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"