Riders of Destiny

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Riders of Destiny
Film poster
Directed byRobert N. Bradbury
Produced byPaul Malvern
Written byRobert N. Bradbury
CinematographyArchie Stout
Edited byCarl Pierson
Distributed byMonogram Pictures
Release date
  • October 10, 1933 (1933-10-10) (USA)
Running time
53 minutes
CountryUnited States
Riders of Destiny

Riders of Destiny is a 1933 pre-Code Western musical film starring 26-year-old John Wayne as Singin' Sandy Saunders, the screen's second singing cowboy (the first being Ken Maynard in the 1929 film The Wagon Master). It was the first of a series of Lone Star Westerns made for Monogram Pictures by Wayne and director Robert N. Bradbury and the first pairing of Wayne with George "Gabby" Hayes.


John Wayne as Saunders

Wayne's singing voice was dubbed, and the film is considerably darker than the Gene Autry singing cowboy movies that followed it; for example, Singin' Sandy's ten-gallon hat was black instead of white and he would grimly chant about "streets soon running with blood" and "you'll be drinking your drinks with the dead" as he strode purposefully down the street toward a showdown. The supporting cast includes George "Gabby" Hayes, the acrobatic comedian Al St. John, and the stuntman Yakima Canutt. The movie was written and directed by Robert N. Bradbury. It was the first of the Lone Star Productions released through Monogram Pictures.

Wayne's dubbed singing, which bore no resemblance to his unique speaking voice, was the reason he soon abandoned the singing cowboy format, as he later played a singing cowboy—though not Singin' Sandy—at least once, in Lawless Range, but he was embarrassed during personal appearances when he couldn't accommodate children who clamored for a Singin' Sandy song. Gene Autry was chosen by the studio as Wayne's replacement in the new genre, immediately solving the live singing problem while ushering in a much lighter take on the format than Wayne's grimly intense rendition.


Theatrical poster

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