Sunday, June 30, 2024

From the WAI! vault


RIP Claudio Mancini


Producer, actor Claudio Mancini died in Rome, Italy on June 29, 2024. A former boxer, he was a close friend of Sergio Leone and worked with him on several films. Born in Rome on March 24, 1928, he was a producer on “Duck You Sucker” (1971) as well as appearing as the execution squad leader. He also produced “My Name is Nobody” in 1973 and 1975’s “The Genius”. He also was the executive producer on 1981’s “Buddy Goes West”. He appeared as himself in the 2006 documentary “Sergio Leone: The Way I See Things”. He may best be remembered as Harmonica’s brother in “Once Upon a Time in the West”. He is the father of costume designer Tiziana Mancini, producer Sandro Mancini.

Little Known Spaghetti Western Actors ~ Jim Burk

[These daily posts will cover little known actors or people that have appeared in more recent films and TV series. Various degrees of information that I was able to find will be given and anything that you can add would be appreciated.]


James Haskell Burk was born in Newhall, California on November 14, 1932. Served two years in the US army during the Korean War and then his stepfather, Jimmy Loukes, helped him break into the film industry as a stuntman in the 1950s. Burk was known for training falling horses in nearly three decades of westerns and cavalry films. He worked as a stuntman and actor who worked on over a dozen films with John Wayne. He is probably best remembered as Trooper, a member of the Fain Gang in “Big Jake”, and also as Bobby Joe in “The Undefeated” (He's the one who was leg wrestling with everyone and had to fight Merlin Olsen). Jim also doubled John Wayne in the log shots of the Meadow Scene in “True Grit”.

Burk also performed in television series such as ‘Gunsmoke’, ‘Lancer’, ‘Mannix’, ‘Starsky & Hutch’, ‘M*A*S*H’, ‘Fantasy Island’, ‘NYPD Blue’, and ‘The $treet’.

Around 2000 Jim retired and with his wife dancer Susie Tranquillo retired to a ranch in Darby, Montana. Here he passed away from heart failure on March 10, 2009 at the age of 76.

BURK, Jim (aka James H. Burk, James Burk, Jimmy H. Burk, Jim Burke) (James Haskell Burk) [11/14/1932, Newhall, California, U.S.A. – 3/10/2009, Darby, Montana, U.S.A. (heart failure)] – rodeo performer, stuntman, film, TV actor, married to Sandra Faye Morris [1944-    ] (1968-1972), married to dancer Susie Tranquillo (Susan Ellen Tranquillo) [1949-    ] (19??-19??) father of Heather Burk Tranquillo [1977-    ], Tammy Sue Burk Munly [1978-    ], Donna Burk Fair, Jeffrey Barton Burk [1964-    ], James Tyler Burk, stepson, Allan R. Morris Jr..

Take a Hard Ride – 1975 [stunts]

Sergio Leone – an Italian who invented America

Gazzetta Italia

By Mateusz Wyderka

June 2, 2024

Leone is often called the “king of the spaghetti western”. However, I believe that this is an incomplete image to say the least. “I am the wind”, sang Arturo Testa in 1959 during the Sanremo Festival. In my opinion, Sergio Leone, born 30 years earlier, on January 3, 1929, was truly a wind. A breeze whose numerous gusts have permanently changed the cinematic landscape.

Testa came second in the festival rankings at the time. I have the impression that it was a bit like this also for the career of the Roman director who, despite being one of the greatest and most influential directors of all time, for those of the Academy didn't even deserve an Oscar nomination. Next April 30th will be the 35th anniversary of Sergio Leone's death. Only today can we fully appreciate the contribution that the director gave to world cinema.

Leone's filmography is rather short. He began by assisting Vittorio de Sica in “Bicycle Thieves” (1948). He then worked on, among others, Quo Vadis (1951) and Ben Hur (1959), in the meantime also writing his own screenplays. The opportunity came in 1959, when he replaced Mario Bonnard, director of "The Last Days of Pompeii". Two years later he made “The Colossus of Rhodes”, his first independent feature film. But real fame came after the making of “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964), starring Clint Eastwood. “Without a doubt the strong point of this film, which was a resounding success in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, is the character of the bounty killer played by Clint Eastwood, the American actor who had previously played the role of an drover in the television series Rawhide”, wrote the New York Times a few years after the premiere. Eastwood also starred in the subsequent films of the so-called “Dollar Trilogy”: “For a Few Dollars More” (1965) and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966). It can be said that it was Leone who discovered Eastwood's talent, also showing his range of action.

“I heard about Sergio Leone for the first time when I saw “A Fistful of Dollars”. I saw that it was a great film, but the critics didn't appreciate it. In Italy they didn't understand Sergio, they didn't like him. They began to understand it much later, with his last film, but it was too late,” wrote Dario Argento in 2009 in the pages of the British The Guardian.

Initially, critics received Leone's film rather negatively. The scandal surrounding accusations of plagiarism of Akira Kurosawa's "The Bodyguard" (1961) also contributed to this. The Japanese director went to court and won the case. The Italian admitted that he had been inspired, but did not believe he had plagiarized.

With hindsight, however, we can say that it turned out just fine. Both sides benefited. Kurosawa received financial profit from this and his films attracted greater interest. Leone, on the other hand, built something very important, a genre in its own right, based on someone else's idea, while at the same time discovering Eastwood's talent. The same happened with Ennio Morricone. The composer considered today one of the greatest of all time. It was the “dollar” films that showed the scope of the Roman artist's talent, allowing him to work with the best directors, inspiring generations of filmmakers. “I grew up listening to The Ecstasy of Gold,” underlined Quentin Tarantino.

It should be noted that, during the first days of working on the film, it was discovered that Leone and Morricone had known each other since childhood, as they both attended the San Giovanni elementary school in Rome.

“We met at the age of seven, I think in the third year of primary school, but then we never met again. Only later, when I was at my house writing the music for his film "A Fistful of Dollars", which he asked me to do after listening to the soundtracks I had written for two previous western films. He liked my music and was convinced of this collaboration,” Ennio Morricone recalled years later.

Some critics believe that it is Morricone's music that makes Leone's films special. It's hard to disagree, but this is not to diminish Leone's work. A director's job is, among other things, to find the right people and give them the space to show all their talent. Sergio Leone did exactly that, he allowed the exceptional artists he found to show the fullness of their uniqueness. A way of working that characterizes only the greatest. Morricone also composed the music for Leone's subsequent films: “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968) with Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson, “Giù la testa” (1971) with James Coburn and the magnum opus of Italian director, “Once Upon a Time in America” (1984).

At the beginning of the Seventies, they proposed that Leone film “The Godfather” (1972). He refused because he didn't want to glorify the mafia. However, he later regretted his decision. In the end, the film based on Mario Puzo's novel was made by Coppola so brilliantly that I personally don't mind that Leone didn't make it. Plus if he had actually made “The Godfather,” maybe he wouldn't have made “Once Upon a Time in America,” a film described as a “Jewish Godfather,” which, incidentally, the director didn't like very much. This is not a gangster movie. Indeed, it is a surreal film about memory, about the passage of time, about nostalgia. “It is also a tribute to cinema with notes of my pessimism,” confessed the director a few years after the premiere. Leone takes us back to America in the 1920s, showing the story of five boys growing up in a Jewish neighborhood in New York. The film, starring Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGoven, Jennifer Connelly and Joe Pesci, is today recognized as one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of cinema.

In 1989 he began preparing a film about the siege of Leningrad. However, a few days before signing the contract, he suffered a heart attack. He died on April 30 at just 60 years old. In 2022, the documentary on his life was released, entitled "Sergio Leone: the Italian who invented America".

Spaghetti Western Locations for “Face to Face”

We continue our search for locations for “Face to Face”. The town council offers Bennett a deal. If he agrees to lead the vigilantes to Puerto de Fuego, he’ll save himself from hanging. Brad looks down as if considering the offer and then spits in their faces.

This scene was filmed at the Elios town set in Rome, Italy.

For a more detailed view of this site and other Spaghetti Western locations please visit my friend Yoshi Yasuda’s location site: and Captain Douglas Film Locations

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Spaghetti Westerns Podcast Season 8, number 4, #134


Please join me at noon PST today as we continue Season 8 of “The Spaghetti Westerns Podcast”. I’ll be covering “Juanito” a little-known Spanish/German/Argentinian co-production, in our on-going “History of the Spaghetti Western” segment. Then we’ll discover “Whatever Became of… Anthony Dawson followed by Florencio Amarilla in our “Who Are Those Guys? segment. The Film of the Week is “Django”. The LP/CD of the week will also be “Django”. I’ll have an autograph, poster and book of the week. We’ll finish things up with The Bi-Weekly News. So, I’ll see you around High Noon today on You Tube and Facebook.

From the WAI! vault


Little Known Spaghetti Western Actors ~ Maria Burgos

[These daily posts will cover little known actors or people that have appeared in more recent films and TV series. Various degrees of information that I was able to find will be given and anything that you can add would be appreciated.]

Maria Burgos was a Spanish film actress. She appeared in 11 film and TV appearances between 1963-1966 and worked mainly during that time as a TV actress.

Her only Spaghetti western appearance was in an uncredited role in “Per mille dollari al giorno” (Renegade Gunfighter) in 1965.

I can find no biographical information on her.

BURGOS, Maria (aka Maria Burgo, María Burgo) [film, TV actor.

Renegade Gunfighter - 1965

GDR Winnetou star shows himself with new love for the first time

The DEFA star, who became particularly known for his portrayal of the chief Winnetou, appeared publicly at an event accompanied by his girlfriend.


By Ina Milert

June 13, 2024

Even after decades, Gojko Mitić (84) is known as the "Winnetou of the East". The actor and director was also recently on the road in this "function": He took part in the inauguration of a sandstone stele in Rathen, which was erected at the location of the film "The Sons of the Great Bear". Present at the event were Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (49) and an attractive brunette - Judith, the partner of the DEFA star. A very special woman, as Kretschmer also confirms to the "SuperIllu": "Judith is a wonderful person. She is clever and completely at home. I think the two are very happy together. I'm very happy about that!"

"Winnetou" actor Gojko Mitić happily in love

Mitić answered a question about the woman at his side to the SuperIllu very briefly. "I'm happy". The loving interaction between the two at the public event spoke more than words.

Even though the couple attracted a lot of attention, Rathen was about "The Sons of the Great Bear", the film with which Mitić had his big breakthrough in 1966 as Chief Tokei-ihto. Returning to the place where the final scene was filmed is a "very emotional affair" for the actor! Because yes, it's actually been 58 years since I had these recordings ..." The westerns are still a "special part and important part of our cultural heritage," said Kretschmer, who also raved about the main actor: "Gojko Mitić is a great person. He lives the values that he embodied in his big films as an actor," he writes on Instagram to a photo that showed him with the actor and his girlfriend.

Gojko Mitić was honored for his service. 

The 84-year-old has just received a special honor: he received the Order of Merit of the Free State of Saxony. The award was presented at the opening of the Karl May Festival in Bischofswerda, of which Mitić is one of the patrons.

Who Are Those Singers & Musicians ~ Michelangelo Mignano

Michelangelo Mignano is/was an Italian singer songwriter and musician who played percussion instruments.

He worked with Michele Lacarenza on his only Spaghetti western and sang the song “Cita a las tres” (Appointment at Three).

I can find no biographical information on Mignano

MIGNANO, Michelangelo [Italian] – singer, songwriter, musician.

Colorado Charlie – 1965 [sings: “Cita a las tres”]

Special Birthdays

Herman Hoffman (writer) would have been 115 today but died in 1989.

Slim Pickens (actor) would have been 105 today but died in 1983.

Lo Lieh (actor) would have been 89 today but died in 2002.

Gary Busey (actor) is 80 today.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Spaghetti Western Trivia ~ Unmade Mark Damon & Richard Harrison Spaghetti western


Tirrenia Studio Sked

Rome, Feb. 24, 1970

     While the management of Tirenia Studios opens negotiations with Carlo Ponti to renew lease on the film plant, the long winter hiatus appears to be thawing out as three low-budget pix get ready to enter the premises. Initial two are Italoaters – “Django Does Not Forgive” starring Mark Damon and Richard Harrison under Roberto Mauri’s direction and “Hey Sabata, Sartana is Here – It’s the Showdown,” starring George Hilton.

     After his burst of sagebrush, Spanish director Jeff Franco will direct and Italo-German coproduction “Walter’s Secret Life.” Talks between studio toppers and producers are under way on other projects, including the war pic, “Desperate Battle.”

Little Known Spaghetti Western Actors ~ Joaquín Burgos

[These daily posts will cover little known actors or people that have appeared in more recent films and TV series. Various degrees of information that I was able to find will be given and anything that you can add would be appreciated.]

Joaquín Burgos was a Spanish actor. Probably born in the 1920s. His career consisted of 43 films and television appearances from 1944–1968. Burgos was also a voice actor and dubber.

Joaquín appeared in three Spaghetti westerns: “La justicia del Coyote” (The Judgment of the Coyote) in 1954; “El sabor de la venganza” Gunfight at High Noon) in 1963 as a Grayson juror and “Dos hombres van a morir” (Ringo, the Lone Rider) in 1968 as the land notary. He also dubbed two Spaghetti westerns, “El Coyote” (The Coyote) he was the Spanish voice of Luis Dominguez Luna in 1954 and he was the Spanish voice of one of the deputies in “Le pistole non discutono” (Bullet’s Don’t Argue).

I can find no biographical information on him.

BURGOS, Joaquín (aka Joaquín de Burgos) [Spanish] – film, TV, voice actor.

The Coyote – 1954 [Spanish voice of Luis Dominguez Luna]

The Judgment of the Coyote – 1954

Gunfight at High Noon – 1963 (Grayson juror)

Bullets Don’t Argue – 1965 [Spanish voice of the deputy sheriff]

Ringo, the Lone Rider – 1968 (Puelo land notary)

A New Austrian DVD release of "Shalako"




Director: Edward Dmytryk

Starring: Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot

Country: Austria

Label: NSM Records

Region B/2

Discs: 2

Limited Edition Mediabook (BluRay and DVD) in 4 cover options

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Languages: English, German (previously non-dubbed parts are English with German subtitles)

Subtitles: English, German

Running time: 112 minutes

Extras: 24-page booklet; gallery; trailer


A new German Blu-ray, DVD release of “Adios Sabata”


Adios Sabata



Director: Gianfranco Parolini

Starring: Yul Brynner, Dean Reed


Country: Germany

Label: Spirit Media / WVG

Blu-ray, DVD

Discs: 1

Aspect Ratio: ‎16:9 - 2.35:1

Languages: DTS-HD 2.0 English, German

Subtitles: German

Running time: 105 minutes

Extras: locations then and now; gallery, trailers


Released June 28, 2024

Special Birthdays

Kid Berg (actor) would have been 115 today but died in 1991.

Ruggero Maccari (writer) would have been 105 today but died in 1989.

Luis Fernández de Eribe (actor) is 75 today.

Vasilescu Valentin [stunts] is 45 today.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Little Known Spaghetti Western Actors ~ José Burgos

[These daily posts will cover little known actors or people that have appeared in more recent films and TV series. Various degrees of information that I was able to find will be given and anything that you can add would be appreciated.]

José Pérez was a Spanish dwarf actor. Most likely he came from the circus and was credited in only three films according to the IMDb.

I can find no biographical information on him but I’m guessing he was a circus performer as there is a circus seen in “The Valley of Gwangi”.

BURGOS, José (José Pérez) [Spanish] – dwarf film actor.

The Valley of Gwangi – 1968 (dwarf)

Two new German Blu-ray releases of “Die fünf Gefürchteten” and “Der Dicke und das Warzenschwein”


“Die fünf Gefürchteten”

(5-Man Army)



Director: Don Taylor

Starring: Peter Graves, John Daly, Bud Spencer, Nino Castelnuovo, Tetsurō Tamba


Country: Germany

Label: Plaion Pictures

Mediabook, two cover options, 2 Blu-ray discs

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 / 1.77:1

Resolution: 1080p; new scan and restoration

Languages: German, English (not for the comedy version)

Subtitles: German, English (no subtitles for the comedy version)

Contains three versions of the film: Disc 1: International/theatrical version (German/English, 105:27min); comedy version (1981, with German credits, comedy dub, 80:27min); Disc 2: Uncut version (109:56min)

Extras: "Dicker lass die Fetzen fliegen" trailer (only on both discs, the rest is on disc 2); German opening and closing credits; Italian opening credits; gallery; USA Teaser and Trailer; "Der Dampfhammer" trailer; "Die fünf Gefürchteten"; 20-page booklet with texts by Leonard Elias Lemke.


Release date: June 27, 2024

“Der Dicke und das Warzenschwein”

(Massacre at Fort Holman)



Director: Tonino Valerii

Starring: James Coburn, Telly Savalas, Bud Spencer,


Country: Germany

Label: Dolphin Medien (distributed by Plaion Pictures)

Region B

3 Versions (HD): 1) German theatrical version (94:53min), 2) severely cut German slapstick version (82:21min), Versions (SD): 3) Uncut/international version (112:18min)

Audio: German DTS-HD MA 1.0 mono (theatrical dub, slapstick dub) DD 1.0 mono (ZDF dub on the long version)

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p (Versions 1 and 2 only) / 2.35:1 anamorphic, DVD/480p (Version 3)

Languages: German

Subtitles: German

Extras: Trailer; reversible cover


Released: June 27, 2024

Special Birthdays

Sobey Martin (director) would have been 115 today but died in 1978.

Fred Stuthman (actor) would have been 115 today but died in 1982.

Isabelle De Funes (actress) is 80 today.

David Parker Jr. (writer) is 80 today.