TV Cream

Films: W is for...

Wild Rovers

Blake Edwards does a western – straight, and with a host of generic reliables on hand – William ‘Wild Bunch’ Holden, Ryan ‘Paper Moon’ O’Neal, Karl ‘Frisco’ Malden, Tom ‘Big Bad Mama’ Skerritt, Joe Don ‘Edge of Darkness’ Baker, Moses ‘Roots’ Gunn, Charles ‘Beast Must Die’ Gray and Jack Garner, James Garner’s brother, who got loads of walk-on parts in The Rockford Files at James’s behest, which had the possibly undesired effect of making it look like they couldn’t afford proper extras and the star was subbing at the last minute. Next time, Creamguide (films)’s Only Other Rockford Files Anecdote – how our childhood discovery that James’s surname was really Bumgarner spawned a week-long catchphrase frenzy that landed one of Creamguide’s schoolmates in hot water with the dinner ladies!



  1. Sidney Balmoral James

    March 17, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    Sorry to be a pedant, but it’s not Charles ‘showing a lot more cheek than usual’ Gray but a different, American actor, Charles H. Gray. Charles Gray would be a bit out of a place in a Western, but come to think of it Donald Pleasence actually did appear in a few Westerns. That sets me thinking, what are the most incongruous appearances of actors in completely unexpected genres of film? Think Ralph Richardson in Rollerball, Kirk Douglas in Saturn 3, Bo Derek in Orca etc.

  2. Richardpd

    March 17, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    Blake Edwards made quite a few non-comedies early on in his career.

    Talking of odd casting, Bernard Bresslaw was in Krull, I presume he was trying to shake off his Carry On image at the time. Later in life he did some serious theatre.

    Julia Roberts was a bit out of place in Mary Reilly, though it’s one of those films with an oddball cast so she wasn’t the only one. It was in that period when she was trying to get away from just being in Chick Flicks with mixed results.

  3. George White

    March 18, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    RE:British actors in westerns, there were quite a few in the late 60s/70s, with Eady money funnelling through quite a few post-spaghetti
    Chato’s Land, by Michael Winner has Roddy ‘Para Handy’ McMillan.
    A Town called Bastard – Michael Craig and Dudley Sutton.
    Percy Herbert was a regular in 60s US western show Cimarron Strip and turns up in Captain Apache.
    Gray’s one big Hollywood job was the Secret War of Harry Frigg, where he, Tom Bosley, Andrew Duggan, long-time Hollywood Brit John Williams are allied generals held hostage in Italy, and Paul Newman has to save them. Has a Universal backlot double as Twickenham. And he is credited as Charles D. Gray there, for SAG reasons not to confuse himself with Charles D Gray.
    Rustler’s Rhapsody – semi-parody with Tom Berenger has Jim Carter as one of the baddies.
    Eric Sykes in Shalako, also Honor Blackman who did a US western with Dean Martin – Something Big with Carol White and prolific Mancunian US TV stalwart Don Knight.

  4. Richardpd

    March 18, 2022 at 10:50 pm

    The Singer Not The Song was a “Roast Beef Western” which starred John Mills & Dirk Bogarde in some tight leather trousers.

    Also appearing are Leslie French, Eric Pohlmann, Roger Delgado, Laurence Payne & Lee Montague so well worth watching for a game of “Been In Dr Who”.

  5. George White

    March 19, 2022 at 7:42 am

    Roast beef westerns (or as someone else, called them scampi westerns) are surprisingly prolific. Many of them, it is to be said are American films shot in Mexico or Canada with money from Hemdale or Grade (Legend of the Lone Ranger, Barbarosa from ITC) but like I said, Captain Apache, Chato’s Land, A Town called Bastard, Shalako (plus A Man Called Noon and Catlow) all count.
    Tigon’s Hannie Caulder, the David Frost-produced Charley One Eye, the Desperadoes (featuring SYlvia Syms and Kate O’Mara as the female leads), Winner’s Lawman (shot in Mexico, with HUgh McDermott the sole UK import, though it does feature John Hillerman and John McGiver, two actors often thought/mistaken as British but Texan and Manhattan Irish respectively, the latter especially seeming out of place).

  6. THX 1139

    March 19, 2022 at 10:26 am

    Don’t forget the Spaghetti Western episode of Kelly Monteith: “Somewhere to relax my face!”

  7. George White

    February 13, 2023 at 9:23 am

    RE:Charles H Gray, he and the proper Charles Gray did appear in the same production though not together – the 1979 Anglo-American ABC/ITV miniseries Ike – the War Years starring Robert Duvall, half-shot in MGM and locations in California (for US and North African bits) and half-shot in Pinewood (for European bits). Though the only British actors to shoot in California were Wensley Pithey (then known as the headmaster at Bessie St, and Ken Barlow’s boss in Coronation St) as Churchill, and Ian Richardson as Montgomery (who played the same role the same year in the less glamorous OB VT-shot BBC production Churchill and the Generals). It does have a real grab bag of Great British Character Actors – Terence Alexander, Vernon Dobtcheff as De Gaulle, Ronald Leigh Hunt, Martin Jarvis as the King, Francis Matthews as Noel Coward, David de Keyser, Julia McKenzie…

  8. Sidney Balmoral James

    February 14, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    Some great TV cream heroes here: Vernon Dobtcheff (‘I think you’ll find the lady’s figure hard to beat’), who is one of that category of great character actors who might be asked to play any nationality, usually thoroughly conniving or shady – and often appeared in Bond films (Marne Maitland, Martin Benson, Vladek Sheybal) – also perhaps Gregoire Aslan and George Coulouris -the latter managed the rare double of appearing in both Citizen Kane, and Hancock’s Half Hour!

  9. Richardpd

    February 14, 2023 at 10:44 pm

    Hugh Griffith was also adept at playing different nationalities, as was Walter Randell, who played an Aztec, Arab & Ancient Egyptian in Doctor Who among other some non-ethnic parts.

    Geoffrey Toone was an actor who had a varied CV, being in The King & I, Zero Hour & Doctor Who among other things over the years.

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