Sunday, July 25, 2021

Hearst, Pulitzer, Theodore Roosevelt, Hollywood and the Spanish American War

"ROSE BUD!", the words are spoken, the snow globe falls from his hand and rolls across the floor. As "Charles Foster Kane" dies and Orson Welles' masterpiece, 1941's, "Citizen Kane" starts, or was that WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST?

According to Orson Welles and co-screenplay writer, Herman J. Mankiewicz. "Charles Foster Kane", was a composite based upon Publishers, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, Chicago tycoons, Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick, and perhaps a touch of Aircraft manufacture and Motion Picture studio head, Howard Hughes.

It should be noted that basically the only one of the five complaining about "Charles Foster Kane", was William Randolph Hearst. Who, only added to the public's interest in the motion picture, in fact, a mini-war was started by the publisher against RKO Studios and Orson Welles.

However, this is not a comparison of "Citizen Kane" to "Citizen Hearst"! 

This is first, a look at the power of Hearst to involve the United States in a war the United States should have stayed out of. With, perhaps, a little help from Joseph Pultizer. Who wanted some of the sales of newspaper that resulted for his competitor! Along, with the Hollywood motion pictures that used the Spanish American War as a backdrop. 

William Randolph Hearst was born April 29, 1863 in San Francisco, California. His father was future California, United States Senator George Hearst, his mother was Missouri born, Phoebe Apperson Hearst. George was 42 at the time of their marriage and Phoebe was 18.

William R. Hearst attended the highly selective Episcopal, "St. Paul's School", in Concord, New Hampshire. In 1885, he was enrolled in the undergraduate, "Harvard College", in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but he never made it to the higher, more known, "Harvard University". Because he was expelled from the college.

In 1880, George Hearst became the owner of the "San Francisco Examiner". The current owner had a gambling debt that needed to be paid off and the elder Hearst accepted the newspaper as part of the payment owed him.

William asked his father to let him take over managing the newspaper. He first showed his knack of selling newspapers by giving the "San Francisco Examiner" a motto. It suddenly became the:


and reader interest increased, because who wanted to be reading an ordinary newspaper?

William Randolph Hearst now set out to hire a solid writing staff. His newspaper hired short story writer, Ambrose Bierce, 1890's, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), who three years earlier had published, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", Jack London, six years before his first work, 1893's, "Typhon Off the Coast of Japan", was published, and the political cartoonist, Homer Davenport.

Unknown to anyone at the "San Francisco Examiner", the "Hearst Publishing Empire" had begun. 

In 1895, with the help of his widowed mother, William acquired the failing "New York Morning Journal". He immediately hired two new writers to spice up the content. The two were Stephen Crane, the same years "The Red Badge of Courage", and Julian Hawthorne, the son of author Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

This acquisition was the first shot of Hearst's war with publisher Joseph Pulitzer and his "New York World". At one time, the "New York Morning Journal", had been owned by Pulitzer's brother Albert. The word "Morning", was dropped by Hearst and, the "New York Journal", was technically rebranded in name only.

The second shot fired in their war, had Hearst stealing all of Pulitzer's "Sunday Staff". This included Richard F. Outcault, the creator of "Color Sunday Comics".

Above Joseph Pulitzer.

By definition, "Yellow Journalism", is journalism based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration. 

As of this writing, we have "Super Market Tabloid's" that contain sensational stories without support. Millions of people, around the World, believe the tabloid's stories are true. This is still a form of "Yellow Journalism", and my reader has Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst to thank for the creation of the term and its use.

In 1895, while working at the "New York World", Richard F. Outcault created a political comic strip entitled "Hogan's Alley". When Outcault moved to the "New York Morning Journal", the comic strip came with him. One of Outcault's characters was "Mickey Duggan", a poor boy living in the slum areas of New York City. Like a large number of children, of both sexes, his head was shaved to stop lice from living in it. "Mickey" wore a yellow nightshirt all day long, reflective of real slum kids, at the time, without the means of getting something better to wear. "Duggan" became known as the "Yellow Kid" and with the sensational stories told by both publishers to sell their newspapers over their rivals. "Mickey Duggan's Yellow Nightshirt, became the source for the term "Yellow Journalism"

On February 24, 1895, the third "Cuban War for Independence", from Spain, was supposedly to have started.

In January 1897, the famous American West illustrator, Frederick Remington, was in Cuba reporting on the war for William Randolph Hearst
Remington cabled Hearst:


Hearst is said to have cabled Remington the following reply:



The problems for Spain started in 1807 and involved Napoleon Bonaparte. There were two main areas of conflict, the first area was on the North American continent in Spanish America. Which stretched from Florida's Atlantic Coast across the continent into California's Pacific Coast. "The Spanish Americans Wars for Independence", started shortly after the French invaded Spain itself. 

The second area was "The Peninsular War", dividing Spain and Portugal, in which Spain allied itself with the United Kingdom and Portugal against France. However, France soon occupied and governed Spain and starting on May 2, 1808, with a revolt in Madrid, ending the next day with executions of Spanish citizens. Guerrilla warfare against the French began in earnest. 

English novelist, C.S. Forester, known for the "Hornblower", Napoleonic novel series, wrote a 1933 work, "The Gun", about the "Peninsular War". Director Stanley Kramer, would turn the novel into the 1957 motion picture, "The Pride and the Passion", starring Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren.

Between 1833 and 1876, three, some say four, civil wars, known as the "Carlist Wars" were fought in Spain. One group, the "Carlist's", followed Don Carlos Maria Isidro Benito de Bourbon and his descendants. After his death in 1855, this group still fought for "Legitimism (dynastic succession to the French Crown)" and "Catholicism". Against, "Liberalism (Self-government of the People)", later called "Republicanism".

While this was occurring within Spain, the leaders, whomever they represented, were attempting to keep "Spanish Colonialism" intact. The reason was nothing more than "National Pride". Even though all the Spanish colonies were putting stress on Spain's resources needed at home

Back in 1823, President James Monroe, created the "Monroe Doctrine", stating that the United States would not tolerate further efforts of European nations to either retake, expand their holdings in "The America's", or to interfere with newly created States in the hemisphere.

Just prior to the "American Civil War", the Southern Slave States petitioned Congress to purchase Cuba from Spain. The goal was to have the island become another Slave State and the Slave owners referenced the, 1854,"Ostend Manifesto", that first had proposed such an option.

The American Civil War ended in 1865, but a similar one was about to start on the island of Cuba against Spain. Over the years, the tension between the Cuban-born planters and wealthy natives, supported by Spain, had risen. The "Ten Years' War", aka: the "Great War", aka: the "War '68", to gain Cuba's independence from Spain started on October 10, 1868. That war would last until May 28, 1878 , and end with Spain still in complete control of the island. 

A second Civil War, the "Little War", was fought from August 26, 1878 into September 1879, with the same result as the first. From 1879 through 1888, there was a truce known as the "Rewarding Peace", but during those years. Change had come to Cuba that would affect the economy and class structure. In, October 1886, Slavery had been abolished, but that put the former slaves into the general population and resulted in the closing down of many plantations that didn't have workers anymore. Only the large, multiple, Spanish company run plantations remained.

Five years earlier, in 1881, two events took place that would lead to America's involvement in the third "Cuban War of Independence". The first event was the arrival in the United States of the twice deported poet, philosopher, professor and journalist, Jose Marti'. His purpose, was to organize the Cuban exile community in Southern Florida and free Cuba from Spain.

The second event came from American Secretary of State, James G. Blaine, who on December 1, 1881, wrote:

That rich island, the key to the Gulf of Mexico, is, though in the hands of Spain, a part of the American commercial system… If ever ceasing to be Spanish, Cuba must necessarily become American and not fall under any other European domination

On February 24, 1895, the third "Cuban War for Independence", as I previously mentioned. begins.

Which brings me back to January 1897, and the cables between Frederick Remington and William Randolph Hearst.


Actually there were two reporters for William Randolph Hearst, Remington and Richard Harding Davis, both friends of Theodore Roosevelt, a friend of the publisher.

Above Remington in 1860, below Davis in 1890.

Below the "New York Journal's" front page announcement of the two going to Cuba.

After receiving the reply from Hearst, Remington just up and left Cuba. Davis made it to the first week of February, before he also left. However, covering events in Cuba was also reporter Karl Decker aka: Charles Duval, no photo found, and he became part of the escape and "Yellow Journalism" story of Evangelina Cosio y Cisneros.

Her story would enthrall Americans in the building desire to help free Cuba and would beat Joseph Pulitzer's in newspaper sales until a major event brought the United States into the war.

Evangelina was the daughter of one of the rebel leaders, Augustin Cosio, her mother had died while she was a child. In the Summer of 1896, her father was captured, and sentenced to the Penal Colony on the "Isle of Pines", now the "Isle of Youth". The young woman and her sister accompanied their father, but a new Governor took over and events, to this day not made clear, resulted in Evangelina being sent to a hated woman's prison in Havana. One year passed, and it was reported that she would be sentenced to 20-years.

William Randolph Hearst had been actively pushing for America's involvement in Cuba. Like, Pulitzer, even making up stories to sell papers, but he also really believed in the cause. 

In June 1897, the Hearst reporters, including Karl Decker, found out that a young, cultured and attractive woman, Evangelina Cosio y Cisneros, was in prison. The "New York Journal's" "Yellow Journalism" machine went into full swing for this "damsel-in-distress".

With the help of the U.S. Consulate in Havana and the tact-approval of Consul-General Fitzhugh Lee. Following a plan made by Evangelina, Karl Decker and his team of reporters broke the woman out of prison, used forged U.S. documents and got her to the United States. As the "New York Journal" gleefully headlined:

Then, ALL HELL, literally broke out!


A still mysterious explosion blew-up the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer immediately went to work to blow-up their "Yellow Journalism" machines.

Did William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer actually get America into a war with Spain over Cuba? Probably not, according to modern historians. In the August 2000, issue of "Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly", writer W. Joseph Campbell, expresses his belief the two famous cables between Hearst and Remington never were sent, or existed. Although, William Randolph Hearst claimed otherwise.

On April 21, 1898, the United States became involved in what history would call, "The Spanish American War". 

Also, in April 1898, Theodore Roosevelt resigned as "Assistant Secretary of the Navy", and with "Army Colonel" Leonard Wood, formed the "First United States Volunteer Cavalry". Which was one of three all-volunteer regiments, but the only one to see actual combat in Cuba and it would earn the nickname of the "Rough Riders".

Above, Wood and Roosevelt are standing just left of the American flag.

The Spanish American war would end on August 13, 1898, with the United States acquiring all of Spain's Pacific possessions and becoming a prominent force in the Caribbean. It would also lead to America's involvement in the "Philippine Revolution", from, August 23, 1896 to January 23, 1899, and. the "Philippine-American War", from February 4, 1899 to July 2, 1902. Both causing more American deaths!


During the Spanish American War, the first newsreel footage of any war was shot. Some of it was, of course staged for American audiences, but most of it wasn't. Some of this footage can be found at the following link, from Thomas "Edison's Famous Movies":



Back in 1899, Elbert Hubbard wrote an essay based upon a actual incident that took place right before the United States entered the Spanish American War. Hubbard called his essay, "A Message to Garcia". The incident, as Hubbard presented it, was about American Army Lieutenant Andrew S. Rowan carrying a message from President McKinley to General Calixto Garcia, a Cuban insurgent leader located somewhere in the mountains of Cuba. It wasn't the actual message that Hubbard wrote his essay about, but the fact that Rowan didn't question the assignment, didn't ask where Garcia was, and just did it. Hubbard stated:

The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, "Where is he at?" By the Eternal! there is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing- "Carry a message to Garcia!


The essay was published in the March 1899, issue of "The Philistine", a publication entirely written  by Hubbard at the time. The real reason for the story was to compare lazy and incompetent American workers to Andrew Rowan and major company executives liked it. One, George H. Daniels, of the "New York Central Railroad", printed hundreds of copies and placed them on the railroad's trains for people to read.  

Problem was, other than the fact that Rowan landed in an open boat on a Cuban shore, the entire essay was a lie. Lieutenant Andrew Rowan was actually an American Spy. On April 9, 1898, Rowan posing as a civilian boarded a steamer in New York City, bound for Kingston, Jamaica. With the help of the United States Consul in Kingston, Rowan made contact with the "Cuban Revolutionary Junta". On the southeastern coast of Cuba, Rowan and others went ashore, on April 25th. This was followed by an eight-day horseback ride through the Sierra Maestra Mountains. On May 1, 1898, Army Lieutenant Andrew S. Rowan met General Calixto Garcia in the city of Bayamo. 

Rowan's mission was to stay with Garcia and send back dispatches, to the "War Department", on the strength, efficiency, insurgent and Spanish Army movements and the general military situation in Cuba. Ignoring his order, Rowan spoke to Garcia about what he needed to cooperate with the United States for an invasion of Cuba? Rowan and some of Garcia's officers, immediately headed back to the United States to confer with the Defense Department, and arrived in Tampa, Florida, on May 13, 1898.

Back on April 25th, every American newspaper had front page stories about Rowan's "Secret Mission". It would be learned that while in Jamaica, Rowan revealed his mission to Associate Press Reporter Elmer Roberts. 

Instead of being court-martialed, Lieutenant Andrew Summers Rowan, was temporarily promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the "6th Regiment Volunteer Infantry". Rowan was now as popular as story teller, "Buffalo Bill", in the United States. 

In 1916, Hollywood stepped in.

I could find little about the 1916 production of "A Mission to Garcia", other than the poster and a cast list. Which had Robert Conness as "Lieutenant Rowan" and Charles Sutton as a "Emanuel Garcia". However, the film's star was Mabel Trunnelle as "Dolores". 

It's a different story with the 20th Century Fox Production.

A MESSAGE TO GARCIA released April 10, 1936.

The feature was Directed by George Marshall. Among Marshall's later films would be, 1939's, "Destry Rides Again", starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart, 1940's, "The Ghost Breakers", starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, 1946's, "The Blue Dahlia", starring Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, 1953's, "Houdini", starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, and 1959's, "The Mating Game", starring Debbie Reynolds and Tony Randall.

The screenplay was suggested by both Hubbard's essay and the book written by Lieutenant Andrew S. Rowan.

W.P, Lipscomb and Gene Fowler, received the credit for writing the actual screenplay.

Out of the 15 speaking roles, only "Lieutenant Andrew Rowan", "General Calixto Garcia" are real.

Wallace Beery portrayed "Army Sergeant Dory".  Beery was just in the 1935 film version of playwright Eugene O'Neil's, "Ah Wilderness!". The leading man character actor followed this feature with 1936's, "Old Hutch".

Barbara Stanwyck portrayed "Senorita Raphaelita Maderos". Stanwyck had just starred as "Annie Oakley" in the 1935 biographical motion picture. She followed this picture with 1936's, "The Bride Walks Out", co-starring with a young Robert Young.

John Boles portrayed "Army Lieutenant Andrew Rowan". The previous year he co-starred with Shirley Temple, in 1935's, "The Littlest Rebel". He would next co-star with Rosalind Russell and Billie Burke, in 1936's, "Craig's Wife". 

Above, left to right, Wallace Beery, Barbara Stanwyck and John Boles.

The opening sequence is the blowing up of the "Maine" by a Spanish saboteur, turning into the "Spanish American War". "President William McKinley", played by Dell Henderson for looks, but using the voice of actor John Carradine for his voice, gives Lieutenant Rowan, "A Message to Garcia".

"Rowan" first travels to British Jamaica, posing as a Canadian merchant sailor, and joins the crew of a neutral British ship that will be passing Cuba. However, the Spanish have already discovered his mission and hired the cynical and amoral, "Dr. Ivan Krug", played by Alan Hale, Sr., to find "Andrew Rowan" and stop him at any cost. "Krug" has booked passage on the same British ship and starts questioning everyone on board. Off the Cuban coast, Rowan jumps ship, stealing a small boat, and makes it to shore.

Below John Boles and Alan Hale, Sr.

In a Bar, "Rowan" finds "Dory", who is a U.S. Marine Corps deserter, but he agrees to help "Rowan" get to the house of a man that can get him to "General Garcia". However, they find the man dead, but his daughter, "Raphaelita" also knows "Garcia's" location and will help the two men.

Aided by Cuban patriots, the three head for their destination and are forced to enter the swamps, being pursued by "Krug" and Spanish soldiers. "Krug" attacks and "Raphaelita" is shot, "Rowan" removes the bullet and tells "Dory" to stay with the young woman, but she insists "Dory" take him to "Garcia".

"Dory" guides "Rowan" through alligator infested swamps and points out "General Garcia's" fortress. After "Dory" leaves, "Rowan" discovers "Garcia" is no longer there, but "Krug" and his Spanish soldiers are inside. Captured, the doctor starts to torture the lieutenant for the location of the message he is to deliver. Not knowing that the message is hidden in the barrel of "Rowan's" pistol right next to his torture instruments.

"Dory" is captured by Cuban patriots and taken to "General Garcia", played by Enrique Acosta, for selling them useless ammunition. He has realized that "Rowan" is now in Spanish hands and pleads for "Garcia" to go and save him, but instead, finds himself before a firing squad. In the nick of time, the British merchant "Henry Piper", played by Herbert Mundin, arrives, and verifies "Dory's" story.

While, at the same time, the Spanish have located "Raphaelita", and brought her to the fort. She tries, unsuccessfully, to get the tortured "Rowan" to save himself, but the attack by "General Garcia" and "Dory" starts.

In the end, "Krug" is killed, and "Marine Corps Sergeant Dory", has been wounded, but sadly he dies having saved "Army Lieutenant Andrew S. Rowan" and "A Message to Garcia". Which is finally delivered and after he reads it, "General Garcia" tells "Lieutenant Rowan":




In 1893, Army Major Walter Reed joined the faculty of the "George Washington University School of Medicine" and the newly opened, "Army Medical School" in Washington, D.C. At this time, he held a professorship in "Bacteriology and Clinical Microscopy". 

In 1896, Doctor Reed proved that "Yellow Fever," in enlisted men bivouacked by the Potomac River in Washington D.C., was not from the river's water. His investigation relied upon a simple fact, that the civilian residents drinking the same river water were not getting the disease.

Major Reed was appointed head of a, 1898, panel to investigate "Typhoid Fever" in the Army Camps in Cuba. He arrived there and was able to pinpoint the disease to fecal matter and flies coming in contact with the food supply. However, Doctor Reed, also discovered a major outbreak of "Yellow Jack (Yellow Fever)" worse than the typhoid epidemic. He returned to the "George Washington University School of Medicine" and started looking at the writings of Cuban Doctor, Carlos Finlay. Finlay theorized, in 1881, that "Yellow Fever" was transmitted by mosquito's, which was not known to be a disease carrier, and once it bit a person. That person was guaranteed to develop the disease.

Major Reed returned to Cuba, as the head of an investigative body appointed by "Army Surgeon General George Miller Sternberg". Reed's "Yellow Fever Commission", would use volunteers and other  means to determine that Carlos Finlay's theory was correct and that "Yellow Jack" wasn't caused by the clothing of other fever victims or their bed coverings, but mosquito's.

YELLOW JACK released May 27, 1938.

The motion picture was Directed by George B. Seitz. Seitz started out as a playwright and moved to Hollywood and started writing screenplays with the "Cliff Hanger", "The Perils of Pauline". When he stopped writing, in 1935, Seitz had 47 screenplays to his credit. He had started directing movies in 1914 and when he stopped directing, in 1944, his total films were 108. 

The screenplay was by Edward Chodorov. It was based upon the play, "Yellow Jack", by Sidney Howard and the novel, "The Microbe Hunters", by Paul de Kruif.

Robert Montgomery portrayed "John O'Hara". Montgomery was just in the 1938, comedy, "The First Hundred Years", co-starring Virginia Bruce. He followed this picture with another comedy, 1938's, "Three Loves Has Nancy", co-starring with Janet Gayner, and Franchot Tone.

Virginia Bruce portrayed "Francis Blake". As just mentioned, she was just in 1938's, "The First Hundred Years", and followed this feature with the 1938 drama, "Woman Against Woman", co-starring with Herbert Marshall and Mary Astor. In 1940, Bruce was "The Invisible Woman"!

Lewis Stone portrayed "Army Major Reed". Stone's career is interesting. He would play Mickey Rooney's father in the "Andy Hardy" series, in 1932, he fought Boris Karloff in "The Mask of Fu Manchu", was "Captain Smollett" to Wallace Beery's, "Long John Silver", in 1934's, "Treasure Island", and one of the original "Three Godfathers", in the 1936 version of the story that Director John Ford would remake with John Wayne in 1948.

Above left to right, Robert Montgomery, Virginia Bruce and Lewis Stone.

Besides Major Reed, there are only four other real people in the screenplay. Henry Hull portrayed "Jesse Lazear", Charles Colburn portrayed "Dr. Carlos Finlay", Stanley Ridges portrayed "Dr. James Carroll", and Jonathan Hale portrayed "Army Major General Leonard Wood".

Left to right, Lewis Stone, Henry Hull and Charles Colburn, Henry O'Neil as "Gorgas", and Stanley Ridges.

Below, William Henry as "Breen", Buddy Ebsen as "Jellybeans" and Sam Levine as "Busch".

Above, Andy Devine portraying "Charlie Spill", with Robert Montgomery.

The story is about the Army volunteers that had "Yellow Fever" injected into them. After which, Doctor Reed and his group, would observe and test possible ways to prevent "Yellow Jack" from killing others.

The fictionized account of Major Walter Reed's work ends with the names of the five real volunteer test subjects for the audience to know.

Robert P. Cooke
Levi E. Folk
Warren G. Jernegan
John R. Kissenge
John J. Moran


As has been obvious, when it comes to real incidents and people, Hollywood has a way of changing the real events for dramatic purpose.

In his autobiography, "Marching Along", John Philip Sousa tells the following about composing his march, "The Stars and Stripes Forever".

The year was 1896, Sousa was on an ocean liner returning home with his wife from a European Vacation. When he heard of the death of David Blakely, the manager of the "Sousa Band". 

According to Sousa, he composed the march in his head and put it on paper upon his return to the United States. It was first performed in Willow Grove Park, just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 14, 1897. By an "Act of Congress", in 1987, John Philip Sousa's March, "The Stars and Stripes Forever", became the "National March" of the United States.

STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER released December 22, 1952.

The motion picture was Directed by Henry Koster. In 1951, Koster directed the excellent airplane disaster film, "No Highway in the Sky", starring James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich and Glynis Johns. He also directed Clifton Webb in the comedy, "Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell". He would follow this feature with 1952's, "My Cousin Rachel", starring Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton.

The screenplay was based upon John Philip Sousa's autobiography, but adapted into a motion picture story by Hungarian American playwright and screenplay writer Ernest Vajda. 

Lamar Trotti wrote the actual screenplay. In 1944, he had written the screenplay for the Presidential biography, "Wilson", and in 1948, the screenplay for Director William A. Wellman's Western, "Yellow Sky", starring Gregory Peck, Ann Baxter and Richard Widmark. 

My reader needs to be made aware of the political situation in the United States in 1952. The "Second Red Scare" was in full force with "Tail Gunner" Joe McCarthy in the Senate, and the "House Committee on Un-American Activities". Producers, Directors, Major Actors like, Gary Cooper, and minor like, Nancy Davis, the future Mrs. Ronald Reagan, where being pulled in as potential Communists, or to name names of those they knew. The motion picture industry turned to "Safe" movies, Musicals, Westerns, Science Fiction was suddenly big in both movies and television. There was, of course, the extremely safe Biblical motion picture. 

The studios packed their musicals with songs and thin storylines. "Stars and Stripes Forever" was a perfect example.

Clifton Webb portrayed "John Philip Sousa". He had just co-starred with Ginger Rodgers in the 1952 comedy, "Dreamboat". Webb followed this picture with Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Wagner in the Historical drama and Romance, 1953's, "Titantic".

Debra Paget portrayed the fictional "Lily Becker". She had just portrayed "Cosette", in the 1952 version of Victor Hugo's, "Les Miserables", starring Michael Rennie and Robert Newton. She would follow this picture with, co-starring with James Mason, Janet Leigh, Robert Wagner, and Sterling Hayden in, 1954's, "Prince Valiant".

Robert Wagner portrayed the fictional "Willie Little". Wagner was just in 1952's, "What Price Glory", and followed this picture, co-starring with future 1950's television Western stars, Hugh O'Brien and Rory Calhoun, in 1953's, "The Silver Whip".

Ruth Hussey portrayed "Sousa's wife, "Jennie". Her film career was on a down turn and Hussey had been in the "B", 1952 Western, "Woman of the North Country", co-starring with Rod Cameron and John Agar. Ruth Hussey followed this picture with an episode of the television drama anthology series, "The Ford Television Theatre".

Thomas "Tom" Browne Henry portrayed real life, "David Blakely". Character actor Henry would be known to 1950's Science Fictions, even if they don't know the name, for 1956's, "Earth vs the Flying Saucers", 1957's, "20 Million Miles to Earth", and "The Beginning of the End".

The screenplay has "Sergeant Major John Sousa", director of the "United States Marine Band", leave the Marine Corps after his enlistment has ended. He is permitted to take along, "Private Willie Little", who has invented a instrument he calls the "Sousaphone". The instrument was actually invented by James Welsh Pepper, founder of music publisher, "J.W. Pepper and Sons".

"Willie" convinces "Sousa" to go with him to a concert, where his music is to be played, but the rowdy music hall is raided. "Willie", "Sousa" and the singer, "Lily Becker" are able to get out together. The two young people now become part of "John and Jennie Sousa's" family.

"Sousa" forms a band and it starts to tour the World and he is honored by the crown heads of Europe. The   battleship "Maine" is sunk in Havana Harbor and the Spanish American War breaks out.  Both "Sousa" and "Willie" re-enlist in the Marines, but "Sousa" is kept away from the actual fighting and instead is forced to take a sea voyage after suffering from typhoid fever. It is on the voyage that he composes the "Stars and Stripes Forever", to honor the men fighting in the war.

At the film's climax, after war has ended, there is a concert for the Spanish American War veteran's being given by "John Philip Sousa" and he spots "Willie" in the audience. "Sousa" asks him to join the band and play his "Sousaphone" and of course, "Willie" and "Lily" will be getting married.

As with the above patriotic reason for composing the "Stars and Stripes Forever". In the story, "David Blakely" is still alive at the end.


Back in 1913, the first Hollywood motion picture set in 1897 Cuba was released. The title was, "The Family's Honor", and this short film only ran 11-minutes.

The melodrama was Directed by Richard Ridgely, with a screenplay by Rex Ingram using the name of Rex Hitchcock. This was Ingram's first screenplay, but he would become known for Directing 30 motion pictures. Two of his most recognized features, today, are Rudolf Valentino's, 1921 classic, "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse", and the original, 1922, "The Prisoner of Zenda", starring Lewis Stone.

Ingram's plot has "Army Lieutenant Adams", station at the American Consulate in Havana, falling in love with Cuban "Alva Bellins". She is the daughter of Spanish "General Bellins". Shortly after the war breaks out in 1888, in reality there was no such war that year, the General is killed and "Alva's" twin brother, "Jose", is given dispatches to deliver, but he is paralyzed with a fear of death and abandons his uniform and the dispatches. It is now up to "Alva" to dress as "Jose", to redeem the family honor and bring the dispatches to another Spanish Division.

"Shame" was released on December 1, 1917, and used the Spanish American War as a dramatic tool. "John Grey" and "Mary" are in love, but he goes off to the war. While, unknowingly, leaving "Mary" pregnant, "John" is killed in Cuba. "Mary" gives birth, but soon dies, leaving their "Little Mary" to grow up with the "Shame" of being the child of an unwed couple.

There would be a few more forgotten silent films, like "Shame", that uses the Spanish American War as a plot device for another story line. 

Then came the first major Hollywood Production about the Spanish American War ten-years later:

THE ROUGH RIDERS aka: THE TRUMPET CALL released October 1, 1927


Above, Charles Farrell portrayed "Stewart Van Brunt". Farrell co-starred with Janet Gaynor in the classic silent drama, 1927's, "7th Heaven". from 1952 through 1955, he portrayed Gale Storm's father on the popular television series, "My Little Margie", in 1956 Farrell had his own television series.

Fifth billed, Mary Astor, portrayed "Dolly". In 1941, Astor portrayed both, "Brigid O'Shaughnessy", in John Huston's, "The Maltese Falcon", starring Humphrey Bogart, and, Astor portrayed "Sandra", co-starring with Bette Davis and George Brent, in, 1941's, "The Great Lie".

The motion picture was Directed by Victor Fleming. In 1939, Fleming directed two very popular motion pictures, "The Wizard of Oz", and "Gone with the Wind", for which he received the Academy Award.

The screenplay had seven writers, but only five received on-screen credit and one of those was George Marian, Jr. for the needed "Dialogue Title Cards". 

Above, Charles Farrell portrayed "Stewart Van Brunt", and Frank Hopper portrayed "Theodore Roosevelt".

This action, drama, war film, is the first to tell the story of Theodore Roosevelt and his "Rough Riders" in pure Hollywood style.


END OF THE TRAIL released October 11, 1936.

The motion picture was Directed by Erle C. Kenton. Fans of "Universal Pictures" Horror, know Kenton's work with, 1942's, "The Ghost of Frankenstein", 1944's, "House of Frankenstein". and 1945's, "House of Dracula". 

The screenplay was supposed to be based upon Western author Zane Grey's, "The Outlaws of Palouse (The Horse Thief)", but the short story has nothing to do with the Spanish American War. However, the screenplay does incorporate some of the basic story written by Zane Grey with the added element of a backstory during the Spanish American War.

The actual screenplay was written by Harold Shumate. Shumate started writing screenplays in 1917 and became a major "B" Western writer during the 1930's.

Jack Holt portrayed Zane Grey's "Dale Brittenham". Holt was associated with a large amount of "B" Westerns, sometimes as the leading man, and other times as the villain. 

Guinn "Big Boy" Williams portrayed "Bob Hildreth". Williams was another actor associated with Westerns and the occasional gangster picture.

Erie C. Kenton portrayed "Theodore Roosevelt". Yes, this film's Director.


Above, left to right, Williams, Kenton and Holt.

The set-up is the battle of "San Juan Hill", where "Rough Rider Dale Brittenham" saves the life of "Bob Hildreth". During the rescue, "Dale" loses the sight in one of his eyes. While in the hospital, "Dale" and "Bob" meet "Belle Pearson", played by Louise Henry, and a love-feud starts between the two friends over "Belle". The war ends and the two-friends return to their hometown of Halsey, a small Western cattle town. Who shows up, but "Belle" with her brother, "Larry", played by John McGuire, and the screenplay starts to pick up the basic Zane Grey story. "Bob" gets his pre-war job back as a "Deputy Sheriff" and all four get involved with cattle rustlers in typical "B" Western style.

TEXAS TRAIL released November 26, 1937

Yep buckaroos, this is a "Hopalong Cassidy" "B" Western. It was supposed to be based upon author Clarence E. Mulford's, the creator of "Cassidy", story, "Tex". To start with the title character of "Tex Ewalt", isn't even in the screenplay. 

The screenplay was written by Jack O'Donnell and this was his fifth of a total of seven. It was also the only one, of O'Donnell's three "B" Westerns that featured "Hopalong Cassidy".

The picture was Directed by David Selman. This was the twenty-sixth feature of his twenty-six "B" motion pictures.

William Boyd portrayed "Hopalong Cassidy". This was Boyd's fourteenth feature film in the role. He would take it to 1950's Saturday morning television and even beat Walt Disney with Boyd's, "Hoppyland Theme Park", that unfortunately failed. The story of the theme park and a decade when as many as 46 Western television shows, in one week, could be viewed is part of my article:

"HI HO SILVER, AWAY: The 1950's When WESTERNS Dominated the Air Waves" at:

Russell Hayden portrayed "Lucky Jenkins". Hayden was a popular "B" Western side-kick and love interest for every leading lady in the "Hopalong Cassidy" series. By this film he had appeared in the role four previous times and would continue for another twenty-two. Hayden would appear with other "B" Cowboys keeping the character first name of "Lucky", but changing the last name. For example, Russell Hayden was "Lucky Barton", "Lucky Bannon", "Lucky Haines", and "Lucky Shelton", among others.

George "Gaby" Hayes portrayed "Windy Halliday". Besides William Boyd, Hayes was a sick-kick to John Wayne, Roy Rodgers, Bob Steele and other "B" Cowboys. "Gabby" Hayes would also have his own television show in the early 1950's and that's found at the above link, but I also did a biography on the character actor, "George 'Gabby' Hayes: Being a 'B' Cowboy 'Sidekick", at:

Above left to right, Russell Hayden, William Boyd and George "Gabby" Hayes

Judith Allen portrayed "Barbara Allen". Allen should have been a major star, but ended up in "B" motion pictures and a series scandalous divorce. Her early films cast her opposite Shirley Temple and Bing Crosby, but her personal life kept getting in the way.

Above villain, "Black Jackson Carson", played by Alexander Cross, Judith Allen and Russell Hayden.

The screenplay is again typical "B" Western as "Hopalong Cassidy" and the "Bar 20" ranch hands need to round up and break 500 horses for "Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders". While a group of rustlers want the horses and have to be stopped. It should be noted that other “Cassidy” screenplays take place in the 1930’s and like several "B's" have automobiles in them.

Roy Rodgers appeared in "Republic Pictures", "Rough Riders Round-Up", released on March 13, 1939.

In this screenplay, the Spanish American War has ended, and Roy Rodgers, also his character's name, was one of the "Rough Riders" in Cuba. With some of his friends, from "Roosevelt's" volunteer regiment, they become Border-Patrol-Agents. In a typical 58-minute "B" Western formula movie, the agents fight Mexican outlaws working for a American by robbing gold shipments and the local express offices. 

Then there were "The Three Mesquiteers". This was a popular and profitable movie series that initially starred, Robert Livingston as "Stony Brooke", Ray "Crash" Corrigan as "Tucson Smith", and Syd Saylor as "Lullaby Josin". The first film of the series, called "The Three Mesquiteers", was released on September 22, 1936. 

The actors playing the three leading roles would change over the years and included John Wayne and Bob Steele. By the final, 51st motion picture in the series, ""Riders of the Rio Grande", released on May 21, 1943, Tom Tyler, the original, 1940, "Kharis the Mummy" and, 1941's, "Captain Marvel", was "Stony Burke", Bob Steele was "Tucson Smith", and pre "Mickey Mouse Club", Jimmy Dodd was "Lullaby Joslin".

However, there were also four other "Mesquiteers", at times, replacing one of the regular characters for many reasons. Ralph Byrd, was known for several "Cliff-Hangers", "B" movies and a television series playing the character of "Dick Tracy", would play "Larry Smith", in one movie. Raymond Hatton was "Rusty Joslin", for nine features. Duncan Renaldo, the last movies with the character and the television series, "Cisco Kid", was "Rico Rinaldo", for seven films. While, Kirby Grant, the future television "Sky King", was "Tex Reily" for one movie.
Which brings me to:

OKLAHOMA RENEGADES released August 29, 1940.

Nate Watt Directed this entry. He became a "B" Western director with a "Hopalong Cassidy" feature and moved to television with Ralph Byrd's, "Dick Tracy", in 1950.

The screenplay was based upon characters created by William Colt MacDonald. The story version was by Charles R. Condon and the screenplay by two other writers, Earle Snell and Doris Schroder.

Robert Livingston portrayed "Stony Burke".
Raymond Hatton portrayed "Rusty Joslin".
Duncan Renaldo portrayed "Rico Rinaldo".

After 30 feature films, the 31st, had our heroes returning from the Spanish American War. Which is interesting, because the 1st film started in 1919, right after the end of the First World War, and had the "The Three Mesquiteers" as returning Army Veterans. Such is the credibility of Hollywood "B" Western's screenplays.

Our heroes are concerned for their disabled war buddies and when the government offers preferred  homesteads to Spanish American War Veterans in the newly opened "Oklahoma Territory". They send word to their friends and join them in Oklahoma, but the cattle ranchers are determined to drive the "Nesters" out. As the screenplay quickly dissolves into a formula "B" 57-minute Western.

Seven years after "Oklahoma Renegades" and "Republic Pictures" was still using the same idea.

RUSTLERS OF DEVIL'S CANYON released on July 1, 1947.

Based on a popular "Sunday Newspaper Comic", radio program, and a 1940, "Cliff-Hanger". "B" Cowboy, "Red Ryder", played by Allan Lane, returns to Sioux City, Wyoming, as the Spanish American War is ending, and settles down at  ranch owned by his aunt's, known as "The Duchess", played by Martha Wentworth. 

There he reunites with his friend, the young Native American, "Little Beaver", played by Bobby Blake. Robert Blake, one of Hal Roach's original "Little Rascals" aka: "Our Gang", would be known for the motion pictures, 1967's, "In Cold Blood", and 1973's, "Electra Glide in Blue". Not to forget the television detective series, "Baretta", from 1975 through 1978.

"Red Ryder", "Little Beaver" and "Ryder's" other side-kick, "Blizzard", played by Emmett Lynn, above, go up against rustlers led by the town doctor.

There was also a 1947, "A" List, Western Melodrama Film-Noir, that used the Spanish American War as a plot device.

PURSUED released on March 2, 1947.

The motion picture was Directed by "One-Eyed", he lost one, Raul Walsh. Among Walsh's work are, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. in 1924's, "The Thief of Bagdad", John Wayne's first motion picture using that name, 1930's, "The Big Trail". the 1941 Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino, "High Sierra", written by John Huston, and the Errol Flynn, 1945, "Objective Burma".

The screenplay was by Niven Busch. Among Busch's screenplays are, the 1931 version of author Sinclair Lewis', "Babbitt", 1938's, "In Old Chicago", and he wrote the novel that 1946's, over sexed Western, "Duel in the Sun", starring Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotton, was based upon.

Teresa Wright portrayed "Thor Callum". Wright has third billing in 1942's, "Mrs. Miniver", starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. She starred in Director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1943's, "Shadow of Doubt", and co-starred in 1946's, "The Best Years of Our Lives".

Robert Mitchum portrayed "Jeb Rand". Mitchum was in the 1946 crime film-noir, "The Locket", and would follow this picture, co-starring with Robert Young and Robert Ryan, in the crime film-noir, 1947's, "Crossfire". Most people don't know that Mitchum was a singer with some hit songs. My article, "Robert Mitchum: 'The Anti-Hero Tough Guy' As A Motion Picture Singer", can be found at:

This excellent screenplay is truly a highbred of a Western, Melodrama and Film-Noir. The basic story has Mitchum's character growing up with nightmares about the slaughter of his family. The boy is the only survivor and "Mrs. Callum", played by Dame Judith Anderson, finds the frightened boy in the ruins of his home and raises him with her family.

The boy is growing up with beautiful "Thor Callum", and the two are falling in love, but the Spanish American War starts and the local officials are recruiting for the Army. "Jeb" and "Thor's" brother, "Adam", played by John Rodney, flip a coin to see who will go and represent the family and it is "Jeb".

When he returns from the war, the nightmares "Jeb" had forgotten have now returned with a vengeance. The nightmares will lead him to both "Thor" and the answers about his family's slaughter. That's all I will tell my reader about this must see very dark Western setting, Film-Noir.

Above, Dean Jagger as "Uncle Grant Callum".

Tell me, if you've heard this before?

"Republic Picture's" Westerns mentioning the Spanish American War came to a end in 1953. Cowboy actor, Allan Lane had switched, on October 1, 1947, after seven feature films playing "Red Ryder", to using his name as Roy Rodgers was doing for "Republic Pictures". Now, after 37 motion pictures as Allan "Rocky" Lane, his last film, "El Paso Stampede", was released on September 8, 1953.

The setting is Texas during the Spanish American War and "Rocky Lane", and his horse "Black Jack", have to go after rustlers on the Mexico border. The rustlers are stealing horses that are meant for Roosevelt's "Rough Riders".


The role of "Alice Clark", the girl in distress, Lane must rescue, was portrayed by Phyliss Coates. Who was already appearing on television as "Loris Lane", in "The Adventures of Superman".

ROUGH RIDERS premiered on television July 20 and 21, 1997.

Actor Tom Berenger had portrayed "Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet", in Ted Turner's 1993, "Gettysburg". He started pitching a story about "Theodore Roosevelt" and his "Rough Riders". He pitched the idea to Ted Turner, but that only led for the finished production to be shown on "TNT (Turner Network Television)" .

As a result, Berenger, became executive producer and brought in seven others to finance his $19 million dollar two-part television mini-series.

Hugh Wilson, "The Bob Newhart Show", "The Tony Randall Show", and "WKRP in Cincinnati", started co-writing the screenplay with Berenger. Wilson was also to Direct the mini-series, but "Creating Difficulties" between the two arose. Wilson left, and John Milius, the screenplay for 1979's, "Apocalypse Now", and, 1982's, "Conan the Barbarian", took over as the mini-series director also.

Among the cast:

Tom Berenger portrayed "Theodore Roosevelt", Sam Elliot portrayed "Captain Buck O'Neil", Gary Busey portrayed "General Joseph Wheeler", and Brian Keith portrayed "President McKinley".

Above, Tom Berenger, below, on the left, Buck Taylor as the fictional, "George Neville", and Sam Elliott.

Above Gary Busey, below Brian Keith.

The screenplay was full of inaccuracies and the July 17, 1997, issue of "Variety" described the mini-series perfectly, in my opinion, but left out that this was good old "B" Western hokum and very enjoyable.
it's not straight history, the name-dropping's something fierce, and fictional characters are mixed liberally with imaginary takes of legendary figures; the first two hours of the four-hour opus are colorful, the second disturbingly corny. "Rough Riders" is a rough, sometimes silly, take on extraordinary American history

Remove the commercial breaks and the actual running time was three-hours-and-four-minutes.


Below the charge up "San Juan Hill" and history Hollywood style.

Jan Sterling: Lingerie - Fate - and a Motion Picture Career

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