Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Luke Short Again

  I always appreciate it when a reader takes the time to respond to this blog.  Here is what one reader had to add about Luke Short. 
 Western writer Frederick Dilley Glidden(1908-1975), was better known as Luke Short.  He was a good storyteller and he developed his characters so they weren't one dimensional, but were complex, which makes for better reading.  Yes, his women characters were more realistic frontier types, probably because he had a good role model in his mother, who after her husband's death raised her sons as a single working mother.  She was an English teacher who became the dean of women at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.                                            

     Luke Short's stories were outstanding and his plots contained great characters. Often the stories were much closer to noir. His novel Ramrod was very much so.It was made into a movie in 1947 Starring Joel McRea and Veronica lake.  The movie followed the book very closely and was a big success in its day. It is still popular on classic movie channels today. Many of Short's other other works were made into movies as well. Vengeance Valley is a good example of the adult themes that permeated his works.

  As for Joel McCrea, he was the epitome of the western man. He fitted the role perfectly as he almost always did in all his other roles. He was so much entrenched in westerns that later on in his career, he decided he would only perform in westerns.
  In real life, Joel was really a cowboy. He had a ranch and he worked it as such. He never claimed to be an actor.  When ever asked his occupation, he would say rancher. His tax returns always displayed rancher as occupation.
  He retired from movies in 1962 with a final western movie Ride the High Country in which he starred with Randolph Scott. This was a classic western and served as a retirement vehicle for both outstanding western stars.

Thanks for riding the trail.

1 comment:

  1. You can't do any better than Luke Short the writer and Joel McCrea the actor. Eleven movies were made from Short's books and one short story. Short also was co-creator, with Charles A. Wallace, of the TV western anthology series ZANE GREY THEATER(1956-61). RAMROD the book and movie, which is scripted by Jack Moffitt, Graham Baker, and Cecile Kramer, are both excellent.

    Regarding Joel McCrea the rancher. I was reminded of a telephone interview that producer/host Ray Nielsen of the GOOD TIMES PICTURE SHOW(1976-98) did with actor James Mitchell, who co-starred with McCrea in STARS IN MY CROWN(1950), which I think was one of McCrea’s favorite movies. McCrea, if my memory serves me right, had just passed away. So, this was in 1990. McCrea had just arrived on the MGM set, where the movie was being filmed. Mr. Mitchell observed that McCrea had probably been up early doing chores on his ranch, because his boots still had some manure on them. Yes, Joel McCrea was a rancher.

    Hats off to the Range Writer for his tribute to writer Luke Short and rancher/actor Joel McCrea.