Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


From 1935, a Tom Tyler western.  Tyler was a popular action star in silent movies and the early sound era.  In addition to being the screen's first Captain Marvel and the screen's first Phantom, Tyler had supporting roles in several major films, including Gone With the Wind and Stagecoach.  Born Vincent Markowski in Hamtramck, Michigan, he became Bill Burns when he started in films, then becoming Tom Tyler when signed by FBO (Film Booking Offices) in 1925.  With the advent of talkies, Tyler overcame a strong Lithuanian accent to continue his career.  In the mid- to late-Forties Tyler developed a cripplimg case of rheumatoid arthritis.  Nevertheless, in the last six years of his life Tyler appears in 35 films and television shows, including an unsold western pilot written by Ed Wood (yes, that Ed Wood.

Tyler's sidekick Soapy is played by Eddie Gribbin (The Great dictator, Tell It to the Marines), who was one of the original Keystone Kops.  Further comedy relief comes from the "Singing Smith Brothers" who are ready to fight anyone who criticizes their singing.

Tom Denton (Tyler) and Soapy come across a dying Texas Ranger (Tom London, whom IMDb gives 644 credits from 1915 until 1953 -- mainly as a bit player) who had been working undercover.  The ranger gives Tom his identification papers, an act that ends with Tom being thought to be the ranger.  This puts Tom the crosshairs of Mason, town banker and secret head of an outlaw gang (William Gould, 265 credits, again, mostly minor roles), and of gunslinger Rattler Brown (Slim Whitaker, a prolific B-western baddie).  Of course there's a pretty girl -- Mary Adams, the sister of the dead ranger, played by Marion Shilling who was featured in films starring Buck Jones, Hoot Gibson, Tim McCoy, and Rex Bell, as well as non-western stars such as William Powell and constance Bennett.

Rio Rattler is a surprisingly interesting western from Hollywood's Poverty Row.


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