Monday, February 26, 2007


Centennial Tributes: Saluting an Old Coot

By Edward Copeland
100 years ago today, one of the most familiar faces and least-familiar names in acting, particularly Westerns, was born. Dub Taylor died in 1994, shortly after he made his last screen appearance as a room clerk in the film remake of Maverick. It seems appropriate that his last credit was in the genre for which he was most strongly identified, but Taylor's work did venture outside the Old West. Taylor's first film credit was in Frank Capra's Oscar-winning You Can't Take It With You and was soon followed with an uncredited part in Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. From 1939-1949, he also appeared in dozens of short Westerns, many with Bill Elliott, and usually as a character named Cannonball.

Taylor proved to be a staple of many Western films and Western-theme TV shows such as Little House on the Prairie, How the West Was Won, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Big Valley, The Wild Wild West and Death Valley Days. However, Taylor's ample TV work led him to some surprising series both dramatic (McMillan and Wife, Emergency! Hawaii Five-O, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Twilight Zone and Perry Mason) and comic (Dennis the Menace, I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, The Odd Couple, Designing Women and The Cosby Show). Some of his episodic television appearances came in shows you wouldn't expect a veteran Western character actor to appear such as The Mod Squad, The Monkees, The Partridge Family and even Love, American Style.

Sam Peckinpah used Taylor often, even if the roles tended to be brief uncredited cameos. He worked with the director on Major Dundee, The Wild Bunch, Junior Bonner, The Getaway and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. He even used his voice talents in the animated film The Rescuers, dealt cards in The Cincinnati Kid and combined the Western genre he knew so well with sci-fi in Back to the Future Part III.

Of all the films on Dub Taylor's resume, my guess is the one which he will be remembered most for is Bonnie and Clyde, where he played the father of C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard) and led the robbers to their fateful ambush to save his son while he hid from the barrage of gunfire.

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I absolutely adore Taylor in The Wild Bunch. A small role, but he really helps make that dynamite opening scene, and throws himself into that fiery monologue: "Does anyone really think that is the PRICE OF A DRINK!?"
There is a feature length production on Dub's life set to premiere in April, "That Guy: The Legacy of Dub Taylor"

The website is
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