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Reg Hartt fresh out of high school. My principal said to me, “You have the wrong attitude. If you leave this school today you will starve in two weeks.” Had I not left I would have starved.

Toronto’s ROCHDALE COLLEGE opened its doors in 1968 as the boldest experiment ever undertaken before or since in alternate education. There were no teachers. At Rochdale each Rochdalian was called to be their own teacher. This idea of being our teacher I had discovered for the first time that year in the Wilhelm/Baynes edition of THE I CHING.

Rochdale gave me the opportunity to give myself the best possible education in the art, business, culture and history of motion pictures. I took full advantage of it.

One night I ran the 1932 film LAW AND ORDER starring Walter Huston as Frame Johnston, a character based on Wyatt Earp. The screenplay was the first written by Huston’s son John.

LAW AND ORDER remains one of my favorite films first because the story has the good people of TOMBSTONE hiring Frame Johnston as Marshall to clean up the town. This he does. But after he has done it the good folk discover that a clean town is bad for business as good folk do not spend money. They save it for the proverbial rainy day. The result of this is that the good citizens of Tombstone join up with the bad citizens to wipe out law and order.

There is a lesson there for those who are paying attention.

There is another reason I like the film.

Frame Johnston orders  no guns in Tombstone. Right after he does this some trouble makers show up. At that precise moment some troublemakers walked in on my screening. I did not know what to do.

On the screen Frame Johnston, wearing a black dress coat, walked up to the troublemakers with his hands in his belt, coat flaps dangling, and said, “Appears to me you boys are looking for trouble.”

“That is a good line. I will use that,” I said to myself. It helped I was wearing a coat just like the Marshall’s. I walked up to the fellows, hands in my belt and said, “It appears to me you boys are looking for trouble.”

On screen the rowdies said, “Yeah, what’re you going to do about it?”

Frame Johnston leaned back and said, “I guess I’m going to do whatever I got to do.”

I said to myself, “That’s a good line. I will use that.” I leaned back and said, “I guess I’m going to do whatever I got to do.”

On screen the toughs lost their balls. In real life before me the toughs lost theirs. They got very polite. They backed off.

I had to bite my cheeks to keep from laughing.

Now here is the kicker.

A few years ago I got a VHS copy of LAW AND ORDER (1932).

That scene is not in the movie. Furthermore I can’t spot where it might have been. Was it in the 16mm print I got from Universal? I can not imagine why it would have been cut for the VHS. Or did Destiny manufacture it for me the moment I needed it? I don’t know.

I do know that when the forces of good prevail the economy goes south. Good is bad for business.

Rochdale had started out as the ideal. By 1970 when I showed LAW AND ORDER Rochdale had become a combination of Wichita, Dodge City and Tombstone. Rochdale was wilder than the wild west at its wildest.

How I came to be there is a tale told in my book THE NIGHT THEY RAIDED ROCHDALE COLLEGE.

There’s a helluva movie in the Rochdale story. Three of them in fact. For more info get in touch.



GUNS BLAZIN was the re-release title of LAW AND ORDER after the title was used for the last film Ronald Reagan appeared in.


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