The Over-the-Hill Gang
|The Over-the-Hill Gang|
|Written by||Jameson Brewer
|Directed by||Jean Yarbrough|
Gypsy Rose Lee
|Country of origin||US|
|Cinematography||Henry Cronjager Jr.|
|Running time||75 min.|
|Followed by||The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again
Once Upon a Texas Train
The Over-the-Hill Gang is a 1969 TV-movie Western comedy about aging Texas Rangers starring Walter Brennan and Pat O'Brien. Chill Wills, Edgar Buchanan, Andy Devine, and Jack Elam play supporting roles. The film was written by Richard Carr and directed by Jean Yarbrough.
The plot concerns a young newspaper editor who is conducting a campaign to unseat the town's "tinhorn mayor." The mayor is backed by a "gun-happy sheriff" and a "whiskey-soaked judge." The editor's campaign receives a boost when he is joined by a former Texas Ranger and "three of the fightin'-est straight shooters around."
A sequel called The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again was produced the following year, with Brennan, Wills, Buchanan, Devine, and Burt Mustin reprising their roles while Fred Astaire replaced O'Brien as the second lead. Both movies doubled as a pilot for a projected weekly series, but ABC ultimately passed on the idea.
In 1971, George Allen became the head coach of the Washington Redskins and he began to acquire many veteran players to bolster the Redskins depleted roster. In reference to this movie, the Redskins were nicknamed, "The Over-the-Hill Gang."
- Walter Brennan as Nash Crawford
- Pat O'Brien as Captain Oren Hayes
- Chill Wills as Gentleman George Asque
- Edgar Buchanan as Jason Fitch
- Gypsy Rose Lee as Cassie
- Andy Devine as Judge Amos Polk
- Jack Elam as Sheriff Clyde Barnes
- Edward Andrews as Mayor Nard Lundy
- Ricky Nelson as Jeff Rose
- Kristin Harmon as Hannah Rose (as Kristen Nelson)
- William Smith as Amos
- Myron Healey as Deputy Tucker
- Burt Mustin as Old Man
- Almira Sessions as Mrs. Fletcher
- Robert Karnes as Sheriff
- Dennis Cross as Sheriff
- William 'Billy' Benedict as Joe (Telegrapher)
The main characters appeared nearly 20 years later in 1988 thanks to writer/director Burt Kennedy as secondary players to an outlaw portrayed by Willie Nelson, with legendary Western stars portraying them. Richard Widmark co-stars as Captain Oren Hayes, Chuck Connors as Nash Crawford, Jack Elam as Jason Fitch and Stuart Whitman as Gentleman George Asque. Elam had the distinction of being one of the bad guys in the original to becoming one of the good guys in the semi-remake, which centers around the former Texas Rangers trying to capture an "over-the-hill" outlaw gang led by Nelson in Once Upon a Texas Train.
- TV Guide, October 4–10, 1969, p A-58
- The Over-the-Hill Gang at the Internet Movie Database
- The Over-the-Hill Gang is available for free download at the Internet Archive