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lzcutter

Harry Carey

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2670-13054.gif

 

He has the sort of worn and rugged face that we not only associate with westerns but also called a "lived in face".

 

Harry Carey made his name in westerns, working for most of his silent career with a young director who had yet to make a name for himself, John Ford.

 

He was born on Jan. 16th (imagine that), 1878,

 

In 1911, his pal Henry Walthall introduced him to DW Griffith, most memorably in the *Musketeers of Pig Alley*. He made a number of films with Griffith and followed Griffith westward to Hollywood. His creased and weather beaten face was perfect for westerns.

 

He became a star in a series of "Cheyenne Harry" two-reel westerns. His co-stars were often a young woman named Olive Golden and Hoot Gibson. The producer/director was Francis Ford. When Harry started his own unit, he took Olive Golden and Francis' younger brother, Jack (John) to be director.

 

The first film Carey and John Ford made together was *Straight Shooting* in 1917. He married Olive (after divorcing his first wife, Fern) in 1920.

 

Harry and Olive started a ranch in Saugus, California in the San Francisquito Canyon. Today, that community is almost an hour trip by freeway to Hollywood. Back then, the trip was an all day affair and you stayed until the movie was over.

 

In 1921, Harry and Olive had a son, Harry Carey, Jr whom Harry soon nicknamed 'Dobey" due to his red hair.

 

Unlike Tom Mix and William Hart, Harry Carey's westerns were more true to life than the flashy well dressed western hero favored by the latter two. Universal decided to go with the flashy western heros and a rift between Carey and Ford brought their collaboration to an end.

 

Without a studio behind him, Carey drifted. His age was also a factor. In 1926, he made *Satan's Town* a reworking of *Hell's Hinges*. As the sound era dawned, he found it harder and harder to find good scripts. To make ends meet, he and Olive joined the vaudeville circuit.

 

While traveling, their ranch was destroyed in the terrible San Francisquito Canyon dam destruction. The dam broke and the wall of water flooded everything in its path. Bodies washed up on the beach in Ventura and pieces of buildings were found as far south as San Diego.

 

Carey found his second niche as a character actor in talkies. With his craggy good looks, he found a lot of work as a character actor. In 1931, he made *Trader Horn* for MGM. He was the second lead but quickly the home office realized he had more charisma than the lead, Duncan Reynaldo.

 

The success of the picture allowed him to rebuild his ranch. The ranch burned down shortly after that and again the Carey's rebuilt.

 

*Trader Horn* revitalized his career. In 1936, he and Ford put past differences behind them and Carey had a role in *The Prisoner of Shark Island*. In 1938, he starred in the *Law West of Tombstone* with a young Tim Holt.

 

In 1939, he received an Academy Award nomination for his supporting work as the Vice President who supports Jimmy Stewart in *Mr. Smith Goes to Washington*.

 

There is evidence that Hitchcock wanted him for the Nazi ringleader in *Saboteur* but Olive pointed out to him that the role was not a believable one for him to play.

 

In 1941, he played John Wayne's dad in *The Shepard of the Hills*. The two bonded during the filming with Wayne saying for years afterwards that Carey and Yak Canutt were the two cowboys he had learned the most from. Wayne became part of the extended Carey family. He and Harry were also in *The Spoilers* and *The Angel and the Badman*.

 

He also appeared in Howard Hawks' *Air Force* in 1943.

 

Carey developed lung cancer and emphysema. He continued working, appearing in *Red River*, though he had no scenes with his son, Dobey, *Duel in the Sun* and *Sea of Grass* as well as Disney's *So Dear to My Heart* and *The Babe Ruth Story*.

 

Carey died on Sept. 21, 1947 at home in Brentwood.

 

John Ford dedicated his film *Three Godfathers* which featured Dobey Carey as one of the stars to Harry. Ford eulogized Harry as the "Bright star in the early western sky."

 

Carey has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1976, he was inducted to the Western Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. He was also given, posthumously, a Golden Boot by the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.

 

Today, the Carey Ranch is part of a historic park in Santa Clarita, California.

 

I adore him as western star, as a character actor and regardless of the genre, if he is in the cast, I am watching it.

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Wonderful piece on a wonderful actor Iz. He was always one of my favorites growing up. I only knew him from his supporting roles growing up. Just wish more of his early works survived. Thank You...

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Nice tribute but I must disagree that William S. Hart was "flashily dressed." Hart detested the outfits worn by Tom Mix and took it as an affront when Mix began edging him out as a cowboy star.

 

These are fairly typical of the way that Hart would dress:

william_s_hart360.jpg

 

hart1-sized.jpg

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Thank you, Izcutter, for the bio. I did not become aware of him as an actor until Mr. Smith and Angel and the Badman. I grew up watching "Dobey" and was finally able to see where he got some of his talent from-Olive was a great actress too. I love his face-determination without harshness. I'll bet he was well loved by his peers. You made my day.

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You know I love both Harry Carey's - Sr., and Jr. I'm surprised you didn't mention how John Wayne held his arm at the end of *The Searchers* in honor of Harry, Sr.

 

I have to say this though, as far a William S. Hart goes, it's hard to believe he was such a beloved western star by kids. His face is so scary to me, that if I had seen him on a large screen, I probably would have burst out crying from fright, like I did at the witch in *Wizard of Oz*.

__________________________

*Anne*

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Thanks for the thread on one of my favorite people. Just the mellow

sound of Harry's voice is enough to soothe me at my most frazzled.

 

He is magnificent in *The Shepherd of the Hills* if any of you are interested.

It's a beautiful film, too, with spectacular Technicolor location photography

and a very strong cast.

 

I also recommend *Straight Shooting*, if you can locate a copy. It's

a wonderfully nuanced role and relatively complex western for the day,

showing how much of the Fordian hero was inspired by Harry's simple,

honest and suggestively melancholy demeanor.

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It seems like a good time to mention that THE LAW WEST OF TOMBSTONE starring Harry Carey is on tomorrow at 6am Eastern Time. It's part of a Tim Holt mini-fest.

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"Straight Shooting" is Ford's first feature and it's a piece of film history. MissG is right, if you can find a copy you'll be well rewarded. Ford and Carey and the crew headed to Newhall, Ca and made a well done western about war between the ranchers and farmers [shades of "Shane" } with Carey as Cheyenne Harry. It's fun to watch a young Hoot Gibson accidently fall off his horse while crossing a river,You can almost hear Ford yelling "Keep rolling, Hoot get back up mon that damn horse. Don't stop" I can see the influence of Griffith on Ford. Also, does the door scene look familiar? I expected Harry Carey to grab his elbow.....

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Sep 13, 2010 8:45 PM

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Sep 13, 2010 8:46 PM

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Thanks to all who are enjoying this thread and adding their own thoughts and memories.

 

I'm glad so many posters are Harry Carey fans!

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One of my favorite performances of his was "The Spoilers" woth Wayne/Dietrich/Scott. There was a rumor that Harry died from the bite of a Black Widow spider. It was just that. A rumor. He died from lung cancer and emphysema.

One of his biggest Box Office hits was "Trader Horn",1931, directed by W.S. Van Dyke, the first non documentary film shot in Africa. His co star was a young Duncan Renaldo, way before "The Cisco Kid" and Olive Carey and Edwina Booth. It was a very rough shoot. A couple of the crew was killed and almost all came down with malaria. The young actress Edwina Booth sued MGM and settled out of court. It took her years to recover....

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Sep 14, 2010 3:15 AM

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Sep 14, 2010 3:16 AM

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How-do Missy its been a coons age since we palavered. I just want to add my voice to your applause for Harry's performance in one of our shared favorite films SHEPPARD OF THE HILLS. I have fond memories of our discussions on this marvellous flick last year. Hope your well and look forward to our next round of movie talk.

 

Edited by: stjohnrv on Sep 14, 2010 1:33 PM

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Howdy doody, stjohn! I surely do remember our chat. It's great to know

there are fans of Harry and *The Shepherd of the Hills*. Now wouldn't

it be nice if TCM would air the movie and then more people could discover it.

 

AMC seems to be showing it periodically, so at least it's out there.

 

I hope you are doing well, yourself? I'm middling-fair, as they say, thank

you for asking. It's always a pleasure chatting with you.

 

MissG

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Harry, the inspiration for western cartoon hero "Overland Red"

 

harry-carey-overland-red.jpg

 

Harry with John Wayne in remake of *The Spoilers*, 1942:

jw-harry-THESPOILERS1942.jpg

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MsG,

 

My apologies (I should try to read these threads more often, especially those I start). I misspoke about William Hart being a flashy cowboy like Tom Mix. I obviously was thinking of another rhinestone cowboy but at the moment I can't remember who it could be.

 

Thanks for pointing out William Hart and his authentic face and westerns.

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Oh heck I wish I could take the credit but *clore* was the one who pointed out

Hart's more authentic garb.

 

Maybe you're thinking of Tom Mix. He was a real "dapper Dan".

 

tom-mix.jpg

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He had a unique quality and style and really projected a warmth on screen.

The first movie I saw him in was Shepherd of the Hills and I became an instant fan.

Then I saw Mr Smith Goes to Washington and whenever he appeared he lit up the screen.

Funny that an aging actor can have this effect on people but there is something very admirable about him.

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>>Oh heck I wish I could take the credit but clore was the one who pointed out Hart's more authentic garb.

 

And thank you MissGoddess for being so courteous.

 

i wish I could find it on the web, but there is a shot of Hart in full western garb, showing Johnny Mack Brown the pistols that he owned and were supposedly those of the real-life Billy the Kid. This was when Brown was making the King Vidor-directed tale of William Bonney.

 

It must have been a ritual as here is Hart in contemporary garb doing the same with Robert Taylor who was making his version of BILLY THE KID:

 

lw2068.jpg

 

Hart's looking pretty good for a man in his mid-70s.

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Isn't that Robert Taylor, not Johnnie Mack Brown?

 

Oops, sorry. I didn't read your post carefully.

 

Edited by: helenbaby on Dec 13, 2010 7:57 AM

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Carey so deserves a biography written about him.

 

I was able to find an excellent copy of "Straight Shooting" at www.ioffer.com I don't know if that seller is still at that site, tho.

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I personally relate to him in supporting roles, especially John Wayne's *Shepherd of the Hills* and *Angel and the Badman.* In terms of film history, Carey often is overlooked and the Western heroes of the silent film era tend to be ONLY Tom Mix and William S. Hart ... Carey had great influence on John Wayne, so I personally would love to read more about him and their relationship.

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