Wednesday, February 13, 2019

THE FIRST ANNUAL VALENTINE'S DAY MEET-CUTE BLOGATHON: Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969)


The First Annual Valentine's Day Meet-Cute Blogathon is the brainchild of Phyllis Loves Classic Movies. Click HERE for all the wonderful movie moments.


The cliches of even the finest westerns lend themselves to kidding, and fans are always up for a laugh. Writer/director Burt Kennedy (Seven Men from Now) and writer William Bowers (The Gunfighter) are at the top of the pack in the subgenre due to their share dramatic westerns. They know of which they spoof.

James Garner plays Jason, a stranger passing through a lawless town in search of a lawman. An unexpected gold strike has left the suddenly rich town disorganized and unable to deal with the influx of people and the villainous Danby clan. Jason wants to get to Australia so he can be a pioneer. Pioneering takes money so he temporarily takes on the job of Sheriff. All of the sheriffs in this town have only held the job temporarily.

Romance will come to Jason in the form of Prudy Perkins played by the brilliant Joan Hackett (Will Penny, The Last of Sheila). Prudy is smitten with the new sheriff but getting together is going to be awkward. There are stages to Jason and Prudy's meet-cute as they are not formally introduced upon their first encounter. Their second and third encounters don't go too well either!

Prudy was in the process of crossing a wide, busy and very muddy roadway to get to the Perkins General Store. Two men having a fist fight to settle their differences as to the right of way of their wagons inadvertently shove Prudy into the mud. Prudy did not take this well, nor sitting down. The fight escalates with Prudy in the middle of it. She takes particular umbrage at a fellow combatant's grabbing her where he oughtn't.

James Garner, Joan Hackett

Prudy: "Watch where you're grabbing." She notices Jason observing the battle from the boardwalk. "What about you?"

Jason: "What about me?"

Prudy: "You wanna grab something?"

Jason: "Everything looks too slippery to me."

Prudy: "What does that mean?"

Jason: "Nothing."

Prudy: "You look too clean to suit me."

Mayor Perkins takes Jason to his home where the new sheriff will be provided room and board, and to introduce him to Prudy, who is a fine cook. Mayor Perkins is unaware that Prudy is at home in the midst of post-mud-fight ablutions. Down to her mud-caked skivvies and with a mop of wet hair, Prudy notices the handsome stranger coming down the street with her father. She keeps one step ahead of them by ducking into the hall closet, the dining room, and out the kitchen door where she climbs a handy tree. Jason is drawn to the sight of a girl in a tree.

Joan Hackett

Jason: "You're the strangest girl I ever met."

Prudy: "Go away."

Jason: "Do you always show this side of your nature or am I just lucky on my first day? I suppose you have some reason for sitting up there like that. Ordinarily, a girl doesn't get undressed, pour a bucket of water over her head then climb a tree."

Prudy: "I'm warning you..."


Kathleen Freeman, James Garner

Enter helpful neighbour Mrs. Danvers played by Kathleen Freeman who provides Jason with the information that this is indeed Prudy Perkins and she lives right in this house.

Joan Hackett

Dinner time presents the opportunity Prudy needs to reverse her previous first impressions. Lost in her daydreams, Prudy doesn't realize she has inadvertently powdered her face with flour, and proximity to the oven has put her skirt afire which Jason politely douses with water.

Prudy: "What are you..."

Mayor Perkins: "You was on fire, Prudy! You was on fire!"


Harry Morgan, Joan Hackett, James Garner

Prudy: "Fire? Oh, I'm sick and tired of these stupid things that have been happenin' to me. And somebody better do somethin' about it soon."

Jason: "That's quite a daughter you got."

Mayor Perkins: "I think she's crazy."

Jason: "What makes you think that? I know why I'd think..."

Mayor Perkins: "She had some shocks this year. She got wealthy overnight. It unhinged her. Then she was always big for her age and puberty hit her hard. That'll do it you know."

Jason and Prudy go through some more comic misunderstandings before the inevitable feelings of attachment are allowed to blossom. All this while dealing with the good-for-nothing Danby clan, a plethora of travelling gunfighters, gold mining, and a town that won't back up its sheriff. You know, and I know, and the whole town knows that this is how things will end up for Prudy and Jason.

James Garner, Joan Hackett, Harry Morgan, Henry Jones

Prudy: "What do you mean, your girl?"

Jason: "Come on, you've had that look in your eye since the first day I hit town." ... "Say, are you really one of the richest girls in this part of the country?"

Prudy: "The richest."

Jason: "That's nice. That's real nice."

By this western fan's reckoning, Support Your Sheriff! pokes genial fun at My Darling Clementine, Red River, Winchester '73, Rio Bravo, and High Noon with a tip of the Stetson to McLintock!. Have I missed any, fellow western fans?















22 comments:

  1. This is such a fun film! As much as I love James Garner, I'm always happy to see Harry Morgan in roles like this. You've made me want to watch this one again.

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    1. The movie is filled with familiar faces. There will never be a time when this clever and good-natured movie won't deliver the laughs.

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  2. I haven't seen "Sheriff" in ages. The only part I remember for some reason is where Jason drips the red paint on the bar-less jail cell floor, and your review brought back some memories about the rest of it. This movie is a real gem. :-)

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    1. Jason's bit with the paint was totally unexpected and so funny. Just one bright spot in a movie filled with highlights. Maybe it is time to dust this one off for 2019.

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  3. Harry Morgan was a great character actor. He was in some DISNEY movies including SNOWBALL EXPRESS with Dean Jones, Johnny Whitaker, Nancy Olson and Mary Wickes, THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG with Bill Bixby, Susan Clark, Tim Conway and Don Knotts. Mr. Morgan was also in the sequel but he played a different character. I remember him from MASH and reruns of DRAGNET with Jack Webb. Colonel Sherman T. Potter was my favorite character from MASH(in a tie with Klinger and Father Mulcahy.)

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    1. Harry Morgan was a very busy fellow! We can list Pete and Gladys as another of his popular TV series.

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  4. I want to add to my above post that Mr. Morgan was in THE SHOOTIST with The Duke, JOHN WAYNE. He also was in three TV Movies with WALTER MATTHAU where he played a judge Stoddard Bell and Mr. Matthau played lawyer Harmon Cobb.

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    1. One of my favourite Harry Morgan roles is in The Big Clock. His character doesn't speak a word, but oozes menace.

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    2. Its ANONYMOUS again about Harry M. He was in HIGH NOON, STATE FAIR with Jeanne Crain and Dana Andrews, and guest starred on Murder,She Wrote which is one of my favorite shows. His episode had Martha Scott and Jeffrey Lynn. It had clips from an old movie Strange Bargain that he, Miss Scott and Mr. Lynn were all in playing those same characters. Speaking of Dana Andrews I think I read some comments of yours that were complimentary of Mr. Andrews looks. Do you know the work of Danas brother Steve Forrest? I like his acting and he was a very attractive man, He did 5 episodes of Miss Lansburys show. I saw 3. I like the one where he played a preacher and the one where he played a sheriff in Montana. I also saw him on DALLAS as 2 characters BEN STIVERS and WES PARMALEE that at first thought he was Jock Ewing who had died. Did you watch DALLAS? STEVE FORREST was a hunk!(He was old enough to be my grandpa, by the way). Sorry that I got off topic. Have a nice day.

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    3. I've never gotten into the nighttime soaps, so I missed Dallas, although of course I am aware of its popularity.

      Funny you should mention the episode that was a sequel to Strange Bargain. I mention that in my Lansbury post which is going up tomorrow.

      I think Angela Lansbury must have appreciated Steve Forrest's talent and looks having him on the show so often. I remember one scene with their characters dancing. Nice work if you can get it.

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  5. This is a fun movie. However, if I were Garner I'd run the other way. Prudy is just a bit too much.

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  6. Paddy Lee, thank you for choosing SUPPOORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! Whenever I think of this Classic Comedy Western, I think of all the funny dialogue. William Bowers gave this great cast of actors some of the funniest lines ever. This movie is a laugh riot from beginning to end. If you're feeling a little down, watch this movie, because it will tickle your funny bone.


    William Bowers wrote THE SHEEPMAN(1958) and ADVANCE TO THE REAR(1964), which are also funny bone ticklers.

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    1. Bowers talent is what makes the whole spoof work. That he could go from The Gunfighter to The Sheepman is admirable indeed. He was Oscar-nominated for both screenplays which is proof that he was respected by his peers, and appreciated by his fans.

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  7. I remember when I saw this and meant to watch a bunch of Joan Hackett movies later.... and still haven't yet :( It's a good'un.

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    1. Perhaps this is your Joan Hackett year. If so, I'm glad I could remind you.

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  8. What a delightful selection! I sometimes think that Hollywood wasn't sure how to best use Joan Hackett. She was the perfect choice as the lead in this film and makes an ideal romantic interest for James Garner. I like the follow-up (SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER), but it's not nearly as good as the original.

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    1. So true, on both counts. Hackett was an exceptional actress and Hollywood was flummoxed.

      The fun in Support Your Local Gunfighter (and there is fun) lacks the freshness of Support Your Local Sheriff!.

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  9. If one meet-cute isn't enough, why not have three very funny meet-cutes? Support Your Local Sheriff is such a fun spoof, and all actors are on the top of their games. And so are you: awesome article!
    Thanks for the kind comment!
    Kisses!

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    1. You are so sweet! Thank you so much.

      I had almost as much fun writing about this movie as watching this movie (countless times).

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  10. This is such a fun film with a terrific cast. Garner and Hackett have terrific chemistry!

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    1. They really do! The comedy vibe between them was so easy and made the script shine.

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