Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Oaters - Billy the Kid Returns (1938)

Ok, Kiddies, let's get this one straight from the start. I know we've talked before about films like Jesse James meets Frankenstein's Daughter and Billy the Kid versus Dracula, but I'm sorry to report that, though Billy is shot and killed by Pat Garrett at the very first of this flick, despite what the title might lead you to believe, he does not actually return as a zombie. Instead, he doesn't so much "return" as he is replaced by Roy Rogers who, it just so happens, turns out to be a *ahem* dead ringer for the Kid. Quickly convincing Garrett to let him masquerade as the infamous killer in order to thwart a brand of villainous ranchers who are threatening the local homesteaders. Promising that, unlike Billy, he won't actually do any killing, (though with a total of seven songs in this less-than-an-hour b-reeler he might well sing them to death) Roy, of course, saves the day.

This was actually Roy's second leading role in a film. Earlier in the year he had taken over the lead in Under Western Stars when the original lead, Gene Autry, walked out on his contract. Roy had already been building popularity both as a singing cowboy film star under his original name Leonard Slye, and with his western musical group The Sons of the Pioneers. When the opportunity presented itself, Roy quickly stepped into the role, and through numerous movie roles and his own TV show (in which he appeared alongside his wife, Dale Evans) he quickly became Autry's number one competitor for the title of America's favorite singing cowboy.

Rather than a trailer for this flick, here's a short tribute to Roy's group The Sons of the Pioneers which features them singing one of their biggest hits, "Tumbling Tumbleeeds":

And now, the Skinny:
Title: Billy the Kid Returns
Release Date: 1938
Running Time: 53min
Black and White
Starring: Roy Rogers
Directed by: Joseph Kane
Produced by: Charles E. Ford
Released by: Republic Pictures

Billy the Kid Returns id available to watch or download for free here.
It's also available for purchase on DVD from Amazon: Billy The Kid Returns.
It appears to be out of stock at Netflix, but you can reserve it: Billy the Kid Returns.

Until next time, Happy Treasure Hunting,
-Professor Damian


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