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(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is a lobby card from THE LAW RIDES AGAIN (Monogram, 1943, the second film in the Monogram Trail Blazers series. From left to right are Betty Miles, Hoot Gibson and Ken Maynard.

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from L-to-R are Bob Steele, Hoot Gibson and Ken Maynard, Monogram's Trail Blazers.  DEATH VALLEY RANGERS (Monogram, 1943) was the fourth entry in the Trail Blazers series and was Steele's debut as a member. Earlier, he had been 'Tucson Smith' in the Three Mesquiteers sagas, but Republic Pictures terminated that series in 1943.

It's often reported Hoot's first marriage was to Rose August Wenger, an equestrian who rode in Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Wild West Show in 1910-1911. When the show closed in Venice, California, producer Thomas H. Ince hired the whole troupe to appear in films he was making. This led to a job with Kalem. She continued to ride professionally and met Hoot in Pendleton, Oregon, in 1913. Because lodging was hard to come by, the couple registered as Mr. and Mrs. Hoot Gibson, but it's pretty certain they were not actually married as at no point in his taped memoirs (a copy of which are in the possession of this author) does he mention marriage to Rose.

Hoot was married to Helen Johnson in 1922. They separated in 1927 and divorced in 1930. Their one child, Lois, was born in 1923. Helen's divorce suit charged Hoot with infidelity with actress Sally Eilers whom Hoot married 6/27/30. They were divorced 9/20/33. Sally later married producer Harry Joe Brown.

Hoot was off the screen for nearly six years before returning and teaming up with Ken Maynard at Monogram for The Trail Blazers. This series, under producer (and sometimes director) Robert Tansey, picked up for Monogram where their very popular Rough Riders trio left off due to the tragic death of Buck Jones.

The first one, WILD HORSE STAMPEDE ('43), got off to a good start with Bob Baker seemingly being the third member (but never billed as such). His role was very weak and he didn't return for the second entry, THE LAW RIDES AGAIN. Bob Steele joined for the fourth, DEATH VALLEY RANGERS, and the series perked up considerably. Steele added a youthful, action-oriented flair to the pictures. Then followed WESTWARD BOUND ('43) that proved retakes were unnecessary in a Tansey production. In one scene, Gibson tosses a bunch of dynamite sticks at a fleeing Harry Woods. The sticks land in the street but the explosion takes place several feet away! It was all that Maynard could take and he bowed out after the sixth film, ARIZONA WHIRLWIND. Steele and Gibson carried on for two more with Chief Thunder Cloud added to make it an interesting trio.

Producer Tansey exited and MARKED TRAILS, UTAH KID and TRIGGER LAW with just Gibson and Steele were made under a separate production setup, not really part of the Trail Blazers series.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Left is a pressbook ad from the first Trail Blazers film, WILD HORSE STAMPEDE (Monogram, 1943).  Notice that Ken Maynard is given the larger photo while Hoot Gibson is pictured in the smaller round photo inset on the right.  That's onetime Universal cowboy hero Bob Baker in the center, rearing on his trusty hoss, but not being billed.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - Hoot Gibson in the center (sans gunbelt) and Ken Maynard on the right have the drop on Charlie King in a crop from a lobby card from BLAZING GUNS (Monogram, 1943), the third Trail Blazers film.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above, from L-to-R are Betty Miles, Bob Steele, John Bridges, and Hoot Gibson (with no gunbelt) in SONORA STAGECOACH (Monogram, 1944), one of the later Trail Blazers without Ken Maynard.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above, Bob Steele and Hoot Gibson on unidentified horses in a lobby card crop from TRIGGER LAW (Monogram, 1944), one of three films they made together at Monogram after the demise of the Trail Blazers.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Hoot dropped out of pictures (with the exception of playing the sheriff in FLIGHT TO NOWHERE [Screen Guild '46] with Alan Curtis and Jack Holt) but reappeared almost a decade later with the lead in the Ken Murray-produced MARSHAL'S DAUGHTER ('53). In '59, John Ford brought Hoot back to the screen in a supporting role with John Wayne in the THE HORSE SOLDIERS, and the following year he had a small, uncredited role in the Frank Sinatra Las Vegas romp, OCEAN'S ELEVEN.

Hoot, who resided in Las Vegas at the time, had worked as a greeter at the Last Frontier casino, sold Chinchillas on a '50s TV show and even did some carnival work. He and Dorothy struggled to meet the enormous debts incurred by a series of cancer operations for Hoot when he was stricken with the disease in 1960.

Hoot died at 71 on August 23, 1962. He possessed the ingredients many cowboy stars lacked --- fine acting, superb horsemanship, and a knack for tongue-in-cheek comedy that was unsurpassed.

(Courtesy of Boyd Magers)

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above, Hoot and Bob Steele, circa 1959.

In the photo left, William Holden and Hoot take a break during the filming of John Ford's THE HORSE SOLDIERS (1959).


Don't forget to visit the Old Corral section on Monogram's Trail Blazers ... and you'll find more photos, posters and lobby cards with Gibson.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Hoot Gibson:

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a photo of the markers for:
     Hoot Gibson at Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, California:
     Sally Eilers at Forest Lawn (Glendale), Glendale, California:
     June Gale at Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California:

The Santa Clarita Valley History in Pictures website has several webpages on Gibson and his circus:
     Hoot Gibson in "The Mounted Stranger", 1930, Magic Lantern Slide:
     Hoot Gibson Ranch Rodeo Ticket, May 1, 1932:
     Hoot Gibson at Baker Ranch Rodeo, 1928:
     Hoot Gibson at Baker Ranch Rodeo, 1928:
     Hoot Gibson Ranch Rodeo Ticket, April 28, 1935:
     Hoot Gibson Arcade Card for "King of the Rodeo", 1929:

YouTube has a nearly seven minute long commercial for raising and selling Aristo Blue Chinchillas and the backdrop is Hoot and his Hoot Gibson Show TV program:

In 1972, Hoot Gibson was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum:

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has their Walk of Fame. Go to their website and do a search for Hoot Gibson who has a star at at 1765 Vine Street:

The Silents Are Golden site has a page showing Gibson's home in Beverly Hills:
as well as a silent era photo:

The Nebraska State Historical Society has a biography on Gibson:

Gibson is one of the movie cowboys that worked on the Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Show:

Hoot Gibson flew in the 1933 National Air Race in Los Angeles (which included pilots such as Amelia Earhart and Roscoe Turner). During that 1933 NAR, Hoot piloted a J-5 Swallow and raced against Ken Maynard who had his own J6-7 Stearman biplane. Gibson crashed after a steep turn going around one of the race pylons. He survived the crash, but the plane was destroyed. There's photos and newspaper articles at:

Hoot had his own Las Vegas establishment in the mid to late 1940s, and it was called the D4C Ranch (sometimes called the D-4-C Ranch). Unsure if it was for gambling or divorces or both. Quickly say "D4C". Now say "Divorcee". Got the drift? You'll find examples of Gibson's D4C Ranch poker chips at:

Hoot may have worked in a mid 1940s film/short titled LIFE IN LAS VEGAS, but no one has ever seen it. If made, it may have been a travelogue or a promotional film for Nevada or Las Vegas or Hoot's D4C Ranch. The Rockabilly Hall of Fame website has a B&W image on the film and it shows Gibson along with Bill Woods and a youngster named Buddy. The image notes that LIFE IN LAS VEGAS was from 1945 and it's a "Technicolor Movie for Monogram Pictures". However, the combination of (high priced) Technicolor and (low budget) Monogram doesn't ring true. If anyone has any info on this film, please shoot the Old Corral webmeister an e-mail. Go to this webpage and scroll about a third of the way down:

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