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 aventurasdetomtyler@triggertom.com. 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

Stagecoach
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.
                  -Longfellow 

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


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Tom Tyler's shirts: The secret is in the zipper

"Fast Bullets" - note the side zipper!

Have you ever wondered how Tom Tyler managed to wear his shirts so well?

While he certainly kept fit on a regular basis during the 1930's through weightlifting, the real marvel of his onscreen wardrobe was how his shirts managed to fit him like a glove. Since Tom had a perfect torso, having shirts that fit so perfectly was no problem, whether they were front button-down shirts or the pullover shirts he periodically wore. Like all other actors and actresses, a tailor would take the physical measurements, and match the ideal wardrobe according to the film genre and story. Tom had
two different long-sleeved pullover styles in his wardrobe; one was black with white trim and a laced bow at the throat, the other one, white with black trim and laced bow.

"Cheyenne Rides Again" - the zipper once again
Tom often had to change clothes several times throughout one film, particularly if he got dirty from rolling around on the western soil when fistfighting a small group of men. Once that shirt got dirty, Tom switched into his pullover shirt. This shirt was worn in “Pinto Rustlers”, “Mystery Range”, “Cheyenne Rides Again”, “Coyote Trails”, “Terror of the Plains”, and “Fast Bullets”, to name a few movies made during the 1930's. The most notable thing about this shirt, however, was visible whenever Tom raised his left arm from his side: a zipper that ran from a few inches below his armpit to the bottom hem of the shirt. This zipper did not just help mold Tom's marvelous torso, though; it was also functional in helping him get in and out of it with ease, especially when he was given only a few minutes to change clothes in between scenes being shot. Unlike the button-down shirts, which sometimes came undone – a button slipping loose from its matching hole – there was no similar concern with the zippered shirts that Tom wore so well.

"Ridin' Thru" - the second button from the bottom came undone


Thursday, June 28, 2018

“Ridin' Thru” classic Tom Tyler B-western


Up until November 30, 2017, “Ridin' Thru” was previously only offered through Sinister Cinema when Alpha Video released it on DVD as part of a double feature also includes “The Fighting Trooper” (1934) starring Kermit Maynard, the brother of western actor Ken Maynard. While it is always nice to see a competitive source offer the same movie, what differentiates the Alpha Video version is that it was made from a brown-tinted print of the movie.

Tom Tyler is Tom Saunders, an itinerant cowboy whose trail partner is Ben (Ben Corbett), traveling on their way to their next job at Elmer “Dad” Brooks (Lafe McKee) ranch. Brooks' ranch is in financial trouble and while he would like to sell some of his horses to pay the bills, he can't because his livestock is being stolen out from under his nose. The movie opens with a magnificent white stallion nodding his head as he stands upon a cliff, as he does at several points throughout the film, perhaps more as an acknowledgement of his handsomeness rather than as a sign he is a horse thief. When Tom and Ben arrive at the ranch they discover it has been transformed into a dude ranch so that Brooks could make some money to pay his bills. Once they get hired for the job by an unrelenting foreman by the name of Winthrop (Philo McCullough), Tom and Ben discover what has been happening with the horses – and are requested by Brooks to find out who is behind the entire operation. While Tom is providing the brainpower to trap the horse thieves, he falls in love with Dolores (Ruth Hiatt), the niece of “Dad” Brooks.

There is no shortage of friction between Tom and Dolores when they first meet, which continues throughout the story. The first time is when she is having a picnic with a friend named Myra and Tom decides to move her car away from where it was parked; next, when Tom exits her house and spills a drink she was carrying on a tray right onto her dress. Dolores never loses a moment to make a disparaging remark at Tom: calling him a chump, a big ninny, then eventually thinking he really is dumb, and finds Tom to be too far beneath her. Yet the chump comment occurs during one of the funnier moments of the film; Dolores asks Tom to help her onto her horse, and he does, placing his hand on her behind as he lifts her into the saddle. Regardless of how Dolores treats Tom, he is still the perfect gentleman, even rescuing her when she is on horseback and her horse suddenly sees the white stallion and takes off after it. Tom swoops her up in his big strong right arm while on his own horse and gently sets her down on the ground before fetching some water from a nearby creek to splash on her. By then though Dolores is gone, having left with Winthrop, who she thinks was the man who rescued her.

Despite the way Tom feels, he cannot help but wonder why she even bothers with him; for instance, dancing with him at a costumed ball on the ranch which all of the guests attend. She acknowledges Tom's aid in tracking down the horse thieves for her uncle, but has no emotional connection with Tom. He would like to be more than just friends with her but even at that level he fails. Dolores relents though, and when Tom honestly tells her that she is a peach, not a pill, her hopes are raised if only but a notch.

Hot on the trail of closing in on the horse thieves, Tom and Ben find themselves framed by Winthrop, captured, and tied up on a remote part of the ranch. Blackie, Tom's horse, chews through the ropes binding them like the smart horse that he is, freeing Tom. As soon as three of the culprits appear from beyond a barn Tom fistfights them – all three men at once. Tom finally gets a confession from Winthrop, and with the case wrapped up, gets ready to leave the ranch with his pal Ben. Before they part, Dolores executes a perfect Mae West imitation, even looking like her, as she asks Tom “Why don't you come back and see me sometime”. At that point Tom and Dolores have finally made up, as they exchange a kiss.

Like Tom Tyler, Ruth Hiatt was also a former silent film actress born in 1906, three years after Tom, and is on a par with his acting talent and looks. Bud Osborne plays the sheriff, another alumni of Tom's films which date back to his late silent films such as “Call of the Desert” (1930). Directed by Harry S Webb (as Henri Samuels), the written story is credited to actress Carol Shandrew (she played a role in Tom's film “Tracy Rides” as the daughter of a sheep herder) and Rose Gordon even though the plot has been recycled from an earlier film, “The Phantom of the Desert” (1930) starring Jack Perrin. It is possible that these two ladies names were credited due to a studio quota at the time. The stallion closely resembles the one who starred in “Coyote Trails” (1935), another Tom Tyler film. The western scenery is beautiful, and “Ridin' Thru” was popular enough to warrant a full-color portrait of Tom as he looked and dressed in this movie in exchange for a dozen Dixie cup lids.

With Alpha Video still issuing Tom Tyler films, they seem to be the most likely DVD distributor to issue any further movies of his that continue to be found.










Saturday, June 16, 2018

Tom's favorite roles


One of the most commonly asked questions of a Hollywood celebrity in an interview is their favorite movie filmed, plus their general attitudes about their own work. Tom Tyler loved his work and obviously loved all the roles he played, no matter what movie it was, whether it was a starring role or supporting role. It is perhaps for that reason why it has been difficult to find any information that answers the above question, as there are no extensive interviews with Tom Tyler in the papers. However, there are a few early sources that might hint at which movies he thought were his very best, ones which he favored the most.

For example, Tom claims that “Wild to Go” was one of his best movies, if only for the fact he got to enjoy the company of many pretty young girls and not just one leading lady (it should be remembered that Tom was much closer to his two sisters Katherine and Molly in real life than he was to his two brothers), and it is safe to say he felt comfortable enough around women yet not be a “ladies man” type. Considering how Tom phrased it, maybe “Wild to Go” was also a personal favorite of his, and luckily, this is one of his silent films made for FBO which has survived and is housed at Cinematek in Brussels, Belgium.

It is yet unknown if Tom particularly favored his critically acclaimed role in “Stagecoach”, or even as the comic book superheroes Captain Marvel or The Phantom. If he did, he was probably a little quiet about it, either out of his shyness, or maybe even modesty, for he was no braggart in Hollywood. Tom knew he was physically very strong, capable of many feats as the film scripts demanded, just as well as having the talent to turn in a top-notch performance, no matter what type of role he was in.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Just plain Tom

As Tom Hall in "Fighting Hero"

For the person newly introduced to Tom Tyler's work in westerns of the 1930's which are plentiful on the market, the majority of his film character names remains the same as his adopted one – Tom. Having come a long way from being Vincent Markowski, Tom Tyler probably never dreamed he would be a big enough Hollywood icon to go by his first name alone in the many movies he made. Since his professional name was tailored after the silent film star Tom Mix to some degree – many of Mix's screen characters were also named Tom – one other feature both Tom Tyler and Tom Mix share is this: their earliest character names were completely different from their own, with a few exceptions. Tom Mix had the character name of Tom in a number of silent film shorts in the early 1910's, such as “The Telltale Knife” (1911) and “The Scapegoat” (1912). In a way this naming practice set the standard for new silent film western stars, such as Hoot Gibson, Buck Jones, and Tom Tyler.

As Tom Gallagher
Once he was selected as the new western star for FBO, his first starring role being “Let's Go Gallagher”, Tom Tyler appeared onscreen as Tom Gallagher, a hard-fighting youth who finds himself caught in a whirlwind of adventure. Such a memorable debut caught the public's eye quickly enough, for soon Tom appeared in successive movies bearing character names such as Phil Stone (The Wyoming Wildcat), Dennis Terhune (Born to Battle 1926), Dandy Carrell (The Arizona Streak) and Jerry McGill (The Cowboy Cop). For the rest of the year 1926 and into 1927, Tom's onscreen names were always Tom but a different, simple last name, and by the time he finished his contract with FBO, sixteen of the silent films he starred in had the character name of Tom. Surprisingly enough, none of the eight movies Tom made for Syndicate directed by J. P. McGowan had character names of Tom; each one was totally different, such as Rex Carson in “Call of the Desert.”

Unlike Tom Mix, who made eleven movies in the 1930's, Tom Tyler made 47 movies during that decade where he had the starring role, already long established as an icon himself. For it did not matter if any one of his given movies saw him as Tom or some other name in the story. Tom Tyler was a highly recognizable star on the silver screen, if not for his distinctive looks and voice, for his low-key persona which made him a true favorite of many an American family.

As Tom Corrigan in "The Desert Pirate"


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Buck Moon Trail, Part 3

Note: This is the third 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 aventurasdetomtyler@triggertom.com. Thank you and enjoy the story! 


Supper that night might have been mundane as last night's had Julie not been thinking about Joe's conversation with her earlier. When the time came for her to help feed Tom, who remained in the covered wagon all bundled up, peering out the back and feeling the warmth of the campfire, her movements might not have felt so forced. Julie lovingly held a bowl of hot stew, and spoon fed Tom, occasionally offering him a vegetable or bite of bread. At least his stomach was able to hold down some nourishing food. Plus, Julie felt a lot safer sitting next to Tom for supper than she did with any of the other men, although she did not know why.

“Was that good?” Julie asked Tom, as he finished the last drop of a second bowl of stew. Tom dabbed the left corner of his mouth with a green cloth napkin.

“It was delicious. Thank you, Julie.” Tom's face was close to her own and she looked into his amber eyes. Almost golden, she thought to herself. Pupils visible, eyes that sometimes seemed darker from Tom's left side when the light cast onto it. Now Julie smiled, her lips parted slightly, dropped a tiny kiss on his forehead. All of a sudden she forgot what happened over an hour ago, and started to fall into Tom. A warmth spread over her and it wasn't from the campfire; it melted away her worries, her troubles.

“You're welcome, Tom.” Julie picked up the other end of the blanket Tom left unused, and wrapped it around her shoulder. Tom's eyes widened and he smiled at her. “Do you have any idea how good you are for me?” she asked him.

Tom burst out laughing. “I may as well have asked you the same thing!” he replied, his nose touching her face. They both laughed merrily, a laughter that drowned out the chit-chat of Joe and the other men on the other side of the campfire. Julie felt Tom's arm around her, his big strong hand on her left shoulder. His touch was gentle, yet friendly and protective, like that of a sibling. For the first time during their trip across the country, Julie felt content for the first time. It could have been the first hour of darkness that helped, while the embers of the campfire started to burn down. Every single ember Julie watched go out, matched a part of her past which died out completely. Why would she be worried about such insignificant things anyways, when Tom's health meant so much more to her anyways? She breathed out and shut her eyes. Tom must have noticed because he looked at her expressionless face, which slowly grew back into one of a happy love.

Julie thought to her herself, 'There is just no way I am in love with a man like Tom. It's impossible. It cannot happen. It cannot happen to me. Why? HOW do these things happen?' Her eyes remained closed.  “If you only knew...” she began, her soft words trailing off into the dark of night.

Tom raised his eyebrows before producing a closed-lip smile. His eyes studied her face, taking in her translucent skin and pale pink lips. “I care about you too, Julie. You're just like a sister to me.” At that moment Julie's eyes opened wide before she burst out laughing, loud enough for the men outside the wagon to hear her, also startling Tom.

“Where's my flask?” Julie screamed, thrusting her right hand into her cotton purse and yanked it out, almost tearing the fabric. Tom's eyes widened at her while she took a deep swig. Julie's eyes closed once again and right before she was ready to pass out, a sharp bolt of lighting hit the land close by. It seemed to come out of nowhere, for no rain could be heard falling from the sky. The skies were clear after all when the troupe entered Missouri. Yet something changed, which made Julie think there something more than just a disturbance in the atmosphere. For her, it was a feeling, something that should not exist, something she had to overcome, whether she was drunk or not. 'Ignore it', Julie told herself. 'Just ignore it.' She wanted to scream but did not, could not, perhaps due to Tom's making a resigned sigh before turning over on his side, an indication he wanted to sleep.

“Goodnight Julie,” Tom softy called to her. He wanted to say something about her drinking before bedtime but figured it was useless. His only hope was that she was sober by the time they arrived at their destination. The distant whirring of cicadas lulled Tom to sleep but kept Julie awake. She finally got up, as tipsy as she was, climbed out of the back of the wagon and started walking away from the camp. Joe and the other two men were asleep in their sleeping bags under the stars in front of the wagon, so she did not have to
worry about one of them waking up and following her. Julie kept going on, walking into the night going by the light of the moon. Not really thinking, she found an outcropping of rocks, and sat down by them. Encrusted with mica and quartz, the moonlight seemed to make the rocks wink at her and beckon, as she ran her fingers over them. Pulling out her flask once more, Julie took a final swig and passed out, crawling underneath the shallow ledge of the upper rock. The thunder started up once again only this time, approached closer, and the darkness of night soon turned yellow, drowned out by the sound of rain falling.

To be continued...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Update on Aventuras de Tom Tyler website


By now regular visitors have noticed a change to the homepage of Aventuras de Tom Tyler. There are two reasons behind this: the code needs to be brought up to date for 2018, and due to the volume of material on the site, for aesthetics. Nothing will be lost or removed; if anything, more will be added, particularly regarding the types of roles Tom Tyler played on film. Those four animated stars on the homepage, courtesy of CSS3 code, will have links for each one of them: Cowboys, Superheroes, Movie monsters, Dramatic Roles.

Also – because a number of Tom's “lost films” have surfaces in the past several years, there will be a stress on the need to restore and digitize them (the list thus far consists of: “Jungle Mystery”, “The Man from Nevada”, “The Man from New Mexico”, “Lightning Lariats”, “Cyclone of the Range”,

Tom's non-FBO silent films made for Syndicate Pictures and directed by J. P. McGowan are most likely to be found here in the states; his FBO films, in Europe, active centers being Spain, Russia, Belgium, Netherlands. This is not say an FBO film won't pop up in another European nation; it primarily depends on how thorough a film archive documents what it holds, not to mention the constant influx of donated collections. A film archive operates like a museum; film collectors donate their collections, items are accessioned, the condition of the donated items evaluated (35mm prints from the silent film era usually take priority due to their unstable nature, being made from nitrate which is highy flammable), entered into their database (most professional archives utilize PastPerfect, a software database created just for museums, libraries, film archives), and so on.

In the meantime, the main website is still fully functional, any kinks in the code will eventually be worked out, and enjoy all regular updates there and of course on the blog.