Hellbent for Letterbox

Paxton Holley (Nerd Lunch, Cult Film Club) and Michael May (Dragonfly Ripple, Starmaggedon) talk Westerns in movies and sometimes other media.
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Hellbent for Letterbox



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Jun 23, 2017

On this Hitchin' Post Michael and Pax discuss the two reunion movies for The Wild Wild West starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin.  We also delve into the 1999 Wild Wild West movie with Will Smith and Kevin Kline.  

Jun 22, 2017

This time on Hellbent Pax and Michael discuss the 1965 TV series The Wild Wild West starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin.  We talk about the stars, we talk about the villains, we go all through our favorite episodes.  It's a deep dive into the 4 season long TV series.

Jun 5, 2017

Michael and Pax finally watch the epic classic from directors Henry Hathaway, John Ford, and George Marshall; starring Carroll Baker, Debbie Reynolds, Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck, and George Peppard. And with cameos by everyone else alive at the time.

Does it live up to its reputation? Will the fellas finally be able to tell it apart from Once Upon a Time in the West? Only one way to find out.

Also: Pony Express mail and quick reviews of The Way West (1967) and The War Wagon (1967).

Apr 28, 2017

This episode Michael and Pax delve back into the world of spaghetti westerns with the Lee Van Cleef vehicle, Sabata, about a supernaturally accurate gun for hire and the crazy cast of characters he meets on the job.  

Apr 15, 2017

Michael and Pax deal with the shock of realizing that Tom Gries' 100 Rifles is not the light-hearted heist movie they expected from the cast of Jim Brown, Raquel Welch, and Burt Reynolds. But before they get to that, there's some discussion of the TV show Rawhide, the comic book Brimstone, and the 1965 film Cat Ballou.

Closing music for this episode by Daniel Pemberton from his score to The Man from UNCLE (2015).

Apr 2, 2017

Much of our discussion with guest Chris Schweizer happened outside of the shows we recorded.  Here's a part of our discussion where we talk about a bunch of different western movies and books.

Mar 30, 2017

Michael and Pax are once again joined by Chris Schweizer to talk about Lawrence Kasdan's 1994 historical biopic, Wyatt Earp, starring Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid.  And a literal cast of thousands.  We talk a bit about the history of the movie, we talk about Costner during the mid 90s, we also compare this movie a lot with Tombstone.  It's a good juicy discussion.  Join us!

Mar 13, 2017

After a brief in memoriam for Bill Paxton, Michael and Pax are joined by historical-adventure comics writer/artist Chris Schweizer (The Crogan Adventures) for the first part of an OK Corral double-feature. Chris brings his extensive knowledge of the turbulent making of Tombstone as well as the original script. What works, what doesn't, and how did the movie get that way? We talk about it all in this extra meaty discussion. 

And in "Whatchoo Been Westernin'?" we cover Jeff Guinn's book The Last Gunfight, the recent Western episode of Timeless, and a couple of not-so-recent episodes of Tales of Wells Fargo.

Jan 27, 2017

In this episode of Hellbent Michael and Pax discuss the 1985 ensemble western Silverado starring Scott Glenn, Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, Kevin Costner, Brian Dennehy and Jeff Goldblum.  

Jan 13, 2017

Pax and Michael dig into the first '30s Western on the podcast, George Marshall's Destry Rides Again starring Marlene Dietrich and Jimmy Stewart. And in "Whatcha Been Westerning," Michael recommends The Duel (2016) starring Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth.

Dec 29, 2016

Pax and Michael discuss the 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma starring Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Ben Foster, Peter Fonda and Alan Tudyk.

Dec 13, 2016

Pax and Michael discuss one of Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott's many collaborations. Ride Lonesome also stars James Best, Pernell Roberts, James Coburn, Karen Steele, and Lee Van Cleef. Plus: Season 1 of Westworld and Marvel's Apache Skies mini-series by John Ostrander and Leonardo Manco.

Nov 16, 2016

This week Pax and Michael discuss the 1989 TV series, The Young Riders, starring Ty Miller, Stephen Baldwin and Josh Brolin.   We talk about the premise of the show, the obvious connections to the Young Guns franchise and whether or not we thought it succeeded on its own merits.

Oct 28, 2016

Pax and Michael discuss Danish director Kristian Levring's The Salvation, starring Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Also: HBO's WestworldWarlock (1959), Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957), and listener mail!

Oct 14, 2016

Before he was Doctor McCoy, DeForest Kelley was a cowboy. On this Hitchin' Post episode of Hellbent for Letterbox, Michael visits with author Kristine M Smith whose freelance writing career was launched by DeForest Kelley in 1969. It was DeForest and his wife Carolyn who encouraged Kris to try Hollywood on for size, which she did from 1989 to 2003. Most of Kris’s Hollywood career was spent at Warner Bros. Studios.

Kris served as Mr. Kelley’s personal assistant and caregiver during the final months of his life and presented heartfelt sentiments about her mentor at Paramount Studios' memorial service for him in 1999.

She has written two books about him: DeForest Kelley Up Close and Personal, A Harvest of Memories from the Fan Who Knew Him Best (2016) and The Enduring Legacy of DeForest Kelley: Actor, Healer, Friend.

For an extensive list of DeForest Kelley’s motion picture and TV westerns with links to information about each one and additional links to snippets of his performances, visit Kris' website at You can also find reviews and excerpts from her books there.

Also visit Cowboys & Indians magazine for information on the November-December issue - on newsstands NOW as this episode is being released - featuring Kris' article about Kelley's Westerns. 

Oct 10, 2016

Pax and Michael are joined again by DiGio and Bloom of the Classic Film Jerks podcast. One of our favorite parts of the Classic Film Jerks show is when they re-cast older movies with modern actors, so we did that with 1988's Young Guns, each of us picking new actors to play the six main characters and maybe a side character or three. 

Oct 4, 2016

Michael and Pax welcome our very first guests this episode.  We are joined by Digio and Bloom from the Classic Film Jerks podcast and all four of us discuss the classic western remake, The Magnificent Seven, starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke.

Sep 16, 2016

Pax and Michael get ready for the upcoming remake by sitting down with the original Magnificent Seven starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Brad Dexter, Horst Buchholz, and Eli Wallach.

We also revisit DC's Justice Riders, talk over Chuck Dixon and John Buscema's Punisher: A Man Named Frank, discuss Sam Shepard as Butch Cassidy in Blackthorn, follow up on Bo Hampton's 3 Devils, converse on Kid Colt Outlaw #171 (guest-starring the Two-Gun Kid), and gab about early John Wayne movies Sagebrush Trail and Riders of Destiny.

Sep 8, 2016

In this special Hitchin' Post Michael and Pax delve a little bit more into Sergio Leone's influences by discussing the 1961 samurai classic Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa which was the influence behind A Fistful of Dollars.  We also discuss the 1998 TV movie Dollar for the Dead starring Emilio Estevez which itself was inspired by Leone's Dollars Trilogy.

Sep 2, 2016

In this episode, Pax and Michael finish Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy with the epic The Good, the Bad and the Ugly starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach. It's the longest of the trilogy, but is it the best? And how does it fit in with the other two?

Tune in as we hash that out, right after a discussion of the Weird Western comic The Sixth Gun, William R. Cox's novel The Gunsharp, the 1967 film Hombre, DC's Justice Riders, and "The Origin of Kid Colt" from Kid Colt, Outlaw #170. 

All this and listener mail!

Aug 26, 2016

Pax and Michael continue exploring the Dollars Trilogy with the second installment, For a Few Dollars More, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and a bunch of Sergio Leone's other favorite actors. We talk about the difference in Eastwood's character between Fistful of Dollars and this one, and we also start the discussion of whether or not the Dollars Trilogy works as a straightforward story of one man's adventures in the West. Plus: much love for Van Cleef and Gian Maria Volontè.

In our "Whatchoo Been Westerning?" segment, we cover the Vertigo comics series El Diablo by Brian Azzarello and Danijel Zezelj, John Ostrander and Leonardo Manco's Blaze of Glory for Marvel, Alejandro Iñárritu's film The Revenant, and Elmore Leonard's classic novel Hombre.

Aug 18, 2016

In this episode Mike and Pax start their three episode look at Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy.  We start with the movie that made Clint Eastwood a star, 1964's A Fistful of Dollars.  We talk about our history with this movie, we talk about Clint's performance, Ennio Morricone's score and we even discuss the rarely seen 4 minute CBS TV prologue filmed with Harry Dean Stanton.

Jul 22, 2016

At last! Pax and Michael discuss one of the greatest Westerns of all time. Or at least, certainly one of their very favorites. Grab your feather cape and gather 'round the campfire as we talk about the comedy classic starring Tom Berenger, GW Bailey, Marilu Henner, Sela Ward, Andy Griffith, and Carson from Downton Abbey.

Also up for discussion are the comic book series Six-Gun Gorilla, Trailblazer, and The Sixth Gun, the role-playing game Deadlands (which Michael can't remember the name of), Gary Cooper in 1929's The Virginian, Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson's Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights, and the pulp magazine adventures of Senorita Scorpion. 

Jul 1, 2016

Michael and Pax this week are watching the John Ford classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance starring Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Lee Marvin, Vera Miles, Lee Van Cleef and Woody Strode.  Before we talk about the movie we mention other things we're doing like reading the comics Galveston, Manifest Destiny, Kid Colt Outlaw and watching the movie The Big Trail starring a young John Wayne. 87bbvdpk

Jun 17, 2016

Pax and Michael bring noodles and meatballs to the campfire with the podcast's first Spaghetti Western episode. It's the Sergio Leone classic, How the West... no, wait... Once Upon a Time in the West. Keep getting those confused. Pax also shares Western reads To Hell on a Fast Horse and the two Rawhide Kid mini-series, Slap Leather and The Sensational Seven. Michael discusses the weirdness of the Shirley Temple short, Pie-Covered Wagon.

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