska help a wagon train along the way. Stars James Stewart and Ruth Roman.

The Cattle Queen of Montana. . .The Jones family, about to prove claim to prime Montana land, is raided by renegade Indians. Stars Barbara Stanwyck and Ronald Reagan.

Like a good movie, a novel can so captivate you that you’ll forget time and place, take a break from anxiety and angst, at least for an afternoon. That’s one of the delights of the books like those featured on Tina Dee’s great Bustles And Spurs blog.

On the trail,
Stephen Bly

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Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Stephen,
Though we lived miles from the nearest town, we had a TV in 1954, and we could get about two or three weak stations in different directions. The antenna was mounted on a pole in the yard, and Papa attached a hand crank to it. If someone wanted to change the channel, it was my job to go outside and point the antenna in a different direction. I thought we were really modern when we finally got a little box on the top of the TV that moved the antenna for us.
Molly Noble Bull

Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Stephen,
I forgot to mention that the year 1954 is also mentioned in my article for this month. It's directly under yours.

Stephen Bly said...

Hey, Molly: Thanks for the notes. . .and our common interests!

On the trail,

Debbie Gail Smith said...

My Dad's neighbor was the only one around with a TV. All the kids in the neighborhood would come over on Friday nights and sit on the floor in front of the TV to watch the wrestling matches through the fuzzy lines.
Now he has over a hundred channels with a crystal clear picture.

Stephen Kingsley said...


I was three years for drawing my first breath in 1954, but I sure miss the great western movies from my youth. Today's writers should go back and learn from those great story lines on how to write a script with meaning and that portrayed high ideals. I've read enough of your westerns to know you do just that with great skill. Good on ya'!