Monday, December 07, 2015

A Birthday Tribute to Rod Cameron

Western actor Rod Cameron was born 105 years ago today.

Cameron was born on December 7, 1910, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Cameron was a genial, reassuring presence in countless Westerns. As I wrote in my review of BRIMSTONE (1949), "Any time Rod Cameron is in a Western I'm happy."

My favorite is PANHANDLE (1948):

Here are more stills and posters from just a few Rod Cameron Westerns; see the end of the post for review links.

FRONTIER GAL (1945), with Yvonne DeCarlo:

BELLE STARR'S DAUGHTER (1948), with George Montgomery and Ruth Roman:

STAMPEDE (1949), with Gale Storm:


SHORT GRASS (1950), with Johnny Mack Brown:

WAGONS WEST (1952), with Peggie Castle:

Cameron was also a regular presence on TV, starring in the TV series CITY DETECTIVE (1953-55), STATE TROOPER (1956-59), and CORONADO 9 (1959-61), seen below on location at the Hotel del Coronado:

Over time he became an assured character actor, appearing in both films and TV shows, with guest roles on series like ADAM-12 and THE ROCKFORD FILES.

Cameron retired in 1978, and he passed away in Georgia in 1983.

For an enjoyable, detailed appreciation of Cameron's Westerns, please visit Western historian Boyd Magers' reviews of Cameron's films at Western Clippings. There's also a nice page on him at

Rod Cameron movies reviewed at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: CHRISTMAS IN JULY (1940) (also here), PACIFIC BLACKOUT (1941), NO HANDS ON THE CLOCK (1941), NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (1941), BUY ME THAT TOWN (1941), WAKE ISLAND (1942), THE FOREST RANGERS (1942), NO TIME FOR LOVE (1943), FRONTIER GAL (1945), PANHANDLE (1948), RIVER LADY (1948), BELLE STARR'S DAUGHTER (1948), STAMPEDE (1949), BRIMSTONE (1949), SHORT GRASS (1950), CAVALRY SCOUT (1951), WAGONS WEST (1952), FORT OSAGE (1952), RIDE THE MAN DOWN (1952), THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE (1958), and THE GUN HAWK (1963).


Blogger Jerry E said...

Thanks for marking the birthday of one of my real favourite actors and western stars, Laura! I always feel he was badly under-rated. His body of westerns for Universal, Republic and Allied Artists are some of the best examples of that genre and one or two are minor classics , I feel.

11:23 PM  
Blogger john k said...

What a lovely tribute Laura,

I always thought Rod was underrated as an actor.
He was a stalwart good guy but could also be very nasty too. (BELLE STARR'S DAUGHTER,
DAKOTA LIL) I thought be brought neat complex shadings to his role in RIVER LADY.
Those folks at Warner Archive have given us the opportunity to own several of Rod's fine
Monogram and Allied Artists Westerns.
Sadly many of Rod's equally fine Republic Westerns are trapped in the clutches of horrid
Paramount who have no intention of releasing them.
Paramount really should sell the entire Republic library to a company that really cares about
and loves vintage movies.

1:46 AM  
Blogger Maricatrin said...

Good choice! PANHANDLE is also my favorite of his A-westerns:-)

CORONADO 9 and STATE TROOPER are both very worthwhile shows (I presume CITY DETECTIVE is as well, but it's currently not available), with well-constructed, concise story-lines, some exciting action scenes (William Witney directed almost half of the CORONADO 9 episodes), and loads of familiar faces. Cameron's laconic, easygoing tough-guy persona is seen to good advantage here.

He also starred in two serials for Republic, G-MEN VS THE BLACK DRAGON, and SECRET SERVICE IN DARKEST AFRICA (you can read about them at The Files of Jerry Blake.)

9:01 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you all so much, it's great to hear from my fellow Rod Cameron fans!

I've sure enjoyed getting to know his work better, Jerry. (One I actually saw as a kid and hope to revisit soon is FRONTIER GAL.)

John, I so enjoyed RIVER LADY especially. Still need to see DAKOTA LIL. Like you I certainly wish these movies would be made available, some way, somehow.

Maricatrin, love hearing that you also appreciate PANHANDLE. It had so much good stuff in it!

I have picked up CORONADO 9 and STATE TROOPER on sale (I got the entire STATE TROOPER series for something crazy like $6!) so was glad to get your input on that. Good to hear about Witney's involvement with CORONADO 9. The San Diego locations should be fun, too.

Also good to know about Cameron's serials. Incidentally, I bought a couple of sets of serials in the latest VCI sale, including one with Dick Foran, thanks in part to reading up at The Files of Jerry Blake!

Best wishes,

11:57 PM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

So, I guess you still haven't broken open the two TV sets yet, Laura?? Maricatrin reckons they're worthwhile and I do too (You actually have about 6 episodes of 'CITY DETECTIVE' too so you can make the comparisons).
Of the three series Rod did for TV, I like them all quite a lot but 'STATE TROOPER' was the most successful and is, for me, the best. Be really interested in a review of these sometime maybe!?
I kinda like the intro of each episode where Rod looks up all surprised at the camera and says "Oh...hello" each week and then explains the upcoming case.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Jerry!

I watched one episode of CORONADO 9 and then was distracted by things like LAWMAN and SPENSER which I needed to review. Definitely want to get to all three series very soon! Love the description of the STATE TROOPER, that sounds fun.

Best wishes,

10:01 AM  

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