(From Old Corral image collection)
Above, Buck and trusty steed Silver guard the trail circa 1934.
Buck Jones Club pin above courtesy of Bill McCann.
Real name: Charles Frederick Gebhart
(Some biographies incorrectly show Gebhard or Gebhardt)
1891 - 1942
Buck's real name was Charles Frederick Gebhart, and his oft reported birth dates and birth place is December 4, 1889 or December 12, 1891 in a "small house on the outskirts of Vincennes, Indiana". Buck's parents are generally identified as Charles and Evelyn Showers Gebhart. However, on the 1915 marriage license to Odille Osborne (shown on a subsequent webpage), Buck lists his father as Fred Gebhart and his mother's (maiden) name as Eva Showers. Apparently, there is no birth certificate or other documentation to confirm Buck's real birth date. Communiques to the Knox County, Indiana Health Department (Vincennes, Indiana) resulted in a reply of 'no record found'. The Vincennes Chamber of Commerce replied that December 12, 1891 was the date they have.
Current information seems to confirm that Jones' birth year was 1891.
If you look back to days of the silent horse opera, the early stars included William S. Hart. In the 1920s, the 'big guns' were Hoot Gibson, Ken Maynard, Tom Mix, and the subject of this profile, Charles 'Buck' Jones. Jones did dozens of oaters at Fox in the 1920s. And it was there that he built and perfected his screen persona doing films that were solid, respectable, and well received at the Saturday matinees ... though the productions were a step down from those of Fox's primary cowboy star, Tom Mix.
Initially billed as 'Charles Jones', he adopted the screen moniker of 'Buck Jones' by the mid 1920s. Around that time, he also acquired a white steed by the name of 'Silver'.
A quick review of the film credits of Jones' silents shows a veritable 'who's who' of directors that would make their mark in subsequent years doing both A and B grade movies. Included were John Ford, William Wellman, W. S. 'Woody' Van Dyke and Lambert Hillyer.
While at Fox, Buck met Scott Dunlap, who would produce and/or direct some of his pictures. The two would become lifelong friends and business associates. Their trails would cross again in the early 1940s at little Monogram Pictures ... and fate would also bring them together at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston on November 28, 1942.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. More on Buck's birth date and early years in the next couple webpages.