Friday, May 22, 2020


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the Author
I imagine most of you are like me, you love the West, the stories, the history, the people, and the myths. One thing I've always enjoyed was the older 'B' Westerns from the 1930s-50s. The old serials, short films, and of course the hero Cowboys. These films go back to the old Johnny Mack Brown, Buck Jones, and Ken Maynard. I thought for fun, I'd spend some time talking about some of those famous heroes. Yes, Gary Cooper, Jahn Wayne, Joel McCrea, Randolph Scott, and James Stewart made films during this time, along with Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, but I'll be looking at the actors who were favorites back then, but not so well known now. As we head into a different Memorial Day Weekend, here's to the memories these stars have given moviegoers over the years.

In the 1930s Charles Starrett, Bob Steele, Robert Livingston, and William Boyd began making films.

Bob Steele (1907-1989) - Find A Grave Memorial

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 - Wikipedia

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 (actor) - Wikipedia

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) - Find A Grave Memorial

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 - publicity.GIF

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

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) - Find A Grave Memorial

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) - Find A Grave Memorial

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) - Find A Grave Memorial

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".

William “Wild Bill” Elliott (1904-1965) - Find A Grave Memorial

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) - Find A Grave Memorial

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 - Wikipedia

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.

The Untamed West by [L. J. Washburn, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, James Reasoner, Matthew P. Mayo, Tom  Rizzo, J.E.S.  Hays, Ben  Goheen, Dorothy A.  Bell, Angela  Raines, Dennis Doty]
Amazon ebook
And if you like Western TV shows:

52 Weeks - 52 TV Westerns by [Scott Harris, Paul Bishop, Rob Word]
Amazon ebook

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


  1. What a marvelous trip back in time. I miss some of those actors from way back, some that I watched and some that I just knew about. I adore Walter Brennan, such a marvelous character actor. Loved him in Rio Bravo....that cackle of his.

    1. I still watch these 'heroes'when I get the chance. It was a special time for me, and I wasn't even alive then. LOL. Thank you for the kind words. Doris

  2. I remember some of these but F Troop really brings back memories.

  3. Angela, thanks for the walk down memory lane!

    1. You are very welcome. It is a favorite passtime of mine to find and watch some of these old films. I love that you can find a list by decade.


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