Saturday, January 13, 2018

Tom and his bevy of beauties

The average Tom Tyler western often conjures up visions of fistfights, physically demanding stuntwork performed by the star, and a gripping story line that involves cattle rustling and ranch ownership, but one concept not often thought about is a group of pretty girls: in plot terms, a bevy of beauties. Sometimes having one member of the fairer gender was not enough to complement Tom Tyler and pals Frankie Darro with Beans the dog in the early FBO silent films. At first glance, it does not seem like a bevy of beauties might fit into the story of one of Tom's movies, yet it has, not just once but four times. Only one of these four movies exists on DVD, “Ridin' Thru” although plot descriptions of these other films exist.

In “Born to Battle” (1926), Tom encounters a group of young beauties in bathing suits after escaping from a boat where he was kidnapped. The young ladies are outside enjoying the beautiful weather in their bathing suits, next to the girls' school they attend when the unexpected “merman” emerges from the river, dripping wet, right before their eyes. Blushing, Tom politely excuses himself from their presence and gets back on the trail of tracking down a band of ranch property conspirators. The same girls' shool shows up again in “Wild to Go” (1926) where Tom once again swims in the river nearby, and sees a group of girls in bathing suits. Tom is there for a reason though, for he is to meet with his boss's daughter Eugenie Gilbert who attends the school but soon finds himself and Eugenie confronted by kidnappers.

Tom did not always discover a bunch of young lovelies on a riverbank, however. Sometimes the bevy of beauties would try to transform a cattle ranch into a girls' school, as they did in “The Avenging Rider” (1928). Instead of just bathing suits though, these ladies wear day dresses and evening dresses. They also wear exercise clothes when they work out in the ranch's barn which serves as their gym, plus they turn a small mountain lake into their swimming hole.

Finally, there is “Ridin' Thru” (1934) where Tom and his pal Ben Corbett arrive at a dude ranch for jobs and view a bunch of pretty girls sunbathing in their swimsuits, as well as dancers who vie for the attention of the two newly arrived cowboys on the ranch. Ben seems to take naturally to the presence of these beauties while Tom is a bit more shy, glancing at the ladies over his shoulder as he tends to ranch business, helping the owner track down a ring of horse thieves. These scenes are only a minor addition to the film, but gives the viewer an idea of Tom's general reaction to a group of young ladies in his early silent films.
From "Ridin' Thru"

No comments:

Post a Comment