Everybody Comes To Rick’s

  • videoarchives
  • May 23, 2023

On today’s Video Archives Podcast, we pay tribute to a silver screen legend. Last weekend, “Bounty Law” and “The Fireman” star Rick Dalton passed away, leaving behind a mammoth body of work spanning everything from iconic TV guest spots to grimy action films. In this two part episode, Quentin, Roger & Gala remember Rick by watching some of his best tapes in the Archives, starting today with his indelible turn opposite Glenn Ford in The Marshal Of Madrid, and the pilot for his Quinn Martin-produced TV series Manhunter. Quentin also shares an interview he conducted with Dalton in the 90s, touching on every aspect of his career. I’ve got VHS boxes, movie facts and more in today’s Counter Talk, so let’s get started…

I have to admit, this episode was an education for me; I knew Rick Dalton as a name, but I didn’t know his work well at all. I have foggy memories of the time my 9th grade history teacher showed “The 14 Fists Of McCluskey” during our World War II unit - in retrospect, a crazy film to show a bunch of high school freshmen! But I couldn’t tell you anything about it now, except that the flamethrower scene was badass.

I also had an Australian boss at an old job who was obsessed with Dalton because he grew up watching his show Dingo Dan, and would quote his favorite episodes constantly. But I was never inspired to watch Dingo Dan, writing it off as another weird Aussie thing like Tim Tams and Vegemite, and actually assumed Dalton was Australian until we taped this episode (I know, I’m sorry!). After hearing Quentin and Roger’s evident passion for his work, and learning how Dalton’s career intersected with multiple golden ages in Hollywood history, I can’t wait to discover what I’ve been missing.

Dalton’s guest role on the 70s neo-Western series Cade’s County is as good a place to start as any; his performance as a confused criminal convinced he’s the reincarnation of Billy The Kid (albeit a version of Billy The Kid who packs a bazooka) is a career highlight. The episode was later repackaged with another Cade’s County episode as the TV movie The Marshal Of Madrid, which the Video Archives crew watched on this poorly tracked Cade’s County double VHS set:

The Marshal Of Madrid was directed by Richard Donner, a few years before he broke out as a mainstream filmmaker with The Omen. He was already a polished pro in the world of TV, though, with many episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Fugitive, Perry Mason, Wild Wild West and Gilligan’s Island under his belt - not to mention six episodes of Wanted Dead Or Alive, starring Dalton’s eternal rival Steve McQueen.

The next Dalton film Quentin, Roger and Gala watched was 1974’s Manhunter, a TV movie that became the pilot for the TV series The Manhunter (yes, they added a ‘The’ between the pilot and the series pickup). The Bounty Law star is back in familiar territory as a bounty hunter, but this time he’s tracking down a pair of Bonnie-And-Clyde style bank robbers in Depression-era Idaho. The show and its pilot were produced by Quinn Martin, best known for no-nonsense crime-of-the-week thrillers like Cannon, The F.B.I. and Barnaby Jones, and Manhunter is right in line with those classic QM Productions.

This Worldvision Home Video box is fabulous, and it’s at least the second box for a film we’ve covered that has a title riddled with bullet holes (after Mister Scarface), one of my favorite movie poster tropes.

The real highlight of the episode, for me, was Quentin’s reading of his conversation with Dalton…I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the man than to hear him well into his happy retirement, reminiscing on a life in pictures in his own words, including a Bette Davis story that has to be heard to be believed. Tune in to the podcast in two weeks for the rest of this conversation…and if you were looking forward to the film Gala teased last week, don’t worry! We pre-empted that discussion so we could get this special episode out as quickly as possible, but you’ll hear it on the next After Show.

Before I wrap up, last week we asked you all to show us your video collections, and you really delivered. One of our favorites came from Bret in Louisville, KY, who says “I have specific shelves for horror and sci-fi titles, boutique labels like Indicator, Shout Factory, Twilight Time, Kino, etc., and then everything else is just piling up around me. My VHS (total of 5) and LaserDisc (total of 2) collections pale in comparison to the Video Archives crew, BUT I do have Sorcerer on VHS along with the Sorcerer novelization that I show off to anyone who will listen. Cheers!”

I also have to show off this truly incredible collection from the New Beverly Cinema’s own Phil Blankenship…I want to make myself at home in here, just like Phil’s cat Ruby!

Until next time, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, get your merch at Podswag.com, keep telling your friends about the show, and I’ll be back soon with more Counter Talk!