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Columbia In Transition
Bob Allen and Jack Luden



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
Bob Allen

Real name:
Irvine E. Theodore Baehr, Sr.

1906 - 1998


Bob Allen's 'Ranger' westerns for producer Larry Darmour at Columbia were:

THE UNKNOWN RANGER (Columbia, 1936)
RIO GRANDE RANGER (Columbia, 1937)
RECKLESS RANGER (Columbia, 1937) (dual role as brothers Bob and Jim Allen)
RANGER COURAGE (Columbia, 1937)
LAW OF THE RANGER (Columbia, 1937)
THE RANGERS STEP IN (Columbia, 1937)

All were directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet. In all six films, Bob Allen portrayed "Bob Allen".



(Courtesy of Bill McCann)
Check the theater prices shown in this newspaper ad!


Special thanks to guest contributor Larry Blanks for authoring the following biographical profile on Bob Allen.

A great rider and roper, I. E. Theodore Baehr was born in March 28th, 1906 when the cowboys still existed, before the last U.S. Cavalry battles with the Comanches and Apaches from 1910 to 1912. He joined Tim, Roy, Gene, Lash and rest on October 9th, 1998 at the age of 92.

I was fortunate enough to meet Bob in the early 1990s through mutual friends, Ralph and Fay Wofford. Each winter, Bob would come to Atlanta to be with his son and family, Ted and Lili Baehr, Jr. He was very proud of his grandchildren.  We would get together at Ralph and Fay's home to watch the Bob Allen films.  He was a joy to be with.  My wife, Diane described him as the 'last of the true gentlemen'.

Bob 'Tex' Allen could be considered the original Texas Ranger of the silver screen of the 1930s.  Bob starred in six of the original Texas Ranger cowboy movies of the sound era, including RANGER COURAGE and RIO GRANDE RANGER.

He was married to the late Evelyn Peirce, also an actress, who was in the last 'Rex the Wonder Dog' film of the silent era (Peirce is the correct spelling).

Bob graduated from New York Military Academy in 1924 and Dartmouth College in 1929.  In the 1930s, he was under contract to Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox.  He played juvenile lead and starring roles in over 40 films, including: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT (1935); AIR HAWKS (1935); THE BLACK ROOM MYSTERY (1935); CRAIG'S WIFE (1936); THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937); FIGHTING THOROUGHBREDS (1939); and WINTER CARNIVAL (1939).  Bob won the coveted Box Office Award for his lead role as Philip Cameron in LOVE ME FOREVER (1935). (Les Adams adds: The Robert Allen actor in the PERILS OF PAULINE (1934) serial is not Ranger Bob Allen. It's actually Hugh Enfield, later known as Craig Reynolds.)

But Bob was most proud of being the star of the 'Bob Allen Ranger' series, directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet for Columbia Pictures.

Between 1939 and 1940, Bob appeared opposite Claudia Morgan in the West Coast company of The Man Who Came to Dinner at the Biltmore Theatre in Los Angeles and the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, and when that closed, Mr. Allen rushed back East to play opposite Miriam Hopkins in a revival of Design For Living.  During World War II, Mr. Allen starred in the USO production of Over 21 in North Africa and Italy. After the war, Mr. Allen starred and was featured in the theater on Broadway in such classic plays as: I Killed the Count, Kiss Them For Me, Showboat, Auntie Mame and, the revival of Whoopie.  Mr. Allen also appeared in highly successful national tours, including such stage plays as The Greeks Had a Word For It, Junior Miss, Blind Alley and Time For Elizabeth.

During a 45-year period after the war, Bob also starred and was a featured player in numerous television programs, movies and many commercials up until his late 80s.

Bob had said, "The years of Hollywood are only a memory, albeit a happy one - and the Bob Allen Ranger films the happiest. Tim McCoy and I got along fine, but my fondest memories are of my wonderful sidekick in the series, Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro)! God Bless his soul. And yours!"

Larry Blanks
April, 2000




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is an advertising herald for GUARD THAT GIRL (Columbia, 1935). Bob Allen is on the far left, and the man in the cop uniform looking up is Ward Bond.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Allen was the helper to Tim McCoy in three 1935 releases. Above from left to right are Bob Allen, Billie Seward and Tim McCoy in a still from McCoy's LAW BEYOND THE RANGE (Columbia, 1935). Seward teamed up with McCoy and Allen for THE REVENGE RIDER (Columbia, 1935). In addition to those two films, Allen also appeared in the McCoy mountie flick FIGHTING SHADOWS (Columbia, 1935).



(Courtesy of Larry Blanks)

Above - Bob Allen and trusty steed "Pal".



(From Old Corral image collection)

From L-to-R are cowboy hero Bob Allen, Elaine Shepard, and Hal Taliaferro (Wally Wales) in LAW OF THE RANGER (Columbia, 1937). It was during the brief Bob Allen series at Columbia that Wally Wales became Hal Taliaferro - he began using the Taliaferro name in THE UNKNOWN RANGER (Columbia, 1936).



(Image courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are Sunset Carson, singer/musician Cal Shrum and Bob Allen (in his Columbia Ranger outfit) at one of the 1970s film/nostalgia conventions.



(Courtesy of Larry Blanks)

Above, Columbia cowboy Bob Allen, F TROOP's Melody Patterson, and Larry Blanks, circa 1993?



(Courtesy of Larry Blanks)

1996 - the 90th Birthday Party for Bob Allen.  Standing in front of a table of lobby cards from Allen's UNKNOWN RANGER film are, from L-to-R: John Smith, Bob Allen (Ted Baehr Sr.), Ted Baehr Jr. (Bob's son), Larry Blanks and Clyde Carroll.



(Courtesy of Larry Blanks)

Above are Bob Allen, Chuck Norris, and Bob's son Ted Baehr, Jr. The veteran movie star had in July, 1998, presented Chuck Norris, star of the highly rated CBS television series, WALKER, TEXAS RANGER, with the prestigious Sir John Templeton Epiphany Prize. The ceremony took place in Dallas, Texas.

The Epiphany Prize is presented annually by the Christian Film & Television Commission, a non-profit organization headed by Dr. Ted Baehr and committed to educating the entertainment industry and the public about the media's impact on society.




(From Old Corral image collection)
As mentioned, Bob Allen did his Columbia film series right after Ken Maynard. On the left are Maynard and his palomino Tarzan from their 1935-1936 eight film series for Larry Darmour at Columbia. Note the range costume on Maynard - white hat, twin six-guns, dark shirt with those crazy arrows on the pockets, etc.

Allen's outfit was patterned after Maynard in order to utilize stock footage from Ken's films.  In addition to similar costumes, Allen also rode a palomino named 'Pal'. Below is Bob Allen wearing his Maynard look-alike range uniform.


(Courtesy of Minard Coons)


On the left is a crop/blowup of Bob Allen's gunbelt which may look familiar.

Bill Elliott used that same rig when he began his Columbia oaters. After a few films, Elliott changed the holsters so the sixguns were butt forward. There's more on this in the Gunbelt Trivia section on the Old Corral.




(From Old Corral image collection)

From L-to-R in this lobby card are Eleanor Stewart, kindly ol' Lafe McKee and Bob Allen putting the grips on Wally Wales/Hal Taliaferro. Les Adams was able to identify Herman Hack as the the player between Allen and Taliaferro/Wales. THE RANGERS STEP IN (Columbia, 1937) was Bob Allen's finale as a series western hero.

Over the years, ye Old Corral webmeister has received a few e-mails asking about "Tex" Allen or Robert "Tex" Allen or Bob "Tex" Allen. In his half dozen westerns for Columbia, Allen portrayed a Ranger named "Bob Allen" - "Tex" was never part of his screen name. Note the "Bob Allen" in the lobby card above. Conjecture is that Allen himself adopted the "Tex" nickname in his later years .... or the "Tex" moniker was added when Allen guested at film and nostalgia conventions.



  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Bob Allen: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0020979/

The Internet Broadway database has about twenty plays listed for Robert Allen, including the original "Auntie Mame" show with Rosalind Russell in the mid 1950s: http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=29692

Boyd Magers' Western Clippings website has a section on Bob Allen's half-dozen Columbia westerns: http://www.westernclippings.com/westernsof/boballen_westernsof.shtml

Bob's son, Ted Baehr, Jr., has the MovieGuide website at: http://www.movieguide.org/



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