VCI Entertainment has produced a double-disc collection of eight classic Westerns that will be available for collectors to savor on June 2.
Titled When Cowboys Were King, the talents of eight different iconic Western stars are showcased in the film selections that VCI Entertainment has selected … these are: Johnny Mack Brown, Tim McCoy, Ken Maynard, Tex Ritter, Buck Jones, Hoot Gibson and both Roy Rogers and Gene Autry.
In chronological theatrical release order the When Cowboys Were King kicks off with the 1931 release of director Phil Rosen’s The Pocatello Kid, which teamed Ken Maynard with Marceline Day and bad guy Charles King as One-Eyed Trinidad.
The Thrill Hunter, from 1933, stars Buck Jones as a tall-tale teller who gets hired as the star of a action movie and is exposed for being more mouth than ability (he can’t fly an aeroplane). But when rough and tumble outlaws kidnap his co-star (Dorothy Revier) he literally rides to her rescue!!
Hoot Gibson is front and center in the 1936 film release of director Harry L. Fraser’s Feud of the West (Hoot Gibson, 1936). He’s framed for the attempted murder of a local rancher, but is able to both clear his name and rescue Molly (Joan Barclay) from the real gang of desperadoes before the final credits roll.
Also from 1936 is director Sam Newfield’s The Lion’s Den, starring Tim McCoy as trick-shot Tim Barton, who uncovers a land-grab scheme, exposes the bad guys and wins the hand of the lovely Ann (Joan Woodbury).
The following year, 1937, it’s Gene Autry starring in director Mack V. Wright’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Rhythm. Gene and his trusty sidekick, Frog (Smiley Burnette), are out to crack a cattle-rustling gang, but still find time to sing a song or two, including Gene Autry teaming with Armida Vendrell for a memorable rendition of “Mexicali Rose.”
Tex Ritter gets his turn in the 1937 film release of Tex Rides with the Boy Scouts, where he has not one, but two sidekicks —Snub Pollard as Pee-Wee and Horace Murphy as Stubby. Charles King is once again a bad guy … Marjorie Reynolds co-stars.
Johnny Mack Brown stars in director Ray Taylor’s 1940 film release of Boss of Bullion City as a would-be newsman, but a crooked sheriff (Harry Woods) forces him and his sidekick Burt (Fuzzy Knight) to take the law into their own hands. Nell O’Day (This Side of Heaven, Woman in the Dark) co-stars as a cowgirl who can handle a six-shooter with the best of them!
And last, but not least, VCI Entertainment’s When Cowboys Were King wraps its up with director Joseph Kane’s 1942 film release of Romance on the Range, starring Roy Rogers and Gabby Hayes — between the action Roy finds time to knock out five songs with the Sons of the Pioneers and members of the cast, including Linda Hayes and Sally Payne.