Wednesday, November 3, 2021

An Overview of "THE THREE MESQUITEERS": A Classic "B" Western Series

French author Alexander Dumas published in 1844, his classic novel, "The Three Musketeers". In 1936, "Republic Pictures", released the first of their series of Westerns, about "THE THREE MESQUITEERS", "Tucson Smith", "Stoney Brooke", and "Lullaby Joslin", but these were not the first on-screen appearances of the characters, only the most remembered.

This is an overview of the on-screen appearances of Western author, William Colt MacDonald's heroes. 






Filmed between 1932 and 1945, there would be a total of 64 motion pictures based upon MacDonald's 70 Western novels. Only 53 of these are about "The Three Mesquiteers" and several screenplays were only based upon the characters he created.

Allan William Colt MacDonald was born in the "Wild West" of Detroit, Michigan, on December 2, 1891, and he passed away in Lakeport, California, on March 27, 1968. This, sadly, is all the biographical information about the author I could find.




THE FIRST TWO MOTION PICTURES


POWDERSMOKE RANGE released on August 27, 1935




The motion picture was directed by Wallace Fox and between 1927 and 1954, the forgotten Fox, directed a combination of 117 "B" Western motion pictures and 1950's television programs. Among those early television shows were, "THE RANGE RIDER", starring Jock Mahoney, "THE GENE AUTRY SHOW", and. "ANNIE OAKLEY", starring Gail Davis.

The screenplay writer for "POWERSMOKE RANGEwas an example of the problems a woman faced during the early motion picture industry. Adele Buggington had to use, at times, the pen name of Jess Bowers, to give the impression she was a man. While, at other times, Adele used her birth name of Adele Burgdorfer.














Harry Carey, Sr. portrayed "Tucson Smith". Carey started acting in 1910 and appeared in a variety of film genres, but became known for portraying "B" Cowboy heroes. Harry Carey was also, a poker playing, drinking buddy, of director John Ford, and character actor Paul Fix. The three came together to have Fix, also a drama teacher, train a young actor they all liked, how to walk like a real cowboy. 

The actor was about to appear in his first starring role in director, Raul Walsh's, 1930, wide-screen, Western, "THE BIG TRAIL"! Walsh had just changed the name of this prop boy turned actor, after talking to his friend John Ford, to John Wayne. That story is part of my article, "John Wayne, William Fox: Grandeur and 'The Big Trail", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/10/john-wayne-william-fox-grandeur-and-big.html

Hoot Gibson portrayed "Stoney Brooke". Gibson was a major "B" Western Cowboy actor starting with the 1910 Western short, "THE TWO BROTHERS". By 1959, as "Union Sergeant Brown", in director John Ford's, "THE HORSE SOLDIERS", Hoot Gibson had appeared in 221 different Western roles.

Guinn "Big Boy" Williams portrayed "Lullaby Joslin". Over his career Guinn would appear in 222 different roles, between 1919 and 1962. Among his films are many silent "B" Westerns, and major films with stars such as Marion Davies, Dick Powell, George Raft, and even Shirley Temple.
He would be seen in the original 1937"A STAR IS BORN", starring Janet Gaynor and Frederick March, 1939's"DODGE CITY", starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, 1951's"AL JENNINGS OF OKLAHOMA", starring Dan Duryea and Gale Storm, the Gary Cooper 1952 Western, "SPRINGFIELD RIFLE". and John Wayne's, 1960"THE ALAMO".



















Above left to right, Hoot Gibson, Harry Carey, Sr., and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams.

The typical "B" plot, has new ranch owners, "Tucson", "Stoney" and "Lullaby", find all their legal documents about the ranch's ownership missing and their livestock rustled. The three track down and confront the thieves and the man behind everything that happened.


THE LAW OF THE 45'S released on December 1, 1935




The motion picture was made by producer brothers Arthur and Max Alexander's forgotten, "Normandy Productions", and released by the equally forgotten, "First Division Pictures". The brothers had a previous company, "Beacon Pictures", and made several earlier "B" Westerns with Guinn Williams.

The feature was directed by John P. McCarthy, and over his 25-year career. he would direct 39 feature films. These included, several "B" Westerns with Bob Steele, Tom Tyler, Charles Starrett, and Duncan Renaldo's, 1945, "THE CISCO KID RETURNS".


The screenplay was by Robert Emmett Tansey. Tansey would write the screenplays for 88 "B" Westerns, and direct 53 "B" Westerns. between 1926 and 1951. His screenplay removed "Lullaby Joslin", changed "Stoney's" last name and added comedy touches to the character.

This feature is also misstated as being the first motion picture with "The Three Mesquiteers". The mix-up could be, because the novel, "The Law of the 45's", came out in 1933, and MacDonald's novel, "Powdersmoke Range", in 1934.


Guinn "Big Boy" Williams returned, but portrayed "Tucson Smith".

Al St. John portrayed "Stoney Martin". St. John's "B" Western career was mainly as a side-kick, sometimes using the name "Fuzzy St. John". It would span 337 roles, between 1913 and 1952. St. John appeared with major "B" Cowboy stars, Tom Mix, Bob Steele, John Wayne, William Boyd and Bob Livingston.
















Above, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams and Al St. John.

The plot starts with "Tucson" and "Stoney" driving their herd of cattle and rescuing "Charlie Hayden", played by Lafe McKee, from a gang of killers. The two will sell the herd to "Hayden", agree to become ranch hands, and will again deal with the attempted killers and their boss. Romance for "Tucson" comes from "Joan Hayden", played by Molly O'Day.




REPUBLIC PICTURES CREATES "THE THREE MESQUITEERS" SERIES


"Republic Pictures" 
was located in North Hollywood, within the San Fernando Valley, and not in the actual city of Hollywood, that was on the other side of the Hollywood Hills.







Over the course of the 51 feature films, 11 actors portrayed the trio, with 4 actors portraying replacement characters. The following are short biographies of each actor and the role they portrayed.


TUCSON SMITH

Ray "Crash" Corrigan portrayed the role for 24 feature films, and was the second longest actor to remain with the series.
























Raymond Benitz was born on February 14, 1902 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He started his career as a physical fitness instructor to actors and others in the early 1930's. He became a stunt man and was known for portraying gorillas in movies. Below, calling himself, Ray Bernard, as the "Orangopoid" in 1936's, "FLASH GORDON", fighting Buster Crabbe.















Also in 1936, Ray Benitz was the leading character in the 12 Chapter Republic Serial, "THE UNDERSEA KINGDOM". From this "Cliff-Hanger" forward, the actor was now Ray "Crash" Corrigan.



My article about "THE UNDERSEA KINGDOM",  and also includes the Gene Autry, 1935 "Cliff-Hanger", Science Fiction Western, "THE PHANTOM EMPIRE", "Atlantis, Lemuria, and Mu: The Lost Continents in Science Fiction Movies", can be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2018/04/atlantis-lemuria-and-mu-lost-continents.html


Republic signed Corrigan to a contract and he appeared in "The Three Mesquiteers" series, and when his initial contract expired. Corrigan switched to poverty-row studio, "Monogram Pictures", and appeared in their rip-off of the Republic series, "THE RANGE BUSTERS".

In 1937, Ray Corrigan made a wise investment by purchasing land in the Santa Susana Mountains, bordering the San Fernando Valley, on the Northwest end of Los Angeles County, and at the entrance to what became known as Simi Valley, on the Eastern end of Ventura County. The land was turned into the "Corriganville Movie Ranch".

Two of the motion pictures filmed at the ranch were Director John Ford's classic 1948, "FORT APACHE", and the first CinemaScope motion picture, 1954's, "THE ROBE". While television shows such as, "THE LONE RANGER", THE CISCO KID", "THE ADVENTURES OF RIN-TIN-TIN", using the Fort built for the Ford movie, "THE ADVENTURES OF KIT CARSON", and, "HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL" were shot in "Corriganville".


After his career started going down, partly due to his alcoholism, in 1958, the very overweight, Ray "Crash" Corrigan portrayed the title character in a little Science Fiction movie that inspired the story for Director Ridley Scott's, 1979, "ALIEN", entitled "IT, THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE", below is Corrigan as the Martian:




















At the age of 74, Ray "Crash" Corrigan passed away from a heart attack, on August 10, 1976, in Brookings, Oregon.


Bob Steele portrayed the role in 20 feature films.






















Robert Adrian Bradbury was born on January 23, 1907 in Portland, Oregon. His parents were vaudevillians and in 1920 his father found work in Hollywood and hired both his sons, Robert and Bill, to star in a series of fifteen two-reel shorts, under the title of "THE ADVENTURES OF BILL AND BOB".  

After dropping out of high school, Bob Bradbury was hired, in 1927, by "Film Booking Offices of America (FBO)", to appear in a series of "B" Westerns and had his name changed to Bob Steele. By the end of the 1940's, Steele had appeared in Westerns for poverty-row, studios, "Monogram", "Supreme", "Tiffany", "Syndicate", and, "Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC)". 

"PRC"
released a series of Westerns about "Billy the Kid" and the first films starred Bob Steele and featured Al "Fuzzy" St. John as his side-kick. These pictures are part of my article, "Billy the Kid: Hollywood Style", found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2019/06/billy-kid-hollywood-style.html


Bob Steele had roles of varying size in "A" features such as, Director Howard Hawks, 1946, "THE BIG SLEEP", starring Bogart and Bacall, and appeared with his friend John Wayne in, 1953's, "ISLAND IN THE SKY", 1959's, "RIO BRAVO",  and Howard Hawks' second remake of that Western, 1970's, "RIO LOBO". My article, "Howard Hawks' 'Rio Bravo' Remade (?) as 'El Dorado' and 'Rio Lobo' Starring John Wayne", may be read at: 


http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/10/howard-hawks-rio-bravo-remade-as-el.html


In all, Bob Steele had 257 roles to his name, either in movies, or on television.



THE TUSCON SMITH REPLACEMENT: RICO RENALDO

Duncan Renaldo portrayed the role in 7 feature films.



















Duncan Renaldo, which wasn't his real name, was neither a Spanish or a Mexican actor, as millions still believe. At his birth, on April 23, 1904, in Oancea, Galati County, Romania, he was Vasile Dumitru Cugheanos. He entered the United States, as a coal passer on the French freighter, S.S. Puget Sound, apparently using an illegitimate passport, as Renault Renaldo Duncan. Who claimed to be a United States citizen, but his illegal entry would finally be discovered in 1933, by then, he had been acting as Duncan Renaldo, but an American court still sentenced him to two-years imprisonment, FDR stepped in and he pardoned the actor!

When Renaldo first entered the United States, he became a portrait painter, but that didn't work out and he found himself as a motion picture producer and actor. Now calling himself, Duncan Renaldo, the producer made his first short film, 1926's, "PUNCHINELLO", playing the title role. As the producer, he hired an unknown Hungarian actor named Bela Lugosi, to play his rival, "Harlequin".

In 1945, Duncan Renaldo would first play the role he would always be associated with, "The Cisco Kid", in "THE CISCO KID RETURNS", followed by another 7 motion pictures in that role. Then in 1950, teaming with a real Spanish heritage actor, Leo Carrillo, Duncan Renaldo moved to television as the "CISCO KID", through 1956. My article, "The History of the Cisco Kid on the Motion Picture and Television Screens", may be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2019/09/the-history-of-cisco-kid-on-motion.html




STONEY BROOKE


Robert Livingston was the longest running actor in the series, but he did it in three sections. From 1936 into 1937, Livingston portrayed "Stoney", 9 times. In 1938, Livingston portrayed the role, 6 times, and between 1939 and 1941, another 14 times.





















Robert Edward Randall was born on December 9, 1904, in Quincy, Illinois. Randall would be billed as either Robert Livingston, or Bob Livingston in his motion picture career. Among his 144 roles were the bank president in the original, 1936, "THE THREE GODFATHERS", "Don Diego Vega" aka: "Zorro", in the first sound "Zorro" motion picture, 1936's, "THE BOLD CABALLERO", he was the title character in the, 1939, "Cliff-Hanger", "THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN", and appeared in episodes of the "LONE RANGER" and "CISCO KID" television programs. Robert Livingston also appeared in a Horror movie, 1946's, "VALLEY OF THE ZOMBIES", and would star in 1973's, soft-porn movie, "THE NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES".


John Wayne portrayed the role in 8 feature films.











Marion Robert Morrison was born on May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa. However, according to John Wayne, when his mother became pregnant again, his parents wanted to name their next son, Robert. So, his middle name was changed to Michael and he became Marion Michael Morrison.

I already mentioned how John Wayne came to be and the following link takes my reader to another look at the early John Wayne. This is about six "B" sound Westerns that were made to match six silent Ken Maynard Westerns. My article is, "John Wayne and 'Duke the Devil Horse", and can be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2019/08/john-wayne-and-duke-devil-horse.html

Director John Ford was part of actor John Wayne's career, for the good and the bad times. My reader may like another of my Wayne articles with links to some others. "John Wayne in John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy: 'Fort Apache', 1948, 'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon', 1949, and 'Rio Grande', 1950", is available for reading at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/12/john-wayne-in-john-fords-cavalry.html



Tom Tyler portrayed the role in 13 feature films.










Vincent Markowski was born on August 9, 1903, in Port Henry, New York. Tom Tyler started acting in 1924, and the following year, "FBO", started starring him in 28 "B" Westerns and the actor became a "Saturday Matinee Star". In 1929, Tom Tyler started making his final 8 Silent Westerns for "Syndicate Pictures". In 1939, Tom Tyler isn't seen until the final minutes of Director John Ford's, "STAGECOACH", as the man John Wayne's, the "Ringo Kid" is after, "Luke Plummer". In 1940, and before  Lon Chaney, Jr. portrayed, "Kharis", it was Tom Tyler in, "THE MUMMY'S HAND", and in 1941, Tyler starred in the "Cliff Hanger", "THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL". My film biography, "Tom Tyler: the "B" Cowboy Star Who Became a Mummy, Captain Marvel and a Classic John Ford Bad Guy", is available to be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2017/01/tom-tyler-b-cowboy-star-who-became.html





THE STONEY BROOKE REPLACEMENT: HIS BROTHER, LARRY SMITH


Ralph Byrd portrayed the role in only 1 feature film.




Ralph Byrd was born on April 22, 1909, in Dayton, Ohio. He started his film career in 1932 and wasn't in many "B" Westerns. In 1937, Byrd was cast in "Republic Pictures", 15-Chapter, "Cliff-Hanger", "DICK TRACY" and to both motion picture audiences and television, he was the comic strip character come to life. In 1938, it was "DICK TRACY RETURNS", 1939, "DICK TRACY'S G-MEN", 1941, "DICK TRACY VS CRIME, INC.", 1947, "DICK TRACY'S DILEMMA", 1947, "DICK TRACY MEETS GRUESOME", and from 1950 through 1952, Ralph Byrd starred in the television series, "DICK TRACY", for 48 episodes.




THE STONEY BROOKE DECOY WHILE HE'S UNDERCOVER: TEX REILY


Kirby Grant portrayed the role in one motion picture calling himself "Stoney Brooke". 





Kirby Grant Hoon, Jr. was born on November 24, 1911, in Butte, Montana. He was a child prodigy with the violin and, as Kirby Grant, he played the instrument in Henry Fonda's, "I DREAM TOO MUCH", in 1935. His motion picture career wasn't much to speak about, but for 10 feature films, between 1949 and 1954, he had the recurring role of "Corporal Rod Webb", of the Canadian Mounted Police. However, my generation knows Kirby Grant as television's "SKY KING", for 72 thrilling episodes. Did "Sky King" have a dog? Many old viewers, myself included, say that's true, but the company owning the rights to the show say otherwise. This brought me to write my article, "The Mystery of 'Sky King's" Dog: Remembering the Dog Stars of 1950's Television", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2015/05/the-mystery-of-sky-kings-dog.html




LULLABY JOSLIN



Syd Saylor portrayed the role only once, in the first series entry.
























Above the original "THE THREE MESQUIETEERS", in the first of the "Republic Pictures Series", from 1936. Left to right, Syd Saylor as "Lullaby Joslin", Ray "Crash" Corrigan as "Tucson Smith", and Robert Livingston as "Stoney Brooke".


Leo Sailor was born on March 24, 1895 in Chicago, Illinois. As character actor Syd Saylor, he started on-screen acting in 1926, and at the end of his career in 1963, had appeared in 439 roles in feature films and on television. His television career started in 1951 and Syd Sailor became the second "Bozo the Clown", appearing on Los Angeles television station KTLA, which I watched as a five-years-old boy.




Max Terhune portrayed the role 31 times.





Max Terhune was born on February 12, 1891, in Franklin, Indiana. Vaudevillian, Ventriloquist, Magician, and Animal Sound imitator Terhune, first appeared on-screen in Gene Autry's, 1936, "Ride Ranger, Ride". In fact, it was Autry that introduced Max to "Republic Pictures". Along with his ventriloquist dummy, "Elmer", besides the "THE THREE MESQUITEERS" series, the two appeared with Ray "Crash" Corrigan in 24 of "THE RANGE BUSTERS" series. Later, Terhune was Johnny Mack Brown's side-kick at "Monogram Pictures".



Rufe Davis portrayed the role in 14 features.


























Above, Tom Tyler, Bob Steele, Lois Collier, and Rufe Davis.

Rufus Davison was born on December 2, 1908, in Vinson, Oklahoma. Another vaudevillian that did Animal and Train sounds, and sang. He first on-screen appearance, as Rufe Davis was in a 1936 short subject and wasn't always in "B" Westerns, but "B" musicals also. In 1949, Rufe appeared in the 7th episode of Season One, of the new television series, "The Lone Ranger". On television, Davis portrayed the train conductor, "Floyd Smoot", in 131 episodes of "Petticoat Junction", and the same character in, 10 episodes of "Green Acres".



Jimmie Dodd portrayed the role in 6 feature films.

  












Above, left to right, Jimmie Dodd, Tom Tyler and Bob Steele.

James Wesley Dodd
was born on March 28, 1910, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dodd was an actor, composer, singer, guitarist, and conductor. He came to Hollywood to play in the "Louie Prima Orchestra", and had 93 roles in motion picture, as Jimmie Dodd, starting in 1940, but is best remembered by my generation as one of the adults on Walt Disney's original "THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB". My article, "M.I.C.K.E.Y. M.O.U.S.E.': Walt Disney's Original Micky Mouse Club, 1955 To 1959: 'An Honorary Mousketeer in Good Standing' Remembers" may be "Mouse-ka-read" at:







THE LULLABY JOSLIN REPLACEMENT: RUSTY JOSLIN (RELATIONSHIP NEVER ESTABLISHED)


Raymond Hatton
portrayed the role in 9 feature films.





Above John Wayne with Raymond Hatton.

Raymond William Hatton
was born on July 7, 1887, in Red Oak, Iowa. However, different sites list the year of Hatton's birth as either 1883, or 1884. Hatton started on-screen acting in 1909, but again, some sites state the year as 1911. Hatton, as Raymond Hatton appeared as a side-kick, after this series, to "B" Cowboys, Johnny Mack Brown and James Ellison, until 1950. When he switched to television in Ralph Byrd's "DICK TRACY" series, and in 1955, Hatton portrayed the old miner, "Pete", in Director Roger Corman's, "THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED". He also had a small role in the teenage science fiction film, 1957's, "INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN". In all, between motion pictures and television programs, Raymond Hatton appeared in 442 different roles.



SOME INTERESTING ACTORS IN OTHER ROLES


In "THE THREE MESQUITEERS", released on September 22, 1936, there is a World War One veteran named "John". The 10th billed role was portrayed by Hugh Milburne Stone, who would be known as Milburn Stone. From 1955 through 1975, and 605 episodes of televisions "GUNSMOKE", viewers would know Stone as "Doc", aka: "Dr. Galen Adams".









In "HIT THE SADDLE", released on March 3, 1937, there is a saloon singer, played by Rita Casino. When she moved to "Columbia Pictures", Rita Casino became Rita Hayworth.








In "HEART OF THE ROCKIES", released on September 6, 1937, was Lynne Roberts aka: Lynn Roberts, aka: Mary Hart, who was born Theda May Roberts. "B" actress Roberts appeared in the 1938, "Cliff-Hanger", "THE LONE RANGER", and, co-starred with Ralph Byrd in the 1938, "Cliff-Hanger", "DICK TRACY RETURNS". Among her 21 "B" Westerns, Lynn Roberts co-starred multiple times with both Gene Autry and Roy Rodgers, before Dale Evans became Rodgers' co-star. She also co-starred with Kirby Grant in all of his Canadian Mounted Police movies.






In "WILD HORSE RODEO", released on December 6, 1937, there was a singer in one scene billed as Dick Weston. Actually, this singer was born Leonard Sly, and would take on the name of Roy Rodgers.






In "HEROES OF THE HILLS", released on August 1, 1938, was the actor Film Critic Leonard Maltin called, "Republic Pictures' number one bad guy", Roy Barcroft. In 1936, Barcroft was in the "Cliff-Hanger", "FLASH GORDON", and appeared in a large amount of "B" Westerns and was the title Martian in the 1945, classic "Cliff-hanger", "THE PURPLE MONSTER STRIKES". Probably Roy Barcroft's most remembered non-bad guy role was as "Jim Logan", the owner of the "Triple-R Boys Ranch", on Walt Disney's "THE ADVENTURES OF SPIN AND MARTY". In all, Barcroft appeared in 365 different roles.






In "PALS OF THE SADDLE", released on August 28, 1938, was George Montgomery Letz, using his new name of just George Montgomery. His role was the uncredited "Rider", and after 27 other uncredited roles, George Montgomery would get 4th billing in the 1939, Cesar Romero, "THE CISCO KID AND THE LADY". 



In "OVERLAND STAGE RAIDERS", released on September 20, 1938, there are two actors I want to mention.

The first is, Mary Louise Brooks, known as Louise Brooks. She is consider a Jazz Age icon and a flapper sex symbol with her bob hairstyle at that time. Her look influenced Bob Fosse to create the character of "Sally Bowles" for his musical "CABARET". 

Brooks got fed up with Hollywood and went to Europe, in 1929, and the Weimer Republic of Germany. Among her films was the silent classic, "PANDORA'S BOX", which had one of the first on-screen lesbian sequences portrayed by Louise Brooks. It didn't take long for the actress to become fed up with Europe and return to Hollywood in 1931. By 1938, Brooks career consisted of 17 silent films and 8 sound, but she would fall on hard times and become a paid escort with charges of prostitution.









The second is Ralph Bowman, who took the stage name of John Archer, but used his real name in this picturehis 4th on-screen appearance. Among Archer's film work are, the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, 1943. "SHERLOCK HOLMES IN WASHINGTON", the same years' war movie, "GUADALCANAL DIARY", the James Cagney and Virginia Mayo crime thriller, 1949's, "WHITE HEAT", and to science fiction fans, producer George Pal's, 1950's, classic, "DESTINATION MOON".






 

In "THE NIGHT RIDERS", released on April 12, 1939, was Kermit Maynard, not to be confused with his younger brother, "B" Cowboy actor, Ken Maynard. Like his younger brother, Kermit was a stunt man and Western actor. His acting career began in 1925, and his stunt work the following year. By the end of that career, he had credited work for 55 movies as a stunt man, and as an actor, over 455 roles.







In "THREE TEXAS STEERS", released on May 12, 1939, was Francis Lillian Mary Ridste, better known as Carole Landis. She started out as an uncredited "Chorus Girl" in 1936's, "GOLD DIGGERS OF 1937", and appeared in 31 motion pictures prior to this film. However, it was her, 1940 science fiction, opposite Victor Mature and Lon Chaney, "ONE MILLION B.C." that was Landis' break-out role. The following year Carole Landis co-starred with Betty Grable and Victor Mature in the classic film-noir, "I WAKE UP SCREAMING". Then it was the comedy romance, co-starring George Montgomery, 1941's, "CADET GIRL", but her career ended abruptly after her sexual relationship broke-up with "20th Century Fox's", Darryl F. Zanuck. When no studio, large or small, would touch Carole Landis after Zanuck put the word out against the actress.







In "WYOMING OUTLAW", released on June 27, 1939, there are three interesting actors in the picture.

The first is, Donald Barry de Acosta, known as Don "Red" Barry. His nickname of "Red" came from Barry being the first actor to portray the comic strip character of "Red Rider" on-screen. He started out as a "B" Western villain, even portrayed, "Jesse James" twice, and, "Billy the Kid", once, see my link under Bob Steele. "Red" Barry became an excellent character actor not just in Westerns, but dramas and on television. In 1958, Barry portrayed the motion picture director who is filming at "Castle Frankenstein" with the permission of the Baron, played by Boris Karloff, in "FRANKENSTEIN 1970".  He was also in the very underrated Civil War picture, 1966's, "ALVAREZ KELLY", starring William Holden and Richard Widmark. In 1972, the actor was in director Sam Peckinpah's, "Junior Bonner", starring Steve McQueen and by the end of his career, Don "Red" Barry had appeared in 295 different roles.























The second is, Charles Brown Middleton, known as Charles Middleton. In 1936, character actor Middleton portrayed "Ming the Merciless", for the first of three-times, in the "Cliff-Hanger", "FLASH GORDON", and also portrayed, "Sheriff Ike Vallon", in director James Whale's version of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's  musical, "SHOW BOAT". In 1939, Charles Middleton was in "DICK TRACY RETURNS", but is remembered as "The Man With Stove Pipe Hat in charge of the Convict Workers", in, "GONE WITH THE WIND". At the end of his film career, Charles Brown Middleton would have portrayed 199 different roles.



The third is, Otto Elmo Linkenhelt, known as Elmo Lincoln.  Lincoln was the first actor to portray, with the author's approval, Edgar Rice Burroughs "Tarzan", in three silent motion pictures. At the ending of the silent era in 1927, Elmo Lincoln left Hollywood to become a miner, but returned in 1939 and become a bit player. In "WYOMING OUTLAW", he portrays "U.S. Marshall Gregg", far right of the following still.







In "NEW FRONTIER" aka: "FRONTIER HORIZON", released on August 10, 1939, there is the character of "Celia Braddock". She is portrayed by Phylis Lee Isley, billed as Phylis Isley. Isley had the female lead in the 1939, "Cliff-Hanger", starring Ralph Byrd, "Dick Tracy's G-Men". She became fed-up with Hollywood, left for a very short time, but was talked into returning in 1942. Her next motion picture was for "20th Century Fox", 1943's, "THE SONG OF BERNADETTE". Phylis Lee Isley won the "Academy Award for Best Actress", but the name on the opening credits and motion picture posters was now Jennifer Jones.






Earlier, I mentioned Harry Carey, Sr., whose son Harry Carey, Jr. would become a major friend of John Wayne and appear in several of John Ford's Westerns and "THE ADVENTURES OF SPIN AND MARTY".

There was another actor with a son who used the "Junior" for some time as an actor. 

In "PIONEERS OF THE WEST", released on March 12, 1940, was Noah Nicholas Beery, known as Noah Beery, and the older brother of actor Wallace Beery. Noah Beery started acting in 1917, and appeared in two "Zorro" features. The first was Douglas Fairbanks, Sr's, 1920, "THE MARK OF ZORRO", as "Sergeant Pedro Gonzalez", the sadistic villain of the film, and in the, 1937 "Cliff-Hanger", "ZORRO RIDES AGAIN", as villain, "J. A. Marsden". In 1938, the actor started being billed as Noah Beery, Sr., because of his son's acting. In 1940, Noah Beery appeared in Don "Red" Barry's "Cliff-Hanger", "ADVENTURES OF RED RYDER". 























In "OKLAHOMA RENEGADES", released on August 29, 1940, was Edgar Dean Glosup, known as Eddie Dean. He started acting in "B" Westerns in 1938, and would star as different characters in a series of motion pictures. However, Eddie Dean was a Country-Western singer and according to both Gene Autry and Roy Rodgers, as stated in Dean's obituary, was "The Best Cowboy Singer of All Time". Eddie Dean is best remembered for his 1955 recording of "I Dream of a Hill-Billy Heaven".





















 



In "SADDLEMATES", released on May 16, 1941, were a early television series star, and a future "Frankenstein Monster"

First is Josephine Owaissa Cottle, who would become band-singer, Gale Storm. This was the singer and actress' 3rd on-screen appearance, and she would co-star in both 1941's, "JESSE JAMES AT BAY", and, "RED RIVER VALLEY", with Roy Rodgers, again prior to the arrival of Dale Evans. In 1943, Storm had to confront the "REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES", brought on by John Carradine and would be saved by the second on-screen "Batman", actor Robert Lowery. Gale Storm became a 1950's television personality and starred in both, "MY LITTLE MARGIE", 1952 through 1955, and, "THE GALE STORM SHOW: OH! SUSANNA", 1956 through 1960.






























Second is George Glenn Strange. known as Glenn Strange. Strange portrayed henchmen and was ab all around "B" Western bad man, but is best remembered for the last three "Universal International" original "Frankenstein" movies. He was the monster in, 1944's, "HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN", 1945's, "HOUSE OF DRACULA", and, 1948's, "ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN".





























In "OUTLAWS OF CHEROKEE TRAIL", released on September 10, 1941, was Madelyn Earle Jones, known as either Lois Collier, or, Lois Collyer. Collier started on-screen acting in 1935, but she would be referred to as the "Fourth Mesquiteer", because she appeared in seven movies from the series. The first is the above-mentioned entry, followed by, 1941's, "GAUCHOS OF ELDORADO", 1941'S, "WEST OF CIMMARRON", 1942's, "RAIDERS OF THE RANGE", both 1942's, "WESTWARD HO", and, "THE PHANTOM PLAINSMEN", and, 1943's, "SANTA FE SCOUTS".
























In "THE PHANTOM PLAINSMEN", released on June 16, 1942, was Richard Ollie Crane, known as Richard Crane. Because most of the Hollywood "A" List stars had joined the military during the Second World War, Crane became a leading man in some "A" pictures, but mostly "B" films. Crane starred in the 1951, "Cliff-Hanger", "THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND", loosely based upon the Jules Verne novel, was the hero in 1953's, "THE NEANDERTHAL MAN", was the right-hand man to the title character of the 1955 television series, "COMMANDO CODY SKY MARSHALL OF THE UNIVERSE", but is best known for playing the title character in the 1954 television series, "ROCKY JONES, SPACE RANGER". Which brings my reader to my article, "Richard Crane: 'Rocky Jones, Space Ranger" and 'The Alligator People", at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2021/08/richard-crane-rocky-jones-space-ranger.html








"VALLEY OF HUNTED MEN", released on November 13, 1942, featured Edward Paul Van Sloun, known as Edward Van Sloan. Should my reader be a fan of "Universal Pictures" horror movies, his name is very familiar. Van Sloan was "Van Helsing" in both 1931's, "DRACULA", starring Bela Lugosi, and in 1936's, "DRACULA'S DAUGHTER", starring Gloria Holden. Edward Van Sloan was in two films with Boris Karloff, 1931's, "FRANKENSTEIN", as "Doctor Waldman", and, 1932's, "THE MUMMY", as "Doctor Mueller". Otherwise, he was just another character actor in a large amount of forgotten motion pictures.




Above, in Bob Steele's lap, is Edward Van Sloan. This was the only clear photo of the actor I could find between his two appearances in the series.



LOCATION IS EVERYTHING


Used in many silent Westerns and this series is Lone Pine, California, located at an elevation of 3,727 feet above sea level. The "ALABAMA HILLS" was a major filming location starting in 1920. John Wayne's first Western, 1930's, "THE BIG TRAIL" and the Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., 1939, "GUNGA DIN", are two of the classic movies using this Lone Pine location.
































I previously mentioned the "CORRIGANVILLE MOVIE RANCH" located in Simi Valley, California.










































































Above a poster for 1939's, "THREE TEXAS STEERS", and a scene from 1959's, "RIO BRAVO". Below, a publicity still of Ray Corrigan, Max Terhune, and Robert Livingston between takes at "Corriganville".











 









One of the earliest locations for Westerns, started in 1912, was the "IVERSON MOVIE RANCH", located in Chatsworth, California, until 1966. When the State of California cut the ranch in two for what became known as the "Simi Valley Freeway".



























The above scene was from director John Ford's 1939, "STAGECOACH". Below, a cowboy in a forgotten movie stands on what was called "Ambush Rock".


























The above scene is from the 1926 Western, "SILVER TREASURE", starring George O'Brien. Below a map of the "Iverson Movie Ranch".















There was a third movie ranch located between "Iverson" and "Corganville" and designed to get the overflow of filming from "Iverson". One of my uncle's kept horses there and another rented horses for us to ride. This particular movie ranch is better known not for the film shoots, but who lived on the property at its demise.








 































My article, "The Spahn Movie Ranch, Sharon Tate, the LaBianca's and Helter Skelter", can be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2020/03/the-spahn-movie-ranch-sharon-tate.html


Located 12.5 miles from my front door is the place Tom Tyler flew over in "THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL", and many a "B Western movie, or early Western television show was shot at, "VASQUEZ ROCKS", located in the Sierra Pelona Mountains, in Santa Clarita, California.

















































Below, the dummy of Tom Tyler's "Captain Marvel", flies through "Vasquez Rocks".

















Above, the fort built for the 1956 through 1957 television show, "TALES OF THE BENGAL LANCERS". Below, one of the houses from the 1994, "THE FLINTSTONES" motion picture.

















































Above, Lee Van Cleef and Ralph Waite in a scene from 1972's, "THE MAGNIFICIENT SEVEN RIDE". Below, Leonard Nimoy in a scene from "STAR TREK'S: THE ALTERNATIVE FACTOR". One of several episodes of the television series shot at "Vasquez Rocks".


















My article including its interesting history, involving one of California's legendary outlaws, Joaquin Murrieta, "Vasquez Rocks: The Most Important Pile of Rocks in Motion Picture History", is available for reading at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2018/08/vasquez-rocks-most-important-pile-of.html



AN OVERVIEW OF THE ACTUAL SERIES

Like many "B" Westerns of the period, this was a "Modern Western", which meant besides horses, the audience might see motor vehicles and airplanes. 


















Above, is a lobby card for "CALL THE MESQUITEERS", released on March 7, 1938. Below, a lobby card for the previously mentioned "OVERLAND STAGE RAIDERS". released on September 20, 1938.


















The first motion picture in the series was:

THE THREE MESQUITEERS released on September 22, 1936.




As I mentioned above, this was the first motion picture in the "Republic Pictures" series. 


The motion picture was directed by Ray Taylor. For 30-years, between 1926 and 1956, Taylor directed 153 feature films, and his career started out with the 1926, "Cliff-Hanger" Western, "FIGHTING WITH BUFFALO BILL". Other of Ray Taylor's films included the forgotten, 1928's, "TARZAN THE MIGHTY", the Tom Tyler, 1933, adventure, "THE PHANTOM OF THE AIR", Bela Lugosi's, 1934, "THE RETURN OF CHANDU", and, Robert Livingston's, 1936, "B" Western, "THE VIGILANTES ARE COMING", co-starring Guinn "Big Boy" Williams.

Charles R. Condon adapted the source novel, there is no title listed, some film historians believe it was "The Law of the 45's", because by this year MacDonald had published 13 books. Condon had performed similar work starting in 1927, and would do the story for 1940's, "OKLAHOMA RENEGADES".

The actual screenplay was written by Jack Natteford. Natteford started writing screenplays in 1916, and his first two "B" Westerns were 1922's, "ROUNDING UP THE LAW", and, 1923's, "CYCLONE JONES", both starring Guinn "Big Boy" Williams. Jack Natteford also wrote "B" Western screenplays for Hoot Gibson, Ken Maynard, Harry Carey, Sr., Tom Mix, Buck Jones, and, Bob Steele. Along with several long forgotten other "B" Cowboys.

Kay Hughes portrayed the first "Three Mesquiteer Heroine", "Marian Bryant". Hughes' first 9-movies were uncredited very small roles. Her first on-screen credited role was 15th-billing as "Louise", in director "Wild Bill" Wellman's 1936, "ROBIN HOOD OF EL DORADO", starring Warner Baxter as "Joaquin Murrietta". Just before this feature, Hughes co-starred with Robert Livingston in 1936, 12-Chapter "Cliff-Hanger", "THE VIGILANTES ARE COMING", and followed this picture co-starring with Gene Autry and Smiley Burnett in, 1936's, "RIDE, RANGER, RIDE".

Kay Hughes would also co-star in the second motion picture of the series, "GHOST-TOWN GOLD", released on October 26, 1936.























John Paterson McGowan known as J.P. McGowan portrayed the first villain of the series, "Brack Canfield". McGowan was born in South Australia, and became an actor, writer, and director of motion pictures. As an actor, between 1910 and 1951, McCowan portrayed 235 different roles, as a director, between 1912 and 1938, he directed 236 motion pictures, as of writer he wrote 30 screenplays, and let's not forget J.P. McGown also produced 22 motion pictures.































This screenplay is set in 1919, and starts with U.S. Army Veterans  "Lullaby Joslin", played by Syd Saylor, and "Bob Bryant", played by Gene Marvey in one of his only two motion pictures, recovering from their First World War injuries in a stateside Veterans Hospital. After recovery and discharge, the two decide to head for the San Juan Basin, of New Mexico, to purchase land under the "Homestead Act". 

The two arrive at the town of Carriozo, New Mexico, and meet up with other Vets using the "Homestead Act". They also meet two cowboys, "Tucson Smith", played Ray Corrigan, and "Stoney Brooke", played Robert "Bob" Livingston. All of the new homesteaders also meet "Brack Canfield", who gives them some friendly advice, they should keep moving west for their own good.






























Above, "Lullaby" is confronted by "Brack Canfield's" henchman, "Bull", played by "B" movie villain John Merton. 

All the Veterans now head for San Juan Basin, this is where Old Style Westerns meet Modern Style Westerns, as some of the Vets use covered wagons and horses, but "Lullaby" stays with his motorcycle. Meanwhile, "Brack" has his brother "Olin Canfield", played by Al Bridge aka: Al Bridges aka: Alan Bridge another "B" Western movie bad guy, create a landslide that will look like an accident. The Vets make it past the landside safely, but "Tucson" and "Stoney" go investigate and discover this was no accident. All leading to "Lullaby", "Stoney" and "Tucson", backed by the Veterans, taking on "Brack Canfield" and his gang in "B" Western style.
























Above, Syd Saylor confronts John Merton and Al Bridge.


As I have noted, the year the first film takes place is 1919, but the viewer could become confused later if they cared. Because:

"PRAIRIE PIONEERS", was released on February 16, 1941, but the story takes place in 1853.

"THUNDERING TRAILS", was released on January 25, 1943, but the story takes place in 1871.

"THE PHANTOM PLAINSMEN", was released on June 16, 1942, but the story takes place in 1937.

"VALLEY OF HAUNTED MEN", was released on November 13, 1942, but the story takes place in 1941 and "The Three Mesquiteers" are after "Three Escaped Nazi's".



During the year that proceeded the release of the 4th "Three Mesquiteers" entry, American audiences saw, director Todd Browning's, "THE DEVIL DOLL", director Lambert Hillyer's lesbian vampire movie, "DRACULA'S DAUGHTER", Hillyer's "THE INVISIBLE RAY", starring Karloff and Lugosi, director Victor Halperin's, "REVOLT OF THE ZOMBIES", and director Michael Curtiz's, "THE WALKING DEAD", starring Karloff. Not to forget five possible foreign horror releases that included one from Nazi Germany.

So, it wasn't unimaginable that our heroes would encounter supernatural horror in one weird "B" cowboy movie.


RIDERS OF THE WHISTLING SKULL released on January 4, 1937.





The motion picture was directed by Mack V. Wright. Wright had an interesting career, between 1914 and 1934, he acted in 40, mostly Western, motion pictures. Between 1918 and 1961. he was the Second Unit Director for 92 motion pictures, again mostly Westerns, and multiple episodes on 9 high action television shows. While between 1920 and 1966, Mack V. Wright, directed 28 motion pictures.

The screenplay was based upon William Colt MacDonald's 1934 novel of the same name. The adaptation was by both Bernard McConville, who started turning novels into movie scenarios in 1915, and Oliver Drake. Drake, a "B" Western writer since 1927, worked with John Rathmell, another "B" Western writer since 1934, on the actual screenplay.


Mary Marcia Kalbach known as Mary Russell portrayed "Betty Marsh". "B" actress Russell only appeared in 30 motion pictures between 1934 and 1938, 18 of which are uncredited roles.


























After "Professor Marsh", played by John Van Pelt, disappears while searching for the Lost City of Lukachukai, Lókʼaaʼchʼégai in Navajo. The actual Lukachukai region is located in Apache County, Arizona, but the movie was filmed in the cliffs around St. George, Utah.

A party of anthropologists including the professor's daughter, "Betty", arrive at an unnamed Western town to prepare an expedition to find her father.

Meanwhile, "Tucson Smith", played by Ray Corrigan, "Stony Brooke", played bt Bob Livingston, and, "Lullaby Joslin", played by Max Terehune, have discovered a man wondering delirious in the desert.





"Betty Marsh" recognizes the man as part of her father's expedition to the Lost City. Before the man can recover and reveal the location of "Professor Marsh" and the Lost City, he is murdered with a knife having a Native American inscription.






















"Stoney", who always has a "Detective Pulp Magazine" with him,"Tucscon" and "Lullaby" join the expedition to find "Marsh" and the treasure hidden in Lukachukai. However, "Detective Stoney" is sure that one of those with them is the murderer.






























Above, "Professor Flaxon", portrayed by C. Montage Shaw, 1936's"THE UNDERSEA KINGDOM", 1938's, "FLASH GORDON'S TRIP TO MARS", and, 1939's, "ZORRO'S FIGTING LEGION", explains the archeological treasure to be found in the Lost City.












































It is the above skull-like formation that is the source of the pictures title, because it seems to whistle as the wind blows through it. There is an ancient and unknown tribe of Native Americans that have lived in Lukachukai, located inside the mountain of the skull..














































"Betty Marsh" will, of course, be captured by the tribe and need to be rescued.





































There are living walking mummies to deal with, I could not locate a still photo of them, and there is another murder. That of the expedition's leader, "Professor Cleary", portrayed by Earle Ross, below, killed by an arrow in his back.


















































In the end, "Professor Marsh" is found alive, the treasure is located, and the real murderer turns out to be the trading post owner, "Rutledge", played by Roger Williams. Who is related to the ancient tribe, his mother was one of them, and gets his comeuppance by Ray "Crash" Corrigan, below!

























The next picture I want to mention is a very good example of the modern "B" Western.


"THREE TEXAS STEERS" released on May 12, 1939





The motion picture was directed by George Sherman. Western director Sherman started  his career in 1937, with the series entry, "WILD HORSE RODEO"immediately followed it with 1938's, "THE PURPLE VIGILANTES", and an additional five more in the series, including the first two with John Wayne as "Stoney Brooke". Next, George Sherman switched to Gene Autry and Don "Red" Barry. He also directed the first version of horror writer, Curt Siodmak's, novel, "Donavan's Brain", 1944's, "THE LADY AND THE MONSTER"As a producer, Sherman made John Wayne's, 1961, "THE COMMANCHEROS". 

With 17 William Colt MacDonald novels having been published prior to this pictures release. The screenplay wasn't based upon any of them, but, "characters created by", MacDonald.

The screenplay was co-written by Betty Burbridge, who between 1914 and 1949, had written 125 and switched to television Westerns. Co-writer, Stanley Roberts started writing "B" Western screenplays in 1937, for Kermit Maynard, Tim McCoy, Gene Autry, but in 1951, Roberts wrote the screenplay for Arthur Miller's, "Death of a Salesman", starring Frederick March, and in 1954, Roberts wrote the screenplay for the Humphrey Bogart classic, "The Caine Mutiny". 


The owner of the "West-East Circus", "Nancy Evans", played by Carol Landis, is constantly being pestered by her manager, "George Ward", played by Ralph Graves, to sell the ranch in Mesquite County her grandfather left her. Next, mysterious accidents start to plague the circus and "Nancy" goes into bankruptcy. 





























Above on the left is Roscoe Ates as crooked "Sheriff Brown", and, Ralph Graves as "George Ward".

Next, things backfire on "Ward", as "Nancy" decides to live on the ranch and use it as a home for her circus performers and livestock. The person who keeps offering to purchase the ranch works for "George Ward", who knows the government wants it as a site for a new dam and the property is very valuable.

The circus people have a run-in with "Ward's" henchmen and are rescued by "Stoney Brooke", played by John Wayne, "Tucson Smith", played by Ray Corrigan, and "Lullaby Joslin", played by Max Terhune. There's a mix-up over the ranch, because of an upside-down sign. "Nancy Evans" thinks the 3-M ranch is her W-E. The boys don't have the heart to tell her that's their ranch and decide to stay on the run-down W-E ranch and fix it up. "Ward's" men don't know that the "Mesquiteers" are on the ranch and set the barn on fire. The next day the boys explain the mix-up and help "Nancy" get a permit to have her circus perform. Then "Nancy" believes it's "Stoney", who she likes, "Tucson" and "Lullaby" that are attempting to swindle her.










Above Billy Curtis is holding the shotgun on the "Mesquiteers". Curtis was the Cowboy hero, "Buck Lawson", in 1938's, "THE TERROR OF TINY TOWN", "Munchkins" in 1939's, "THE WIZARD OF OZ", and my favorite, "Mordecai", in Clint Eastwood's, 1973, "HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER". Standing next to Carole Landis is Collette Lyons as "Lillian".








Below the boys confront "George Ward".




























In a modern Westerns, chasing the bad guys is not always on horses.



























































The boys have trained "Nancy's" show horse "Rajah", to be a trotter and he wins the County Fair Race and the prize money helps her and themselves. At the race, the truth comes out about "George Ward" and in the end "Nancy" sells the property to the government and the circus is now financially secure.











































































There was a flip on the origin story for "The Three Mesquiteers".

UNDER TEXAS SKIES released on September 30, 1940




The motion picture was directed by George Sherman. 

Once again, the screenplay was based upon characters created by, William Colt MacDonald.

Anthony Coldeway came up with the original story, and had been previously nominated for an Academy Award  for "Best Writing" for the Dolores Costello and Conrad Nagel, 1928 feature, "GLORIOUS BETSY". Otherwise he had been a "B" film writer in every genre. Coldeway also co-wrote this films screenplay with Betty Burbridge. 


Lois Ranson portrayed "Helen Smith". Ranson only appeared in 15 motion pictures between 1939 and 1943. After "Republic Pictures" dropped her contract, she made one more picture for "Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC)", "THE RENEGADE", starring Buster Crabbe as "Billy the Kid", and vanished from the film industry. I could not locate anything else on her, except that she passed away on July 4, 2021.











Henry Brandon
portrayed "Tom Blackton". The German born Brandon became known for playing great villains and this started with his third motion picture, Laurel and Hardy's, 1934, version of the Victor Herbert operetta, "Babes in Toyland aka: The March of the Wooden Soldiers", as "Barnaby Barnicle". In 1956, Brandon portrayed the Native American War Chief who kidnapped Natalie Wood in director John Ford's classic, "The Searchers", starring John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter. Twenty-years-later, he was in John Carpenter's original, 1976, "Assault on Precinct 13".













"Stoney Brooke", played by Robert Livingston, returns to his home town to discover his father, "Sheriff Brooke", played by Wade Boteler, has been murdered. In jail, convicted of his father's murder, is "Stoney's" childhood friend, "Tucson Smith", played by Bob Steele. The real killer is now the sheriff, "Stoney's" father's deputy, "Tom Blackton".























"Tucson's" friend, rancher "Jim Marsden", played by Rex Lease, helps him escape jail, but "Tucson" is wounded and found by "Stoney". "Stoney" helps "Tucson" get back to his ranch and meets his friend's sister, "Helen", who nurses her brother back to health. 

However, "Blackton" is able to convince "Stoney" that "Tucson" actually murdered his father and he joins "Sheriff Blackton's" hunt for the now missing "Tucson Smith". When a circuit judge coming to town to preside over a new trial for his childhood friend is murdered. "Stoney Brooke" now suspects something and gets the new town barber, "Lullaby Joslin", played by Rufe Davis, to listen to his customers and see what he can find out about the judge's murder. In the end the three men, "Stoney", "Tucson" and "Lullaby" come together to take down the crooked "Blackton".





























The final "Three Mesquiteers" motion picture was:


RIDERS OF THE RIO GRANDE released on May 21, 1943





The feature was directed by Howard Bretherton. Bretherton started directing in 1926, with "WHILE LONDON SLEEPS", starring dog actor, Rin-Tin-Tin, but had been a film-editor since 1922. He became a "B" Western director starting in 1935, with "Hop-a-Long Cassidy", starring William Boyd, and continued into 1948.

The story was based upon William Colt MacDonald's characters and the screenplay was written by Albert DeMond. In 1927, DeMond started out by writing titles for silent  motion picture and with the advent of sound, moved to writing full screenplays. 

Lorraine Miller portrayed "Janet Owens". "B" actress Miller would only have 35 roles to her credit between 1936 and 1961. The majority were in Westerns, but she was the "Hatcheck Girl", without on-screen credit, in director Howard Hawks', 1946, version of author Raymond Chandler's, "The Big Sleep". starring the newly married team of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
































Eric Efron, was born in Russia, and known as Rick Vallin. He portrayed "Tom Owens" and started on-screen acting in 1938, became a reliable "B" character actor appearing in a variety of genres in both movies and on television through 1966.



































Harry Worth portrayed "Sam Skelly". Born in Yorkshire, England, British Stage actor Harry Worth had a certain charm in his villains. In 1941, he turned out to be "The Scorpion", in Tom Tyler's, "The Adventures of Captain Marvel". Before that, he appeared in Westerns starring William Boyd, Roy Rodgers, and Buck Jones, along with mystery dramas.



































In their last feature film "Tucson Smith", played by Bob Steele, "Stoney Brooker", played by Tom Tyler, and "Lullaby Joslin", played by Jimmy Dodd, do not appear until 14-minutes into the 55-minute feature.
























The basic story has honest banker, "Pop Owens", played by Edward Van Sloan, having to deal with keeping his bank solvent, after a robbery, and facing bankruptcy. "Pop" has created a trust fund for his daughter, "Janet" and son "Tom". What "Pop" doesn't know is that his son agreed to help the henchmen of saloon owner, "Sam Skelly", rob his fathers bank to pay off his own gambling debts. Things are getting out of hand and "Pop" now faces bankruptcy and possible jail time, but creates a strange plan. 

"Pop" had created a trust for "Janet" and "Tom", which will more than cover the banks debt and give each a solid financial stake. He goes to "Skelly" and asks him to hire someone to kill him to put the trust into effect, still not knowing the saloon owner robbed his bank. "Sam Skelly" sends instructions to the "Three Cherokee Brothers", "Saspaparilla Cherokee", played by Roy Bancroft, "Thumber Cherokee", played by Charles King, and, "Butch Cherokee", played by Jack O'Shea. but enter "The Three Mesquiteers". Who are believed to really be the fierce outlaws by "Pop Owens" amd he tells them his plan. The boys decide to play along while investigating whose behind the robbery. At "Skelly's" saloon, the two sets of three first tangle with each other. Below, the same two sets once more confront each other.




































In the end , "Sam Skelly" is uncovered and with the three "Cherokee Brothers" jailed, everything is cleared up, but "Pop" still believes "The Three Mesquiteers" are really the "Three Cherokee Brothers".



THE COMPLETE LIST OF FILMS

1936

The Three Mesquiteers
Ghost-Town Gold
Roarin' Lead

1937

Riders of the Whistling Skull
Hit the Saddle
Gunsmoke Ranch
Come On Cowboys
Range Defenders
Heart of the Rockies
The Trigger Trio
Wild Horse Rodeo

1938

The Purple Vigilantes
Call the Mesquiteers
Outlaws of Sonora
Riders of the Black Hills
Heroes of the Hills
Pals of the Saddle
Overland Stage Raiders
Santa Fe Stampede
Red River Range

1939

The Night Riders
Three Texas Steers
Wyoming Outlaw
New Frontier aka: Frontier Horizon
The Kansas Terrors
Cowboys from Texas

1940

Heroes of the Saddle
Pioneers of the West
Covered Wagon Days
Rocky Mountain Rangers
Oklahoma Renegades
Under Texas Skies
The Trail Blazers
Lone Star Raiders

1941

Prairie Pioneers
Pals of the Pecos
Saddlemates
Gangs of Sonora
Outlaws of Cherokee Trail
Gauchos of El Dorado
West of Cimarron

1942

Code of the Outlaw
Raiders of the Range
Westward Ho
The Phantom Plainsmen
Shadows on the Sage
Valley of Hunted Men

1943

Thundering Trails
The Blocked Trail
Santa Fe Scouts
Riders of the Rio Grande






























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