|Ray 'Crash' Corrigan|
(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
Raymond Bernard was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 14, 1902. He had been on the Hollywood scene since the early 1930s, working as a physical fitness instructor to some of the Tinseltown celebrities. A good looking guy with lots of muscles, he wound up at MGM as a muscular stand-in and double for Johnny Weissmuller of Tarzan fame, and in walk-ons and bit-parts in films such as MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY. During these early days, he was Ray Bernard. The name change to Ray Corrigan would occur during his first year at Republic Pictures.
|Right, Ray Corrigan, bare-chested and with curled hair, as "Apollo' in a tender scene from the comedic fantasy NIGHT LIFE OF THE GODS (Universal, 1935). [Tidbit: the author of NIGHTLIFE was Thorne Smith, who penned the 'Topper' novel which also became a movie --- remember the ghosts of Marion and George Kerby haunting and creating chaos for poor ol' Topper.]|
(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
In the mid 1930s, the muscular Corrigan landed roles in several films produced by the new Republic Pictures, including two cliffhangers --- a supporting role in THE VIGILANTES ARE COMING (Republic, 1936), and as the star of UNDERSEA KINGDOM (Republic, 1936).
Republic signed him to a Term Player Contract(s) which ran from May 25, 1936 through May 24, 1938, and he became a member of the new Three Mesquiteers series.
From 1936-1938, Corrigan appeared in the first 24 Mesquiteers films (Republic made a total of 51 Mesquiteers films from 1936-1943). If you want more details, go to the Three Mesquiteers section on the Old Corral.
In an interview years later, Ray said that Republic wanted to continue his contract but without a pay raise, and that was unacceptable to him. John Wayne had replaced Bob Livingston in eight Mesquiteer films for 1938-1939. But with the release of STAGECOACH (1939), Wayne was promoted to better features. Corrigan and Livingston didn't get along. And when Corrigan heard that Livingston was returning to the Mesquiteers series, that was the last straw! In the Summer of 1938, Ray Corrigan said goodbye to Republic Pictures.
Max Terhune had similar problems --- his contract(s) ran from September 25, 1936 to March 24, 1939. Apparently, Republic opted not to renew Terhune's contract, or not to give him a raise in pay. Instead, they replaced him in the Mesquiteers' series with western film veteran Raymond Hatton.
There are a variety of stories about how Corrigan got the nickname of 'Crash': Corrigan said that it was a name to compete with 'Flash Gordon'; some said it was because Corrigan was a big bruiser; others said it was because Corrigan wasn't a great rider, and had a hard time staying on a hoss. Regardless, the 'Crash' nickname stuck for the remainder of his life. And 'Crash' was prominently used in early Republic publicity --- note the credits on the UNDERSEA KINGDOM poster. My guess is that it was created by the Republic publicity department.
(From Old Corral image collection)
The first of the Republic Pictures' Three Mesquiteers' teams --- above from L-to-R are Syd (Sid) Saylor, Ray 'Crash' Corrigan and Bob Livingston in the initial film of the series, THE THREE MESQUITEERS (Republic, 1936). Max Terhune replaced Saylor in the second film of the series.