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Ben Johnson, Someone to remember


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Thanks, Chris! I am working toward those movies. Was he in Lonesome Dove? I saw a commercial for it yesterday, and was wondering.

 

I love older Ben. I don't know, I just find him attractive at any age. Something comes from within him, a maturity, or manliness. It doesn't disappear as he ages. It gets deeper and mellower....he seems like he's been roughed up by life, but it's OK, he's not going to show it and he'll be alright. Ah....I can barely talk about it, he completely moves me.

 

I'm not the hugest Tom Selleck fan, but when he is cast properly he can be really good and I suspect these movies are his forte. I have never seen them, because I always come in in the middle of them, and that is a big pet peeve of mine.... I can't watch a movie from the middle most times, so I turn it off, figuring I will eventually catch it from the beginning.

 

Sam Elliott, I see him as a sort of Ben Jr., an inheritor of the torch, he is fun to watch and has the downward look that I like so much in Johnson.

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Oooh, I have that site bookmarked! I love it best because it is such a personal remembrance..... and those pictures are awesome. You just don't see those stills anywhere else, and I like to look at the way he signed them.

 

I guess now is as good a time as any to post a couple of pics. One I found on the internet and it's my favorite young photo of Ben, and the other, from The Wild Bunch, I captured and I am very proud of it.

 

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> {quote:title=JackFavell wrote:}{quote}

> edited by me because I think the size is OK after all.

>

> Message was edited by: JackFavell

 

;)

 

I really like that Wild Bunch cap.

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In *SHANE*, Ben's role is small and understated. I still find him very compelling to watch, since he is undergoing such conflicting emotions.

 

*SPOILER*

 

Chris Calloway (Ben Johnson) has been part of Riker's gang, the wrangler who has been persecuting the homesteaders. Riker has tried to run off all the ranchers by ruining their farms, threatening the farmers when they come to town, and finally, Riker's hired gunman has killed Joe Torrey, a harmless but stubborn rancher who foolishly tried to take on the Riker gang.

 

Calloway has let himself be led by Riker and his hatred of the ranchers. However, he finds himself unable to stomach Riker's comments as he sits on the steps of the saloon during Torrey's funeral, less than a mile away. The sounds of crying and funereal music drift past him on the wind and he can see the funeral party in the distance. He hears Riker and his men laughing on the porch nearby. Something is happening to him. He unconsciously rubs his hands together as if he could cleanse away the guilt he feels....

 

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Coming soon on TCM, starring Ben Johnson:

 

_Friday, June 5_

*The Sugarland Express* (1974) 12:30am ET

An ex-convict springs her husband from prison to keep their child from being adopted.

Cast: Goldie Hawn, Ben Johnson, Michael Sacks, William Atherton Dir: Steven Spielberg C-110 mins, TV-MA

 

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A few more from Shane, just because I am obsessed. I hope someone besides me is enjoying these.

 

Bad Ben messing with Shane. He zeroes in on him like a laser beam, thinking Shane will shrink like a "lilac". For some reason, I like Ben here, in spite of his being a bully:

 

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First, he confronts him:

 

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Then he toys with him, thinking he is weak, like a cat with a mouse:

 

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I think of him here as a coiled spring. If Shane had made a wrong move, Ben would've attacked. But Shane takes his time, sizing up the situation. As someone said in a previous thread, Shane doesn't have to prove himself.

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Great screencaps, JackFavell! They capture those scenes perfectly. I am enjoying them mightily.

 

I have to report a Ben sighting. Last Sunday, I was in a Bonanza mood, and I caught a bunch of them on TVLand. There was an episode called "The Gamble" and Ben played a not so good guy.

Little Joe was the featured Cartwright, and he got himself signed on as sheriff in a corrupt town.

Always good to see Ben Johnson

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Whew! Thanks, Cinemafan! I hate to keep posting on a thread over and over with no replies, because I don't want to be a pest. Paranoia is striking me the last few days here TCM City.

 

We only get TVLand at night here and I forget that there are other channels besides TCM.... ha! So thanks for the heads up about Bonanza reruns, and that particular episode. I am going to have to see if I can find "The Gamble" on dvd.

 

I have been "Ben-spotting" myself, trying to find TV shows he might have done - I found an Alfred Hitchcock a few weeks ago, and I see some listings for Bonanza, The Virginian, even a Perry Mason! There is one called The Monroes, which apparently is nowhere to be found on earth anymore.

 

Don't you just love when Ben turns up in something? He always adds some flavor to a TV show or movie.

 

Here are a couple more pics from the bigger fight scene in Shane. Sorry for the poor quality, but he is hard to capture because he moves so quickly:

 

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I found this on ebay. If you have $200.00, you can own it. It came from a woman who was instrumental in Ben's charity work for kids. The inscription reads: "Kathleen - It is gals like you that makes my business such a pleasure. Keep up the good work. Always your friend, Ben Johnson."

 

I have to admit to being jealous of Kathleen.... how pathetic.

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:D That's so sweet of him to write that. Wow, $200, there must be a lot of Ben fans

out there who'd like to have that picture.

 

And I agree with cinemafan---it's hard to come by good images of Ben.

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I thought his sentiments on that photo were very sweet, and sounded just like the way he talks. And you guys are right, there are almost no pictures of Ben out there. I am buying up what little memorabilia I can find in my price range, and I will try to scan what I get and post it here, if people are interested.

 

I am also feeling very sad because I am finding that in many of the movies he made, he simply does not have enough of a role. Reading Harry Carey, Jr.'s book, *The Company of Heroes*, I realize that life for the character actor was a bit more of a struggle than I thought, kind of a hard scrabble existence compared to the big stars. Then I think again that Ben probably felt he was lucky to be in the picture business at all, considering when he started he was making $1.00 a day as a horse wrangler in Oklahoma.

 

The Company of Heroes has at least three longer anecdotes about Ben Johnson. Harry, Jr. and Ben became good friends, and worked on 8 pictures together. It was a great read, and is well worth getting if you are interested in Ford, Johnson, Carey, or westerns.

 

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Ben and Harry Carey, Jr. (Dobe) doing their own stunts. "Roman riding" from Rio Grande.

 

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Ben and Dobe from Wagon Master

 

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Ben and Dobe from Rio Grande

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*The Company of Heroes has at least three longer anecdotes about Ben Johnson. It was a great read, and is well worth getting if you are interested in Ford, Johnson, Carey, or westerns.*

 

I am definitely interested in Ford, Johnson and Carey; "The Company of Heroes" sounds like a must-read for me. :D

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Vintage Ford.

 

I like these two caps of Ben from Rio Grande because they are so iconic. They remind me of silent film action.

 

To clarify: Tyree has been arrested on charges of manslaughter. He escapes the arresting officers in the night. He follows the soldiers and their wagon party ostensibly to get some grub, but really because he is a soldier still:

 

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> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

> Oh, I love those shots, Jackie!!

>

> Ben is something MORE in Pappy's films.

 

I can't believe it's you replying... :)

 

I agree that Ben was more ..... I don't know, iconic? in Ford's films. Pappy brought out his innate decency better than anyone. I would love to go back in time just so I could kick Pappy in the butt for some of his behavior. Like not hiring Ben for 16 years. I think in some ways, Ben's characters in his films represent what Pappy admired most - independent spirit and quiet strength. Ben's characters, like Wayne's before him, always have an untidy or even shady past, but this does not stop them from being rather courtly gentlemen.

 

Message was edited by: JackFavell

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>

> I can't believe it's you replying... :)

>

 

:P

 

> I agree that Ben was more ..... I don't know, iconic? in Ford's films. Pappy brought out his innate decency better than anyone. I would love to go back in time just so I could kick Pappy in the butt for some of his behavior. Like not hiring Ben for 16 years. I think in some ways, Ben's characters in his films represent what Pappy admired most - independent spirit and quiet strength. Ben's characters, like Wayne's before him, always have an untidy or even shady past, but this does not stop them from being rather courtly gentlemen.

>

 

That is certainly true and I think he'd have loved your spirit in defending Ben (while pretending he

didn't know what you were talking about). Who understands men and their silly quarrels. :D

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