writing as Angela Raines
|Photo property of the Author|
In the 1930s Charles Starrett, Bob Steele, Robert Livingston, and William Boyd began making films.
Bob Steele: 1907-1988 Bob Steel probably had one of the longest careers in the industry with 244 film credits. He began performing at age two with his father and starred on film age 14. I still remember him in the TV series F-Troop and the Clint Eastwood film "Hang Em High"
Charles Starrett: 1903-1986 Charles Starrett is best known for his work as 'The Durango Kid" films. He began playing the character in 1945 and ended in 1952. At the time of his death he held the record for the longest-running lead in feature films. He began his career while at attending Dartmouth College where he was hired as an extra for the film "The Quarterback". He was on the college football team at the time. And I do enjoy the Durango Kid film when I can find it.
Robert Livingston: 1904-1988. Robert Livingston also billed as Bob Livingston, was born in a town about thirty-five miles from my home town. He was one of the original Three Mesquiteers and also played The Lone Ranger and Zorro. He began as a newspaper reporter in for the LA Daily News, his father was an editor in Robert's home town and gradually moved into film.
William Boyd: 1895-1972 Best known for his work as Hopalong 'Hoppy' Cassidy, Boyd was one of the early actors who bought the rights to his films and transferred to the new medium of television. He also marketed merchandise based on his character. According to his biography, his family moved to Oklahoma when he was seven and he lost both in his early teens. He dropped out of school to provide for himself. Now tell me, who doesn't love Hoppy?
In the 1940s Buster Crabbe, George Montgomery, and Allan 'Rocky' Lane began their careers
Buster Crabbe: 1908-1983 While Buster Crabbe is more well known for his roles as Tarzan and Flash Gordon, he made a number of westerns as the character Billy the Kid/Billy Carson with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John. He also won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1932 for the 400- meter freestyle swim event.
George Montgomery: 1916-2000 George Montgomery was a jack of many trades. His career began in the 1930s with a number of uncredited roles. He started to come into his own in the 1940s with roles in a number of Westerns. He moved into television, even had a television show 'Cimarron City', in the 1950s while still doing films.
Allan 'Rocky' Lane: 1909-1973 Allan Lane, other than the voice of the talking horse in the television series Mr. Ed, Lane is probably best known for his series of films in the late 1940s early 50s staring as the character Rocky Lane. I admit I've always loved his films.
By 1950 television was becoming more popular and these films began to wane. Still, some wonderful, fun films were made during this time. Sunset Carson, Lash LaRue, and Wild Bill Elliott were fun to watch.
Sunset Carson: 1920-1990. At 6'6" Carson was one of the taller stars. He was briefly popular in the late 1940s and ending in 1950.
Lash LaRue: 1917-1996 Alfred 'Lash' LaRue was known not only for his use of the bullwhip and his likeness to Humphrey Bogart. His films had him starring as the character "The Cheyenne Kid/Cheyenne Davis".
Wild Bill Elliott: 1904-1965 Elliott's Western career began with the fifteen chapter serial, "The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock" in 1938. Although he'd been in other films, it was this series that built his career, which lasted through the early 1950s. A lot of films in Elliott's middle years were a step above the standard 'B' Westerns.
I can't end this post without talking about two actors who remain favorites. Walter Brennan and Audie Murphy.
Walter Brennan: 1894-1974 Brennan is the only actor so far to win three Academy Awards for Best-Supporting Actor. Brennan was comfortable on the large and small screen. I loved him in "Red River' with Wayne, and of course in TV in "The Real McCoys".
Audie Murphy: 1925-1971 Perhaps best known for his Westerns, Murphy was also in the film version of "Red Badge of Courage" and "To Hell and Back" based on his biography and time in WWII. By the age of twenty-one, Murphy was the most decorated soldier of that war.
On this coming Memorial Day, please remember Murphy and all others who have given so much for family and country.
Below are links to Westerns by decades:
Western Films 1930s
Western Films 1940s
Western Films 1950-1954
For those who like the Western, check out this anthology.
Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet