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Heldorado

(aka "Helldorado")

 

 

Republic Pictures Corporation

Production Dates: May 23-27 (Las Vegas) and July 11-25, 1946 (California)

Release Date: 1946 12 15

Running time: 70 minutes

Key book (production) number: 1524

Location: Las Vegas / Hoover Dam / Valley of Fire State Park, NV / Chatsworth Depot / Lower Iverson Ranch

 

Credits
Cast
Songs
Plot Summary
Production and Publicity Stills
Posters

Behind the Scenes

 

        Heldorado was George "Gabby" Hayes' last film with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. The Sons of the Pioneers had small, comical parts but only one of their songs was used - "You Ain't Heard Nothin' Till You Hear Him Roar" by Bob Nolan. Filmed on location in Las Vegas, it is fast-moving and downright funny in places. Justice is served and gangsters are portrayed as being both ineffectual and foolish. Actual footage of the 1946 Las Vegas "Helldorado Days" parade, Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers' arena performances, etc, was utilized. This movie is available on DVD.

 

 

 

The Cast:

 

George Hayes as Gabby Whittaker, Dale Evans as Carol Randall and Roy Rogers as himself.

 

The Sons of the Pioneers as themselves

 

John Bagni as Johnny, Steve Darrell as Mitch, henchmen and their gangster boss, Paul Harvey as J. W. Driscoll

 

Barry Mitchell (Brad Dexter) as Alec Baxter and right: John Phillips as Sheriff Glenn

 

James (Malcolm "Bud") Taggart as the bellboy and Charles Williams as the Carnival judge.

 

Joaquin Bascou as the little girl and Clayton Moore as Joe, a reporter in dark suit.

 

Victor Potel as the Desert Springs station agent and Keith Richards as a croupier.

 

Others in the cast:

Rex Lease as Charlie, the bartender

Virginia Carroll as the hatcheck girl

George Chandler as the photographer

Tex Cooper as a townsman

Doye O'Dell as a carnival ticket taker

LeRoy Mason as a Ranger

Eddie Acuff as the Carnival shooting gallery attendant

 

Stunts:

Bill Yrigoyen as a stunt double

Joe Yrigoyen as a stunt double

Bobbie Dorree as a stunt double

 

Songs:

1. Heldorado (Jack Elliott)
2. Silver Stars, Purple Sage, Eyes of Blue (Denver Darling)
3. Heldorado (Jack Elliott) parade
4. My Saddle Pals and I (Roy Rogers)
5. Good Neighbor (Jack Elliott)
6. You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Til You Hear Him Roar (Bob Nolan)
7. Heldorado (Jack Elliott) parade again to fadeout.

 

Plot Summary:

        The film opens with the Sons of the Pioneers trotting along the road to Las Vegas, singing "Heldorado", the theme song. Roy sees them from the top of the hill and canters down to meet them. They tease each other about their various jobs - Roy is a Ranger and the Sons of the Pioneers have been on the rodeo circuit. Bob tells Roy that they saw something suspicious going on at the dam and Roy leaves immediately to investigate.

 

 

        He finds Gabby Whittaker slapping up signs advertising the Helldorado celebrations. They chat for awhile and Roy convinces him that if he puts his signs there, it would be defacing government property with a $100 fine.

 

 

        Gabby heads for the casino, slapping more stickers on automobiles as he passes them.

 

 

 

        Reaching the casino, he searches for the wealthy eastern debutante, Carol Randall, and he's just in time to see her arrive. She is followed closely by members of the press. The bellboy tells her that her horses have arrived and then Gabby collars her. He gets rid of the reporters and then tells Carol all he wants her to do as Queen of the Helldorado Days celebration. Carol rolls her eyes, remonstrates with him and reminds him that she's promised her father not to get her name in the newspaper again. But she gives in conditionally and then checks her fur coat.

 

 

        When the hatcheck girls leaves her place to get a scarf for her, Carol goes into the kiosk to get something from her coat pocket and Roy Rogers checks his own hat by sailing in through the air onto her head. He mistakes her for the hatcheck girl, she plays along and he tips her a quarter. The first quarter, she says, she's earned in her life. She keeps it as a souvenir.

 

 

        In the dining room, Gabby speaks to the assembled guests, including a man named Driscoll who pops the cork on the champagne, startling Gabby who draws on him. Alec Baxter, an eastern playboy and acquaintance of Carol's, spots her. She invites him to go riding with her. They enter the dining room together and seat themselves while Roy, the scheduled entertainer, sings "Silver Stars, Purple Sage, Eyes of Blue."

 

 

        Gabby concluding his speech, walks over to Carol's table and persuades her to come and be deputized by the Sheriff for the rest of the Helldorado Days. None are aware then that Carol is about to take this honorary deputizing seriously.

 

 

        Leaving the banquet room, Carol decides to drop a few dollars on roulette and Alec shocks her by adding a thousand dollar bill. Both lose. They make a date to go horseback riding together.

 

 

        The scene changes to an office with the sheriff and what appears to be an FBI agent, sorting one thousand dollar bills. Roy enters and is apprised of the situation. A ring of gangsters is passing black market thousand dollar bills from underworld funds on which no taxes have been paid. The syndicate buys the bills at a discount and then converts them to smaller bills in Las Vegas. The sheriff asks for Roy's help and shows him a picture of their suspect, Alec Baxter. 

 

 

        Meanwhile, Alec is in his room getting ready to go riding when Johnny and Mitch, Driscoll's henchmen, come in and warn him that Driscoll isn't happy with the way he's been throwing the thousand dollar bills around. Then they give him a bundle of $250,000. The clerk phones to tell him his horses are ready and, in front of Johnny and Mitch, he pops the money into the top of his record player.

 

 

        The sheriff meets him in the casino and asks for a few words with him. He's already told Carol that Alec won't be riding with her today. While the sheriff talks to Alec, Roy was supposed to search his room but the bellboy had been watching and thought it suspicious. He slips his passkey to Johnny and Mitch at the bar and asks them to check. Johnny, finding Roy in the room, stealthily removes the money from the record player and jumps out the window with Roy right behind him.

 

 

        Johnny grabbed the nearest horse and ran for it. That horse happened to be one of the horses Carol and Alec were to go riding on. In fact, it was Carol's horse and she was ready to ride out with Bob Nolan. When she saw Johnny take her horse and Roy follow him on Trigger, she grabbed Bob's horse and raced after both of them. Johnny started firing at Roy who tried to wave Carol back but she was too excited to notice and kept on after them until a low branch swept her onto the ground. Roy was forced to forsake the hunt and go back to see if Carol was hurt She was only winded and dirty. With tight lips, Roy told her how she had been interfering with the law. To justify her actions, she grabbed at her deputy's badge but Roy told her to keep it for Hallowe'en.

 

 

        Carol's picture, announcing her as rodeo queen, is in the paper the following morning. Driscoll and his two henchmen are in his room, preparing a disguise - a beard and sideburns for Mitch who is to take Roy out in the parade. While they are busy, Alec arrives to take instruction from Driscoll.

 

 

        Later, while the parade is winding through downtown Las Vegas, Mitch hides among the crowd and waits his time. Roy and Gabby are riding together while everyone is singing Heldorado again and Carol is in a buckboard as rodeo queen. The Sons of the Pioneers have their own float. A photographer wants a picture of Roy and Carol so she climbs aboard Gabby's horse and Gabby gets into the buckboard. Because they are obviously cool toward each other, the photographer complains. Carol and Roy declare a truce and the parade continues.

 

 

        Mitch prepares to shoot as Roy draws nearer but a little girl behind him, pushes him out of the way so she can get a better view and he accidentally fires into the ground. Then follows an amusing panic as the little girl describes the villain as having a beard and everyone starts pulling at everyone else's whiskers. Poor Gabby comes in for a lot of pain! He actually sees Mitch and nearly catches him when someone in the crowd grabs him and wrestles him down.

 

 

 

        In the following scene, Driscoll confers with his henchmen and they discuss their next move since the murder has failed. Alec enters the room, arrogantly tries to make his own terms and then leaves. Driscoll intimates to his henchmen that Alec's usefulness is over.

 

 

        Back at the rodeo grounds, the contestants led by Roy Rogers on Trigger, enter the arena where Gabby will be announcing the events.

 

 

        Gabby announces Bob "No Money" Nolan who is going to ride next. Bob is bucked off! Pat is next and he ends up in the dirt, too.

 

 

        Then Gabby announces Roy Rogers who takes the mike and introduces the Sons of the Pioneers. They sing "My Saddle Pals and I" with Roy in the centre of the arena.

 

 

        While Roy and Trigger perform, Driscoll (in the audience) watches for a sign from his henchmen that they have taken care of Alec Baxter.

 

 

        During Roy's performance, Pat Brady approaches Carol and asks her to give a message to Roy. Alec Baxter's body has been found at the dam. Carol is shocked and, in her "capacity" as deputy sheriff, decides to go herself. She conveniently forgets to give the message to Roy.

 

 

        Meanwhile, Bob Nolan has entered the arena once more, this time in the bulldogging competition. He bites the dust again.

 

 

        Pat, on the fence watching events, sees Roy and wonders why he's still there. When Roy finds out that Carol had neglected to give him the message, he turns Trigger over to Pat and goes by car to the Dam. Sure enough, he finds Carol in the middle of a what she calls a "preliminary investigation". She demands to see the body and nearly faints. Roy takes over and instructs the police to take photographs of the tire marks.

 

 

        The next scene takes place in the fairgrounds, Helldorado Village. Roy enters the grounds to check the automobiles and finds, to his intense displeasure, that Carol is already there doing the same thing. He reluctantly decides to let her accompany him while she looks around, trying to think of some way to lose him. Her eyes light on a Kangaroo Court where anybody not wearing the requisite theme garb of the day is put into a little jail. She steers Roy in that direction and draws the judge's attention to the fact that Roy doesn't have a beard or sideburns. The judge quickly catches on and jails him, fining him one song, "Good Neighbour". Roy foils Carol by insisting she sing a duet with him and she can't get away but, just as Roy is about to be released, she insists he sing the verse in Spanish, grabs the envelope of tire print photos and runs to the parking area.

 

 

        Roy sings a brief Spanish verse and hurries after her. She has found the car that was at the dam site and is sitting on it, eating peanuts. Now they must wait and see who gets into the car and they look for a place where they can watch without being conspicuous. Choosing the little shooting gallery kiosk, Roy gives Carol a lesson in shooting. Driscoll joins them and pretends he is a poor shot. Carol, with her innocently revealing statements, makes him suspicious and when Johnny and Mitch climb into the suspect car, all three of them watch. Driscoll is now certain that they suspect him but they do not. They have never considered him to be involved.

 

 

        As they leave the fairground, Gabby stops Carol and scolds her because she is never available to do her duties as rodeo queen. She pseudo-solemnly promises to shape up and leaves her empty peanut bag with him.

 

 

        The next scene follows Roy into a casino where the Sons of the Pioneers are singing "You Ain't Heard Nothin' Till You Hear Him Roar!"

 

 

        While they are singing, Roy watches Driscoll's henchmen pass something to the croupier in a folded newspaper. He asks the croupier to go into the office with him, starts questioning him and the man starts to pull a gun on him. Roy disarms him and picks up the newspaper from which are spilling one thousand dollar bills. The man denies everything until Roy suggests that he might find himself involved in a murder charge. Shocked and frightened, the croupier tells Roy all he knows. Roy takes him to the sheriff.

 

 

        And now comes the mounted Treasure Hunt Race. Driscoll has Johnny and Mitch enter the competition so they can create an opportune "accident" to get rid of Roy.

 

 

        Carol sees Driscoll receive something and accidentally bumps into him, causing him to drop a little claims cheque from the Desert Springs Station.

 

 

        She swiftly reads it before handing it over to him and then she tries to tell Roy but he is already in the race and the starting gun goes off. Roy hears her but she has always exasperated him and he has no trouble ignoring her.

 

 

 

        She warns Gabby to warn Roy then she jumps into her own car and heads for the Desert Springs Station herself. Gabby finds a horse and tears across country to intercept Roy.

 

 

        Once there, Carol has no luck convincing the baggage handler to give her the package so she sneaks into the warehouse when he isn't looking. Because she cannot guess which package it will be, she rips the tags off as many as she can reach before Driscoll and his buddies arrive, then she hides inside an empty refrigerator.

 

 

        While all this is going on, Roy is in the Treasure Hunt Race with Driscoll's henchmen and the Sons of the Pioneers.

 

 

         Gabby races across country to catch Roy. He does, just in time to help him tie up Johnny and Mitch whose bushwhacking plans Roy had foiled.

 

 

        Roy changes direction and heads for Desert Springs, too. He asks Gabby to find the Pioneers and tell them he needs them. When Gabby finds the Pioneers, they object to being slowed down. He tells them excitedly that Roy needs them and they answer, "We'll find Roy after the race," as they gallop off.

 

 

         Now Gabby is in a quandary but he has one last idea. He takes off across country and reaches the shack where the next clue is hidden, finds it, turns it over and re-writes the directions to read "Desert Springs Station" then hides around the corner to be sure the Pioneers find it. With a little help from the hidden Gabby, they do and they race off to the Station.

 

 

        At the station, Carol is running into problems.  The bellboy henchman of Driscoll's has found her hiding place and closes the refrigerator door on her.

 

 

        They start ripping packages apart to try to find the money. Roy arrives and tries to get the drop on them but another henchman anticipates him and disarms him. There is a rousing fight and Roy, temporarily in control, lets Carol out of the fridge.

 

 

        Then the gangsters get the upper hand and both Roy and Carol are busy for awhile in one of the funniest rough-and-tumbles every choreographed! Carol is subdued and shoved into a closet by Driscoll who, for a cold-blooded murderer, is rather gentle with her.

 

 

        More fighting with Roy beating the odds and the villains. The Sons of the Pioneers arrive in time to clean up and Roy follows Driscoll outside where he was trying to escape with the money. Instead, Roy finds Gabby counting it and Driscoll out cold on the boardwalk. Carol, released from the closet by the Pioneers, dashes out and arrests Driscoll. Gabby pastes a Helldorado sticker onto his face and the scene ends.

 

 

        The last scene is another parade with Roy, Trigger and Carol all on the float with the Sons of the Pioneers. (This was actual footage from the Las Vegas Helldorado Days parade.)

 

 

 

Production or Publicity Stills

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Fred Sopher

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

Courtesy of Ed Phillips

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Bob Nolan, bronc rider

 

 

Roy, Steve Darrell, John Bagni and George "Gabby" Hayes

 

Courtesy of Fred Sopher

 

Courtesy of Fred Sopher

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

eBay images

eBay image

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

  

eBay image

 

eBay images

 

Behind the Scenes:

 

 

 

Posters:

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

Courtesy of Les Adams

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey