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Film / Evil Roy Slade

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Y'know, many legends have come out of the Old West. Some true, some false, some plain cockamamie...

Like the famous tale of a stagecoach that was burned to the ground by Apaches, and the only survivor was a tiny infant and his little teddy bear...

Now, many times, Indians have found little babies and brought it up as their own...
And then are stories of wolves finding a child and raising it in the wolf pack...
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But nobody wanted this baby. Nobody loved him. So this little baby grew up loving nobody. And he became the meanest man in the whole West: Evil Roy Slade.

Evil Roy Slade is a 1972 made-for-television Western/Comedy film. It's something of a Cult Classic, being only shown on tv for decades until its recent release on DVD. You can also see the movie in its entirety at YouTube. Here is Part 1.

It tells the story of the eponymous outlaw, Evil Roy Slade (John Astin), who gets a lot of enjoyment robbing everyone in town and killing people just for pleasure. And this was all because he was abandoned as an infant and left to fend for himself in the wild after an attack from Indians. His lawless life suddenly begins to change when he falls for a beautiful schoolteacher named Betsy Potter (Pamela Austin). By that time, Slade begins to question his position as being a no-good rotten outlaw. To make matters worse, he is also the intended target of Nelson L. Stoole (Mickey Rooney), a railroad tycoon, and his Dumb Muscle nephew, Clifford (Henry Gibson), as revenge for Slade robbing him previous times. Also wanting to turn in Slade is a retired former marshal by the name of Bing Bell (Dick Shawn).

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Provides examples of the following:

  • Admiring the Abomination: When Roy is arrested and sentenced to hanging, he watches the construction of the scaffold and the selling of Evil Roy Slade Hanging Dolls with considerable amusement. He's also impressed by the reach of Nelson P. Stoole's business interests:
    Evil Roy Slade: (admiringly) He's got that stubby index finger in a lot of pies.
  • Affably Evil: Bing Bell turns out to be this in the climax.
  • Alliterative Name: Bing Bell
  • Animal Reaction Shot: While Bing Bell is singing, the animals seen reacting to his singing are; a deer, some prairie dogs, marmots, a squirrel, a porcupine and a great horned owl.
  • Badass Mustache: Roy sports an impressive one.
  • Bully Bulldog: Custer is an aversion.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Pretty much everything Roy does, and indeed, the majority of jokes in the film.
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  • Covers Always Lie: see Penny Marshall, up there on the DVD cover? She has about 30 seconds of screen time.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Custer, Nelson's bulldog.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Roy is a big believer in this:
    Didn't I teach you nuthin'? He's offering you good money to turn on me, so turn on me!
  • Dumb Muscle: Clifford Stoole fills this role, but he's a lot more dumb than he is muscle.
  • Ear Worm: an in-universe example with "The Stubby Index Finger Song".
  • Even Outlaws Love Their Teddies: Slade is shown to be extremely fond of his teddy bear, despite being a dangerous outlaw.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Played with: In one scene, Slade is seen talking with a horde of turkey vultures, asking them if he really should give up his life as an outlaw. In another, he gets a horse from a wagon that he stole to jump over a cliff, with the promise that he'll introduce said horse to a beautiful mare.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Slade's name stands for Sneakiness, Lying, Arrogance, Dirtiness, and Evil.
  • Fun with Subtitles: HAVOC
  • Good Is Bad And Bad Is Good: Slade's way of life.
  • Hero Antagonist: Bing Bell, in the climax.
  • Horse Jump: The horse that Slade steals does this near the climax.
  • Insistent Terminology: At one point, when Roy has decided to go into hiding under another name, he considers three alternative names - all of which are prefaced with "Evil".
  • Instrument of Murder: Bing Bell's guitar, which also doubles as a gun.
  • It's a Small World After All: "Oddly enough, most of the things that Evil Roy destroyed was the property of one fella..."
  • I've Come Too Far: Roy's response to Betsy's suggestion that he give up being an outlaw:
    Evil Roy Slade: I worked a lot of hard years to get to the bottom!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Evil Roy.
  • Man in White: Marshal Bing Bell is a subversion of the classic Western Man in White.
  • Morality Pet: Betsy tries very hard to be one to Roy, with mixed results...
  • Our Better Is Different: see under I've Come Too Far.
  • Punny Name: Smith, who is black, and also a blacksmith; and Marshal Bing Bell.
    Is that the door?
  • Raised by Natives: Averted in the opening narration. The natives didn't want the infant Roy Slade.
  • Raised by Wolves: Averted in the opening narration. The wolves ALSO didn't want the infant Roy Slade.
  • Running Gag:
    • A character asking if anyone is at the door every time Bing Bell's name is mentioned.
    • Bing Bell burning up Nelson's letters.
    • Several references to Nelson's stubby index finger.
      Men often sit around the campfire and sing about it!
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Slade does this while holding a bible that Betsy handed him, mistaking it for a gun and saying "Pow, pow!" He even asks why he's doing it.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Marshal Bing Bell states that he has "always tried to shoot and dress sharp" - assuming your idea of sharp dressing includes rhinestone-studded singing cowboy outfits.
  • Taking the Bullet: Bing Bell does this when Slade tries to shoot his gun-guitar.
  • Time Passes Montage: used for Bing's courting of Betsy, complete with Seasonal Baggage superimposed over an Exploding Calendar while a subtitle helpfully explains that Time Passes.
  • Underside Ride: Roy and Betsy travel from the West to Boston on the underside of trains.
    Betsy: We've seen the bottom half of America!
  • Villain Protagonist: Slade, before his mild Character Development.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: seen prominently in the opening credits. Later, Roy hands out autographed copies to his gang members before their last job together.
  • The Wild West: naturally.


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