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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, barflys, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.

Kit Guard

Real name: Christen Klitgaard

1894 - 1961

(Image courtesy of Jack Tillmany)

Crop/blowup of Kit Guard from the image below.
Born in Denmark in 1894, Kit Guard was a fairly prolific silent era comedian who teamed up with Al Cooke (1882-1935) in a bunch of comedy shorts and a few features for Film Booking Office (FBO). Prior to getting their own FBO starring series, Guard and Cooke were featured in dozens of FBO two-reelers that starred Alberta Vaughn.

With the arrival of sound, Guard's starring days ended and he moved into bit/supporting roles, most of which were uncredited/unbilled. I tend to remember him with a white apron and portraying a bartender or waiter ... or wearing a bowler/derby hat in gangster or boxing films.

Guard's Hollywood career spanned about thirty five years, from the mid 1920s through 1958, and he worked in about 350 silent and sound films. In the sound era, Les Adams has him identified in about 50 westerns and 14 serials. One of his meatier B western roles was portraying boxing champ "Spike" who does battle with Bob Steele in THE FIGHTING CHAMP (Monogram, 1932). He also played Steele's sidekick in the mediocre EL DIABLO RIDES (Metropolitan, 1939).

Guard passed away from cancer on July 18, 1961 at the Motion Picture Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.

The Family Search website (free), newspaper obituaries, California Death Index, and the death certificate provide additional information on Kit Guard:

  • August 1, 1924 Los Angeles county marriage license of 30 year old Kit Guard (born Denmark) to 24 year old Nell Griffith Sullivan (born Mississippi). Guard is living at the Christie Hotel, Los Angeles. His occcupation is "Actor - M P Studio"; he is single and this was his first marriage; parents were J. B. and Thyra Klitgaard (both born in Denmark). Nell is widowed and this is her second marriage; her maiden name was Nell Gilman Griffith:
  • 1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - 36 year old Kit Guard (born Denmark) is a lodger living in the household of George S. Maskatel in Los Angeles. His occupation is "Actor - Motion Pictures"; he is divorced; and he was a World War I veteran:
  • 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - 45 year old Kit Guard (born Denmark) is a lodger living in the Los Angeles household of 52 year old Mae Carter and her 32 year old daughter Hazel Bowers. He is widowed; occupation is "Actor - Moving Picture", and in 1939, he worked 22 weeks and earned $500.00:
  • World War II draft registration: Kit Guard reports his birth date and location as May 5, 1894 in Hals, Denmark and employer is Central Casting Bureau. His contact is wife Hazel Guard, and they reside at 632 North Plymouth Blvd in Los Angeles. I'm assuming that wife Hazel Guard is the Hazel Bowers in the 1940 census above:
  • Death certificate: 67 year old Christen Klitgaard, AKA Kit Guard, passed away on July 18, 1961 at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, California and cause of death was stomach cancer. He was born May 5, 1894 in Denmark; occupation was "Actor - Motion Pictures"; he was divorced; a World War I veteran; and his home address was 5162 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles. Pierce Bros. was the funeral director and burial at Valhalla Cemetery. Death certificate informant was Sven Klitgaard, San Mateo, California (Sven was one of Kit Guard's four brothers).
  • California Death Index has a record for Kit Guard, born 5/5/1894, and he passed away in the Los Angeles area on 7/18/1961.
  • I have several newspaper death notices for Kit Guard: he served in the Rainbow Division during World War I; he and his four brothers migrated to the U. S. circa early 1900s and settled in San Francisco; he was survived by his four brothers, but there was no wife, children or grandchildren mentioned for Kit.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Kit Guard:

YouTube has the short "Sherlock's Home" (FBO, 1924), one of the "Telephone Girl" series which starred Alberta Vaughn ... and featured Al Cooke and Kit Guard:

There's a cast shot on Flickr of Betty Hutton, Kit Guard, Ernie Adams, William Farnum, and some other familiar faces from THE PERILS OF PAULINE (Paramount, 1947) at:

Above - two-page tradepaper ad from 1927 for Kit Guard and his moustached partner Al Cooke in their first full length comedy for Film Booking Office (FBO).

(Courtesy of Dorothy Hack)

Above from left to right are Archie Ricks, Herman Hack, Kit Guard (with his bowler/derby hat) and Bob Steele in a scene from Steele's KID COURAGEOUS (A. W. Hackel/Supreme, 1934).

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from from left to right are Jack Cowell, Kit Guard (wearing derby) and Bob Steele. Two unidentified players in the background. Lobby card from Steele's KID COURAGEOUS (A. W. Hackel/Supreme, 1934)

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Tim McCoy has a wrist lock on Kit Guard. Lobby card from CODE OF THE RANGERS (Monogram, 1938), one of the better oaters done by McCoy during the second half of the 1930s.

(Courtesy of Fabian Cepeda)

Above from left to right are Kit Guard, William Boyd, Andy Clyde, Bob Burns, big and burly Bill Nestell, and Jack Casey in the Hopalong Cassidy LEATHER BURNERS (United Artists, 1943).

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