3 April 2004 | horn-5
Only one out of twelve may be the premature record for unmade films announced by one man.
For the 1936-37 production season, C. C. Burr took full page ads in the trade papers and year books announcing that he would be producing and presenting twelve new pictures, and the booking line would form on the right.
His plans included two series of six films each; the first would star Walter McGrail as "Special Agent K-7", which was to be "BASED ON THE SECRET SERVICE SENSATIONS OF RADIO---Five Years on the Air---Now on the Screen---by George Zimmer. This series of six films would be called the "Crime and Courage Series", and would be produced by C.C. Burr Pictures, Inc. and distributed by C. C. Burr Productions, Inc. (Yes, we are aware that the data currently shown on site has the production and distribution companies the exact opposite of the above and, to that, we can only ask...so, what else is new in the world of garbled credits?)
The "Crime and Courage" series would kickoff with "Special Agent K-7", which makes sense if one has intentions of filming six films around a new screen character, and the next five films of the series would be: "One O'Clock Alibi", "Death, Incorporated", "K-7 Gets His Man", "Case Number 113" and "The Red Menace." Mr. Burr would appear to be on the cutting edge of current-and-future world events with the last title but, if so, it was just luck as those titles had been used on the radio episodes. Would it be one of those dreaded five-star spoilers---*****Spoiler***** that carry more dire meaning to some people than a den of rattlesnakes under the outhouse---to mention that none of the five follow-up films ever saw the light of day? Okay, consider it unmentioned, and disregard the testimony.
And, since westerns were the butter on the bread of the independent exchanges distributing Poverty Row films via the states rights system,and Mr. Burr had no intentions of neglecting that market, he informed the grind-house exhibitors across the country that there would also be a series of C.C. Burr films called OUTDOOR MUSICALS, and these six films would star none other than George Eldredge, the singing and riding star. Where George Eldredge had previously rode and sung has never been established, since Mr. Eldrege's first film role was as the 11th-billed District Attorney in "Special Agent K-7". That's right, the film listed at the top of this page. Not only was he 11th-billed in this film, he was on the second cast list shown on the film and none of the players on that sheet (Eldredge, Henry Menjou, David MacDonald, William Royle, Harry Harvey, James Guilfoyle and "Snub" Pollard) even had their role names shown, and are only shown on site because a contributor who actually knows players by face when they show up, gave them role names. Correct role names, it can be added. It is good that one of the AFI hirelings did not watch this film, else the probability is high that not only the role names would be screwed up, but so would most of the billing names. And the uncredited Allan Cavan, Fred Kelsey, Phil Dunham, Oscar Gahan, Harrison Greene, Dick Rich, John Ince and (the real) Jack C. Smith would have most likely been identified as the Three Stooges, the Andrews Sisters, Trigger and Bullet.
Anyway, the announced OUTDOOR MUSICALS starring riding-and-singing star George Eldredge were to be: "Roll Along Covered Wagon", "The Whistling Cowboy" "Land of the Sky Blue Water", "Saddle Your Blues", "West of the Great Divide", and the pedestrian-sounding "Lone Prairie." It would appear that Mr. Burr's creative title writer ran out of steam, or time, before he got to the end of the project. At the risk of writing one of those terrifying-to-some *****SPOILERS*****, we will mention that none of these six westerns were ever made and the whistling cowboy saddling his blues in the land of the sky blue water had to be content with his 11th billing and six lines in "Special Agent K-7."
C. C. Burr Pictures, Inc. was to produce these six non-shows but they were to be distributed by none other than a company identified as C.E.J.S. Pictures, Inc. (Code breakers might want to try C.C. Burr for "C", George Eldredge for "E", Raymond Johnson for "J" and Burr treasurer and unit manager Harold C. Strotz for "S". And they may not want to try.)
*****DANGER*****! That is a five-star warning and it scares us more than any of the five-star spoiler warnings used to keep people from reading non-surprise endings to any movie. We know that once the above 11 titles that were never made appear on site, at least two mole-nerds will emerge from their hole, and submit these titles as long-lost and just-found NEW TITLES. And C.E.J.S. Pictures, Inc. will find its way onto the bevy of fictional production and distribution companies now on site.
Why do we know that? Try this for just one example: In one of the trade annuals, actor John Elliott is shown as having appeared in a film called "Commondore" and another one called "Saddle Leather." The first title is there because some type-setter slipped part of a distributing company name into Mr. Elliott's film credits, and it is shown in some sources to this day as a film Mr. Elliott appeared in. If the type-setter had slipped the whole company name into Elliott's film list, Mr. Elliott would have been the only player that appeared in a film called "Commondore Pictures, Inc." Flash forward a few years and the same type-setter, or his apprentice, dropped the word "Law" out of Columbia's "Saddle Leather Law", thereby creating a film for John Elliott called "Saddle Leather", and the same uninformed source, despite the fact that no such film as "Saddle Leather" was made in 1944, still shows "Saddle Leather" as a film with John Elliott. The fact that there is no company, director, producer, writers, actors, or any other kind of credit sharing this film with John Elliott has not deterred then one iota. That's how come we know that sooner or later, some dolt contributor will submit "Land of the Sky Blue Water", starring George Eldredge, produced by C. C. Burr, directed by Raymond Johnson and written by Phil Dunham, and distributed by C.E.J.S. Pictures, Inc. as a NEW TITLE.
Despite Mr. Burr's proclamation's, Walter McGrail never made another appearance as K-7, and George Eldredge never starred in any western. But Burr did make it up to them in a fashion; one or the other got bit parts in most for the films produced by C.C. Burr in the following four years.
Or, in the words of Alibi Ike, you could look it up.