Burl Ives – The first cover of Ghost Riders In The Sky, recorded in 1949
Very sweetly done Burl.
Tom Keene (born George Duryea; December 30, 1896 – August 4, 1963) was an American actor known mostly for his roles in B Westerns. During his almost 40-year career in motion pictures Tom Keene worked under three different names. From 1923, when he made his first picture, until 1930 he worked under his real name George Duryea. The last film he made under this name was Pardon My Gun. Beginning with the 1930 film Tol’able David, he used Tom Keene as his moniker. This name he used up to 1944 when he changed it to Richard Powers. The first film he used this name in was Up in Arms.
He continued to use this name for the rest of his film career.
Somewhere in there Tom Keene made a lot of Westerns and was a well known Western Star of his day
– as the photo below attests.
Available on DVD From 1930 to 1958
Though many Westerns from this era are ‘lost’ Tom still has a substantial collection.
For a superb in depth bio on Tom Keene head over to The Old Corral http://www.b-westerns.com/tkeene1.htm
Then … incredibly, just a few short years after you hung up your spurs …
You were erased. By time.
Why? It’s understandable maybe? Because most early Western Stars were dead before most of us were born. And many of their movies are ‘Lost’. Even now only a handful of Western Film buffs try to keep their memories alive. And the Wonders that they brought back then.
I don’t count myself among those that do that.
They’re several notches above this tenderfoot.
I’m bringing this all up because back in 2014 I had an idea:
I’d post series of images of Western Stars performing
a very popular Publicity shot from the early era of Westerns: The Cowboy Star rearing up on his Steed.
I called this Steeds of Renown.
I even made some banners.
And a few posts.
Then … I ran into a problem (as I usually do).
My original plan to just post some images got ambushed.
I found that I couldn’t just throw up some pics of these guys
without providing some kind of bio or profile on them.
It didn’t seem right.
Sooo very quickly my little dust devil of an idea turned into a tornado!
On Buck Jones alone I did about 18 posts!
Waaaaaay more than anything I had intended.
Eventually the whole thing bogged down and collapsed into a heap of road apples.
And I got distracted by other things.
But now! Since I find myself doing nothing at all …
(I got them old covid blues) … I’ll try to pick up the trail where I left off.
And who knows? I might even finish this thing.
Some day. But I doubt it.
Buck was now making 7, 8 or 9 movies a year – production was swift in those days. Buck had achieved Top Bill/Stardom – his name is often larger and posted before the movie title. He was the draw. – but not necessarily as a Western Star. A good portion of the 42 films he is received credits for in the 1920’s were non-Westerns. In a lot of these films, Buck he was Billed as “Charles Jones” – and on at least a couple of occasions as “Charles ‘Buck’ Jones”. I’ve posted a couple of these non-Western here (“Big Dan”/1923) just because the posters are so darn nice.
Not revealed as a Western … but I do see a cowboy galloping there … ?
Some nice stuff eh!
Way to go Buck!
Buck Jones Filmography 1920’s
1928 The Big Hop Buck Bronson 1928 The Branded Sombrero Starr Hallett 1927 Blood Will Tell Buck Peters 1927 Black Jack Phil Dolan 1927 Chain Lightning Steve Lannon 1927 Good As Gold Buck Brady 1927 Hills of Peril Laramie (as Charles ‘Buck’ Jones) 1927 Whispering Sage Buck Kildare 1927 The War Horse Buck Thomas 1926 Desert Valley Fitzsmith 1926 30 Below Zero Don Hathaway Jr. 1926 The Flying Horseman Mark Winton 1926 The Gentle Cyclone Absolem Wales 1926 A Man Four-Square Craig Norton 1926 The Fighting Buckaroo Larry Crawford 1926 The Cowboy and the Countess Jerry Whipple 1925 The Desert’s Price Wils McCann 1925 Lazybones Steve Tuttle, aka Lazybones (as Charles ‘Buck’ Jones) 1925 Durand of the Bad Lands Dick Durand 1925 Timber Wolf Bruce Standing 1925 Hearts and Spurs Hal Emory 1925 Gold and the Girl Dan Prentiss 1925 The Trail Rider Tex Hartwell 1925 Dick Turpin Crowd Extra (uncredited) 1925 The Arizona Romeo Tom Long 1924 The Man Who Played Square Matt Black 1924 Winner Take All Perry Blair 1924 The Desert Outlaw Sam Langdon 1924 Against All Odds Chick Newton 1924 Western Luck Larry Campbell (as Charles Jones) 1924 The Circus Cowboy Buck Saxon (as Charles Jones) 1924 The Vagabond Trail Donnegan (as Charles Jones) 1924 Not a Drum Was Heard Jack Mills (as Charles Jones) 1923 Cupid’s Fireman Andy McGee (as Charles Jones) 1923 Big Dan Dan O’Hara 1923 Hell’s Hole Tod Musgrave (as Charles Jones) 1923 Second Hand Love Andy Hanks (as Charles Jones) 1923 Skid-Proof Jack Darwin (as Charles Jones) 1923 The Eleventh Hour Brick McDonald (as Charles Jones) 1923 Snowdrift Carter Brent (as Charles Jones) 1923 The Footlight Ranger Bill Moreland (as Charles Jones) 1922 The Boss of Camp Four Chet Fanning (as Charles Jones) 1922 Bells of San Juan Roderick Norton (as Charles Jones) 1922 The Fast Mail Stanley Carson (as Charles Jones) 1922 West of Chicago Conroy Daly (as Charles Jones) 1922 Trooper O’Neill Trooper O’Neill (as Charles Jones) 1922 Roughshod ‘Steel’ Brannon (as Charles Jones) 1922 Western Speed Red Kane (as Charles Jones) 1922 Pardon My Nerve! Racey Dawson (as Charles Jones) 1921 Riding with Death ‘Dynamite’ Steve Dorsey (as Charles ‘Buck’ Jones) 1921 Bar Nothing Duke Smith 1921 To a Finish Jim Blake 1921 Straight from the Shoulder The Mediator 1921 Get Your Man Jock MacTier 1921 The One-Man Trail Tom Merrill 1921 The Big Punch Buck 1920 Two Moons Bill Blunt 1920 Just Pals Bim 1920 Sunset Sprague Sunset Sprague 1920 Firebrand Trevison Firebrand Trevison 1920 Square Shooter Chick Crandall 1920 The Spirit of Good Minor Role (as Buck Gebhart) 1920 Forbidden Trails Quinton ‘Squint’ Taylor 1920 The Last Straw Tom Beck 1920 The Cyclone Minor Role (as Buck Gebhart)
Despite Jones impressive list of 168 Credits, most of his early work was as a Stuntman/Stunt Rider/Support Actor/Stunt double for Tom Mix, William Farnum, William S. Hart and others. No shame in that, but it did take a while for Buck to achieve Stardom. He paid his dues.
Photos/Pics of Jones are often confused with Photos/Pics of Tom Mix. They could almost have pass as brothers – so Jones probably made a pretty good Double for Mix. Even in photos sometimes the only way to tell them apart is that Tom Mix had a fairly large nose. Yup.
The Golden Age of Western Posters
The 50’s is often referred to the Golden Age of Westerns– as they achieved their height of popularity at that time. But I also I refer to the 20’s, 30’s and 40.s as the Golden Age of Western Posters – with many exceptional pieces of poster art being done during this time/era.
Buck Jones Filmography / Posters
1910 to 1920
Between 1910 and 1920 Buck is credited with appearances in 27 Movies, Shorts or Documentaries – though some are unconfirmed. Most seem to have had no posters? or they are lost.
Buck later changed his name from Buck Gebhart to Buck Jones.
Due to the First World War, German names were likely not too popular.
Pretty skimpy. I couldn’t find many Buck Jones Poster images for this era. There could be plenty around ? but I didn’t locate them. But there’s some great stuff coming up.
Buck Jones Filmography 1900 to 1920
1919 The Feud – Minor Role (as Buck Gebhart) 1919 The Cowboy and the Rajah – (Short) 1919 Cupid’s Roundup (Short) – (unconfirmed) 1919 The Speed Maniac – Minor Role (as Buck Gebhart) 1919 Brother Bill – (Short) as Roy Dexter 1919 Rough-Riding Romance – (as Buck Gebhart) 1919 When Pals Fall Out – (Short) Bill (uncredited) 1919 The Wilderness Trail – Indian (as Buck Gebhart) 1919 Shackles of Fate – (Short) 1919 The Puncher and the Pup – (Short) 1919 The Coming of the Law Henchman – (as Buck Gebhart) 1919 The Uphill Climb (Short) Rockcliffe Stone 1919 Pitfalls of a Big City – Minor Role (as Buck Gebhart) 1919 Vengeance and the Girl – (Short) 1919 Fighting for Gold – Cowboy (as Buck Gebhart) 1919 The Sheriff’s Son – Cowboy 1919 Hell’s Fury Gordon – (Short) (unconfirmed) 1919 The Two Doyles – (Short) Outlaw Henchman 1919 The Desert Rat – (Short) Standing Bear 1918 The Rainbow Trail – Cowboy (as Buck Gebhart) 1918 Riders of the Purple Sage – Cowboy (as Buck Gebhart) 1918 Selfish Yates – Member of the Posse (uncredited) 1918 True Blue – Cowboy (as Buck Gebhart) 1918 Western Blood – Cowboy (as Buck Gebhart) 1917 A Rough Shod Fighter 1914 The Outlaw Reforms – (Short) Bill (as Charles Gebhart) 1914 Life on the 101 Ranch, Bliss Oklahoma – (Short) Sergeant
Post # 600 / My Favorite Westerns Like the old prospector said: “I really never counted on living this long.”
The Last Roundup / Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers
Buck Jones / Steeds of Renown / Part 3
A movie star for over 20 years – dying early at age 53.
Over 160 movies.
I couldn’t count the number of photos I found of Buck Jones. Must be hundreds. (If I had a nickel for every Buck … ) Too many to post here. They would cover pages. And most of them are excellent. Likewise, though I’m not certain how many – or where you’ll get them – many of his movies are still around. There are also several excellent bios and recollections of his work on Western websites and blogs. Buck is not unknown or forgotten in the Western fan fraternity.
I was finally able to locate another photo of Buck and Silver Buck rearing.
This time you can see Buck’s face though – but the photo is of poor quality.
Below are just some of the outstanding Publicity photos of Buck.
As you can see – excellent Publicity Images.
More to come.
Buck Jones / Iconic Images / Steeds of Renown
“In my pictures we never let up on the action. They’ve got as much movement as the silents. In the last one I rode a horse through a plate-glass window, and that’s the sort of thing pictures need.” – Buck Jones.
(MFW: Haven’t heard how Silver felt about that)
An interesting publicity photo – as the first in my series of Iconic Images of Western Stars rearing on their Steeds. Why interesting? Because you can’t see Buck’s face! He might as well be wearing sunglasses and a beard. Makes me wonder why they even released it? But it’s the only photo I could find of Buck rearing up on Silver. If you know of another, please send it over.
You no doubt noticed that Buck’s horse is called Silver – same name as the Lone Ranger’s famous horse. However, Silver was a fairly common name for white horses before the ‘Ranger showed up.
Buck Jones – A Short Bio
Actor / Producer / Director / Writer
Actor (168 movies) / Producer (23 credits) / Director (3 credits) / Writer (3 credits) / Self (8 credits)
Buck Jones (December 12, 1891 – November 30, 1942) Birthname: Charles Frederick Gebhart
born on the outskirts of Vincennes, Indiana
In 1907, Jones joined the US Army a month after his sixteenth birthday. (His mother had signed a consent form that gave his age as eighteen)
Was Assigned to the Philippines – October, 1907, served in combat and was wounded during the Moro Rebellion. Honorably discharged at Fort McDowell, California.
Had an affection for race cars. Worked extensively as a test driver for the Marmon Motor Car Company.
October 1910, re-enlisted in the US Army. Second honorable discharge from the Army in October 1913.
Began working as a cowboy on the 101 Ranch near Bliss, Oklahoma.
He was hired by Universal Pictures for $5 per day as a bit player and stuntman.
Later worked for Canyon Pictures, then Fox Film Corporation, eventually earning $40 per week as a stuntman. With Fox his salary increased to $150 per week.
Became a backup to Tom Mix. Led to his first starring role, The Last Straw (1920)
By 1925 Jones had more than 160 film credits to his name and joined Hoot Gibson, Tom Mix, and Ken Maynard as the top cowboy actors of the day.
1928 started his own company, independently produced film The Big Hop (a non-Western) which failed.
Then organized a touring Wild West show – also failed due to the faltering economy of late 1929.
Talking pictures replacing silent films – and Westerns briefly fell out of favor.
Signed with then-humble Columbia Pictures for Westerns for $300 a week, a fraction of his top salary in the silent film days.
Re-establishing him as a major movie name. During the 1930s he starred in Western features and serials for Columbia and Universal Pictures.
His star fell again in the late 1930’s when singing cowboys became the rage.
He rejoined Columbia in 1940, starring in the serial White Eagle . The new serial was a hit. Jones was reestablished.
His final series of Western features, co-produced by Jones featured The Rough Riders trio: Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, and Raymond Hatton.
1937, Jones starred in Hoofbeats, a 15-minute radio program.
Tragic Death: Buck Jones was one of the 492 victims of the 1942 Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston, Massachusetts.
MFW: Buck Jones: An interesting and admirable man. An authentic cowboy who knew how to role with the punches – kept re-inventing himself with each shortfall – until his tragic end.
Buck Jones / Iconic Images / Steeds of Renown
A while back I got a bright idea to do a post on one of the most famous and Iconic Images of Early Westerns Film – the publicity shot of our Western Hero rearing up on his/her trusty Steed. Most every Star did one of these shots all the way from early Westerns right up to Roy Rogers, Zorro, The Cisco Kid and The Lone Ranger. I figure this would be an interesting and fun post. So I set about rounding up as many such images as I find and …. pretty soon I had a lot. A lot.
And as I started to put this together, things got even more complicated. How could I just throw a pic of Buck Jones on the blog, for instance, without saying something about him? Especially since he’s not all that well known these days – unless you’re a real Western Movie buff. I just couldn’t do that. Buck Jones – or Bob Baker – Ken Maynard and others were all big Western Stars in their day – and interesting guys. They deserve more than just a passing pic in the wind.. Sooo I started to to put a couple of bios together. HAH! Soon I had so much material – and a lot of it was really good – that this project went from being a mere pic post into an encyclopedia. A monster had emerged.
I’m sure most people think that The Lone Ranger came out of the 50’s. Wrong! The Lone Ranger started on radio back before 1933 and ran over 900 shows up until 1956. 23 years! It translated to TV from 1949 to 1957.
So … my “Thrilling days of yesterday” go back to the early 50’s when I used to listen to The Lone Ranger on the radio. We didn’t always have a TV because Dad feared (rightly) that we wouldn’t read much. But I loved the radio shows and listened to Hopalong Cassidy, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, The Shadow, Superman – and a few other radio programs as well. Grand stuff.
The Lone Ranger Theme / William Tell Overture by Rossini
If there’s any one thing that separates the modern Western from Westerns of the past, it’s the loss of Romance.
Nothing illustrates this loss more than the almost non-existent relationship between the modern Western Hero and his Horse/Steed.
In the modern Western a horse is just a prop – a vehicle – a necessary, but no-named beast. Slap on your saddle and ride off – not likely into the sunset.
It’s sad I tell ya.
WIth that in mind I’d like to pay homage to those lost Days of Yesteryear …
with this quiz:
The Steeds of Renown / A quiz:
The quiz matchups range from ridiculously easy – to insanely difficult.
And some are just plain ridiculous.
Click link below to do this quiz:
I hope that was a bit of fun for you.
Less than 10 correct = Stand down wind Please.
13 Correct = Fetch yer saddle.
16 correct = Let’s ride!
19 correct = Welcome at my campfire.
22 or more correct = There’s a bottle in the saddlebag …