Colorado Territory 1949

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Warner Brothers

Filmed along the Denver & Rio Grande Western narrow gauge in Southwestern Colorado, this film stars Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo and a 23 year old Dorothy Malone. Of more interest to us is the heart and soul of our review, little Denver & Rio Grande #315, an 1895 Baldwin C-18 class 2-8-0 locomotive, originally built for the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad.

Sporting a fake balloon smokestack, oversize headlight box and renumbered “15” for this performance, the little 3-feet-between-the-rails Consolidation has two extensive scenes in this movie including a spectacular train robbery. Filmed just before A Ticket To Tomahawk would make the Colorado narrow gauge famous, Colorado Territory has plenty of train action alongside the Southwest’s wide open spaces.

In an interesting bit of trivia, Director Raoul Walsh based this film on 1941’s High Sierra, another more famous movie he directed.


D&RG #15 and train prepares to depart “Aztec” Colorado.  On board are train robbers, a sheriff’s posse and the payroll.  What could possibly go wrong?

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Cinerama Holiday 1955

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Cinerama Productions Corp.

The California Zephyr (CZ) comes to the big screen! The second Cinerama movie ever filmed, featured two married couples, the Marsh’s from the U.S. and the Troller’s from Switzerland, who “traded continents” to take a Cinerama Holiday.

For the purposes of this review, I will concentrate on the “San Francisco Bay” segment of the movie which follows the Troller’s, (Fred and Beatrice), from The City By The Bay eastward aboard the California Zephyr.

For some reason, the movie titles are in B&W – once the feature starts, it’s all glorious Technicolor.


Surprise! Also featured in the San Francisco segment is a tour of the city’s fabled cable car railway. Here we see a car being turned at the intersection of Powell and Market.

For comparison, here is a June 2017 Google Maps view of the same location:,+San+Francisco,+CA+94102/@37.7845256,-122.4077232,3a,75y,354.67h,87.31t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sr9N1XqHERrmpGljc9YicUw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x8085808f5038d91f:0xffa148f90b71b6ca!8m2!3d37.7856432!4d-122.4077619?hl=en

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Locomotive Loco 1960

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Hanna-Barbera Productions

Not to be confused with Loco Locomotive 1961 previously reviewed, this time it’s Quick Draw McGraw and his sidekick Baba Looey (both voiced by Daws Butler) who star in this train-laced bit of minimalist HB animation.

Locomotive Loco begins at the famous 1869 Golden Spike ceremony linking East and West by rail (presumably the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads). However this is where all similarity to historical accuracy ends. The Golden Spike has been stolen by “Moose Caboose”! [groan…] (voiced by Don Messick). Quick Draw and Baba Looey are tasked with hunting him down by the railroad’s President, “Ronald Roundhouse” [encore groan…] (voiced by Daws Butler).

Hold On Thar! Can an anthropomorphic horse and burro really get back the golden spike? There’s only one way to find out — read on and just enjoy the show!


What was it the engines said, pilots touching,–head to head,
facing on the single track, half a world behind each back?

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In the Heat of the Night 1967

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United Artists

While not particularly obscure (it won 5 Oscars), “Heat” treats us to at least two different railroads, Gulf Mobile & Ohio (GM&O) -and- Missouri Pacific Railroad (MP or MoPac). We see passenger operations, freight trains, shop facilities, depots AND some really cool, old automobiles to boot.

Throw in a crackerjack murder/mystery, a little cheesecake (the wonderfully-trashy Delores Purdy — played by Quentin Dean) and you’ve got a winner.

Let’s re-examine this 1967 classic filmed in and around Sparta, Illinois (standing in for Mississippi) from a railroading perspective and really enjoy the show!


A pair of MoPac EMD GP35’s in the “Screamin’ Eagles” paint scheme lead a freight along the Mississippi River in a scene from the movie. Note the MP “buzzsaw” logo on the cab side and the lack of dynamic brakes (MP was a mostly flat railroad).

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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!


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.


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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