Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Bill Cody -- born William Joseph Cody, Jr.  -- parlayed his name into a significant B-movie western career, starring in Poverty Row films from 1924 to 1939, with time outs for touring western shows.  From the 1939 until his death in 1948 Cody occasionally had uncredited and bit parts, including an uncredited bit as "Tunnel Bomb Thug" in the 1943 serial The Masked Marvel -- something that would be tres cool to have on your resume (if you weren't an actor).  Cody was no relation to famous westerner "Buffalo" Bill Cody.

Also no relation to Buffalo Bill was Bill Cody, Jr., who strangely had the same birth name as his father -- William Joseph Cody, Jr.  The younger Cody (born 1925) appeared in several of his father's films, including this one.  IMDb lists his last film as 1948's Fighter Squadron in which he had an uncredited role as a "Private."  Junior committed suicide in 1989, one year after losing his beloved wife to cancer.  He was 64.

Cody plays Steve Harper who goes after a gang of cattle rustlers.  In the ensuing fight Haper loses his gun, which is later used in the murder of "Dad" Wilson (William McCall, a bit player with 248 -- mostly uncredited roles from 1917 to 1938).  Steve is jailed for murder because the 59-minute film would have been a lot shorter without this obvious plot point.  Spunky young Jimmy Wilson (Bill Cody, Jr.) manages to break Steve out of jail because no jail in the old west is a match for a ten-year-old kid.  Steve then goes in search for the real killer.  Twenty-four-year-old Marie Burton serves as cowboy candy as the lovely Betty Wilson.

Outlaws of the Range was directed by Albert Herman, probably best known for directing 42 shorts featuring a very young Mickey Rooney.  Herman closed off his career directing six episodes of The Cisco Kid, 1950-51.

Zarah Tazil is a name that may have many film fans scratch their heads.  She was an actress with minor roles in three films in 1935 (two of them featuring Bill Cody) and had writing credits for four  of Cody's films, 1935-36, including Outlaws of the Range.  As a virtual flash in the pan, she is also credited with Continuity for Outlaws of the Range.  Tazil was born in Morocco in 1908; because she faded into anonymity IMDb has no death date listed.

This is a B-movie, so please have no great expectations, but for those who enjoy mindless oaters from the Thirties, enjoy.

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