April 12, 2011

Honky Tonk, 1941MGM film trailer

(Click image to enlarge)

I came across a Honky Tonk Trailer (see below). Honky Tonk is the 1941 MGM film in which actor Clark Gable played Soapy Smith.

If you are having trouble with the video you can see it directly at

On the main website I have the following information.

An American black & white film starring Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Frank Morgan, Claire Trevor and Chill Wills. MGM purchased the rights to the book, The Reign of Soapy Smith, by William Ross Collier and Edwin Victor Westgate and transcribed into a cinema play by Ann Lee Whitmore and Tom Sellers, with Clark Gable playing the lead (L.A. Times, 04/29/1940. p. 8). The film was to be about Soapy, but according to Jeff, his grandfather, Soapy's son, (Jefferson Randolph Smith, III) threatened to open a lawsuit against MGM if they used his father's name and story.

Soapy's son still had rights over usage of his father's name. Rather than scrap the movie, which had already begun filming, MGM just changed the names around. Soapy Smith became Candy Johnson, a con man, played by Clark Gable. Candy Johnson, tired of running from town to town, sets his mind to have a town of his own. A very fun film with great comical dialogue and a few shootouts thrown in for flavor.

At the start of the film there is a beautiful rendition on three-card monte, the game that was instrumental in the real Soapy's death. In the film Gable, as Mr. Johnson, for the sake of a woman, decides to use his huckstering skill to build a small-town church, but soon he's up to his old tricks, again, managing a dance hall and gambling emporium. There is a happy ending.

In the past there were questions regarding how I knew that Clark Gable was actually playing Soapy so I included the following newspaper clippings.

By Douglas Churchill Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., April 28, 1940--Clark Gable will play the lead in "Soapy Smith," which Pandro S. Berman will produce for Metro, the studio announced. The story, based on "The Reign of Soapy Smith," by Edwin Victor Westrate and William Ross Collier, deals with the ...

LOS ANGELES TIMES, April 29, 1940--Clark Gable will be the star in one of the earliest pictures produced by Pandro Berman for the M.G.M. studio. The film scheduled for this star features Soapy Smith, one of the characters celebrated in early Colorado history. "The Reign of Soapy Smith," written by William Ross Collier and Edwin Victor Westgate, has been purchased by the studio and will be transcribed into a cinema play by Ann Lee Whitmore and Tom Sellers, two of the younger writers at the establishment.

Here are links to other posts on this blog pertaining to this topic:
March 13, 2009

1861: Confederate forces opened fire on the U.S. garrison at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Georgia was the fifth state to secede from the Union.
1898: Soap Gang member Harry Green signs his name as “Jeff Smith” on the register of the Hotel Northern in Seattle.

Jeff Smith



  1. That looks like a perfectly delightful movie.

    However, I am immensely glad that JRS III....for whatever reason, did not allow 'Soapy's' name or personal story to be used.

    This [Honky Tonk] is a superb example of 'Hollywood' trying to take a perfectly interesting and dynamic true story....and embelleshing it with 'superstars' and hyperbole. [perfectly fine with fictional tales]

    I hope the upcoming movie avoids this.

    Attention Hollywood: Please keep it 'real' and as accurate as possible. Also, please do not portray every female in the movie as 'showgirl beautiful'....and every male as a 'matinee idol'.

    Two movies come to mind with such realism: "Hard Times" with Charles Bronson ; also "The Sting".


Thank you for leaving your comment and/or question on my blog. I always read, and will answer all questions left here. Please know that they are greatly appreciated. -Jeff Smith