The John Russell Effect

27 Dec

The other day, I visited my parents and found my dad watching the Western Channel. He always watches that channel, and I am usually familiar with whatever is on. After all, me and my brother were raised watching old Westerns. However, I had never seen what he was watching this time.

It was a television show called Cheyenne that stars Clint Walker. Some of you Western aficionados probably know it. As I watched it, my mind focused on the actor playing the bad guy. With his features and his voice, I knew that I had seen him, and I had a feeling where. Despite my dad jumping on me for looking at my phone, I did a quick search.

The actor in question was John Russell, and I knew him from Rio Bravo. In that movie, he plays Nathan Burdette, the local land baron who goes up against John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennan. Obviously, he loses in the end.john-russell

That discovery was not surprising. However, it was surprising to learn that John Russell was in another of my favorite movies, The Outlaw Josey Wales. In that one, he makes a brief appearance as Bloody Bill Anderson.

Wait, there is more. He also plays the bad guy in Pale Rider and appeared in Honky Tonk Man, which was partially filmed in Nashville. Of course, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Pale Rider and Honky Tonk Man have something in common other than John Russell. They also star Clint Eastwood. Apparently, they were buddies.

I thought that I had seen John Russell in one movie. As it turns out, he has shown up in several places. Heck, he just got shot on my television screen as I typed this. The mysterious stranger got him in Pale Rider before disappearing into the distance. Coincidence? I am not so sure. It could be the John Russell Effect.

8 Responses to “The John Russell Effect”

  1. Lea December 27, 2016 at 23:19 #

    More importantly, was your dad even slightly impressed with your access to the John Russell history?

    • Rick December 28, 2016 at 02:43 #

      He was happy to learn all of that, and he was happy when I put my phone down.

  2. Marilyn Armstrong December 27, 2016 at 23:55 #

    Not only do I know it, but I can SING it. So can Garry 🙂

    We used to watch that station all the time, but we lost it when our cable company dropped it. But there are lots of old westerns on other channels.

    Clint Walker did other westerns but that was pretty much his professional peak. The show had a interesting back story, but they never really developed it.

    • Rick December 28, 2016 at 02:43 #

      As I wrote, I have watched a ton of Western movies and shows, but that one slipped by. I am not sure why.

  3. jcalberta December 28, 2016 at 05:04 #

    Naturally I remember him from The Lawman tv show. He looks almost exactly the same in Pale Rider – with his mustache. Which is kinda funny because you’re used to seeing him being a goodguy. But when he wasn’t wearing a mustache you could still recognize his distinctive voice. When an actor’s Star falls I sometimes have sympathy for them, because it can be tough business getting work. I don’t know he did after The Lawman? Some actors get tons of work – even when they aren’t Stars any more. Guys like Matt Clark, for instance, actually get more work that the Stars – just less pay. I hope there’s enough money and work to go around … but I doubt it.

    • Rick December 28, 2016 at 16:39 #

      I have never seen The Lawman, either. People who watch that show see him as a good guy. Most things I have seen have him as the bad guy. Therefore, I cannot help but think of him that way.

  4. sittingpugs December 28, 2016 at 14:50 #

    I just looked him up on IMDB. He looks a bit like Omar Sharif here.

    • Rick December 28, 2016 at 16:39 #

      There are some similarities. Safe to say that Omar went on to greater fame.

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