Hollywoods West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, and History (Film and History)

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But as a groundbreaking new exhibit at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage reveals, Disney was fascinated by the American West throughout his long career, and, inevitably, the Disney version of the West has helped to shape our own.

Born in Chicago in , transplanted to Kansas City, Mo. The exhibit suggests that the West with the most emotional resonance for Disney was not the stark Southwestern landscape that galvanized John Ford but the rural frontier of Kansas and the other prairie states at the turn of the century.

Disney had dreams of turning the model into a traveling exhibit that would allow the world to share his vision of the frontier, until he realized he needed something on a far grander scale.

Once Disney set his heart on creating something entirely new in family entertainment, he turned to his brother and partner, Roy Disney, to help him get the financing for what would become Disneyland. Walt stood firm.

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To pay for the project, he made a deal with ABC--the least powerful of the young television networks that most movie moguls regarded as their archenemies--to provide it with Disney programming in exchange for support. The first TV-oriented project Disney undertook was a series of shows on the life of frontiersman Davy Crockett.

No one, including the visionary Walt Disney, could have predicted the Crockett frenzy that marked that year. The face of the star, Fess Parker, who had been cast in the role in part because James Arness would have cost too much, became as familiar as that of President Dwight D.

Hollywood's West: The American Frontier in Film, Television, and History

According to Persistence of Vision, a Utah-based journal devoted to Disneyana, the public was not resigned to an accurate ending to the miniseries. Margaret J. King, who analyzed the Crockett craze in a doctoral dissertation for the University of Hawaii in , believes the madness was a watershed in American popular culture.


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Moreover, it marked the emergence of the baby-boom generation as a major economic force in America--the first child market--and one that remains the largest target for U. To discerning critics, historians, and fans, the Western undeniably includes some of the finest motion pictures ever made, remaining for decades a preferred genre for directors, producers, and stars central to American—even to world—. An unknown error has occurred.

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Synopsis American historians such as Frederick Jackson Turner have argued that the West has been the region that most clearly defines American democracy and the national ethos. Throughout the twentieth century, the "frontier thesis" influenced film and television producers who used the West as a backdrop for an array of dramatic explorations of America's history and the evolution of its culture and values. The common themes found in Westerns distinguish the genre as a quintessentially American form of dramatic art.

In Hollywood's West, Peter C. O'Connor, and the nation's leading film scholars analyze popular conceptions of the frontier as a fundamental element of American history and culture. This volume examines classic Western films and programs that span nearly a century, from Cimarron to Turner Network Television's recent made-for-TV movies.

'The Magnificent Seven,' 'The Lone Ranger,' and the Whitewashing of Western Movies - The Atlantic

Many of the films discussed here are considered among the greatest cinematic landmarks of all time. The essays highlight the ways in which Westerns have both shaped and reflected the dominant social and political concerns of their respective eras. While Cimarron challenged audiences with an innovative, complex narrative, other Westerns of the early sound era such as The Great Meadow frequently presented nostalgic visions of a simpler frontier era as a temporary diversion from the hardships of the Great Depression.

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