"If I was going to be broke I decided I might as well be with actors as anyone else. They were cheerful idiots and seemed to take it better." - Peter Finch

Ben Johnson

Discussion of the actors, directors and film-makers who 'made it all happen'

Moderators: moira finnie, Lzcutter, Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » March 25th, 2017, 11:31 am

Yes, that is indeed Ben driving in The Naugty Nineties.

Here's a publicity photo for the film I added to the BJ Fanpage back in 2012:

Image
Last edited by pvitari on March 25th, 2017, 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » March 25th, 2017, 11:32 am

A lobby card for One-Eyed Jacks. Also, for people in the UK, Arrow Films will release a Blu-ray of One-Eyed Jacks on June 12.

Image

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » April 3rd, 2017, 2:20 pm

Here are Ben and Harry Carey, Jr. Roman riding in Rio Grande -- plus an enlarged section of the photo so you can see them better. :)

Image

Image

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » April 17th, 2017, 9:33 am

Well... sorry I've taken so long to post again. But a bunch of things have been happening in "real life" as opposed to "reel life" (TCM Festival) and I just haven't had the time. But finally I've managed to clear a little time so I can post this.

Ileana Douglas did a Q&A with director Peter Bogdanovich before the screening of The Last Picture Show. I filmed the Q&A -- it's the world's most amateur video ever, filmed on my mini iPad -- and here is a transcript of Peter Bogdanovich's anecdote about casting Ben Johnson as Sam the Lion. Bogdanovich has told this story many times, but it's fun hearing it again, especially with him doing his impressions of crusty ole John Ford and a VERY reluctant Ben Johnson, who did NOT want to play Sam the Lion. (Thank goodness he did!)

Ileana Douglas asked Peter Bogdanovich about working with Orson Welles (whom Bogdanovich had known well) and after he spoke about Welles, Douglas remarked that another "old master" had helped him with casting Ben Johnson in The Last Picture Show. Here is Bogdanovich's story about casting Ben:


This was an important role. How many of you have seen this film? Those of you have seen it know how important the Ben Johnson part is. And I couldn't think of who to get for it for the longest time, and then it hit me. Ben Johnson. And we talked about maybe having Jimmy Stewart do it, but I thought, no, we can't have it, he's too big a star. You have this small town, and there's Jimmy Stewart. [audience laughs] He's too big a star.

So I got in touch with Ben and I sent him the script, and he turned it down. I said, "Ben, you gotta do this picture," and he said, "No, Pete, too many words. Too many words, Pete." I said, "Well, it's a great part for you, Ben, you really -- " "No, too many words, too many words."

So I called John Ford, who had used Ben Johnson in a number of pictures, and I said, "I've got a really good part for old Ben, Jack, but he says it's too many words."

[Imitating John Ford's voice] "Oh, Jesus, he always says that. [audience laughter] We we did [She Wore a] Yellow Ribbon, when he'd come on the set, he'd say to the script girl, 'Any words for me today?' and if she said yes, he'd sulk. If she said no, you've just got to ride a horse, he was happy. Where is old Ben?"

I said, "He's in Tucson."

"Well, give me his number and I'll call him."

"Would you?"

"Yeah, I'll call him for you."

About 15 minutes later the phone rings, and it's Ford, and he says, "He'll do it." [audience laughter]

"Really?"

"Yeah, he'll do it. I said to him, 'Look, Ben, Peter's got a really good part for you. What do you want to do, play Duke's sidekick your whole life?' Duke is John Wayne. He said, "He'll do it."

So I said, "Thanks so much, thank you so much," and then about ten minutes later the phone rings again, and my assistant says, "It's Ben Johnson."

I pick up the phone. "Hello, Ben!"

"You put the Old Man on me." [audience laughter]

I said, "Well, I think it's really a great part--"

"Oh, Peter, I don't know." He still didn't want to do it, but he came to my office when he got back to L.A., and I talked to him and talked to him and talked to him.

Finally I said to him, "Ben, if you play this part" -- I swear this is true -- "you can get an Oscar for this."

"Why the hell do you say that??!!"

I said, "I don't know, I just think you in this part can get an Oscar."

Finally -- he had the script in front of him open, and he slammed it shut. "Allll right, I'll do the goddamn thing." And that's how he accepted the part. And he did get the Oscar.

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » April 20th, 2017, 8:35 am

Another shot of the epic barroom brawl between Shane and Chris Calloway. ;) At least this time we can see Ben's face. The last three stills I posted from Shane only showed Ben from the back. :)

Image

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » April 30th, 2017, 7:28 am

Here's a still from Oklahoma!, with Ben "playing" the accordion.

Image

I posted another still from this same scene two years ago -- you can see it here:

https://benjohnsonfanpage.shutterfly.co ... allery/604

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » May 7th, 2017, 10:06 am

I finally got a nice 8x10 original still of this publicity photo from Wagon Master -- before I only had it as a small magazine clipping signed by Harry Carey, Jr.

Image

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » May 9th, 2017, 12:15 pm

Here's poor Ben, hanging by one foot, in One-Eyed Jacks. This scene was cut from the final version of the movie. Bob survives his gunshot wounds from the bank robbery and instead is quickly strung up by the angry townspeople. According to Life Magazine, he hung up there so long he nearly passed out, but he never complained.

Image

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » May 22nd, 2017, 10:38 am

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon -- modern reproduction of a publicity still.

Image

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » June 13th, 2017, 6:20 am

It's Ben's 99th birthday today! :)

Here's a pic of him from Rio Grande.

Image

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » June 15th, 2017, 10:04 am

Flyer for an annual Father's Day event in Pawhuska, Oklahoma (Ben's home town).

The first Ben Johnson Memorial Steer Roping took place in 1956 in honor of Ben Johnson, Sr., a champion roper, foreman of the Chapman-Barnard Ranch for more than 20 years and much beloved and respected figure in Osage County who had died in 1952.

Image

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » June 18th, 2017, 10:34 am

Happy Father's Day, y'all!

I just posted the entire program from the 1965 Ben Johnson (Sr.) Memorial Steer Roping -- you can see it all at https://benjohnsonfanpage.shutterfly.com/print/1050

Here are some representative pages from the program.

Image

Image

Image

Image


(Ben Jr. came in no. 11 out of 21.) :)
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » June 26th, 2017, 8:45 am

Publicity photo for Mighty Joe Young.

Image

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » July 8th, 2017, 10:44 am

Here are two photos published in the the Ozark Cinema Review #15, a little magazine with no publication date or any other identifying information. It consists mostly of drawings of Western stars by artist Mario DeMarco and four pages of photos from an unidentified convention. Two of the photos are of Ben; the first is with DeMarco and the second with an unidentified woman.

Image

Image

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3008
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: Ben Johnson

Postby pvitari » July 22nd, 2017, 1:42 pm

Happy National Day of the Cowboy!

Here's my favorite cowboy on an Italian poster for Mighty Joe Young (or as they called it in Italian, The King of Africa).

Before and after framing. :)

Image

Image


Return to “The People of Film”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests