1973 John Ford Presents|
"Cowboy Kings of Western Fame"
11" X 16" book including 24 color prints by Will Williams
of the same size
This is a really neat item of more recent vintage. Now over
thirty years old, the John Ford Cowboy Kings collection is by no means a common
item. Actually, there is a rare limited edition of this collectible, I
assume the first edition, where each piece is numbered to 500. I haven't
personally handled the limited edition, though I have come across it online and
it appears to be the same as the more common printing (except for the numbering,
of course) that I have handled and
that is shown on this page.
At the bottom of this page you'll find thumbnail images of each
of the blazing 24 color prints by Will Williams, but first I thought we'd
approach this interesting collectible from the outside and work our way in:
||This is the image found on the
outside of the white slipcase which houses the John Ford collection.
Nothing fancy, though the one scanned here also had a black sticker with
gold lettering on it from The Nostalgia Shop at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las
||This, and remember it is actually
11" X 17" and cropped here since it's a little too large for my scanner, is
the front cover of the John Ford Cowboy Kings book. In case you cannot
read the facsimile signature under the image, that is cowboy legend Tom Mix
on the cover.
I'll continue referring to this piece alternatively as both
a book and a collection. It is laid-out for the most part as a book is
laid-out, and even contains a notation inside remarking "First hard-cover
edition, 1974", and so it technically is a book. However, we'll soon
see it is also a collection.
||This is the image of John Ford
that appears before the opening text on page 3 (after the title page and
copyright page). Under this illustration of Ford there are two columns
of text over three pages but more or less taking up two full pages. In all,
the "book" is six-pages long.
||This is what is found after page
6. The 24 prints, each measuring 11" X 17" are slipped into the inside
back cover as shown (that's Harry Carey on top here). The John Ford
illustration is embossed in gold on the sleeve holding them, and the text
underneath attributed to Ford reads as follows:
With great pleasure I
take pride in introducing this unique portfolio of the 'Cowboy Kings' to
I consider myself very fortunate to have known all of these stars personally
and I was privileged to direct most of them.
||Taking a better look at the prints
inside the sleeve, here's John Wayne (also shown below). Most of the
prints have a large head shot like Wayne, but with only one action image
lingering below. The Duke gets two. Again, due to the size this
is cropped, though the next two images will give a little more detail.
||Top portion of John Wayne print.
In the upper left corner is the artist's, Will Williams, signature
(facsimile, of course).
||And here is the bottom portion of
the John Wayne print. Noted in the bottom right corner is "�1973 �
WESTERN SERIES, INC. Hollywood, California U.S.A."
||Centered on the reverse side of
each of the prints is a brief biography of each Western star. Again,
this is John Wayne.
||And at the bottom of the reverse
side, too small to be read here, is the following notation: "JOHN FORD'S
FAMOUS WESTERN STARS SERIES is published by WESTERN SERIES INC. - P.O. Box
####, Hollywood, California 90028 U.S.A.
Below you'll find a thumbnail image of each of the 24 Cowboy
Kings as chosen by John Ford and illustrated by Will Williams. Click on
any thumbnail to see a larger version of the image. As with the
John Wayne image above, each print is cropped because of their size. When one of the
Cowboy Kings' names is linked it is to a full profile page elsewhere on this