Any Ranch That You Can See on Foot Just Isn’t Worth Looking At

August 21, 2008

I recently had a drunken spree of watching old westerns, starting with the classic The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. While “camping” last weekend, I watched it again with my 12-year-old nephew Aaron who initially scoffed at the obviously-overdubbed dialog, “THEIR MOUTHS ARE OFF!” but he slowly got into it. It’s so classic that even with long, drawn out, often silent scenes, it manages to capture the attention of a modern-day, Mountain Dew swizzling, Nintendo DS addled pre-teen. I was stunned.

yul brynner as cowboy android

The big budget spaghetti western made me yearn to get lost in more stiff old portrayals of The Old West. I started roaming around IMDB looking for high-rated westerns. The first that caught my eye was The Magnificent Seven, which introduced me to Yul Brynner, playing an oddly endearing cowboy android. It also shared a younger Eli Wallach, playing a similarly slimy-yet-likeable villain as Tuco and Charles Bronson looking like a beefed up Alfred E. Newman.

From there it was quickly downhill with the western meme. Somehow I ended up watching The Searchers, which features the Native American hatin’ John Wayne. Besides bearing a striking resemblance in stature, dress and speech to Willy Vlautin, I couldn’t find much to like. However, I was pleased to spot The Elderly and Senile Room Service Waiter from Twin Peaks, the one who brought Agent Cooper his warm milk after he got shot. Nearly fifty years prior to Twin Peaks, Hank Worden was sporting a very similar shtick.

hank worden