Tex Granger (1948)

Genres - Western  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Yet another comic book hero -- Tex Granger of Calling All Boys fame -- came to the serial screen courtesy of cheapskate producer Sam Katzman. To save a buck, Katzman cast a nonentity named Robert Kellard, who despite former serial exposure in King of the Royal Mounted (1940), Drums of Fu Manchu (1940) and the starring role in Perils of the Royal Mounted (1942) had singularly failed to persuade the small fry of his true hero credentials. But here he was again, this time playing the new owner of the daily newspaper in the small Western community of Three Buttes. The citizenry proves a tough crowd to please, however, what with the local marshal, Blaze Talbot (former singing cowboy Smith Ballew), being in cahoots with a gang of gold thieves headed by a loan shark (I. Stanford Jolley). To battle the forces of evil, Tex dons the ever-popular disguise of masked rider and becomes the avenging "Midnight Rider of the Plains." There is a dog and a young child (Buzz henry), who get in the way of things on occasion, not to mention a damsel-in-distress (Peggy Stewart) and the ever present rustic (big-nosed Britt Wood). Although four hack writers claimed the screenplay to be an original, Tex Granger "borrowed" its story from a 1926 William Boyd vehicle, The Last Frontier, which itself had been copied by RKO's serial department in 1932. Whatever the origins, the results were doleful and not even the usually so tolerable Miss Stewart, on loan from Republic Pictures, could do much with this dud. Leading man Robert Kellard gave up his screen career soon after.