Merry Christmas, everyone! On this special holiday episode of Westerns With Dad, we’re discussing the little-seen 1997 Canadian TV production, Ebenezer! Starring noted Western stars Jack Palance and Ricky Schroeder, it’s an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ oft-adapted classic, A Christmas Carol, reset in the Old West. Utterly inessential, clearly not intended for posterity, and fairly half-assed in every aspect of production, it works best as a clear demonstration of both Jack Palance’s dynamic charisma and the utter indestructibility of the Dickens story. This ends up being a bit of a love letter to both Palance (oh, so many impersonations), and to the original story and its myriad adaptations, many of which we reflect on. The general agreement is that the Alastair Sim version is the best. We detail the strange decisions and adaptation choices made in transposing this story to the Old West, covering such topics of conversation as the the hugely underwhelming ghosts, particularly the largely unremarked-on Native American Christmas Past, imagined head canon for Fred Scrooge’s arrival in the Canadian frontier, Palance reading EE Cummings, the strange, presumably-Canadian uniforms the constabulary wears, and a brief accounting of some of our favorite other Christmas films, with a digression on the current whereabouts of Christmas Vacation’s Randy Quaid, now a mythic folk hero.

We also discuss the new Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, which we both liked quiet a bit. We’ll be back in January with the frequently requested 70s classic, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid! In the meantime, you can reach us online at westernswithdad.com, where you can download older episodes of the podcast that have dropped off iTunes (such as the Balance starring Shane and City Slickers). You can email us as well, at westernswithdad@gmail.com, where you can ask us questions of suggest future episodes, and speaking of iTunes, why not rate or review the show there to increase our search engine viability! As we have no presence on Twitter or Reddit, it’s the only means we have of promoting the show! Happy Holidays!

Ebenezer was directed by Ken Jubenvill and stars Jack Palance and Ricky Schroeder, which is about it.

TRUE GRIT 1969 & 2010!!

On this belated episode, we are talking about both versions of the Charlie Portis novel True Grit! The original, from 1969, is famously the film that won John Wayne his Oscar, and the 2010 remake from the Coen Brothers! Both are great, as it turns out, and surprisingly similar in a number of ways (largely owing to the use of Portis’ dialogue, we assume, having not read the original book). Both are largely esteemed classics of the genre, well worth your time, although they’re so beloved you’ve probably seen one or both already. Topics of conversation include a merciless comparison of each film’s lead performance (in which Dad discovers a new appreciation of Kim Darby), a few digressions on the Coens filmography, the popularity of Jeff Bridges’ performance as Rooster Cogburn and his attempts to reuse it in the following years, and a fair number of impersonations, of Bridges, Wayne, Robert Duvall, and Josh Brolin’s mush-mouthed villain Tom Chaney. Thanks for waiting for us on our late holiday schedule!

We talk a little about current Western projects to keep an eye on, and other recent viewings (Dad’s umpteenth viewing of A Christmas Story, and my appreciation of Guillermo del Toro’s latest, a interspecies romance set during the Red Scare, The Shape of Water. In the next episode of Westerns With Dad, we’ll be talking about a barely known Canadian TV movie entitled Ebenezer, a Western-set Christmas Carol retelling starring Jack Palance! Who knows how that’ll go!

True Grit 1969 stars John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glen Campbell and Robert Duvall. True Grit 2010 stars Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin.