An Interview With Harry
Carry Jr. by Tim Lasiuta
On March 30, 2000 I was privileged
to speak to Harry Carey Jr., the son of stuntman and Hollywood legend, Harry
Carey Sr, and a legend in his own right.
a western fan for some years now, I loved watching John Wayne, the Ringo Kid
crawl under the moving stagecoach only to come up from the back, relatively
years later, as Indiana Jones performed the same magic, I remembered the
man responsible for the original stunt, and the impact he had on the industry.
Harry Carey Sr was remarkable, and his son, in his own way, has followed
in his large footsteps, and has blazed his own path in a different era
I'm a writer up in Canada.
my goodness, you're a long ways away.
was going to ask you a few questions about movies you've been in, what stars
you've worked with, and you general impressions of the industry.
had an article in American Cowboy a couple of months ago.
HC: Oh yeah.
Tim: That was a great interview.
that was really nice. A nice
picture of Marilyn and myself, and the house.
It was very nice.
living room looks like Iíd like mine to be someday.
I tell you. We live a couple of minutes from town. We live in the woods, it's very pleasant.
We've been here 11 years now. Durango
is down in South East Colorado, not near Denver.
Very nice to live here.
said in another interview that your favorite movie of all time is "The
HC: It's not my favorite role. I got killed early in, but it is the best film I was ever in.
do you mean best? Actors?
it was just a great story. It had
some great actors. John Ford
directed, I think it was the best he ever made.
Did you ever work with your dad?
Well, I was in one picture with him.
We were never in the same scene in "Red River".
"Red River" of course, starred John Wayne and Montgomery Cliff.
I was in the beginning, and my father was in the end.
It was the last film my father ever made.
He passed away shortly after that.
In all your life, what has been your favorite role?
Stuntman, actor, writer, father?
I guess it would be father of some wonderful kids.
They're all grown up now. They're
in their 40's and 50's. I think the
best role I ever had was in the beginning of my career.
It was called "The Three Godfathers."
I played a lot of small parts too. I
haven't been a 'star', but I've been a supporting actor all my life.
Did you ever work with Roy Rogers.
I never worked with Roy. I worked
with John Wayne on 11 movies, and I worked with Richard Whitmarch, William
Logan, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart five times, and a lot of different stars, but
never Roy Rogers. I hate to say,
that he made B Westerns, I was fortunate to be in A Westerns.
did make B Westerns, but in some ways, they had more impact that A Westerns.
People seem to remember the might B's more fondly.
Your wife was saying that you had received an award recently.
About 2 weeks ago, there's an outfit in Fort Collins, Colorado called
Investment Arms, and they presented me with a rifle which is on display in town.
It's got 24 carat gold all over and my career engraved on it.
It's a beautiful piece of work. Just
Harry Carey Jr Investment Arms Issue
thing I appreciate about the old westerns versus the new westerns that are out
is the level of bloodshed.
overdone that I think.
watched I don't know how many episodes of Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, and
movies and you don't see any blood. A
guy gets shot, he falls down. You
know he's dead.
started with a movie called the "Wild Bunch". It was a wonderful movie but that was the beginning of the
blood shed stuff. That set the
stage for it, and everybody started copying it.
That set the stage for movie 'realism', I guess.
show a guy with his chest burst open and that ain't the way it happens.
The bullet goes out the back you know.
I liked "Unforgiven" in some parts.
As a whole it was well done, and it is the last Western to win an Oscar.
It was a good movie. I don't
think that they needed all that swearing and sex.
I donít think the westerns are going to make a comeback until there's
another tall rangy guy that'll fit the role.
There are no rangy type roles any more.
There are rangy actors, but they are not using them.
that's right. I watch Walker, Texas
Ranger every Saturday, and my favorite episodes are the flashbacks. I think they
Yeah, they are.
They did one flashback episode that had a connection I missed the first
time I watched it. Walker goes back
in time to help a native youth get justice.
He has to leave the buck and his mother, and he gives the boy a bullet to
seal his pledge that he would return. I
was thinking, how close to the Lone Ranger can you get?
There are other connections to the Lone Ranger in Walker as well.
Yeah, I did the Lone Ranger many years ago.
I worked with Clayton Moore. He
was a terrifically nice guy. The
schedule in those days was torture. We
shot those things in 2 1/2 to 3
days. That's why Clayton Moore quit
the show. They just didn't take
enough time to produce the show. It
was just wearing him out. He quit
for a while, and they had to get him back.
I think Clayton Moore was born to be the Lone Ranger.
He really was. He was, as I
said, a real nice guy.
John Hart was good.
He (John Hart) just didn't look right.
You know, there's one promising thing.
A lot of young people in their teens and little kids are watching
westerns. There's quite a few
little kids that love the old Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry's.
I take a look at the future of westerns, like you say, unless there's a
tall lanky guy, they won't make a comeback.
He'd be a star for it.
It might be an unknown that does something amazing.
I think that's probably what will happen.
What would an ideal western look like if you had to cast it?
What would it look like, and who would star in it?
The two guys I would have in it, and they're not young anymore are Tom
Selleck and Sam Elliot. They're both great and they ride well, and look like western
They both have that rugged look, and can ride a horse and be convincing.
They're good. I know both of
those guys. I played both their
One last thing. Your wife
said at the award ceremony two weeks ago "Let's get the movies out of the
bedroom, and outdoors,"
Amen. Good luck.