Video of the Day: Sing and Sling

When The Arizona Kid galloped onto screens in 1939, Roy Rogers was making his eighteenth film appearance, but one of his first as Roy Rogers. He had debuted in 1934 as one of the Sons of the Pioneers, and his early credits were under the names Leonard Slye – the name he was born with – and Dick Weston.

The (always most interesting) Baddies
The cowboy crooner is one of scores of films freely available for viewing on the site Classic Cinema Online, one of several sites that post classic films of Hollywood and other traditions.

In The Arizona Kid, Rogers played an officer in the Confederate army (history’s baddies) in Missouri during the American Civil War. Again typical, for Rogers, was his pairing with a colorful sidekick; in The Arizona Kid, as in many other Rogers vehicles, Gabby Hayes played that role. Sally March played his sweetheart Laura Radford.

The Dopey Sidekick
Rogers challenge in the film is to shut down – with his quick-drawn gun and syrupy songs – outlaw gangs pretending to be working for the Confederacy.

Joseph Kane directed under the Republic Pictures banner. A former professional cellist, he had become a film editor in 1926, and then rose to become the Republic studio’s leading director of westerns, including several featuring John Wayne in the 1940s as well as those of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.

From the late 1950s, with the demise of Republic, Kane added to his many film titles some of the best known TV western series, including “Laramie,” “Rawhide,” and “Cheyenne.”


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