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Unkempt, rough and tough looking members of the gang, or lynch mob, or vigilantes, or posse riders, or cow herders. They had minimal or no dialog, not much screen time, and were generally not listed in the film credits. Some would show up as a face in the crowd, portraying townspeople, barflies, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.



Left is Curley Baldwin and, on the right is Jack King, in a screen capture from Rex Bell's IDAHO KID (Colony, 1936).
Curly / Curley Baldwin

Known as:
Jesse Arthur Baldwin

Real name:
Jesse Arthur Swearingen

1882 or 1884 - 1945


A while back, I got an e-mail asking if I had info on a "Curley Baldwin" who appeared in several of Bill Cody's mid 1930s oaters.

Curley's real name was Jesse Arthur Swearingen ... not Jesse Arthur Baldwin. His World War II draft registration has a notation which confirms his surname: "Registrant advises Swearingen is legal name, Baldwin is name used in show business and the one he goes by at this time."

He was another of the wild west show performers who came to Hollywood during the silent era. Trade publications and newspapers had some blurbs:

The 1920s are a blank. Then Curley shows up in mostly uncredited roles in about a dozen 1930s B westerns with Tim McCoy, Bob Steele, Rex Bell, Bill Cody, and Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams. However, those few acting jobs didn't generate much income - in order to put groceries on the table, he had to have some other employment.

Author and researcher George A. Katchmer was also seeking biographical info on Curley in his book A Biographical Dictionary of Silent Film Western Actors and Actresses (McFarland, 2002).

Curley was a member of the Riding Actors Association of Hollywood, a union type organization formed in 1933 with goals of better pay and safer working conditions. And he was also a member of the "Chuck Wagon Trailers", a group of western film old-timers, heroes, character, and bit players who socialized a few times a year at a BBQ and to remember the ol' days.

He passed away on July 8, 1945 from a heart attack at the home of a Miss Ramona Henderson, Altadena, California. His residence in those later years was the Rancho Los Amigos medical care / rehab facility near Hondo and Downey, California.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Curley Baldwin: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0049879/

Family Search and Ancestry.com had a few tidbits, including his real name of Jesse Arthur Swearingen and a 1918 marriage in Los Angeles to Lois Miller.



Fred Burns on the left and Curley Baldwin on the right in a screen capture from Bob Steele's SUNRISE TRAIL (Tiffany, 1931).



Dick Strong on the left and Curley Baldwin on the right in a screen capture from Bill Cody's OUTLAWS OF THE RANGE (Spectrum, 1936).



Above are Curley Baldwin and Marion Shilling in a screen capture from Rex Bell's IDAHO KID (Colony, 1936).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Curley Baldwin, Wally West, Bill Cody, Dick Strong, and Gordon Griffith in a still from Bill Cody's OUTLAWS OF THE RANGE (Spectrum, 1936). This was Cody's last starring role.



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