Film Festivals

Film Festivals 2

Film Festivals 3

  

Media
Listen to the cast of the AFRS Ranch House Party perfom a Christmas skit
Films
From the Movie "Feudin' Rhythm", 1949.

Carolina had 17 B Western films to her credit, and that doesn't count the many shorts and soundies she made. She worked alongside such greats as Gene Autry, Ken Curtis, Smiley Burnette, Gail Davis, Eddie Arnold, The Hoosier Hot Shots, Charles Starett...the list goes on. And each film has a story all its own:

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FILM HISTORY
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(quotes are Carolina's recollections, from interviews and conversations)


It was a chance meeting with Johnny Marvin that opened the door for the Yodeling Blonde Bombshell's movie career. Marvin invited Carolina to be in a movie, which led to her relocating from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He introduced her to Spade Cooley, who happened to be working on a film or two, in 1944. Once Carolina moved to Hollywood and became a member of the Spade Cooley Orchestra, it wasn't long before she began appearing in B Westerns, as well as the early music videos, known as "soundies".

Carolina's first film appearance was in the Republic movie "Sing Neighbor Sing" (Brad Taylor, Ruth Terry, Roy Acuff), in '44. "I was supposed to have a bigger part", she used to say. "But after eating in the Studio cafeteria, I came down with Tomain food poisoning!" (no joke, either). "So I was only in a couple of scenes".

Around the same time "Neighbor" was made, Miss Cotton appeared in the Universal film "The Singing Sheriff", with Bob Crosby. She did an 8-bar yodel with the Spade Cooley Orchestra in a dance scene:

"I'd stand in front of the mirror (at home), and practice for hours...just to look right when I'd sing 'Yodelady-hoo' !"

(Accounts differ, whether "Neighbor" or "Sheriff" was actually Cotton's first movie. Carolina usually referred to "Neighbor" as being made first.)



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Watch the Yodeling Blonde Bombshell perform in one of her first pictures, "The Singing Sheriff" (1944)

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Media
clip / The Singing Sheriff
Click on the photo to view the entire movie, "I'm From Arkansas"
In "I"m From Arkansas" (PRC Pictures), Carolina got to sing her self-penned tune, "I Love to Yodel". She later sang this tune in 3 other films, proving it to be a favorite among fans:

"It was so funny...all these great musicians (in the film), like Jimmy Wakely and Merle Travis--all playing the part of 'comic hillbillies' !"

(Visit the Home page to view a clip from "I'm From Arkansas").

In 1945, Carolina signed with Columbia Pictures, staying with the Studio (for the most part) the rest of her film career. "Outlaws of the Rockies" was another film featuring Cooley's band. It was the first of 3 Durango Kid (Charles Starrett) movies Cotton appeared in, and the first of several directed by Ray Nazzaro. It was in "Outlaws" that Carolina first learned to ride on a horse:

"Ray Nazarro asked me if I could ride and I said yes...and I couldn't. I talked to some of the wranglers that morning...they looked at the script and they said, 'All you have to do is ride in and then get off the horse'. So I was doin' fine...when an airplane went over and so we had to do it over again...So they kept doin' the scene over to get me back on that horse and everybody was kiddin' me. So right there I decided I was going to learn how to ride."

(She went on to be voted the Outstanding Horsewoman of the country, by the Southern California Horseowners Association. Visit the Appearances page for a list of her Equestrian events).


One more picture was made with Spade Cooley, "Texas Panhandle"-- the 2nd Durango Kid movie.


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See Carolina in her first equestrian adventure, in "Outlaws of the Rockies"

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Media
clip / Outlaws of the Rockies

When Cotton left Spade Cooley's band and joined the Deuce Spriggens Orchestra in '45, she didn't miss a beat. She made 4 movies with Spriggens' band, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, Ken Curtis, and the Hoosier Hotshots: "Song of the Prairie" (1945), "That Texas Jamboree" (1946), "Cowboy Blues" (1946), and "Singing on the Trail" (1946). In these films, Carolina's role was reduced to singing with the Orchestra, but produced some memorable musical moments, like the novelty song "I'd Love to Be a Cowgirl (But I' m Afraid of Cows)", from "That Texas Jamboree".

By 1947, the Yodeling Blonde Bombshell was on her own, and began to expand her own horizons. When she wasn't touring with Bob Wills, recording or making personal appearances across the country, she continued making B Westerns for Columbia. "Smoky River Serenade" once again featured the Hoosier Hot Shots, Ruth Terry, Paul Campbell and one of her friends from Radio, Cottonseed Clark.

In 1948, she appeared in her 2nd film with Roy Acuff and past costar Big Boy Williams, "Smoky Mountain Melody". Little "TV" Tommy Ivo was in this picture, the 1st of 3 with Carolina.

1949 marked a change in Miss Cotton's acting career. Breaking away briefly from Columbia, Carolina co-starred in Astor Pictures' "Stallion Canyon", with old pal Ken Curtis. In this Western, she played more of a leading role.

Carolina was back at Columbia by the end of 1949, playing bigger and better parts than her past roles at that Studio. In "Feudin' Rhythm" (Eddy Arnold, Gloria Henry, Kirby Grant), she performed "Put Your Shoes On Lucy", a rarity she recorded on the Mastertone label. Tommy Ivo appears in this film as well.


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Enjoy an excerpt of Carolina performing "Put Your Shoes On Lucy", from the Eddy Arnold movie "Feudin' Rhythm"

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Media
clip / Feudin' Rhythm

"Hoedown" (1950) was the 2nd Eddie Arnold picture made, and Carolina played opposite Jock Mahoney. "It was my favorite picture to make", she often said. (It's definitely one of the funniest).

(1951 was the only year Cotton didn't have a film released. She kept plenty busy, though, with TV, radio, recording, and touring).


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View Miss Cotton in one of her personal favorites, "Hoedown"
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Media
clip / Hoedown

Another boost in the Yodeling Blonde Bombshell's film career came when she was asked to star in 2 movies with Gene Autry. In "Apache Country" (1952, Autry, Pat Buttram, Harry Lauter, Mary Scott, Iron Eyes Cody), she played even more of a leading role...a lively cowgirl, much like the role she would have played in her elusive TV adventure series, "Queen of the Range".

Miss Cotton made one more Durango Kid movie, "Rough Tough West". Again playing a starring role alongside Jock Mahoney (and the 3rd time with Tommy Ivo), she sang "Cause I'm In Love" with longtime friend Smiley Burnette, and Pee Wee King.

Carolina's last film was her second Autry picture in 1952, "Blue Canadian Rockies" (Pat Buttram, Gail Davis). She gave an alluring stage performance of her MGM song "Lovin' Ducky Daddy", and also sang "Yodel Yodel Yodel".

What happened to her film career? "They stopped making B Westerns!", she'd laugh. Luckily, her 17 films still exist, in one form or another. Most can be found in VHS or DVD format. (thankfully, Autry Entertainment has just restored both "Apache Country" and "Blue Canadian Rockies").

Film Festivals share these movies with enthusiasts across the country. Carolina attended such Festivals through the 1980s and early '90s, alongside Western stars Gail Davis, Lash LaRue, Eddie Dean, "Arkansas" Slim, Harry Lauter and others.

It looks like Carolina's films and other B Westerns are assured a future, so we can all enjoy another ride down the old black and white Celluloid Trail.

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CAROLINA COTTON FILMOGRAPHY:

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1. Sing Neighbor Sing (1944,Republic).....herself (college girl)
songs: Blake College Song, Sing Neighbor Sing (yodel)

2. The Singing Sheriff (1944,Universal).....herself, with Spade Cooley Orch.
songs: Ida Red (8 bar yodel)

3. I'm from Arkansas (1944, PRC)................Abby Alden
songs: I Love to Yodel

4. Outlaws of the Rockies (1945, Columbia)........herself, w/Spade Cooley Orch.
(aka A Roving Rogue)--UK
songs: Happy on the Prairie, Do Ya or Don't Ya

5. Texas Panhandle (1945, Columbia)................herself, w/Spade Cooley Orch.
songs: I Love to Yodel, Take Me Back to Tulsa

6. Song of the Prairie (1945, Columbia)............herself, w/ Deuce Spriggens Orch.
(aka Sentiment and Song)--UK
songs: Fireball Mail

7. That Texas Jamboree (1946, Columbia).......herself, w/Deuce Spriggens Orch.
(aka Medicine Man)
songs: When Payday Rolls Around, I'd Love to Be a Cowgirl (But I'm Afraid of Cows), Down the Trail to San Antone

8. Cowboy Blues (1946, Columbia).................herself, w/ Deuce Spriggens Orch
(aka Beneath the Starry Skies)
songs: I'm Thinking Tonight of my Blue Eyes, I Been Down in Texas

9. Singing on the Trail (1946, Columbia).......herself, w/ Deuce Spriggens Orch.
(aka Lookin' For Someone)--UK
songs: What's the Matter With You, Wabash Cannonball, Singing on the Trail
(yodels)

10. Smoky River Serenade (1947, Columbia).......herself
(aka The Threat)
songs: I Love to Yodel

11. Smoky Mountain Melody (1948, Columbia).......Perky Durkin
songs: It's Party Time on the Prairie

12. Stallion Canyon (1949, Kanab/Astor).................Ellen Collins
(aka Wild Horse Range)
songs: In the Hills of Utah (harmonies)

13. Feudin' Rhythm (1949, Columbia)........................................herself
(aka Ace Lucky)--UK
songs: Put Your Shoes On Lucy

14. Hoedown (1950, Columbia)........................................herself
songs: I Betcha I Getcha, Where Has My Little Dog Gone

15. Apache Country (1952, Columbia)...................herself
songs: And The Covered Wagon Rolled Right Along, I Love to Yodel, Crime
Will Never Pay

16. The Rough, Tough West (1952, Columbia)......herself
songs: You Gotta Get a Gun (and Go After the Guy), Cause I'm in Love

17. Blue Canadian Rockies (1952, Columbia).......herself
songs: Yodel Yodel Yodel, Lovin' Ducky Daddy

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For more detail on movies / soundies with Carolina Cotton, click on this film strip to visit the International Movie Database (IMDB). NOTE: their info is incomplete and, in some cases, incorrect. We are trying to keep in contact with IMDB, to update the information.

SOUNDIES:

1. I Love to Yodel (1944, Soundies Dist Co of America #644-1-4).....w/ Spade Cooley and His Western Dance Gang

2. Take Me Back to Tulsa (6/1944, Soundies Dist Co of America #17501).....w/ Spade Cooley & His Western Dance Gang

(Cooley & Tiny Hunt/fiddle, Tex Williams/vocal, Smokey Rogers/gtr, Pedro DePaul/accordion, Johnny Weiss/ld gtr, Deuce Spriggens & Carolina/bass, Bob Morrison/drums).

3. My Wubba Dolly (aka The Rubber Dolly Song) (1944)....................................w/ Spade Cooley and His Western Dance Gang

4. Why Did I Fall for Abner (6/1945, Soundies Dist Corp of America # 21002).............................w/ Merle Travis

5. When the Bloom is On the Sage (6/1945, Soundies Dist Corp of America #21205)..............w/ Merle Travis

6. Texas Home (6/1945, Soundies Dist Corp of America #21406).................................................w/ Merle Travis, Tex Atchison

7. Wabash Cannonball (1946)..................................w/ Deuce Spriggens and His Band

8. Sioux City Sue (1946).............................................w/ Deuce Spriggens and His Band

9. Missouri's Calling Me
(1945-46)...........................w/ Deuce Spriggens and His Band (Hank Penny, vocal)

10. Down the Trail to San Antone (1946, RCM Prod/Soundies Dist Corp of America #23405)................w/Deuce Spriggens and His Band

11. I'd Love to Be a Cowgirl (But I'm Afraid of Cows) (6/1946, RCM Prod, Soundies Dist Corp of America #23801).............................w/ Deuce Spriggens and His Band

12. If You Ever Come to Texas
(1946)..............................w/ Deuce Spriggens and His Band

13. When Pay Day Rolls Around
(1946)..............................w/ Deuce Spriggens and His Band

14. Yodel Mountain (ca 9/51, Studio Films Inc/Snader Telescriptions #10101)..........w/ Bob Wills

15. Three Miles South of Cash in Arkansas (ca 9/51, Studio Films Inc/Snader Telescriptions #10102)...w/ Bob Wills

(Carolina Cotton/vocal, Bob Wills & Joe Holley/fiddle, Skeeter Elkin/piano, Joe Ferguson/bass, Bobby Koefer/steel gtr, Paul McGhee/drums, Ocie Stockard/tenor banjo, Cotton Whittington/electric gtr)



MISC. SOUNDIE COMPILATIONS, SHORTS:

1. King of the Western Swing (1944-45, Warner Bros.).........w/ Spade Cooley Orch.

2. Melody Stampede (1944-45, Universal)................................w/ Spade Cooley Orch.

3. Hoosier Hot Shots Musicals (1945-46, Columbia)..............unknown, possibly clips from various
films, Carolina Cotton w/Deuce Spriggens Orch.)

4. Speaking of Animals (1944, Paramount), episode "The Hill-Billies"......animal voiceover- yodels (Daisy Dog)
(There may have been other episodes)

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These are all the known films featuring Carolina Cotton. There are many
yet-undiscovered shorts, etc in which she was featured.


Media
Back in 1944, the Yodeling Blonde Bombshell made her music video debut with the Spade Cooley band. Here she sings "I Love to Yodel" (1944).
Media
Carolina made several soundies with the Deuce Spriggens Orchestra, which also included The Plainsmen Trio, and Tex Atchison. Here is an excerpt from "Sioux City Sue" (1946).