FW Presents: Showcase Gene Colan: HOPALONG CASSIDY and Listener Feedback

FW Presents jumps back in the saddle as Ryan Daly addresses the listener feedback from the first eight episodes of Showcase Gene Colan. Before that, however, Ryan welcomes Jon Schaefer-Hames from Married With Comics to talk about a Colan story from the classic TV western tie-in HOPALONG CASSIDY #102.

Throughout his life, Gene Colan brought his truly unique art style to the pages of Batman, The Tomb of Dracula, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, The Avengers, Howard the Duck, Doctor Strange, The Spectre, and so many others. What issues will Ryan chronicle on this podcast? You’ll have to tune in to find out!

Let us know what you think! Leave a comment or send an email to: RDalyPodcast@gmail.com.

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Intro: Gene Colan interview from “The Men Without Fear”; “The Vampire Hunters” by Wojciech Kilar.

Additional music: “Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

Thanks for listening!

15 responses to “FW Presents: Showcase Gene Colan: HOPALONG CASSIDY and Listener Feedback

  1. I grew up on old cowboy movies and TV shows thanks to my Dad (who still watches a few of them every day), but Hoppy was a bit of a blind spot. I just didn’t have access to him as much as Roy Rogers, Gene Autrey, the Cisco Kid, or my favorite, the Lone Ranger. But I do know he was HUGE. When Aladdin Industries slapped a Hopalong Cassidy sticker on one of their overstock metal lunch boxes in 1950, they jumpstarted the kid’s lunchbox-as-billboard idea that ran wild for decades.

    It’s interesting to see early Colan art here. If you didn’t know it, it would be hard to pick it out as “Colan”, but yet there is a unique approach to the facial expressions, and the moody shadows certainly point to the Gene we know.

    Fun discussion guys, and I look forward to these episodes returning!


  2. Did I hear you mention the Black Panther? That reminded me that Colan drew a BP strip in Marvel Comics Presents (and more stuff in that weekly series besides).

    Has me wondering what Season 2 will have to offer. Surely, Shagg has asked to be on an episode about Fury of Firestorm #19?

  3. Like my amigo Chris, (Howdy pardner) I grew up watching B-Western movies and TV shows. My mom was a Roy Rogers fanatic and made sure she introduced my brothers and me to Roy & Trigger and Dale & Buttermilk and Bullet the wonder-dog at a very young age. So old black & white westerns have been part of my TV viewing life for as long as I can remember.

    And also like Chris, (Ti-Yi, Keemosabe!) my all-time favorite western hero is The Lone Ranger! I was a proud card-carrying member of the now defunct Lone Ranger Fan Club.

    But I never saw any Hopalong Cassidy movies on TV when I was a kid. In the early ’80s I was a devoted fan of both Six Gun Heroes & Matinee at the Bijou on PBS, as well as Tumbleweed Theater on the Nashville Network, so I saw lots of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Buster Crabbe, Ken Maynard and The Three Mesquiteers (featuring a pre-stardom John Wayne) but no Hoppy. My guess is than Jon watched a later series of Six-Gun Heroes than I did, since he said it was on before Reading Rainbow.

    Flash forward to early 2000 and my cable system offered an all-western channel and, finally, I got to watch William Boyd in all his black-suited and white-haired glory as Hopalong Cassidy, and I’ve been a fanatic ever since. I have all the movies & TV episodes on DVD, a replica of the classic tin lunchbox, and hardcovers of the four Louis L’Amour Hoppy novels written as “Tex Burns”

    One thing I’ve never done is track down any of the old Fawcett or DC Hopalong Cassidy comics, but this episode has got me interested. I honestly didn’t know that Gene Colan, my favorite Daredevil artist, had done such a long run on the series until now. (Much obliged, Ryan)

    My LCS (Everett Comics) will be re-opening soon and I’m sure they have a few Hoppy’s in their back stock. So I’ll be roundin’ ’em up pronto.

    By the way, in the movies and radio series Hoppy was always shown to be a cowboy/rancher. Mostly as the foreman of Buck Peters’ spread, the Bar-20. But on the TV series he was the Marshall of Twin-Rivers. So that’s probably why he’s depicted as a lawman in the comics, which came out during the peak of Hoppymania on TV.

    Thanks, as always, for another excellent podcast.

    Adios, Keemosabe.
    Hi-Yo Silver, Away!

    “Groovy” Mike Decker

    1. Mike, I remember watching the show on Nashville Network hosted by The Riders in the Sky. When they provided the “Woody’s Round-up Theme” for Toy Story 2, I was elated.


      1. I loved Riders in the Sky! I watched TUMBLEWEED THEATER religiously throughout it’s entire run in the ’80s.. And I was very disappointed when it was replaced on The Nashville network by HAPPY TRAILS THEATER hosted by the geriatric Roy Rogers & Dale Evens. Don’t get me wrong, as I said before I love Roy & Dale’s movies and 1950s TV series, but as movie hosts they were more like my bickering grandparents than Cowboy Legends and they couldn’t hold a candle to Ranger Doug “The Idol of American Youth”, Too Slim “The Man of Many Hats” and Woody Paul “King of the Cowboy Fiddlers”

        I still have cassette tapes (anybody remember those?) of all the Riders early albums. I wonder if they’ll still play in my dusty old prehistoric cassette player.

        “Groovy” Mike Decker

  4. Brilliant episode, it’s great to see some surprising Colan work and Jon was a gift. Cowboy films and TV are a blind spot for me, I think I’ve only seen High Noon, which was great, and Unforgiven, which was depressing. Comics, thought… I’ve read hundreds of Jonah Hex and Scalphunter and the like, so I’m up for a good cowboy book, and this looks fun. I have heard of Hopalong Cassidy but don’t think his work has been shown over here in my lifetime… why ‘Hopalong’, did he have a limp?

    I suppose the feedback dropped off because your super-efficient early recording meant you weren’t able to read comments out, so people are less inclined to reply… you know what our egos are like. Be assured, I’ve loved this series.

    1. Sir Martin,

      In the first film HOPALONG CASSIDY ENTERS (1935) Bar-20 foreman Bill Cassidy gets shot in the leg by cattle rustlers. He has a pronounced limp for the rest of that film and when old Uncle Ben, played by the not-yet famous George Hayes, asks if he’ll be alright Bill replies, “I’ll manage to hop along alright. Ol’ Hop-Along Cassidy, that’s me.”

      By the time of the second film THE EAGLE’S BROOD (1935) the limp has disappeared but the nickname sticks around for the rest of the series.

      After Uncle Ben is killed (as always seems to happen to characters saddled with that unfortunate moniker) George Hayes returns for the second film playing a saloon bartender on the side of the bad guys. By the third film BAR-20 RIDES AGAIN (1935) he was recast as Hoppy’s lovable old sidekick “Windy” and continued in that role until 1938 when he moved over to the Roy Rogers series of films and changed his name from “Windy” to the now legendary sobriquet “Gabby” Hayes.

      “Groovy” Mike Decker

        1. I did the faintest bit of research before the episode, though it didn’t make it into our discussion. The character “Hop-Along” Cassidy actually predates the movies; he started in western pulp novels in the early 1900s. In prose, the character had a wooden leg that accounted for his limp, but this was never depicted in the movies or shows.

          1. Ryan, I’ve read the first six Hopalong Cassidy books by Clarence E. Mulford and they are indeed a completely different story to the films.

            Mulford’s Hoppy was a short, red-headed, ornery cuss who smoked, drank, swore, chased women, chewed tobacco and fought like a wildcat.

            When the film series began Producer Harry S. Sherman had intended to portray Hoppy in this way and wanted to cast an Irish-American character actor named James Gleason. They offered the part of Buck Peters, owner of the Bar-20 spread, to former silent movie matinee idol William Boyd. Boyd turned down the part and asked the producer to consider him for the role of Hopalong Cassidy instead. Sherman was reluctant at first but eventually decided to tailor the role to fit Boyd, who was still a well known box-office draw, and changed the character from a low, scruffy hard-drinkin’, hard-fightin’ scrapper with a bum leg into a tall, clean-cut white haired square shootin’ good man in a black hat with impeccable manners and an uncompromising sense of justice and fair play.

            Boyd’s Hoppy never started a fight but was always prepared to finish one. He was a gentleman toward women, a friend to those in need and he never drank anything stronger than coffee or an occasional sarsaparilla.

            At first Clarence Mulford was, to say the least,, unhappy with the changes made to his character. But the films were very successful. Boyd eventually starred in 66 theatrical features and another 40 half-hour TV episodes. This Hollywood success made the name of Hopalong Cassidy world famous and Clarence E. Mulford filthy rich. In his later years Mulford admitted that although William Boyd’s version wasn’t “his” Hoppy he was a good man who’d done right by the character.

            In the early 50s during the height of Hoppymania a Hollywood based pulp writer named Louis L’Amour, who was just breaking into the slick magazines with stories like “The Gift of Cochise” in THE SATURDAY EVENING POST that was the basis for the John Wayne classic HONDO (1950), was hired to pen four new Hopalong Cassidy novels based on William Boyd’s movie version of the character.

            He wrote these work-for-hire novels under the pen name “Tex Burns” and vehemently denied to his dying day that he wrote them. After L’Amour’s passing the books were finally reprinted in beautiful hardcover editions under L’amour’s name for the first time.

            “Groovy” Mike Decker

          2. Although Mulford’s original novels are still in print and well regarded by aficionados of western literature, for me it is the character in L’Amour’s four novels and the William Boyd movies that inspired them, that will always be “my” Hoppy.

            “Groovy” Mike Decker

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