Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Four Legged Pals -- Those Wonderful Movie Horses

Horses in B-Westerns were often as famous as the six-gun heroes that rode them.  In fact, many films were all about the horse.  Let's meet a few of the equine stars...

Apache -- a beautiful paint horse -- was owned by Bob 'Tumbleweed' Baker.   Baker rode Apache in all his starring roles.  Baker is believed to have sold Apache to Montie Montana who have a penchant for beautiful paint horses.  [A different Apache was ridden by Bill Williams in the "Kit Carson" TV series]

Baron -- a handsome white horse -- was owned and ridden by Tom Tyler in many of his 1930s films.

Black Diamond -- a stunning Black thoroughbred -- ridden by Lash LaRue whose outfit was all black.  Some researchers suggest the same horse was sometimes called 'Rush.'

Black Jack -- was beautiful black stallion -- owned and ridden by Rocky Lane.  According to Bobby Copeland's book "Silent Hoofbeats" Black Jack was a Morgan that Lane bought from Bill Elliott in 1946.  I believe the horse was probably 'Thunder' in both of their respective Red Ryder roles.

Brownie -- his favorite it has been suggested -- was just one of dozens of horses ridden by Bob Steele.  Others were named Flambow, Boy, Shiek Coco, Zane and Sacks.

Cactus -- a dazzling white horse -- ridden by Sunset Carson.  Research suggests the horse was originally named Silver by Republic Pictures, but Carson later changed it to Cactus.

Champion -- “Wonder Horse of the West” -- a sorrel with a blaze and three white stockings appeared throughout Gene Autry's film and television career, but there were at least four different Champions. 

Diablo -- a flashy paint horse -- owned and ridden by Duncan Renaldo (especially in the 1950s "The Cisco Kid" TV Series) was just one of many Diablos used in Renaldo's film and TV shows.

Duke -- "The Miracle Horse"  -- in early 1930s John Wayne oaters was (like a lot of things in the movies) not always as it appeared.  It seems -- on close examination -- Wayne was actually mounted on many different white steeds.

Falcon -- a palomino with a brand (maybe 'S') on his left shoulder -- was the primary mount used by Buster Crabbe during his days with PRC, but he occasionally appeared on a other colored horses.

Additional reading:

Silent Hoofbeats (2001) by Bobby J. Copeland… A salute to the horses and riders of the bygone B-Western era

Hollywood Hoofbeats: Trails Blazed Across The Silver Screen (2005) by Petrine Day Mitchum and Audrey Pavia… In Hollywood Hoofbeats, author Petrine Day Mitchum tells stories in page-turning detail, covering topics such as behind-the-scenes portraits of both famous movie horses and those virtually unknown; personal accounts from their trainers, owners, and costars; simple and complex horse stunts, from a fall in mid-gallop to a race across a bridge during a live explosion; and historic black-and-white photos and richly colored contemporary stills.

Horses in the Movies (1979) by Harold F. Hintz… Horses have always been an important part of the movie industry. The B Westerns owed much of their popularity to horses. In fact, horses had some of the most important parts. Some horses achieved great popularity their names known in almost every household. 


Hold your horses… before you write to tell me I missed your favorite six-gun hero and his steed -- there'll be more coming soon.

Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed this greatly, thanks. And I look forward to seeing more. Do you have a list you email to? If so, please enter me Name is Keith Payne....only woman in the world named Keith!
    Thanks again.