Sunday, December 23, 2018

Happy Holidays from Aventuras de Tom Tyler!

First of all – thank you to everyone who has visited both this blog and since its inception in January 2015. As well, thank you to everyone who has emailed me about this site, the accolades are very much appreciated, and it’s been a long time in coming for Tom Tyler to have a dedicated website. When I first built this site, I had no idea it would become this huge. The amount of digital material accumulated was lightning fast – with thanks to Lantern Media History,, international publication databases, and many other sites, including film archives here in the states plus around the world.

It could be that much of Tom Tyler’s silent film career during the mid- to late 1920’s lay “dormant” and inaccessible to the general public until very recently, which, thanks to the above named websites and databases – which have become alive with their cast members, plots, and production notes on Aventuras de Tom Tyler, along with available images of each silent film Tom made for FBO. Best of all, more of Tom’s lost films continue to be rediscovered, perhaps the biggest rediscovery to date being “Jungle Mystery” which was restored by Universal in 2016 and showcased at Cinecon 52. As to whether Universal will release this famous film serial on DVD remains to be seen although there is a better chance of another home distributor licensing “Jungle Mystery” from Universal – it’s been done before and it can be done again.

Of course, any other news about Tom Tyler’s movie career will be mentioned on Aventuras de Tom Tyler will be mentioned, too. In the meantime – Happy Holidays 2018 and Happy New Year 2019!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Collectibles: Tom Tyler on Biblioteca Films card

Biblioteca Films, the popular Spanish-language film booklet series published by Gato Negro in Barcelona, Spain, also manufactured a set of collector cards bearing many Hollywood stars as well as European stars. It is unknown if these cards were distributed along with a film booklet, as in the way the British Boy’s Cinema cards were done so, or if these were made available separately for collectors of film memorabilia.

Each Biblioteca Films card is 3 3/4” x 5 3/4” in size, about the size of a postcard, but of paper-thin quality. Some of the cards in the series had an ornate border surrounding the star’s face, while others, like the Tom Tyler card, had plain, straight-edged borders. The backs were blank. Each card was monochrome in color; however, there were at least four different colors issued, with only one star per color. For example, the Tom Tyler card is antique brown in color, while the card for Aileen Pringle is red. The other two colors were black/white, and sienna. There were at least 600 cards in the series, distributed over the 1920’s and 1930’s, into the 1940’s. Each card bore the number at the upper right corner and the star’s name below the image. The number on the Tom Tyler card is 166.

Other stars who appeared on the Biblioteca Films cards are: Virginia Valli, Al Jolson, Katherine Hepburn, Douglas Fairbanks, Constance Talmadge, and Roy D'Arcy.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

“Stagecoach” 1939 part of TCM’s National Film Registry showtimes

This December 2018, Turner Classic Movies will be showing “Stagecoach” (1939) as part of its National Film Registry selections. While Tom Tyler was not the star of the movie – that title was reserved for John Wayne – Tom turned in the most compelling performance which has been critically acclaimed over the years since its release in 1939.

TCM host Alicia Malone will introduce the five National Film Registry selections starting the night of Tuesday, December 11, with the special showings continuing on Wednesday, December 12. Even for those of you who have seen “Stagecoach” multiple times or even know the movie by heart, there is something special about seeing the movie on TCM as part of an important showing – it is considered to be the greatest western of its time.

Finally, on December 12, host Leonard Maltin and Dr. Carla Hayden of the Library of Congress will reveal the list of films added to the National Film Registry for 2018.

Please check your television listings for the actual time of “Stagecoach” - enjoy the show!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Aventuras de Tom Tyler: Celebrating four years

NOTES: This article has been updated on December 20, 2018 to include the status of "The Law of the Plains". Further updated on February 16, 2018 to include the status of "'Neath Western Skies".

Now moving into its fourth year, Aventuras de Tom Tyler remains proactive in tracking down Tom Tyler's lost films and seeking to have them restored and digitized.

The letter writing process in itself is time consuming when it comes to finding these lost films, as is the overall maintenance and present restructuring of this website. There is a reason for the recreation of the silent film pages; prior to Lantern Media History and, it was next to impossible to find plot information about Tom's FBO silent films. The Library of Congress maintains and updates its list of found lost films annually, which is referred to as soon as it is available. The LOC American Silent Feature Film Survival Database is also a valuable tool and one of the first referred to in the early stages of this website. Since the inception of "Aventuras de Tom Tyler", more of Tom Tyler's lost films have been popping up. Our goal for 2019; to see these existing silent films restored and digitized. Following is the list of previously lost films:

Existing Tom Tyler FBO silent films and their archival locations:

The Wyoming Wildcat (1925) There is a 35mm print at Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
Born to Battle (1926) There is a 35mm print at Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
Wild to Go (1926) There is a 35mm print at Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
The Cowboy Cop (1926) There is a 16mm duplicate negative print is archives at EYE, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Masquerade Bandit (1926) There is a 35mm print at Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
The Arizona Streak (1926) There is a 35mm print at Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
Born to Battle (1926) Three 35mm prints exist as follows: The Library of Congress, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive, Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique
Cyclone of the Range (1927) There is a 35mm print at Filmoteca Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain
The Flying U Ranch (1927) There is a 35mm print at Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
The Phantom of the Range (1928) There is a 35mm print at Instituto Valenciano De Cinematografia in Valencia, Spain
Terror Mountain (1928) There is a 35mm print at Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium
Lightning Lariats (1927) There is a 35mm print at Gosfilmofond in Moscow, Russia
The Avenging Rider (1928) There is a 35mm fragment at Gosfilmofond in Moscow, Russia

All of the above titles are under RKO copyright; restoration/distribution by Turner Home Entertainment/Warner Brothers.

Existing Syndicate Pictures silent films and their locations:

The Man from Nevada (1929) one print is at Museum of Modern Art, New York; the second, at USC The Hugh Hefner Moving Picture Archive, CA
The Law of the Plains (1929) donated to the Library of Congress from AFI; four 35mm reels of the original five reels exist: reels 1, 2, 3, 5
Pioneers of the West (1929) is owned by a private collector
'Neath Western Skies (1929) A fragment with a total length of 1225 feet (in two segments) is at the Library of Congress.

Existing Trem Carr talkies:

The Man from New Mexico (1932) There is a 35mm print at George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY

Existing Universal film serials:

Jungle Mystery (1932) (has been restored; needs to be digitized and on DVD for consumer market)
Clancy of the Mounted (1933) All 12 chapters are at British Film Institute, London, UK

Lost Syndicate Pictures silent films:

The Phantom Rider (1929)
The Lone Horseman (1929)

Lost Trem Carr talkies:

The Man from Death Valley (1931)
Partners of the Trail (1931)
Galloping Thru (1931)
Vanishing Men (1932)

Special Cases:

Tom's Gang (1927) There was a 35mm print at Filmoteca Española, Madrid but no longer is in their collection, and there is no record of its deaccessioning.

While "The Texas Tornado" (1928) exists on DVD (Sinister Cinema), one reel from the original print is missing; a complete 35mm print is at British Film Institute, London, UK.

While "Two Fisted Justice" (1931) exists on DVD (Sinister Cinema), one reel is missing; a more complete 16mm print is at UCLA.

Please note that all film archives listed have in fact been verified as holding the above named silent films, plus "The Man from New Mexico".

A final note to all readers of this blog post: please share this post across your social media accounts, your websites (please link to this original article!), to any film collectors you know who might hold one of these lost film titles in their collections, anyone you know who is connected with the preservation departments at Turner Home Entertainment/Warner Brothers or Universal, anyone who may be interested in restoration/digitization of Tom Tyler's public domain films. It has been a long time in coming for Tom Tyler's lost films to be given a chance at survival, restoration and digitization.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Tom Tyler at Lone Pine Studios

The city of Lone Pine, California is located in the Alabama Hills, adjoining the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range. Sometimes referred to as the Alabamas, this part of Owens Valley is the original “God’s Country”, and breathtaking to view, its rugged beauty perfect for filming any type of movie there. For almost a hundred years, this majestic land has attracted Hollywood filmmakers; of the seven movies filmed here that Tom Tyler appeared in, only one was a non-western, “Samson and Delilah” (1949). From a geologic standpoint, this region is diverse, containing enormous granites, glaciers, faults, and earthquakes which create a changing landscape over time. The Alabama Hills are the result of an earthquake that took place back in 1872. From a distance, one can marvel at the red and purple hued mountains with their snowy peaks climbing past the clouds. The highest peak of the Alabamas is 5,354 feet, the terrain a challenge to navigate. More often than not, filmmaking cast and crew had to travel on horseback and caravan during the early years of movies made at Lone Pine Studios. The first movie filmed at Lone Pine was “The Round-Up” (1920) starring Roscoe Arbuckle and Wallace Beery.

The Phantom of the Range 1936
Tom’s first movie filmed at Lone Pine Studios was “Splitting the Breeze” (1927), and the cast and entire filming crew spent three weeks there for the filming of “Splitting the Breeze”. All members got to travel on horseback and caravan throughout the rocky region. As an interesting piece of trivia: “Splitting the Breeze” was shown to a group of budding screenwriters at Columbia University in New York and encouraged to compose a story for Tom's next FBO film. Unfortunately “Splitting the Breeze” remains a lost silent film. Two more starring roles for Tom filmed at Lone Pine were “The Phantom of the Range” (1936) and “Rip Roarin’ Buckaroo” (1936), followed by minor and bit roles, mostly westerns.

Rip Roarin' Buckaroo 1936
Nowadays Lone Pine also serves as a recreational area for camping, hiking and other outdoor activities, in addition to filmmaking. There is also a museum, Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine which contains a rich history  that all fans of westerns will appreciate. The Lone Pine Film Festival is held every October around Columbus Day, showcasing movies and is open to the public.

Following is the complete list of films Tom Tyler appeared in which were made at Lone Pine Studios:

Splitting the Breeze 1927
The Phantom of the Range 1936
Rip Roarin’ Buckaroo 1936
Light of Western Stars 1940
Border Vigilantes 1941
Masked Raiders 1949
Samson and Delilah 1949

Light of the Western Stars 1940

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Brazilian Portuguese titles of Tom Tyler films

Cinearte April 4, 1928
As with Spain and Hungary, Brazil has a fond spot for Tom Tyler in its film history and his association with the American west. Not to mention the idealized hero that Tom was so well known for portraying on screen. Special attention is given to Captain Marvel and The Phantom, the two superheroes Tom played in film serials, given the popularity of American comic book culture in Brazil. For example, an article on The Phantom as a superhero appeared in O Estado de São Paulo, July 18, 1996 and another full page article on the DVD release of the film serial appeared in O Estado de São Paulo, July 31, 2004. Another article on Captain Marvel appeared in O Estado de São Paulo, June 23, 2001. So while Brazil may seem far away, it is in fact very close to home when it comes to American film and popular culture icons like Tom Tyler. The publication Cinearte is one of Brazil’s most popular film magazines, and is well known for publishing photos of the stars which are not often seen in United States publications – a few examples are included with this article. Some of Tom's silent films were shown well into the 1930's in Brazil, such as “The Avenging Rider” and “Pioneers of the West”. It remains unknown if any of these silent films exist in Brazil, if they do, they may be in the hands of a private collector. With thanks to Adorocinema and Biblioteca Nacional Digital Brasil, here is a list of Tom Tyler films in Brazilian Portuguese:

Cinearte, June 6, 1928. Flying U Ranch.

Silent films:

The Cherokee Kid (1927) – Odio de muitos annos

The Texas Tornado (1928) – Astucia contra a lei

The Avenging Rider (1928) – Cavalheiro da vingança

The Man from Nevada (1928) – O gigante da floresta

Tyrant of Red Gulch (1928) – O tyranno da sierra madre

Pioneers of the West (1929) – Desafiando a morte/Gente do oeste

The Pride of Pawnee (1929) – O Braço Protector

The Law of the Plains (1929) – A coruja negra

'Neath Western Skies (1929) – Ce'o de fogo

The Call of the Desert (1930) – Deserto Sangrento

Canyon of Missing Men (1930) – A emboscada vermelha


Partners of the Trail (1931) – O caminho da violencia

Fighting Hero (1934) – Amor e dever

Terror of the Plains (1934) – O terror das planicies

Mystery Ranch (1934) – Estancia dos mysterios

Tracy Rides (1935) – O cavalleiro da lei

The Silver Bullet (1935) – A bala de prata

Powdersmoke Range (1935) – Duelo de valentes

Unconquered Bandit (1935) – Bandido invencivel

Ridin' On (1936) – Tiroteio infernal

The Phantom of the Range (1936) – Thesouro occulto

Cheyenne Rides Again (1937) – Pontaria fatal

King of Alcatraz (1938) –  O tyranno de Alcatraz

Stagecoach (1939) – No tempo das diligencias

The Night Riders (1939) – Os três camaradas

Brother Orchid (1940) – Irmão orchidea

The Mummy’s Hand (1940) – A mão de múmia

Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941) – O invencível Capitão Marvel

Talk of the Town (1942) – E a vida continua

The Phantom (1943) – O Fantasma

San Antonio (1945) – Cidade sem lei

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) – Legião Invencível

I Shot Jesse James (1949) – Eu matei Jesse James

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Mummy’s Hand: Tom Tyler the movie monster

‘Tis the season for a Tom Tyler horror film, even though he starred in only one of this genre, “The Mummy’s Hand”. Playing a movie monster is a demanding role, often requiring many hours of sitting perfectly still in the makeup chair, as Tom had to, appearing as a 3000 year old mummy, having been buried alive as a punishment for having stolen the sacred tanna leaves which guarantee immortality.

It certainly took a lot of makeup to make Tom Tyler look ugly and scary at the same time. His facial profile was perfect for the mummification process, his classic nose and strong jawline showing off nicely beneath the makeup. It was Tom’s stature and physique that made him so intimidating as a movie monster, though, muscular arms with big hands stretched out when he walked, Tom appeared as if he was going to attack anyone who got in his way – and he did, as the script required.

Jack Pierce was Tom’s makeup man, and it took a total of six hours every morning to apply the makeup on the filming days when Tom’s role required him to be in front of a camera. According to an article in The Morning Call, Allentown, PA, June 18, 1940, the makeup procedure was described as following: thin slivers of cotton were placed on Tom’s face, neck and hands, followed with saturation of the cotton with spirit gum, creating the wrinkles in Tom’s skin. Once the solution dried, Pierce then painted Tom with a grisly gray paint, then flecked with clay particles. When it came to Tom’s natural dark brown hair, Pierce rubbed clay and glue to make it look like gray plaster, as if it was artistically carved by one of the Masters. The dry clay on the hair and scalp was really uncomfortable for Tom, often creating an itchy sensation which could not be resolved.
Sometimes he did ask Pierce if he could have a smoke, to help him relax during the process. Being laden beneath the heavy makeup and restrictive bandages meant that Tom could only work a total of three hours a day due to the increasing discomfort of being in costume. For a super scary special effect, Tom’s eyes were “blacked out” using a camera technique in some scenes which made him even more frightening: seemingly liquid eyes that shone in the dark, moving like ocean waters being forced apart to reveal a monstrous form of sea life. Once filming for the day ended, it took an hour and a half to remove the makeup from Tom, and Jack Pierce dissolved the face makeup in acetone, which could not have been good for Tom, given its nature to burn sensitive areas like the nasal passages, eyes and lips. Hopefully Tom washed his face afterwards with soap and water to neutralize the effect of acetone, which is more commonly used in removing nail polish.

When the time came to eat lunch after sitting in the makeup chair, Tom often ate with Pierce, for the rest of the crew and cast could not watch Tom, looking truly hideous in his mummy makeup, while conversing and eating. What actor or actress would want to risk throwing up while filming on the set? But Tom Tyler being himself, would never make a fellow actor or actress feel uncomfortable to the point of nausea as the result of his monster makeup.

Outside of a few grunts, Tom’s role as the mummy had no spoken dialogue, and in the first chapter of the movie he is seen as the living Pharaoh Kharis, minus the monster makeup but wearing full Egyptian regalia from head to toe. In the story, Kharis’ tongue is removed before he is wrapped in bandages, his face slowly disappearing under the white cotton strips while his eyes were wide open in shock, the last time the viewer sees Tom Tyler’s natural face before the magical transformation of mummification. As with “Stagecoach”, the powerful expressions that Tom conveys in “The Mummy’s Hand” are worthy of being critically acclaimed. When it comes to knocking off victims in the movie, all it takes is one hand wrapped around a man’s neck to strangle him, an act pulled off very realistically by Tom.

One can only guess that Tom Tyler was both curious and thrilled about being part of Hollywood’s movie monster history, for by the time he was filming “The Mummy’s Hand” he was not yet cast as a superhero; he was a B-western leading man. No doubt he enjoyed getting to make the female lead, Peggy Moran, faint when her eyes fell upon him at first sight when she awoke from being asleep in the tent and being carried off to his tomb in the mountain. It is not quite as romantic as being swept off her feet while Tom is on horseback, as Tom did with many a leading lady, but such a scene remains something to boast about during his versatile film career.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hungarian titles of Tom Tyler movies

Stagecoach 1939
Now we travel to Hungary to discover how popular Tom Tyler’s movies were in this country, keeping in mind that during the height of his career, Hungary was a kingdom. Royalty aside, there was still plenty of wide open space in the southern part of the country where boys learned to ride horseback sometimes before they learned to walk. That Hungarians are masters of horseback riding seems to be a given, what with their proud heritage when they traveled in that manner from east of the Ural mountain range down to the Carpathian basin and settled in the territory known as Hungary. In Hungarian, the word pustza means steppe, or a plain, and there were many plains which the Hungarian ancestors rode upon. There is even a folk song about cowboys in Hungary:

On the pustza I was born,
On the pustza I dwell,

I have no roof above my head.
But I have a horse that can jump fences,
And I am a cowboy of the plains.

Without saddle I can ride,
And my way leads where we choose,
I need no reins to guide my steed,
For I am a cowboy of the plains.

On the pustza I was born,
On the pustza I dwell.

Delmagyarorszag, April 22, 1948
With this natural love of cowboys it seems inevitable the Hungarians would have a special affinity for American western films and of course Tom Tyler. A number of the film titles listed below are from Délmagyarország, published in Szeged, Hungary. One rather amusing literal movie title translation for “Texas Tornado” (1928), or “Texas sárkány”, is “Texas Dragon”. Some of the cinema ads advertised two Tom Tyler films playing back to back, a rarity in European cinema. With thanks to Hungaricana and, here are some Hungarian titles of Tom Tyler films:

Silent films:

The Texas Tornado (1928) – Texasi sárkány
The Law of the Plains (1928) – Küzdelem az igazságért
Trail of the Horse Thieves (1929) –  Fekete keselyü


A Rider of the Plains (1931) – A préri réme
Two Fisted Justice (1931) –  A félelmetes lovas
Jungle Mystery (1932) –  Zungu
The Phantom of the Range (1936) –  Az ördög árok kincse
The Feud of the Trail (1937)  –  A nagy szikla titka
Stagecoach (1939) –  Hatosfogat

The Westerner (1940) –  Ember a láthatáron
The Mummys Hand (1941) – A Mumia Bosszúja
Talk of the Town (1942)  –  A csintalan úriember
Red River (1948)  – Vörös folyó
Blood on the Moon (1948) – Véres hold
The Younger Brothers (1949)  –  A fiatalabb fivérek
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) – Sárga szalagot viselt

The Mummy's Hand 1941

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Collectibles: Tom Tyler on the Cine La Alicantina card

One of the more challenging movie cards to find with Tom Tyler on it is the Cine La Alicantina set which was manufactured in Seville, Spain, during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Very little information is known about this particular set, as Cine La Alicantina is not listed in The Movie Card site’s extensive (and always growing) directory. Printed on a paper-thin cardstock, each movie card measured 2 ¾” x 4” in size. The Cine La Alicantina movie card set is printed in black and white, and there are at least 100 cards in the set. The front of each card bears a popular image of the star, while the reverse side has the card number at the bottom, and the following at the top:

Cine La Alicantina
Jáuregui, 34

El cine de todos los públicos
(Cinema of all audiences)

Si quiere usted admirar mi trabajo no deje de venir mañana
(If you want to admire my work, do not stop coming tomorrow)

These lines, loosely translated, were meant to encourage the collector of favorite cards to continue patronizing the cinema. The most notable word here is “Jáuregui”, which is Basque for “palace” or “Manor House” - in this case, “movie palace” is implied. Tom Tyler appears on card number 79. Other popular film stars that appeared in the Cine La Alicantina set include Dolores del Rio, Fay Wray, Florence Vidor, Jose Nieto, Milton Sills, Jack Holt, and many others.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Buck Moon Trail, Part 4

Note: This is the fourth part of a series of fan fiction. Please keep in mind that outside of the primary character, Tom Tyler, all others are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Screencaps are from Tom's movies and are used simply as visuals. With the usual disclaimer aside, if you would like to link back to this story and need help doing so, please contact me at Thank you and enjoy the story!

Was time speeding up? Or was it slowing down? Julie was so inebriated it was difficult to tell, after getting only two hours of sleep. She did however become more aware of her present surroundings, and as her senses heightened, could hear the rain as it bounced off the rocks which shielded her. When Julie turned on her side facing the hole where she crawled through, she could see a cluster of thistle and St. John's wort positioned to the right. She reached out her left hand and pinched off a yellow blossom, twirling it in her fingers. Pulling her green cotton wrap closely around her shoulders to stay warm, she settled back in, as far back as she could, to remain dry, and think about Tom.

“You're just like a sister to me.”

Julie heard his words echo in her mind, innocent as they were, innocent as only Tom could be. Confusion muddled her thoughts, maybe in a subconscious way to protect herself. In one way, she wanted to be able to survive on her own should Tom die, but could not bear the thought of losing him, either. But could she ever really lose him? Julie relished his physical presence in her life, but could he also exist as part of her mind and heart? It seemed like the rain was slowing down and finally stopped. The St. John's wort blossom dangled from between her index and ring fingers of her right hand. Thinking of Tom was a comfort though, and helped get her through a rough period of her life. Being an only child, both her parents were killed due to Indian attacks during their second sojourn out west, while she was back home attending a girls' boarding school in Troy, New York. When she received news of what happened, she went into shock. Wasn't her family more than comfortable, advocates of girls getting a good education and become strong women? Tom needed a strong woman, Julie thought to herself, especially with his illness.

Julie had difficulty falling asleep again, and closing her eyes, imagined she was walking back to the covered wagon where Tom and the other men slept for the night. The camp site was silent except for the singing of the toads, who were clearly delighted with the falling rain. Delight. Julie took delight in Tom, and as she imagined crawling into the covered wagon next to Tom, enjoyed his presence, his rock-hard solid muscles, his dewy skin, dark ringlets and chiseled features, found it impossible to worry about his illness. She had no time to think about his pain, but at the same time, wanting to removing his pain, and make him as comfortable as possible.

Tom stirred in his sleep and turned on his side in the direction that Julie usually slept. His eyes fluttered open and he was surprised to see her missing, yet had the feeling her presence was still there. “Tom. Tom darling.” Tom heard her voice and leaned his head back, thinking she got up and was sitting behind him, like she sometimes did. Julie was not there though.

“Julie?” Tom softly called out. “Julie? Where are you?” He leaned back on his elbows to prop himself up. “Julie?” He felt something warm pass in front of him, followed by the scent of white phlox, Julie's perfume. Fatigued, Tom snuggled down in his bed once again and thinking Julie was outside sleeping, did not worry about her. The only thing Tom really worried about was her drinking problem, but so did the other three men, especially Joe. They chalked Julie's alcoholism due to her having lost her parents and being pretty much on her own, as she had no siblings. Even though Tom thought Jule was still in the covered wagon, she remained under the outcropping of rocks, sound asleep.

Right before the sun began to rise the next morning, Joe awoke, followed by Tim and Bob. Joe started the campfire, while Tim poured some fresh water in the pot for coffee. Tom also awoke, smiled, and stretched. Of course he expected Julie to be by his side, so he was a little surprised to see she was not there. “Julie?” Tom called out. Joe heard Tom's voice so he walked to the rear of the covered wagon to see how he was doing.

“'Morning Tom. Coffee will be ready in about ten minutes. How are you feeling?” Joe noticed Tom sweated slightly more than usual from last night. “Need clean blankets or anything?” Julie suggested that they bring extra blankets on the trip for Tom to use. Tom looked at Joe, made a face, then looked at his surroundings. His body was moist from perspiration, as if he just finished a hard workout. Tom would also need some clean clothes, but what he really wanted was a bath in a pond or river. Joe raised his eyebrows at Tom's sweat. “Hey Bob! Bob!” Bob came running up to the wagon, his slight figure and shock of blond hair streaked with the dirt of the trail, peered inside the wagon.

“What's up?” he asked, blue eyes looking at Tom's present state, then at Joe. “Hey, where's Julie?” Bob asked.

“That's what we're trying to figure out. But Tom's asking to bathe.” Joe turned his face to cough, knowing full well that Tom was not supposed to move around too much if possible. “If Julie was here she could give Tom a sponge bath.” Tom smiled, remembering the first time Julie gave him a sponge bath on the trip. If there was a lake or river nearby, the water would make it possible, but since there wasn't... “Bob, how far is it to North Fork Finney Creek from here? I can use some freshening up too.”

“Two and a quarter miles. Tom, if you want, take off your clothes, wipe your body down with a damp towel, Joe and I will get coffee for you, then we'll have to find Julie. Here,” Bob grabbed a clean towel from the covered wagon, and poured some water from a jug onto it, making it damp. He tossed the towel to Tom, who already had his shirt off. Tom caught the towel and ran it over his muscular arms and torso. Bob turned away and joined Tim while Joe stayed with Tom, wondering if he knew anything about Julie's disappearance. Tom recounted his experience from the night before, since he really thought Julie was still in the covered wagon. Joe believed him then gave his attention to the coffee being poured into the cups by Bob. Joe handed Tom a cup of hot, strong coffee.

“Obviously we need to find that girl before we start traveling again. Anyone have any ideas where she could have taken off to?” Joe was feeling annoyed that Julie was holding up the trip, since time was working against them when it came to Tom's failing health. “Tom?” Joe's green eyes stared at Tom's face, thinking he knew where she was. Tom sipped the coffee, savoring the delicious brew.

“What, Joe?” Tom felt much better after the damp towel, and still bare chested, leaned back against his pillow, resembling a Greek god.

“Where is she?”

“You're kidding me. How would I know where Julie is?” Tom took another sip of coffee.

“I thought maybe you did.” Joe's serious expression suddenly softened with a smile and a laugh. “Well, it's just that I know the kind of connection you two have together, and – well, now that you told me about your somewhat strange experience last night while we were all asleep – or at least we were, outside.”

Tom squinted his eyes. “Exactly what are you accusing me of, Joe.” Bob and Tim overheard the two men arguing and looked in their direction while they finished their coffee.

Joe backed off a bit before continuing. “I'm not accusing you of anything, Tom. Finish your coffee partner, and we'll start looking for her. I can stay with you, and Bob and Tim will search in the area. She could not have gone far.” Joe glanced up at the sky. Dawn arrived and the light meant it would be easier to find Julie. “I'm sorry, Tom. It's just that I miss Julie and I know you do too. I'll get you another cup of coffee.” Tom thanked the man for his apology and kindness. Tom thought he should worry about Julie but something told him she was in a safe place. Besides, Tom could not go out looking for Julie – he had to remain in the wagon, but did not want to be alone. Bob and Tim finished their coffee and joined Joe with Tom.  The men standing by the wagon started talking about which direction to go, while Tom fished around in Julie's personal belongings, hoping to find a clue of where she went to.

“Does that girl collect a lot of rocks or what?” Tom asked, holding a chunk of tumbled quartz in his left fingertips. The men looked at each other.

“You don't suppose she went rock hunting do you?” Bob asked, frowning.

“At night?” Joe replied. Bob and Tim agreed that nighttime was an odd time to look for rocks. Then Tom saw her rifle. He picked it up in his strong hands. Julie's rifle had mother-of-pearl set in the handles.

“Julie left without taking her rifle for protection? I'm sure she did not forget to take her flask with her though.” Joe shook his head. “I worry about that girl. Okay, Tim, Bob, you head east looking for her, while Tom and I stay here in case she gets back. Maybe...I don't know. Look out for...”

“An outcropping of rocks”, Tom finished. The three men glanced at him in amazement. Tom finished his second cup of coffee. “Is there anything to eat?”

To be continued...

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The National Film Registry

With the deadline to submit film nominations for this year's National Film Registry list is coming up fast – the date is September 15, 2018 -– I thought it might be worth taking the time to create a list of movies in this registry that Tom Tyler appeared in, regardless of the size of his role. There are a total of five movies, and I have included the year they were inducted into the National Film Registry.

The Grapes of Wrath 1940 – Inducted in 1989
Gone with the Wind 1939 – Inducted in 1989
Red River 1948 – Inducted in 1990
Stagecoach 1939 – Inducted in 1995
Ben Hur 1925 – Inducted in 1997

“Gone with the Wind” is probably the most famous movie in this list, with “Stagecoach” setting the standard for the modern western. “Ben Hur” was just one of a a few silent films where Tom was a stuntman chariot driver, and not even known as Tom Tyler yet. Of course, of these five movies, “Stagecoach” has Tom in front of the camera the longest, where he turns in a stellar performance as Luke Plummer. Should the National Film Registry and Tom Tyler's name ever pop up at the same time at a dinner or cocktail party, there is not only enough to discuss but also impress.

Hopefully, with the 2019 release of the movie “Shazam!”, “Adventures of Captain Marvel” (1941) will be one of the inducted titles in the National Film Registry.

Tom Tyler in "Stagecoach", 1929

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Poem: Sundown Saunders

This poem is titled "Sundown Saunders" and originally appeared in Rope and Wire, April 25, 2015. Inspired by the 1935 film by RKO, "Powdersmoke Range", this poem has been reprinted by kind permission from its poet, Miss Julie Kovacs.

Sundown Saunders

He was the ally of the Three Mesquiteers
Out of the blue when they needed a friend
who was always honest and never broke a promise
(He looked a lot like Tom Tyler)
Always a gentleman even with his steely gaze
and ready hand on his pistol.

He was the fastest shooter in town
always at sundown
never turning back
yet always hopeful
to rendezvous one day with his long-distance gal
wearing her favorite green plaid shirt just for him.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Lost in translation: How “Tyrant of Red Gulch” became “The Sorcerer” across the pond

From Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, January 24, 1930
A number of blog articles here have explored the subject of Tom Tyler film titles and translations into other languages: Spanish, French, German, Polish, and Dutch. What has not been explored, are Tom's western films released under different titles in other English-majority speaking nations, such as the United Kingdom. Indeed, it would seem unusual for one of Tom's B-westerns to be released under a much different title, but that is what happened to his silent film “Tyrant of Red Gulch” (1928); across the pond, it was released as “The Sorcerer”. This title seems to be peculiar at first glance; by itself without any mention of who stars in it, suggests a non-western, perhaps something that might bring to mind a scene or two from “Jack the Giant Killer” (1962) or“Seventh Voyage of Sinbad” (1958), which have sorcerers in them. Tom Tyler however is not like Torin Thatcher
in these films which are best known for their Claymation special effects and fantasy themes. What should be mentioned about “The Sorcerer” is this particular title aligns closely with the original title for “Tyrant of Red Gulch”, which was “Valley of Superstition”. In Spain, the movie was released as “El Valle del Misterio”. Another interesting note about “The Sorcerer” is the following: it is listed in Tom Tyler's filmography in the 2003 comic book, Tom Tyler Tales by Calvin Castine, Sid Couchey, and Art Monaco but not as an alternative title to “Tyrant of Red Gulch”.

Like other movies which undergo a title release change, the first thing that is looked at is the plot. In “Tyrant of Red Gulch”, the story takes
place in the foothills of the Rockies, with Tom as the itinerant cowboy in search of a friend who meets up with a young lady named Mitza (Josephine Borio), and her brother, Tip (Frankie Darro). The actual tyrant of the region is named Ivan Petrovitch (Harry Woods), and Tom first encounters this foreigner when he catches the man beating a small boy, rescues the child then pummels Ivan. Ivan acknowledges to having met his physical match, and invites Tom with Tip and Mitza for a horseback ride through the mountains. Tom however gets ambushed, is separated from his new friends and must rescue them after they are taken in by Ivan and his henchman, Boris Kosloff (Serge Temoff). Held prisoner in a cave in the mountains, Tom manages to free himself, and risks his life in order to set his friends free, including the one he originally set out to look for. In addition to that, Tom also discovers the gold mine that Ivan was hoarding, and returns the stolen wealth to the small community. As “The Sorcerer”, Ivan is a diabolical terror, sinister, and very manipulative, leading our hero into an unexpected trap from which lies an uncertain escape.

There are a few interesting factors that come into play here: the heavy has an obvious Russian sounding name, while two members of the cast were foreign born: Josephine Borio was born in Turin, Italy, and Serge (Sergei) Temoff was born in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China. A cinema ad from Palladium Item, Richmond, IN, September 6, 1929 provides the tagline for “Tyrant of Red Gulch”, "A story of a mysterious terror - of unseen death and unerring vengeance". While Ivan appears to have the upper hand in the story, Tom and Frankie have just as many tricks up their sleeve in order to counter the forces they are up against. Magic themes aside, the battle between good and evil continues in this western mystery, whether it is known as “Valley of Superstition”, “Tyrant of Red Gulch” - or “The Sorcerer.”

Monday, August 20, 2018

Oscar winning movies that Tom Tyler appeared in

While Tom Tyler was never an Oscar nominee (the closest performance that would qualify is as Luke Plummer in “Stagecoach”), he did in fact appear in a number of Oscar-winning films in a support role. Some movies that he made were Oscar nominees, like “San Antonio” and “Talk of the Town”. Not surprisingly, three of these Oscar winners had John Ford directing: “Stagecoach”, “The Grapes of Wrath”, and “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.” Here are the six Oscar-winning movies Tom Tyler appeared in:

Stagecoach 1939
Directed by: John Ford
Winner: Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Music, Scoring

Gone with the Wind 1939
Directed by: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood
Winner: For outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood (honorary), Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Cinematography – Color, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Picture, For pioneering in the use of coordinated equipment in the production (technical)

The Grapes of Wrath 1940
Directed by: John Ford
Winner: Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Director

The Westerner
The Westerner 1940
Directed by: William Wyle
Winner: Best Actor in a Supporting Role

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon 1949
Directed by: John Ford
Winner: Best Cinematography, Color

Samson and Delilah 1949
Directed by: Cecil B. DeMille
Winner: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration – Color, Best Costume Design - Color

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Tom Tyler's Horseshoe Collection

Antique horseshoes, not from Tom's collection
Did you know that Tom Tyler collected horseshoes?

In addition to his hobbies of cabinet making, cooking, and flying, he also saved horseshoes which he purchased or was given since he first expressed interest in them soon after he arrived in Hollywood all the way from Hamtramck, Michigan. An article from Battle Creek Enquirer, Michigan dated November 3, 1928 provides some in-depth information about Tom's horseshoe collection. Tom started collecting horseshoes at the start of his Hollywood career, possibly as a sign of good luck, but also as a way of having some in-depth knowledge about horses and his film work. A horseshoe collection certainly makes for an interesting holiday party topic, during cocktails or dinner. According to the article, Tom had horseshoes dating back to 1840 in his collection. Many times horseshoes of that age can be found in antique shops nowadays, for those who live in the city or suburbia. When he was not busy reading scripts, Tom read diligently on the subject of horseshoes, learning to identify the time period it was made, whether it was made for a filly, buggy horse, or a workhorse, and everything else about horseshoes.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou has taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

The Phantom, from Tom's movie "Coyote Trails"
Tom kept his horseshoes mounted in a 10' long display box, with a glass cover, similar to jewelry or coin display boxes frequently seen at antique shows. Tom's display box had a black velvet background, and each horseshoe inside had its own brass tag containing the date, description and origin. With a properly mounted collection like that, it is no wonder that it soon became popular at many horse shows held in southern California. It seems like Tom Tyler appreciated rustic décor, and enjoyed collecting horseshoes, keeping them on display in his house in Hollywood. After all, any actor like Tom Tyler who collects horseshoes for a living must be an interesting individual.

Tom with his horse Tucker in "Battling with Buffalo Bill"

Monday, July 30, 2018

Meet Tom Tyler's FBO directors

Tom Tyler worked with a total of five different directors while under contract with FBO from 1925 to 1929, the majority of them being with Robert De Lacey. Tom clearly worked well with all his directors which can be attested to in his biography, “The Tom Tyler Story” by Mike Chapman. Between 1927 and 1929, Tom had four other directors before resuming work under Robert De Lacey in 1928 with “Tyrant of Red Gulch”. Tom and Robert's last film together was “The Pride of Pawnee” in 1929. Following are some brief biographical notes on these five directors and their careers.

Robert De Lacey was Tom's first director for FBO and helped launch the brand new star into an overnight star. There are two different sources regarding the dates and places of Robert's birth and death: one states he was born February 17, 1898 in Prescott, AZ, and died on July 24, 1943 in Los Angeles, CA, while IMDB states he was born on June 7, 1892 in Illinois, and died on March 3, 1976, in Los Angeles. Robert started his career in Hollywood as a film editor around 1923, and at one point, his wife assisted him in the editing process. The De Lacey couple worked together on “Mighty Lak' a Rose” (1923) for Edwin Carewe's First National Production. Robert's wife soon dropped out of the scene though, but he continued with film editing for "The Bishop of the Ozarks" (1923) for Cosmopolitan Film Company, and “Madonna of the Streets” 1924 made by Edwin Carewe Productions. It appears that Robert made his directorial debut with Tom Tyler, who made his starring debut in “Let's Go Gallagher” (1925). Robert also directed stars like Tom Mix and Patsy Ruth Miller, but by 1930, directed his last film which starred Tom Keene, “Pardon My Gun”. Unfortunately Robert's career in Hollywood seems to have ended around 1930. He was no relation to the blond moppet of silent film, Philippe de Lacy.

James Dugan directed one of two films with Tom Tyler, the first being “The Desert Pirate” in 1927. Prior to that he worked briefly worked as an actor in “Warming Up” (1928), “Night Parade” (1929), “Racket Cheers” (1930), and “Devil and the Deep” (1932). James was born on May 19, 1898 in Los Angeles, CA, and died on August 5, 1937 in Hollywood at the young age of 39 due to heart disease. He directed one other movie starring Tom Tyler, “Phantom of the Range” (1928). Exhibitor's Herald October 8, 1927 states that James was going to be the first director for “When the Law Rides” (1928) but for whatever reason, Robert De Lacey held directing honors for this movie. James started his Hollywood career at the Lasky studio as property man, then as cameraman at Fox studios. In 1927, his wife Patricia gave birth to a daughter, which may explain why his directorial career with Tom was placed on hold, which meant being an assistant director once again for awhile. James also worked as an assistant director in talkies up until his death in 1937, working on movies such as “Goin' to Town” (1935) and “Espionage” (1936).

Frank Howard Clark directed “The Texas Tornado” in 1928, but was probably better remembered for being a screen writer. Born on May 15, 1888 in Pittsburgh, PA, and died on January 19, 1962 in Los Angeles, CA, Frank wrote 130 stories, many for FBO which Tom starred in but also for other actors such as Richard Talmadge, Rex Lease, and Florence Vidor. The stories he wrote or did the screenplay for Tom Tyler are: “Tom's Gang” (1927), “Splitting the Breeze” (1927), “The Desert Pirate” (1927), “The Texas Tornado” (1928), “Phantom of the Range” (1928), “Terror Mountain” (1928), “The Avenging Rider” (1928), “Trail of the Horse Thieves” (1929), “Idaho Red” (1929), and “The Pride of Pawnee” (1929). Frank also co-wrote the famous film serial “The Hazards of Helen” (1914). He only directed a total of three movies, one of which is a silent film short, and seemes to have preferred the writing process to directing. Frank's last story was for “The El Paso Kid” in 1946 starring Sunset Carson.

Louis King directed only one Tom Tyler silent film, “Terror Mountain” (1928). Louis was born on June 28, 1898 in Christianburg, VA and died on September 7, 1962 in Los Angeles, CA. He got his start in Hollywood as a chracter actor, often portraying the heavy in silent film shorts. His acting credits include “The Printer's Devil” (1923) and “Main Street” (1923), but when it came to directing, Louis specialized in westerns during his early silent film years. Louis went on to direct for Fox Films, which includes the movies “Murder in Trinidad” (1934) with Nigel Bruce, and “Charlie Chan in Egypt” (1935) with Rita Hayworth. By 1957, Louis was directing for television, episodes of popular shows that include “Gunsmoke”, “Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color”, “Zane Grey Theatre”, “Death Valley Days”, and “Tales of Wells Fargo”. Sadly, Louis died from injuries relating to a car accident he was involved in during the month of August 1962 while in Oklahoma. His family included wife Mary, two children, Pamela and Richard, and brother Henry King, who was also a Hollywood director and producer.

Wallace Fox also directed only one film, “The Avenging Rider” (1928) which starred Tom Tyler for FBO. Wallace was born on March 9, 1895 in Purcell, OK, and died on June 30, 1958 in Hollywood, CA. He made his directorial debut with “The Bandit's Son” (1927) which starred Bob Steele. He continued to direct for the following production companies: FBO, Pathé, George W. Weeks, RKO, and Universal. “The Avenging Rider” was not the last time Wallace would direct Tom Tyler; the two worked again in “Partners of the Trail” (1931), and later on in “Powdersmoke Range” (1935). Wallace proved to be a talented director, and his career extended through the 1950's. Highlights of his directing career include the 1945 film serial "Brenda Starr, Reporter" which starred Joan Woodbury in the title role. Later on in his career, he directed episodes for the following television shows: "The Gene Autry Show", "Annie Oakley", "The Range Rider", and "Ramar of the Jungle". Wallace was married to Cleo Easton, and uncle to the actress Rita Carewe, who was the daughter of his brother Edwin Carewe. Rita was married to LeRoy Mason, who was the heavy in a number of Tom Tyler silent films, and also in the 1933 Universal film serial “The Phantom of the Air”. Wallace had one more brother in the business, Finis Fox, who was a director and writer. An interesting piece of trivia: Wallace, Edwin and Finis were all registered members of the Chickasaw tribe.

Monday, July 23, 2018

It's not Sleeping Beauty

There is something sexy about Tom Tyler when he is “knocked out” in a movie, ending up in a reclining position. Sometimes it's from a shock of electricity, as in “Adventures of Captain Marvel”, or smacked on the head with the butt of a gun, as in “Tracy Rides”. Not to mention the famous final scene he had in “Powdersmoke Range” where he ends up dying in the arms of Harry Carey, sacrificing his life for his new found friend. And of course, both “Stagecoach” and “The Westerner” capitalize on Tom's final moments in the movies, when he is shot, and ends up on the ground with the camera panning his face, his eyes closed.

One thing is for certain about Tom Tyler: just like the Greek god he was marketed as since his debut of “Let's Go Gallagher” in 1925, he may as well have sprung off a frieze, come to life with his physique and looks. The ancient Greeks knew a thing or two about handsome men and celebrated it like no other ancient culture. Time to get down to business! Here are Tom's best reclining shots:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Shazam! teaser trailer Zachary Levi

Warner Brothers has finally released a teaser trailer for "Shazam!" and here it is!

Hopefully millenials who see this movie - plus anyone else for that matter - will seek out the original portrayal of Captain Marvel on the silver screen, "Adventures of Captain Marvel", 1941 Republic Pictures film serial!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Silent film unmade reverted: From “Cow Punching for Cupid” to “Tom and His Pals”

Over a year ago back in May 2017 I wrote this blog article on Tom Tyler called “Silent Films Unmade”. There was in fact a clipping from The Film Daily August 20, 1926 included in the article which surprisingly enough, turned out to be the key in identifying an existing Tom Tyler film.

The title in question was “Cow Punching for Cupid”, starring Doris Hill, Leroy Mason, Dick Brandon, Frankie Darro, and directed by Robert DeLacey. This cast perfectly matched that of “Tom and His Pals”, also released in 1926. To compare the two images below – a film still titled “Tom and His Pals” we see the checkered tablecloth with people sitting at it, with the one from Exhibitor's Herald, September 11, 1926, plus the small picture behind Tom and Frankie on the wall to the one in the still on the far left. So it seems like “Tom and His Pals” was a last minute title change for whatever reason. Motion Picture News for 1926 lists “Cow Punching for Cupid” as the silent film's original title release so who knows – maybe Tom knows the reason for the title change when we don't.

Exhibitor's Herald, September 11, 1926