Hell on Wheels

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Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2011-11-01, 15:32

This looks pretty good. I predict a UB index of 10 in the very first episode. two thumbs up two thumbs up

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Rus on 2011-11-01, 15:48

Looking forward to seeing it.
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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2011-11-07, 11:57

It fulfilled my expectations. A solid 10 on the UB index. In the one scene where the background singing was "12 Gates to the City", it sounded almost like Ralph Stanley was singing it. This seems unlikely if not impossible. They don't seem to give the music credits so it might be hard to find out....maybe when the blogs and fan forums get going.... scratch

The railroad mogul played by Colm Meany is/was a real person. He was friends with Lincoln and had an "in" with the govt. and did make a lot of money from the railroad construction.

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Berry on 2011-11-07, 15:17

AMC's 'Hell on Wheels' draws 4.4 million in debut
New series had 'Walking Dead' as lead-in

By: STUART LEVINE

AMC's newest series, the western "Hell on Wheels," drew 4.4 million in its debut Sunday night.

Skein was created by Joe Gayton and Tony Gayton, who exec produce with Jeremy Gold, John Shiban and David Von Ancken, who directed the pilot. Series was developed by Endemol USA, in one of its few non-reality ventures, and Entertainment One.

That's far below the recent second season launch of the cabler's zombie drama "The Walking Dead," but the second highest debut in the net's history. "Wheels," which aired at 10 p.m., had the benefit of a "Walking Dead" lead-in.

Show stars Anson Mount, Common and Colm Meaney.

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2011-11-07, 15:31

I would guess that it won't draw as big a "cult" audience as TWD since it does have to restrain its plots and scenarios to known history and that history was eventually over with as far as building the transcon. railroad was concerned. But like Deadwood on HBO it can be a very entertaining series, just not a really long lived one, which is what happened to Deadwood, although it covered an even narrower "slice" of history than HOW.

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Rus on 2011-11-07, 16:19

I liked it. Colm Meaney did a great job with his character. We'll see how long the revenge plot can carry the show.
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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2011-11-08, 13:27

When Bohannon was made the "walking boss" of that crew I immediately thought of this song made famous by Clarence Ashley and covered by many other artists more recognizable by urban audiences but Clarence will always be the one we can thank for bringing it into the repertoire.

As this piece points out Bohannon would not technically be the walking boss but rather Bohannon's boss would be. Of course out on the prairie when manpower may have been short, that 'chain of command' may have been shortened.

----------------------------------------------------------

After Ashley made a trip to New York, he remembered a song called "Walking Boss." He recalled hearing railroad crews sing the song when he was "busting" outside of pay shacks in the West Virginia coal fields. The walking boss gave no orders to the workers but only to their immediate supervisors. The workers sang this song in the presence as well as the absence of the walking boss, and the boss pretended that he did not hear the song.

REFRAIN
Walking boss, walking boss, walking boss
Well, I don't belong to you
I belong, I belong, I belong
To that steel driving crew.

Work one day, work one day, just a day
Then go lay in the shanty too.

REFRAIN

Well I asked that boss, for a job, just a job
He says, "Son, what can you do?"
"I can pull a jack, line a track, line a track
I can pick and shovel too."

REFRAIN

I can't find any film of Clarence himself performing it but you can't do better than Mike Seeger as a substitute.

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Here's Clarence's most famous tune, I used to be able to play it, probably still can if I get the 'banjer' out and practice a little. You can hear the distinctive sound of the modal tuning.

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Standing on the left holding the fiddle is "Fiddlin' " Fred Price. Sitting on the left in the white shirt is Clint Howard. They were Doc Watson's neighbors (Deep Gap, NC) and toured with him in the 60's. I got to see them one time at the Ash Grove in West Hollywood. Note Clarence's Gibson RB-250 Bow Tie, with resonator and arch top head. Not a common model in those days, much less so today. I have a Gibson RB-170 "Folk model" with an arch top head, my second banjo bought at McCabes' Guitar Shop on west Santa Monica Blvd., in '63. Still have it, someone will inherit it. :lol:

It's great when one line in a TV show can introduce us to our American musical heritage, if we choose to pursue it. two thumbs up



Song Background Stories and Lyrics

Walking Boss
The Coo-Coo Bird
The House Carpenter
Rude and Rambling Man

A Fiddler's Convention in Mountain City, Tennessee


It was during Ashley's medicine show days that he played with Roy Acuff, now known as the King of Country Music. Ashley related the experience to a reporter for the Tennessee paper in the following way:

Just before one summer, the Doc told me he had a neighbor boy
who could sing a little and play a little and said he'd like
to take him along. He asked if I'd train him, and I said I would.
That boy stayed with us two summers and I taught him some songs,
and after that he went off on his own and did right well. He was
Roy Acuff.

When Ashley was not traveling with the medicine show, he continued his role as the itinerant country minstrel. He took his playing, singing, and comedy acts to small-town theaters and to community schools. He played outside the pay shacks at coal mines and logging camps. When there was a local gathering, Ashley and his music were usually available. He was an outstanding organizer and could always obtain the talents of other local musicians to play in his bands. Whatever amount of money was earned, he insisted on it being divided equally among the members of the group. Although he was the better known member of the group and took care of all the arrangements for the performances, he would never take more for his share than the other musicians received.

Much of his artistry stemmed from the fact that many of his songs and his style were frozen in the time of 1910 before the advent of radio or the recording of rural artists. The music of this era became known as traditional folk music. It was often referred to as the "real thing" or the "source." Since most of the popular songs of the 1960's were drawn from traditional country singers, the music was in actuality the source for those songs. By the early 1950's, traditional music had been overshadowed by country-western and rock music. In the 1960's, there was a great revival of interest in folk music, and many city audiences became enthusiastic about traditional music. The recognition of Ashley's artistry in traditional music was due primarily to the efforts of Ralph Rinzler, a member of The Friends of Old Time Music. The organization sought to make tribute to the source of folk music rather than to exploit it. The following is a summary of an article written by this organization when they were asked to make a statement of their aims and purposes:

The traditional singer had been recorded, romanticized by
collectors, journalists, and artists; but only a scant few
have received the tribute of appearing before a city audience.
One of the purposes of this organization was to bring
traditional musicians to the concert stages of the city. In
the 60's so much was being made from folk music while so little
was being put back into it. Millions were made from exploitation
and scarcely a penny spent for tribute. Very little money or
acclaim had been channeled into respect for the original source.
The organization knew that many of these performances would appear
unpolished but they felt that the traditional musicians had
much to offer in artistry if not in 'slickness or presentation.'

It was through campaigns to bring these traditional musicians to the cities that Ashley was rediscovered. The city audiences loved him, and there was a great demand for Ashley's group at clubs and folk festivals throughout the country. Among his appearances in the cities were New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. A man in his late sixties who had spent a lifetime as a professional musician with little recognition finally became recognized as an artist. People marvelled at the strange modal sound that came from his "sawmill-tuned" banjo. (tuned gDGCD, a 'modal' or minor tuning quite common in old time banjo) He received phone calls and letters from folk music enthusiasts from all over the country. Many of them wanted to come to his home at Shouns to play with him and learn from him. Ashley told them they would be welcome and many of them came. After spending a few days playing with Ashley, and enjoying the hospitality provided by him and his wife Hettie, they went away a great deal wiser about traditional music, and they took with them memories of a pleasant experience in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In addition to being an artist, he was a teacher of his art. He was never selfish with his knowledge of traditional music. He participated in the workshops that followed the folk festivals and taught his songs to anyone who cared to learn them. Ashley, along with Clint Howard, Fred Price, Doc Watson, and Gaither Carlton, taped a program for the Voice of America and made an educational film sequence for the British Broadcasting Service TV Educational Division. He was copied by many musicians, and this emulation did not seem to bother him. He was devoted to traditional music (called old-time music by Ashley), even if it meant that he would enjoy less popularity. He staunchly refused to change his music to keep with the times. Possibly, he could have earned more money if he had changed his style to bluegrass or western-swing, but Ashley loved the old-time music. By refusing to change his style, he helped to preserve the music of his heritage. It is doubtful that he was making a conscious effort to preserve his heritage, but the result was the same.

Traditional folk music is a part of America's heritage. It consists of folk songs, lyrics, and instrumental music of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors who settled in the Appalachian Mountains. Many of the songs which Ashley knew were of genuine Irish, Scotch, English, and Flemish derivation. The ballads which he sang often depicted the life of mountain people themselves. The area in which Ashley lived afforded a hard life for many people; but in spite of all the hard work, the area retained British ballads such as "Lord Lovel," "Barbara Allen," "Mattie Grove," and the "Elfin Knight."

Ashley's songs brought together the mountain combination of the struggle for life and the romantic. He delivered his songs and "ballits" with the magic ingredient of personal involvement that the best of traditional singers own. Ashley preferred music that had feeling, and he named as his favorite performers Bill Monroe, Jimmy Rogers, and Mahalia Jackson. Ashley said, "A lot of people in the city are playing old-time music these days. But country people play their feelings and feel their playing. That's the big difference."

It would require a book in itself to discuss even generally the many songs which Ashley sang. He received a copyright for his arrangements of "The Old Man at the Mill," "Tough Luck," "The Haunted Woods," "Omie Wise," and "Walking Boss." The copyright was secured by Stormking Music, Inc. The four songs which are at the top of this page are but a few of the most popular songs he sang and recorded. Two of the four songs appear to be of American origin while the other two are the British origin.

- Tom Clarence Ashley: An Appalachian Folk Musician (Masters Thesis: East Tennessee State University)
- Written by Minnie M. Miller, August 1973

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Berry on 2011-11-09, 05:30

That was a lot of good, interesting info, Banjo. Thanks for that.

I am loving this show so far. two thumbs up

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  BoardMomma on 2011-11-09, 17:16

Wow, I'm asleep at the wheel. This wasn't on my radar at all. I love Colm Meaney so I'll have to catch it. Thanks guys!

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2011-11-21, 11:51

How likely is it that Lily Bell could go through all that, getting cut, wallowing in dirt and mud , having an arrow head dug out of her shoulder, etc. and not get an infection ? I thought that Bohannon would have at least poured some of his whiskey on the wound as a disinfectant, but no, he drank it all himself. Infections, even under the best hospital conditions was prevalent and a big killer in those days so I don't see how she could have come through unscathed. scratch

One other thing that I wondered about was the light source for the Irishmen's slide projector. Called 'magic lanterns'. I saw him lighting something with a match, but I had forgotten about 'lime light' It was also used for illumination in stage shows. That's where the phrase "standing in the lime light" comes from.

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2011-12-02, 13:15

I forgot to mention this earlier....in the last episode there is a scene where in the background is an old upright steam engine like they used back then to power various jobs. This one had a belt drive to drive a big rotary table saw that they used to cut up the logs for the ties and other construction. It wasn't running, it's probably a mock-up but I'd like to see it run.

In the later bar scene, in the back ground over Bohannon's shoulder we see an authentic banjo of that period, commonly called "Boucher" banjos because that's the guy that first made them and they became one of the most popular models before the factory-made models in Boston and NY captured the market in the 1880's. John Bowlin makes a good replica of the Boucher banjos these days. Of course he uses a synthetic head and nylon strings to try to capture the sound of the original which used calf skin heads and cat gut strings.

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Rus on 2011-12-02, 13:42

Interesting stuff Banjo. I'm enjoying the show so far.
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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Berry on 2011-12-02, 14:07

Ooh, I like that tough as nails Eastern lady with the hidden maps. She's going to be a corker. two thumbs up

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2011-12-03, 16:45

I had never heard of the actress that plays her, maybe because I've never seen any of her projects.

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2011-12-19, 22:28

That was a good mid-season hiatus episode, more than mid-season since there's only two more left, in Jan.

Everyone got their comeuppance so to speak. Durant hornswoggled the senator and saved himself financially and Lily bitch-slapped her sister-in -law, or some relative, and Bohannon and Elam did away with the "Irish faction".

It was particularly interesting when Bohannon was teaching Elam to shoot and later when Elam shot the Irishman in the mouth. Those 1851 Colt Navys used non-smokeless powder of course. Smokeless powder hadn't yet come in to use. At that close range some of the smoke from the charge would have traveled right behind the bullet and into his mouth. When it came wafting back out of his open mouth that was a nice touch. I almost laughed. After they shot all of them Bohannon was using his pocket knife on the rear of his gun's cylinder. He was prying out the old percussion cap remnants so that new caps, charges and bullets could be loaded. Another realistic nice touch. Those producers do their research.... two thumbs up

Because of the length of time needed to reload keeping track of the number of your shots was very important as we saw Elam do.

Colt 1851 Navy Revolver
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colt Navy Revolver

Colt 1851 Navy
Type Single Action Revolver
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1850-1873
Used by United States

Confederate States of America
Great Britain
Russian Empire
Austria-Hungary
Poland January Uprising in 1863
Prussia captured from Russian Army
Production history
Designer Samuel Colt
Designed 1850
Manufacturer Colt Patent Firearms Hartford, Conn.
Produced 1850–1873
Number built c. 250,000
Variants Square backed Navy, London Armory
Specifications
Weight 42 oz.
Length 14 inches
Caliber .36
Action Single action

The Colt Revolving Belt Pistol of Naval Caliber (i.e., .36 cal), later known as the Colt 1851 Navy or Navy Revolver, is a cap and ball revolver. It was designed by Samuel Colt between 1847 and 1850. It remained in production until 1873, when revolvers using fixed metallic cartridges came into widespread use. Total production numbers were exceeded only by the Colt Pocket models in concurrent development, and numbered some 250,000 domestic units and about 22,000 produced in the Colt London Armory. (Wilson, 1985)

The designation "Colt 1851 Navy" was applied by collectors, though the popular name "Navy Revolver" is of early origin, as the gun was frequently called the "Colt Revolving Belt Pistol of Naval Caliber". (ibid, Wilson) The cylinder was engraved with a scene of the victory of the Second Texas Navy at the Battle of Campeche on May 16, 1843. The Texas Navy had purchased the earlier Colt Paterson Revolver, but this was Colt's first major success in the gun trade; the naval theme of the engraved cylinder of the Colt 1851 Navy revolver was Colt's gesture of appreciation. Despite the "Navy" designation, the revolver was chiefly purchased by civilians and military land forces(ibid Wilson 1985).

Famous "Navy" users included Wild Bill Hickok, John Henry "Doc" Holliday, Richard Francis Burton, Ned Kelly, Bully Hayes, Richard H. Barter, and Robert E. Lee.[1][2][3] Usage continued long after more modern cartridge revolvers were introduced in 1873.

* 1 Characteristics
* 2 Loading and handling sequence common to percussion revolvers
* 3 See also
* 4 Bibiliography
* 5 References
* 6 External links

[edit] Characteristics

The .36 caliber Navy revolver was much lighter than the contemporary Third Model Dragoon revolvers developed from the .44 Walker Colt revolvers of 1847, which, given their size and weight, were generally carried in saddle holsters. It is an enlarged version of the .31 caliber pocket revolvers that evolved from the earlier Baby Dragoon, and, like them, is a mechanically improved and simplified descendant of the 1836 Paterson revolver. As the factory designation implied, the Navy revolver was suitably sized for carrying in a belt holster. It became very popular in North America at the time of Western expansion. Colt's aggressive promotions distributed the Navy and his other revolvers across Europe, Asia, and Africa. As with many other Colt revolvers, it has a six round cylinder.

The .36 caliber (.375–.380 inch) round lead ball weighs 86 grains and, at a velocity of 1,000 feet per second, is comparable to the modern .380 pistol cartridge in power. Loads consist of loose powder and ball or bullet, metallic foil cartridges (early), and combustible paper cartridges (Civil War era), all combinations being ignited by a fulminate percussion cap applied to the nipples at the rear of the chamber.

Sighting consists of a bead front sight with a notch in the top of the hammer, as with most Colt percussion revolvers. In spite of the relative crudity of the sighting arrangement, these revolvers and their modern replicas generally are quite accurate.
[edit] Loading and handling sequence common to percussion revolvers

The loading sequence and basic operation of the Colt revolvers remained constant throughout the percussion period, and mirrors the operation of most other percussion revolvers. A shooter familiar with the basic operation of the Colt would find the function of a Remington, LeMat, Adams, or Cooper double action essentially identical.

Percussion revolvers are carried with the hammer down between chambers, with a groove or protuberance in the hammer engaging either a safety peg or notch in the rear of the cylinder. This method prevents inadvertent rotation of the cylinder, and prevents the hammer from touching the percussion caps and firing the weapon unintentionally. Patersons and a few later revolvers such as the Rogers and Spencer lacked these safety detents, requiring that they be carried with the hammer down on an empty chamber.

To load:

1. Draw the hammer back to the first detent, placing it on "half cock" and allowing the cylinder to rotate for loading;
2. Fill the chambers with powder, leaving enough room to seat a bullet or ball, and place a ball on the chamber mouth with the sprue (mark or projection left from filling the mould) facing exactly forward;
3. Rotate the chamber under the rammer and use the loading lever (if present) to seat the projectile firmly on top of the powder column and at or below the chamber mouth;
4. Place percussion caps on each of the nipples at the rear of the chambers;
5. Rotate the cylinder as necessary and return the hammer to down position (pull it back slightly, squeeze trigger and let hammer down carefully) engaging the safety detents; or
6. Draw the hammer back to full cock for immediate firing.

A single-action revolver is thumb-cocked before firing, which rotates the cylinder and puts a loaded chamber under the hammer; the trigger then is pulled to fire. With double-action revolvers, a single long pull on the trigger cocks the hammer, rotates the cylinder and fires the arm.

Variations:

A. In the case of foil or combustible-paper cartridges containing bullet and powder, place the cartridge in the chamber and use the loading lever to fully seat the projectile. In the case of foil cartridges, insert a nipple pick through the cone openings to pierce the rear of the cartridge envelopes, then cap the nipples.
B. After #3 above, it was (and still is) common practice to put heavy grease over and around the seated bullet, to lubricate the ball, reduce fouling and prevent multiple (chain) fires; or
C. After #2 above, some early shooters (and modern shooters, too) placed a rigid, greased felt wad over the powder column before seating the bullet, as a hedge against chain fires which may occur with undersized or poorly-shaped bullets or chambers (Bates, Cumpston 2005). It also effectively minimizes fouling buildup in the bore and allows for accurate extended shooting (Keith 1956). It also is common to run a bristle brush or patch dampened with black-powder solvent through the bore before reloading.
D. Most modern target shooters use less than full charges, filling the remaining space over the powder with an inert filler (often Cream of Wheat) so the ball is at the front of the cylinder when loaded. This procedure improves accuracy by reducing the "jump" of the ball before it enters the barrel.
E. Civil War re-enactors use Cream of Wheat to fill the void norally filled by a bullet, and prevent not only chain-fire, but loss of powder.

*

Combustible paper cartridges; six to a box
*

The cylinder arbor serves as a bullet seater on models without loading levers
*

Safety peg between cylinder chambers
*

Post 1850 Colt Revolvers
*

Loading sequence for percussion revolvers
*

Early Colt Navy Mod 1851, Second Model squareback trigger guard

[edit] See also

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Berry on 2011-12-22, 00:28

Just saw this episode. It did really cover a lot of ground. It is amazing to me how you notice all the background details. It all goes right over my head. Good to have you explain it though.

I like the part where Elam and Bohannon were talking about their pasts. two thumbs up

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2011-12-22, 12:50

Being an amateur history buff of that period, among others, I always take note of technical details to see how accurate they are for the period.

I think that after Bohannon told Elam about his wife being hanged and his son being burned alive in the barn, Elam realized that not only slaves had had a hard life and he showed it in that one brief scene where his eyes were opened lying by the camp fire.

I had never heard of "Common" the actor that plays him. I guess he's a singer mainly, but a darn good actor too. He's showing up on the late night talk shows now.

BTW, I had never heard of Seal until he married Heidi Klum..... :lol:

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Berry on 2011-12-22, 13:02

The part I liked about the conversation was the complicated stories each had for the other. Elam was the son of someone just like Bohannen. He was taught to read and probably thought of himself as one of the family till he learned the hard way that he wasn't. So for him the issue was one of being "owned" and meaning nothing to his father.
Bohannen, on the other hand, had been raised by a black woman who (you could see on his face) that he had loved. When the worst thing that could ever happen...finding his wife and son dead, it seemed to me in the telling of it that he took some comfort in the fact that his son had died in the arms of that woman. Bohannen was mourning the death of the 3 of them.

I'm not making a defense of slavery. Just saying that this show is well written. It shows the layers.

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2011-12-22, 13:08

Yes, I got that too from that scene. two thumbs up

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2011-12-22, 13:12

I finally looked up Thomas Durant, the real character that Colm Meany plays. He was quite a character..... tongue

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2012-01-11, 11:16

Whoo ! I didn't see that coming....the preacher cutting off the Lt.'s head with the sword. I suppose Black Moon is out of danger now although I wonder what the commander back at whatever fort the troops are from will think about his Lt. disappearing, if the few remaining troops at the rail head don't find out what happened to him.

With one episode to go, the Marshals probably won't show up to try to arrest Bohannon. That will be sort of a cliff hanger for next season. Also the Swede will probably live until next season.

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2012-01-14, 12:03

Common was on Live ! With Kelly ! this week. He seems like a straight forward guy. He has a 14 year old daughter whom he says isn't embarrassed by his career. Unlike Kelly's 14 year old son who's name she must never mention on the show because he is embarrassed by her career. :lol:

Anyway, I found it fascinating that Common's natural speaking diction, accent, etc. is south side Chicago, where he's from, as compared to his delivery on HoW. There, he sounds more cultured. Imagine, a 19th Century ex-slave sounding better than a contemporary performer. scratch Of course the producers couldn't have him sounding like a 21st Century rapper.... tongue

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2012-01-16, 14:47

So Bohannon kills the wrong sgt. and rides off to escape the Marshals. And what happens to the Swede ? Can he stay at the camp after being tarred and feathered ? And Elam is practicing his marksmanship as if he's going to become a gunslinger... scratch Not exactly a typical cliffhanger finale, but it was okay until next season.

And The Walking Dead will be back in less than a month...so we'll survive.... two thumbs up

There are a bunch of articles about the guns used. Here's a good one. Some historical gun experts have pointed out that the "Yellow Boy" Winchester lever action rifles used on the show didn't come out until 1866 and wouldn't have been available in those numbers. The yellow frames comes from the bronze alloy that they were made of.

Behind The Scenes With The Prop Master of AMC's 'Hell On Wheels'

by Phil Bourjaily

Set in 1866, the new AMC TV series “Hell On Wheels” follows the town of Hell on Wheels (it moves, hence the name) as it travels with the construction of the transcontinental railroad across Nebraska. Tremendous effort went into capturing the look of the years immediately following the Civil War, to the point of building a period-correct train (see second video below), since there were none to be found anywhere.

It’s no spoiler to tell you that, as a western, “Hell on Wheels” has a lot of guns and gunplay. Prop master Ken Willis and armorer Brian Kent worked hard to get the guns of the period right and make the gunfights look real. Willis, a veteran of many westerns, spoke to me about it by phone from his home in Alberta, where the series was filmed.

“This is set in an interesting time period for guns,” he said. “The only cartridge gun we used was the 1866 Yellowboy. Everything else was a muzzleloader. Having to load all these old guns made everything take longer on the set, but blackpowder guns look great on camera because of the smoke.”

Not content to find guns that were merely authentic, Willis, Kent and their crew went the extra step to find unusual guns that give the show added visual interest. For instance, the main character, Cullen Bohannon, is an ex-Confederate soldier. He carries a .36 caliber Griswold revolver, an unusual gun of which only 3,600 were ever made and very few survive today.

The revolvers were built in Griswoldville, Georgia, during the war until 1864 when the Union Army burned the factory during Sherman’s March. Although Kent and Willis are usually able to supply guns for a production from their own collections of replicas, they had to make a Griswold. Since the Griswold itself was based on the 1851 Colt Navy, they put a round barrel on a Navy to match the Griswold’s distinctive look. “You can’t tell it’s not a real Griswold,” says Willis.

While the Griswold was written into the original script, Willis and Kent suggested some of the other guns used in the filming such as the six-barreled pepperbox revolver. “Colm Meaney plays a rich man,” says Willis, “and the pepperbox just seemed to fit his character.” The blunderbuss in the video above actually never made it onscreen. It was replaced with “Beauty” the ominous cut-down double-barreled shotgun.

On the set the guns were loaded with blackpowder (real blackpowder makes better smoke than substitutes like pyrodex) and the charges were tamped down with wadding made from a material similar to sofa stuffing that was teased apart so it burns up instantly instead of shooting hot debris on the set. Depending on how close actors will be to the muzzles, guns are loaded with quarter-, half- or full-powder charges. Blanks can cause fatal injury at close range, so safety is a top concern on the set.

“We make sure everyone keeps a safe distance for the charge we’re using,” says Willis. In the video, where they are filming the gunfight, you can hear someone ask Kent if the actors are at a safe distance. To protect cameras and cameramen when they film guns fired directly at the lens, the scene is shot through a 5/8” sheet of Plexiglas.

There’s a spot early in the video where the crew test fires a blood capsule against an actor’s forehead. “That gun was modified replica with a compressed air hose that shoots the blood capsule out,” says Willis. “Because the shot is taken at such close range it wasn't safe to use any powder so we had to add the smoke digitally afterwards.” In a scene in the series that doesn't appear on this video, a character is shot in the head with a pillow over his face. Willis says there was no digital trickery involved in that shot.

“We took a feather pillow and sewed a pocket inside that held a bullet-resistant vest. We put that over the actor’s face and fired a blank at the pillow that was powerful enough to blow feathers all over while the vest protected him.”

When guns are loaded with blanks they have very little recoil. Any “kick” you see is pure acting. “We’ll take actors to the range sometime and have them shoot real rifles and pistols so they get a feel for recoil that they have to simulate,” says Willis.

Although game formed part of the diet of crews building the transcontinental railroad, there aren't any hunting scenes in “Hell On Wheels.” You will see deer hanging from meatpoles in some episodes, however. They aren't digital, and they aren't fake. They are...roadkill, provided by the Alberta Fish and Game Department. That’s one last bit of TV magic explained. To see how it all comes together, check out “Hell On Wheels” premiering November 6 on AMC at 10/9c. For more information, visit [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Banjo on 2012-07-30, 14:29

August 12th, season 2 ! woohoo clap

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Re: Hell on Wheels

Post  Rus on 2012-07-30, 16:06

Urgh, I still don't have AMC. Looks like this thing with Dish is pretty serious. smiley angry
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