Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Wild in the country / you ain't nothing but a hound dog! - more teen heart-throbs ...

HOUND DOG MAN in ’59 may not be a western at all but is an amiable, pleasing backwoods comedy drama by Don Siegel set in rural America showcasing Fox’s new talent: singer Fabian as the confused teen, Stuart Whitman as his ne’er-do-well pal who takes the kids on a weekend of hunting with their hound-dogs, Carol Lynley and Dodie Stevens are the girls - Carol wants to tame Whitman, while Dodie and Fabian seem fated to be mated, after that barn-dance. 

Arthur O’Connell and Betty Field are the nice understanding parents, and there are old timers like Jane Darwell and Royal Dano, and its all perfectly delightful. Siegel also scored next year in 1960 putting Elvis out west in the stirring FLAMING STAR. HOUND DOG MAN is the kind of thing 20th Century Fox did well, their charming version of rural Americana ... usually those Jerry Wald productions like the pretty but vapid HEMINGWAY'S ADVENTURES OF A YOUNG MAN in 1962.

Teen heart-throbs:
Fabian was the ideal idol for a while then - an Italian-American teenager discovered and made a singer, he looked the part and filled a pair of jeans nicely. Good too with comic timing in NORTH TO ALASKA (rave for this favourite 1960 western at Fabian label) and other Fox movies like HIGH TIME, FIVE WEEKS IN A BALOON, and MR HOBBS TAKES A VACATION, amother other acting roles. 
He posed (tastefully) for "Playgirl" and aged quite well.  Pat Boone and Ricky Nelson (and even Tommy Sands) all went into the movies too, scoring while Elvis was away in the army - Ricky being a delight in Hawks' RIO BRAVO - and of course Bobby Darin in COME SEPTEMBER, not to mention the Elvis films - his big hit G I BLUES after his return from Germany, and those Fox dramas WILD IN THE COUNTRY and FLAMING STAR before all those lesser-quality items ... while serious actors like Tab Hunter and Tony Perkins tried their hand at singing - successfully too ! Then came the blondes: Troy Donahue, Tab Hunter, James Franciscus, and another striking brunette: Kerwin Matthews ... as per labels. Soon: more Guy Madison ! Kerwin Matthews ! George Maharis ! and those new 60s boys Warren Beatty, Christopher Jones ("the new James Dean"), Georges Peppard and Hamilton, Jean Sorel and some French guys ...

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