Spook Ranch (1925)

Genres - Western  |  
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Two popular genres merged in this above-average silent comedy-drama: the western and the haunted-house farce. Universal's lackadaisical Hoot Gibson starred as a cowboy who, having broken a dinner plate over the head of a Chinese cook, is ordered by the sheriff (Frank Rice) to investigate a notorious "haunted" ranch. The "spooks," as they inevitably did in the silent era, turned out not to be supernatural at all, but a gang of outlaws who have kidnapped a young girl (Helen Ferguson). There is one distasteful element to this otherwise entertaining film: Gibson's African-American comedy valet, played according to the credits by "Ed Cowles," is actually veteran funny-man Jules Cowles in black-face! Leading lady Helen Ferguson later became one of Hollywood's more notable publicists.

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Keywords

bad-guy, cowboy, damsel-in-distress, good-guy, haunted-house, investigator, kidnapping, land-scheme, mineral-rights, outlaw [Western], ranch, rescue, sheriff, valet [servant]