(From Old Corral image collection)
Johnny Mack Brown and Raymond Hatton (with shotgun) have the drop on Marshall Reed (black shirt) and Terry Frost (red shirt) in a lobby card and a crop/blowup from GENTLEMAN FROM TEXAS (Monogram, 1946). Left to right in the background are Steve Clark (suit) and Lew Morphy (on the white horse).
For his All-American exploits on the football field, Brown was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1957, and the Rose Bowl Hall Of Fame in 2001. As with many of the old cowboy stars, he did make guest/cameo appearances in a few later westerns, such as THE BOUNTY KILLER (1965), REQUIEM FOR A GUNFIGHTER (1965) and APACHE UPRISING (1966). Brown also spent about six months touring with the Tommy Scott Wild West Show (am unsure of the year that he did this, but you'll find a photo of JMB with the Scott Show in the following webpages).
During his later years, Brown had some financial difficulties and sold the Beverly Hills home. Johnny Mack Brown passed away November 14, 1974 due to kidney failure.
Johnny Mack Brown made about 165 films during a Hollywood career that spanned about 25 years (stretched to nearly 40 years if you include the guest appearance roles noted above). His western films and serials total about 120, and over half of these were at Monogram. Folks that I've interviewed, as well as comments from others in many articles and books, note that Johnny Mack Brown was simply a nice person to work with ... and a true "southern gentleman".
Brown was an avid outdoorsman, and enjoyed both hunting and fishing, often with Charles "Durango Kid" Starrett. He was also proficient in twirlin' and spinnin' a six-shooter, and he did this in several films. In fact, as I was writing this, I reran his sixgun twirling at the tail end of GHOST GUNS (Monogram, 1944). As best I can recall, the only other performer that was Brown's equal at this handgun flippin' was stuntman Dave Sharpe.
During one of the western film conventions, Minard Coons chatted with Marshall Reed, who was in many of Brown's Monogram westerns. If you don't remember Marshall Reed, click HERE and HERE for several pictures. Reed commented that at the end of every film they made, Johnny Mack Brown would always tell the cast "Thanks for letting me make this film with you".
Overall, a pretty good record and legacy ... and a lot of good western films for us to enjoy on videotape.
(Courtesy of Virginia Herrick & Dick Madigan)
Above, heroine Virginia Herrick gives a helping hand to Johnny Mack Brown in MONTANA DESPERADO (Monogram, 1951). Virginia provided the following comments about Johnny Mack Brown: "He was absolutely the nicest and kindest gentleman any one would want to work with! Very polite and businesslike."
(Courtesy of Donn & Nancy Moyer)
Above, a much older Johnny Mack Brown. Date unknown, but probably late 1960s or early 1970s.
The Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice polls were conducted from about the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s. In most cases, the winners were what you would expect --- Autry, Rogers, Holt, Starrett, Hoppy, etc. Johnny Mack Brown was consistently ranked among the "Top Ten" sagebrush heroes for eleven consecutive years, 1940 - 1950.
|Popularity Rankings of Johnny Mack Brown|
JMB's highest rating shown in this color
|Year||Motion Picture Herald
|Thx to Lansing Sexton who did some checkin' on the JMB comics, and reports as follows:|
Johnny Mack Brown's first comic book appearance coincided with Tim McCoy's last appearance in Tim McCoy Western Movie Stories #21, dated August 1949 and published by Charlton Comics. According to Bob Overstreet's indespensable Comic Book Price Guide, Johnny's own series began in March 1950 as part of Dell Publishing's Four Color anthology series, and continued until February 1959. There were a total of 22 issues in that period, all with photo covers (and as in the comic issues on the right, at least some had photo back covers as well).
Johnny also appeared in the first 21 issues of the Dell Giant Series Western Roundup beginning in June 1952 which featured Johnny along with Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Wild Bill Elliott and Rex Allen. The first 9 covers are illustrated in Ernst and Mary Gerber's wonderful Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books. All 9 covers have photo head shots of all 5 stars with Roy's and Gene's always slightly larger than the others. The first 14 issues also have photo back covers, as do issues 16 and 18, according to Overstreet.
Johnny's first and only other comics appearance insofar as I can tell was in 1939 in issues 4, 5 and 6 of National Periodicals short-lived (6 issues) Movie Comics. They contain a 3-part adaption of the serial THE OREGON TRAIL.
(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
Special thanks to JMB fan Bob Tomko, who sent me a couple of articles relating to his favorite range hero. One is titled I'm A Family Man and was written by JMB around 1948. This 3 page article outlines JMB's family, Beverly Hills home, lifestyle, etc. The other article is a one-pager, written around 1994, and is titled Growing Up With Johnny Mack Brown. In this article, JMB's daughter Cynthia Brown Hale reminisces about her dad, family, et al. I have both articles in .jpg image format, and can e-mail them to you if you ask.