Bedloe’s Successor 1965

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Filmways Television
Columbia Broadcasting System

My all-time favorite railroad-themed TV show was/is Petticoat Junction. While not a movie per se, P.J. is old enough to be ancient history to a lot of people.

Color finally arrived with the third season (1965-66). This sent filmmakers scrambling back to Jamestown, California to re-film all the live train scenes of Sierra Railroad 4-6-0 #3 and “shorty” baggage/coach #5.

I selected “Bedloe’s Successor” (Season Three, Episode 11) as a typical show, but borrowed train shots from other episodes on my DVD set. So let’s “come ride the little train that is rolling down the tracks to the junction”!

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The Hooterville Cannonball rumbles towards the camera from episode 14, (What’s A Trajectory?). I’m guessing the locomotive was numbered #8 so it would view the same if the film happened to be reversed.

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The Cimarron Kid 1952

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Universal Pictures                            

It’s a shoot out at the Sierra Railroad roundhouse! Audie Murphy (Bill Doolin / The Cimarron Kid) stars in this Technicolor Western alongside three different Sierra steam locomotives.

Having just been released from the hoosegow, Bill Doolin soon falls back in with his old outfit, the notorious Dalton Gang. Soon they’re robbing banks, holding up trains and just generally being obnoxious. Fortunately, there’s some feminine pulchritude involved, so it’s not a complete weinerfest.

Audie Murphy also appeared in another railroad oater, Night Passage, previously reviewed on this blog.

Let’s check out this iron horse opera from the Fifties. Yee-ha!

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Galloping towards the turntable pit come Audie and the boys. From this overhead shot, we get a glimpse of (from right to left):

Sierra RR #3, 1891 Rogers 4-6-0, currently in-service at 1897 Railtown.
Sierra RR #18, 1906 Baldwin 2-8-0, stored derelict at Merrill, Oregon.
Sierra RR #24, 1912 Baldwin 2-8-0, scrapped in 1955.

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Ring of Fire 1961

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Metro Goldwyn Mayer

How about an entire town surrounded by a raging forest fire with only a little Baldwin 2-6-2T tank engine and a couple SP heavyweight coaches to trundle the populace to safety? That’s what we have here in this spectacular disaster flick from the early 1960’s filmed in glorious Metrocolor!

Georgia Pacific Corporation #9 stars as the motive power piloted by David Janssen (Sergeant Steve Walsh) and Joyce Taylor (Bobbie “Skidoo” Adams) along with the “People of Vernonia, Oregon”.

The disaster is ignited when none other than a young Frank Gorshin (Riddle me this, Batman!) carelessly discards a lit cigarette in the tinder dry woods. Add to this some serious heat between Steve and Bobbie (whose bare midriff is featured prominently throughout) and you’ve got a winner. Let’s check it out, Daddy-O!

Many thanks to Richard from Carson City for bringing this movie to my attention.

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Pages 20 and 21 of Kenneth G. Johnsen’s excellent book, “Washington Steam Locomotives” tells you all you need to know about the scrappy little tank engine currently residing in the Wynooche River Gorge.

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Loco Locomotive 1961

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Hanna-Barbera Productions

A miniature railway has been installed in Jellystone Park for the tourists. Complications arise when Yogi Bear (voiced by Daws Butler) and Boo Boo (voiced by Don Messick) hitch a ride on the train, much to the displeasure of Mister Ranger.

No pic-a-nic baskets are stolen in this episode, but Yogi proves once again he’s smaaaaarter than the average bear (he figures out how to drive the train).

Let’s take a glance at this Hanna-Barbera quickie. Many fascinating and related links at the bottom of my review — yay-hay-hay!

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Much to my father and brother’s dismay, I grew up enjoying cartoons like this — usually on nice, sunny days when I SHOULD have been outside playing rugby or something. But I digress. I always liked Yogi’s hat — a sort of modified Buster Keaton pork pie for that 1920’s collegiate look. Boo Boo looked very natty in his bow tie.

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Silver Streak 1976

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20th Century Fox

What could be finer than a movie featuring classic GMD cab units pulling a matched set of Budd-built streamlined passenger equipment? When Amtrak balked at having its equipment used for a murder/mystery, Canada stepped in to offer a mini CP Rail Canadian consist.

Most station scenes were filmed in Toronto’s Union Station with Western exteriors taken along CP Rail’s secondary line between Lethbridge, Alberta and the Crowsnest Pass. Filmmaker’s attention to detail was good on the interiors right down to the “Amroad” and “Silver Streak” branding on such mundane items as napkins, menus, maps and timetables.

Let’s take a closer look at this obscure (it’s been over 42 years) train movie from the polyester 1970’s. “C’mon, Steve!!”

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The Silver Streak climbs upgrade in the mountains; The train’s engineer talks on the radio in the cab of CP # 4070, a GMD FP7A.

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The Block Signal 1926

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Gotham Productions

A young Jean Arthur stars as the love interest in this silent picture filmed along the Santa Fe Railway in Southern California.

Grace Ryan (Arthur) finds herself with two suitors – the cad Bert Steele and college boy Jack Milford.

Of more interest to us is the diverse mix of steam locomotives flashing across the screen. There’s lots of action with trains running wild, fights atop the locomotive and plenty of smoke-belching runbys. Let’s get rolling on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe!

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AT&SF # 3530 (a 3500 class 4-6-2 Baldwin) has had the “Atchison” and “Fe” letters neatly blacked out — thus it is the T & S Railway for this picture.

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Strangers on a Train 1951

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Warner Brothers

Not as famous a train movie as Hitchcock’s magnificent, North by Northwest, Strangers on a Train still manages a respectable amount of railroad action and decor in its 101 minutes.

Robert Walker steals the show with his wonderfully-creepy portrayal of Bruno Anthony, the off-his-rocker rich kid. Farley Granger plays Bruno’s foil, Guy Haines, the tennis star who can’t quite believe what is happening to him.

Trains are an integral part of the film, not only at the fateful first meeting, but as a bridge between scenes. Quoting from Imdb Trivia, “The train station scenes in Metcalf were filmed at the former New Haven Railroad station, Danbury, Connecticut, which is today the home of the Danbury Railroad Museum“.

Let’s ride to danger on the New Haven with Guy and Bruno!

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It’s probably just a set, but wow, what a lounge car! Chrome and glass and spot lighting highlight the first encounter of Guy and Bruno riding the train.

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