Tag Archives: pretentious

Hopalong Cassidy

Recently, I went through some of Cassidy’s ‘achievements’ and I stated there that he was not mentioned on IMDB. Since then, I have found out that he did appear on IMDB, acting in a film produced by a household name, Andy Warhol. The film was called Horse, and it was made in Warhol’s Factory in April 1965, around the time Cassidy was flunking out of Cornell.

I would have to declare a particular interest here. Pretty much everything to do with the sixties fills me with disgust. The vast majority of the music was pretty vile, (give me the Killers or the Foo Fighters any day) the clothing was ludicrous and many of the books which people read back then have not stood the test of time. It was the decade that taste forgot.

Warhol is, of course, a respected artist, and in case anyone should harbour suspicions about the homophobic bigotry of the Irish (even after the recent referendum), I have no problem with his sexuality. However, in the uncritical atmosphere of the sixties, Warhol was just as capable of producing pretentious crap as anyone else and I suspect that is what happened here. Much of what passed for artistic endeavour in the sixties seems to me like the first stage of a brainstorming: no negativity, anything goes, just put down whatever comes into your head. Of course, in a brainstorming you then refine and develop the shlock you initially produced. In the sixties, you published it and called it art. As someone once said about the sixties, ‘It all seemed like a really good idea at the time.’

So, this deconstruction of a western features camp cowboys in jockstraps uttering lines like ‘There’s gold in them there hills’ and ‘I’m an onanist.’ At one point, a huge and well-endowed stallion is brought in and the actors, who are reading their lines off large cards, are instructed to ‘Approach the horse sexually.’

Quite apart from the pretentiousness of the whole enterprise, there is something strangely coy about the use of language here. It’s hard to imagine anyone in the nineties or the noughties directing an arthouse skin-flick and instructing the actors with lines like: ‘OK, stop being an onanist and approach him sexually!’

One of the actors was kicked in the head by the horse as he was ‘approaching it sexually’ and lost consciousness. Strangely, this was not Cassidy – it would explain a lot – but the director then instructed several of the cowpokes (horsepokes?) to attack and strip the unconscious individual, which, being out of their heads on dope and poppers, they were only too happy to do. One of these attackers, Tex, was Dan Cassidy Jr. They had to be restrained before they injured the unconscious man. There is a still from the movie above. Recognise the cowboy in the white trousers and boots staring out at the camera?

Then finally, Edie Sedgwick turned up in an elevator and gave the horse a sandwich.

Apparently, this forgotten cinematic gem of the sixties is not available on DVD. Go figure!