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The Fall Guy Book Review


Below: Book cover of "The Fall Guy" by Bad Chuck Roberson

Book cover: The Fall Guy by Bad Chuck Roberson

Review

First of all, this book is out of print so to buy your own copy you'll have to get lucky at your local used book store or thrift shop, or you can look for copies online. We found one of our copies on Amazon, and another one on eBay. You can pay a bundle for it, so you may have to shop around to find a good deal.

If you are a Western movie fan this book is a must-have and a terrific read. Written by Charles "Bad Chuck" Roberson and Bodie Thoene, it chronicles Roberson's 30+ years as a Hollywood stuntman. Roberson was best-known for his stunt work in Westerns, and he describes years of performing stunts and doubling for such actors as John "Duke" Wayne, Gregory Peck, Charlton Hesston, Robert Mitchum, and many more. He also talks about working with other well-known stuntmen such as Ben Johnson, Frank "Frankie" McGrath, Jack "Jackie" Williams, Dean Smith, and others.

While we found all aspects of this book interesting, the parts we liked the best were when Roberson talks about two legendary stunt horses: Coco, a mare he found and sold to his good friend Jack "Jackie" Williams; and Cocaine, a gelding that he first rented and then purchased. Early in his career Roberson wanted to train a horse to fall at an all-out run on its own, avoiding the gimmicks and cruel methods of tripping used in the past. Going against the previous industry standard he trained Coco to fall on cue from an all-out run, not just a lope, and without any cruel gimmicks or tripping. Not long afterwards he sold her to Jackie because he felt the mare was too short for his taller frame. Soon afterwards he found Cocaine and trained him to fall from a run on cue also. It wasn't long before Coco and Williams, and Cocaine and Roberson, were firmly cementing the body of work that would make them Hollywood stunt legends.

The book moves along quickly and contains a lot of humor. Roberson drops a lot of famous names and tells entertaining stories to go with them. In the center there are a few black-and-white photos of Roberson, Cocaine, and numerous Hollywood notables. Some of the photos are portrait-type shots, while others are action shots of stunts. We found all of them interesting. If there's one thing we have to say we don't like about this book, though, it's Roberson's occasional stories about his womanizing. Fortunately those parts of the book don't take up too much of the story.

So, while this book is out of print and may be hard to find, if you're a Western movie fan we think it will be worth the effort.

About The Fall Guy's Book Cover

The cover of the book shows a photo of Roberson, doubling for John Wayne, jumping his beloved horse Cocaine through a fake glass window on the set of the John Wayne movie "Chisum." Roberson was proud of his equine friend and co-worker and appreciated it when Cocaine was given proper credit, so we're happy to mention him here.

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