Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Cowboy star Bob Steele played Billy the Kid in half a dozen Poverty Row westerns from P.R.C. in 1940 and 1941.  At the same time he also played Tucson Smith, one of Republic's Three Mesquiteers (20 pictures from 1940 to 1943).  Buster Crabbe took over Steele's Billy the Kid character beginning in 1942.

The Billy the Kid of the P.R.C. films was not a ravening psychopath.  Instead he was a misunderstood hero on the run from zealous lawmen.  His pals were Fuzzy (Al St. John) and Jeff (Carleton Young).  The three of them are riding to the town of Paradise when they witness the murder of a marshal.  Too late to stop the murder or to catch whoever did it, Fuzzy rides into town pretending to be the dead man and finds the town being ruled by a viscous gang.  Naturally, where there is lawlessness, it's up to billy, Fuzzy, and Jeff to put a stop to it.

Billy the Kid's Fighting Pals also features Phyllis Adair, Curley Dresden, Edward Pell, Sr., and Julio Rivero.  Sam Newfield (The Terror of Tiny Town, Dead Men Walk, The Monster Maker) directed the film under the name "Sherman Scott."  The script was by George H. Plympton (Zombies of Mora Tau, Atom Man Vs. Superman, Congo Bill, and more than 300 others).

The plot of Billy the Kid's Fighting Pals has been used a gazillion times but that didn't stop kids of three-quarters of a century ago from enjoying the film and Bob Steele is always fun to watch.