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Hopalong Cassidy: On The Page, On The Screen
by: Francis M. Nevins

It began in the waking dreams of a young civil servant in Brooklyn who spent evenings, weekends and vacations putting into words an old West he had imagined but never seen. Story by story, novel by novel he created a vast canvas centering around a Texas ranch he called the Bar-20 and the men who made it the focus of their loyalty, chief among them a red-headed liquor-swilling young puncher with a noticeable limp, Hopalong Cassidy. Clarence E. Mulford (1883-1956) was one of the most remarkable Western writers America has produced. His fictional universe is an immense saga, written over a third of a century, in which Cassidy and the other main characters go adventuring, fall in love, marry and have children, grow old and eventually take part in the adventures of the next generation. Mulford’s life and world are explored in detail in the first several chapters of this book.

In 1935, the now prosperous author signed the contracts that brought his world and characters to America’s movie theaters—or at least so he hoped. But, except for a handful of character and place names, the 66 Hopalong Cassidy movies, made between 1935 and 1948, starring William Boyd as Cassidy, turned out to have almost nothing in common with Mulford’s fiction. Those films captivated audiences on their first release. The finest of them were hailed by Western lovers as classics of the genre and, restored for satellite and DVD, continue to excite viewers today. This book covers all 66 Cassidy movies in depth. The final chapter recounts what happened in the late 1940s and early 1950s when Hoppymania swept the country as the films migrated to the infant medium of television, generating new celebrity and a huge fortune for William Boyd and quite a bit of money for Mulford too.

Hopalong Cassidy: On The Page, On The Screen




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