The Perils of Pauline 1947

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Paramount Pictures

Actress Betty Hutton is the damsel in distress in this publicity still, tied to the railroad tracks in this post-WW2 Technicolor remake of the old 1914 Perils of Pauline silent movie serials.

Posing with Hutton is Southern Pacific Railroad #2500, a “C” class 2-8-0 built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in the early 1900’s. Sister locomotive SP #2521 has been preserved in a park in Yuma, AZ.

This is the biopic of actress Pearl White (played by Hutton) which includes some spectacular train scenes being filmed in color. Let’s check it out!

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Espee #2500 gallops along under a tremendous plume of black smoke with camera car and horseback riders alongside. According to IMDb, this scene was filmed in the San Fernando Valley of California (which is probably all houses and strip malls now).

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McLintock! 1963

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United Artists
Batjac Productions

Wow, this movie was a LOT of fun to watch! They even made a comic book about it (ahh…watch where you’re pointing that rifle, John….).

Yes sir, John Wayne (as George Washington “G.W.” McLintock) and Maureen O’Hara (as Katherine Gihooley McLintock) were just part of this star-studded Western donnybrook filmed in glorious Technicolor and Panavision.

We are also treated to three separate scenes featuring Virginia & Truckee #22 4-4-0 Inyo which was owned by Paramount Studios at the time.

Let’s jump right in with both feet and enjoy this comedy oater from back when Hollywood still knew how to make an entertaining picture. With spankings.

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Here disguised as Southern Pacific #9, Inyo pulls a mixed train (passenger and freight) beneath a tremendous plume of smoke. That’s good welded rail underneath V&T #22, not something you’d find in the 1890’s.

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Hare Trigger 1945

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Warner Brothers

It’s Bugs Bunny and the first appearance of Yosemite Sam — filmed entirely onboard a train in this cartoon short from the golden days of “Termite Terrace”. The details are outstanding with lots of Old West cliches: A working R.P.O. car, a section sleeper, fights in the saloon and on top of the train to name a few.

Voice Artist extraordinaire Mel Blanc provides the voices for the two characters. Hare Trigger comes from my Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume Six, Disk 2 on DVD (I wish they would release more cartoons on DVD — I’d buy them all).

Let’s check out this action-packed animation from the glory days of Warner cartoons.

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Under Western Skies, the Super Chief (complete with Superman outfit) trundles through the wide open spaces.

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The Flim-Flam Man 1967

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20th Century Fox

George C. Scott stars in a pre-Patton movie role as Mordecai Jones (the Flim-Flam Man) in this train-laced comedy filmed mostly in the state of Kentucky. Louisville & Nashville Railroad (L&N) provided most of the train scenes with Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O) featuring a quick passenger train cameo. Oh, that VHS video box image above? I chose it for its pure cheesiness.

This is another flick I reviewed by popular demand (regards to Dale and Robert!). The movie starts right off getting up close and personal with an L&N Alco RS3 #138 on a way freight during the opening credits.

Come along and we’ll explore the Bluegrass State railroad influence of this mid-sixties confidence game extravaganza.

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Engineman waves a “come-ahead” from the long nose end of L&N Alco RS3 #138 (built in 1954). Nice light package including classification lights, white “extra” flags and angled number boards.

For comparison, I include a 3/4 image of sister engine L&N #140 in the snow. These locomotives were set up to run long nose forward for better crew protection in the event of a grade crossing collision.

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Nevada City 1941

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Republic Pictures

It’s the railroad vs. the stagecoach lines in this B Western starting Roy Rogers, his sidekick George “Gabby” Hayes and the 1873-built jewel, Virginia & Truckee 4-4-0 #18 “Dayton”.

At the time, Dayton was owned by Paramount Pictures who loaned it out to various studios. Lots of good train action from start to finish with V&T #18 (renumbered as #7 for filming) smoking it up in most runbys. No massive explosions, although they tempt us with a couple scenes featuring barrels and barrels of blasting powder.

C’mon, let’s watch Roy Rogers and Dayton take on the bad guys in this action-packed thriller from the glory days of Hollywood!

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Dayton is really laying on the smoke as it races along with the crooks at the throttle. Virginia & Truckee #18 is still with us…as a static display seen here in June 2018 at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, Nevada. I just LOVE that blue boiler!

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The Christmas Train 2017

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The Hallmark Channel

Season’s Greetings! What could be more appropriate for December 2018 than a review of the recent movie, The Christmas Train? Most of the train scenes (exteriors, anyway) were filmed in British Columbia (WCRA museum Squamish and the old CN Station in Vancouver). The plot features an Amtrak journey coast to coast from Washington D.C., to Los Angeles, CA, via Toledo, OH, Chicago, IL and La Junta, CO.

Although not specifically named, Amtrak does run this route using two trains westbound, #29 The Capitol Limited and #3 The Southwest Chief. While most of the onboard scenes appear to be a set (boy, if only you COULD ride such a poshly-furnished train on Amtrak…), the filmmakers utilized ex-BCOL RDCs, Via Rail “Canadian” ex-Canadian Pacific cars, “stock train footage” and plain old train models for exteriors.

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This HO scale Athearn model of Amtrak #120 (a GE P42DC) located behind the bartender, is a key plot device in the film.

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Face of a Fugitive 1959

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Columbia Pictures

Fred MacMurray (as the crook Jim Larsen/alias Ray Kincaid) and Sierra Railroad #3 star in this fugitive-from-justice oater. Handcuffed to a lawman and on his way to prison via train, Larsen is sprung from captivity by his brother’s intervention.

Complications ensue when Larsen must re-board the same train, assume a new identity (Kincaid), and evade the authorities armed with a not-very-clear wanted poster. Will he give them the slip?

MacMurray also gave a memorable performance in a classic film noir from 1944, “Double Indemnity”.  Hmmm…. D.I. had an SP train scene in it…might have to review THAT one for my blog next year!

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As the sheriff waits trackside, Sierra #3 and train pulls into the station at “Enterprize Mines, Wyoming” with the 4-6-0 putting out a tremendous plume of black smoke.

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