Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Swift discovers the unsung heroes of the Old West

As a child much of my interest was focused on western heroes. I enjoyed comic books and radio programs and movies featuring famous themes of that genre. Of course Television was yet to come along. The stars that were most prominent in that day were Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, William Boyd of Hopalong Cassidy fame, Lash LaRue and Whip Wilson. Those were only a few of many western characters that graced the movie screens, comic books and radio programs in that day.
Recently I thought of those old times and how then I enjoyed the western heroes and their daring adventures and escapades. A cousin introduced me to comic books and it wasn’t long before I was reading them regularly. Of course after we got our first radio it wasn’t long until I was listening to The Lone Ranger, Tom Mix, The Straight Arrow, The B bar B Riders and others.
It wasn’t until recently that I knew there were so many different western actors. Some started out with relatively modest roles but later became central characters in the movies. I found several western heroes who I didn’t know about and I thought I would share a bit of information about some of them with the readers of this column.
I had never heard of Art Acord before. He was born Artemus Ward Acord, he was a silent movie actor and rodeo rider. He also wrote his own scripts and performed his own stunts. He made over 100 film shorts but most of them have been lost. He was born April 17, 1890 in Glenwood, Utah and he died January 4, 1931 in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Another western hero I knew nothing about until recently was Bob “Tex” Allen. Born Irvine E. Theodore Baehr, he was leading actor in both feature films and B-movie westerns between 1935 and 1944. He was most famous for his “Ranger” Series. He was born March 28, 1906 in Mount Vernon, New York and he died October 9, 1998 in Oyster Bay, New York.
Did you ever hear the name “Don ‘Red’ Barry.” I enjoyed Red Ryder comics and movies in my early days and I wasn’t aware that Barry played that character. He was born January 11, 1912 in Houston, Texas and died July 17, 1980 in Hollywood, California.
Bob “Tumbleweed” Baker was another western actor I had never heard of. His real name was Stanley Leland Weed. He was born on November 8, 1910 in Forest City, Iowa and named Stanley Leland Weed. He enlisted in the Army at the age of 18 and served two consecutive hitches as well as serving briefly in the early ‘40s, and again during the Korean War. He acquired his nickname “Tumbleweed” while serving during his first hitch. He also learned to play the guitar in the Army. He worked on the National Barn Dance on Radio station WLS in Chicago. WLS, owned by Sears & Roebuck, stands for World’s Largest Store. His first film and best was “Courage of the West” released in 1937. He died August 29, 1975 in Prescott Arizona.