Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Some of my favorite heroes are mounties:  Sgt. Preston, Dudley Doright, Benton Fraser...and Renfrew of the mounties.

Douglas Renfrew blazed his way through ten books and seventeen stories by boys story writer Laurie York Erskine, a Scottish-born US writer who served in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I.  The popular Renfrew also spawned a radio show with House Jameson (I love his first name) in the title role.  Fifteen years after his creation, Refrew moved to films with James Newill as Renfrew of the Royal Mounted, the first of eight films which were later cannibalized to form a syndicated television show.

From the comments on the film from IMDB:

"...I'm not too sure who greenlighted the adventures of a singing Mountie, but here it is, and while it's entertaining, it sure makes some amusing factual errors.  James Newell stars as Renfrew, the dashing figure in  red, while not singing songs about Barbeque sauce (!!) he helps out a woman who gets inadvertently caught as bait while going to see her father, who unbeknownst to her, is beingforced to work as a counterfeiter for them bad Amerikans [sic]."  [Spuzzlightyear]

"...[W]hat would possess a film company like Grand National to come out with a picture about a singing Mountie..[A] counterfeiting ring goes to the trouble of smuggling forged bills inside the body cavaties of rainbow trout that are frozen in blocks of ice!...It seems that he's [Renfrew] a top contender for the best barbeque sauce in Canada contest, and wouldn't you know it, his number one competitor is the mastermind if the counterfeiting ring... Also on hand as a henchman for the bad guys is Chief Thundercloud, whose earliest claim to fame might have been as the original screen Tonto in the 1938 serial 'The Lone Ranger'."  [classicsoncall]

"The story is not profound, and has a tad of the science-fictional invention in it.  A gang of crooks has a member in it who's invented a kind of ray gun, carefully explained as a gun that sends out a tight beam of microwaves to short out the magnetos of an airplane...You could do far worse, but it's not a film to take seriously."  [skallisjr]

Who cannot love a movie with reviews like that.

In addition to the eight Renfrew movies, James Newell also starred in fourteen movies as Texas Ranger Jim Steel.  Carol Hughes was the leading lady on this one; over her eighteen-year movie career she appeared in such films as Earthworm Tractors, Scattergood Baines, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, Joe Palooka, Champ, The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer, and Mighty Joe Young.  In an uncredited and very minor role of a desk clerk is the versatile Dwight Frye -- certainly one of my favorite character actors.  Frye, of course, is best known as the insect-eating Renfield from Dracula.  (Say "Renfield, Renfrew" five time fast; a great party game.)

In an amazing coincidence, the film was directed by Albert Herman and was produced by someone named Al Herman. 

Feel free to sing a song about your favorite barbeque sauce as you watch this:

For more over today's Overlooked Films, visit Todd Mason's blog sweetfreedom.  Don't expect a barbeque sauce recipe, though -- just some great links.


  1. Does Canada still have mounted police? Oddly the university where my husband works has mounted police. And that's in the heart of Detroit.

  2. Hell, DC and Philly still have mounted police. Mounties are still there in the former Dominion.