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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bob Steele Hangs Up Series Spurs


Another PRC Scrubby Western: Thunder Town (1946)

Notable for being the last series western Bob Steele starred in. He didn't age out: at thirty-nine, and in prime shape, Bob could have gone on another decade easy. It was B oaters that were sliding, ones outside Republic set on cheapest interiors with action barely served. Steele at one point has to ask players to spread out and "give me room" so that fighting can proceed in a cramped space, that being budget, rather than creative, necessity. PRC was at fault, theirs the skin-flintiest product in town. Bob wanted shed of five day jobs and looked to mainstream character playing; his villain turn in The Big Sleep, released a same year as Thunder Town, suggested it could be done, but mostly there'd be industry friends bringing work his way, so he'd settle into small part pay for what was left of a long career. He's mustachioed here, by the way, due to simple fact of a concurrent "A" job that required lip adornment, and Bob, by his own account, "would be damned" if he'd shave just to accommodate yet another cheapo western like Thunder Town.

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