A Melroy Production
Mel Tillis and Roy Clark star in this self-produced stinkeroo which is redeemed only by a double dose of steam locomotive pulchritude. We ARE treated to two separate train scenes: The opening features Sierra Railroad #28 (a 2-8-0 Baldwin, built in 1922) and the finale is graced by Texas State Railroad #500 (an ex-Santa Fe Railway #1316 4-6-2 built by Baldwin in 1911).
The movie itself, well, it’s forgettable. Unless you enjoy picking out the various famous actors/personalities of the time such as Glen Campbell, Burt Reynolds and even frikken Burl Ives (Mister Holly Jolly Christmas himself), don’t bother streaming or renting this DVD. It is about as obscure as a train movie can be.
BUT…we must emphasize the positives. In fact, after my review of the train scenes, I’ll include a couple short YouTube videos of #28 and #500 in action. It’s the least I can do.
As a train of heavyweight coaches recedes into the distance, Booger Skaggs (Tillis) and Ben Hooker (Clark) discuss their next move. Yes, Booger. Okay, enough about the characters. Let’s delve into the excellent train bits, shall we?
Ahh, that’s more like it. The opening credits roll with Sierra Railroad #28 lettered for the T & P (Texas & Pacific perhaps?) galloping along with a train of 3 heavyweight coaches. Beautiful rods-down view in that second image.
Detail shots of the front of the locomotive and running gear. Look at those drivers roll!
Ol’ Roy and Booger spent a few bucks on some outstanding helicopter pacing footage.
A whistle blast from T & P #28 sends a horse galloping alongside the tracks.
A couple lineside runbys through California’s Sierra Nevada foothills with copious amounts of smoke for the cameras.
Three heavyweight coaches roll by: #15, #12 and #11, all lettered for Sierra Railroad. As the rear coach approaches, we see a stunt double take a flying leap off the rear vestibule door.
A second stunt double jumps off #11 standing in for either Roy or Booger.
The conductor shakes his fist (presumably after ejecting our heroes) as the train heads down the track. The boys slowly pick themselves up off the cinders.
Notice we never see Roy and Mel facing the camera with the Sierra train — I’m thinking they just used the stunt people in shot and the co-producers never actually visited California for this picture.
Another view of the stunt doubles facing away from camera walking down the tracks. The scenes with Roy and Mel could have been filmed anywhere.
THE ENTIRE MOVIE LEFT OFF HERE (nuff said)
Okay, on to the Texas State Railroad!
Through the swamp and piney woods of East Texas rolls Texas State Railroad (TSR) #500 and its’ train of heavyweight passenger cars. Filmmakers paid to have the locomotive tender and coaches lettered for the fictional Ozark and Panhandle Railroad.
Onboard shots of local extras dressed in period costume.
A news butcher makes his way down the aisle and demands payment from Roy for a copy of the Houston Post newspaper.
Roy and Mel are soon reading about their exploits until accosted by the train conductor.
Tickets? As the conductor impatiently taps his ticket punch, Roy and Mel realize they have no money to pay. You can imagine what happens next.
As TSR #500 comes high-stepping past the camera, we see the observation car has a whomped-up O & P logo on the side.
Once more the conductor “salutes” the boys from the rear of the train as they pick themselves up off the ballast and trudge down the tracks as the credits roll.
As promised, here are a couple short films of #28 and #500 in action. As of June 2019, both locomotives are down for repairs/restoration.
Here’s what IMDb has to say about Uphill All The Way:
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