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Rex, "King of the Wild Horses"
AKA Rex, "the Wonder Horse"
and trainers Jack Lindell and Chick Morrison



(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)

Above is a blowup of Rex from the silent THE DEVIL HORSE (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1926) which starred Yakima Canutt. Below is the full still. A lengthy scene in THE DEVIL HORSE became stock library footage which was used in many later westerns and serials - recall the brutal and lengthy horse fight between a black stallion and a paint (see image and text further down this webpage).



(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)


Below are some screen captures (in reduced size) from a few of Rex's films, including several with mention of Jack Lindell:


Above is the opening title card from the silent NO MAN'S LAW (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1927). Below is a credit card showing Lindell as the "Chief Trainer".




Above is a screen capture of Rex from NO MAN'S LAW (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1927) showing the small white mark on Rex's forehead.


Above is a screen capture from the opening titles and credits to the cliffhanger THE ADVENTURES OF REX AND RINTY (Mascot, 1935). Note the white spot on Rex's forehead.


Above - a screen capture from KING OF THE SIERRAS (Grand National, 1938) with Rex at full speed ... and showing that smallish white spot on his forehead.


Above from the opening cast list from KING OF THE SIERRAS (Grand National, 1938) with mention of Rex and Jack Lindell.
Gary Jones - your old e-mail address is no longer valid. Please shoot a message to the Old Corral webmaster with your new e-mail address.
Also have an e-mail asking if a person named "Bert Clark" was associated with Rex - if anyone has info on Clark, shoot the Old Corral webmaster an e-mail please.


There's one horse that I fondly remember - the black Morgan stallion named Rex who was billed as "King of the Wild Horses" and "The Wonder Horse".

Rex made his screen debut in the 1924 silent THE KING OF WILD HORSES for producer Hal Roach, and he worked in silents with Yakima Canutt, Jack Perrin, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, others. In the Jack Perrin silents at Universal beginning around 1927, Perrin was the hero and Rex was the "hoss star" ... and Rex was first billed over Perrin.

There's some interesting faces in those old silents. For example, in NO MAN'S LAW (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1927), the brutish heavy with an eye patch is Oliver Hardy (of Laurel and Hardy fame) and he gets stomped to death by Rex at the end. In BLACK CYCLONE (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1925), the hero is a very young Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, and there's some really great shots of him atop Rex at full gallop (and further proving that the polo playing Williams was one of Hollywood's premier riders).

When talkies arrived, Rex entertained us in serials THE VANISHING LEGION (Mascot, 1931), LAW OF THE WILD (Mascot, 1934), and THE ADVENTURES OF REX AND RINTY (Mascot, 1935), as well as the features KING OF THE WILD HORSES (Columbia, 1933), STORMY (Universal, 1935) and KING OF THE SIERRAS (Grand National, 1938).

Rex was unique in that his name was often in the opening or closing film credits as well as the posters, pressbooks, et al. For example, in KING OF THE SIERRAS (Grand National, 1938), Rex was billed last in the film credits, portraying a wild hoss named "El Diablo" (see film title/credit screen captures on the left).

There are a couple of serials in which Rex is sometimes credited, but he didn't work in those films. Correction, he didn't work in one serial where he is generally credited. He did work in the other, with several other Rex look-alikes:

  • Rex was slated to appear in a fourth serial for Mascot, THE DEVIL HORSE (Mascot, 1932), but Mascot owner Nat Levine needed to do some budget pruning, so a black horse named "Apache" from horseman/trainer Tracy Layne was substituted. Some of you may remember a classic horse/stunt scene in which Yakima Canutt hangs under a black horse's neck and the animal tries to buck him off. That scene was filmed for the chapterplay THE DEVIL HORSE (Mascot, 1932), with "Apache" and Canutt doubling star Harry Carey, Sr.

  • Tracy Layne was also involved in the serial ROBINSON CRUSOE OF CLIPPER ISLAND (Republic, 1936). On page 30 in his Valley of the Cliffhangers (Jack Mathis Advertising, 1975), Republic expert Jack Mathis wrote that the real Rex did not work in that cliffhanger. Jack wrote: "Rex, touted in publicity as "King of the Wild Horses", was played by Zane plus a double horse and, for a $35 daily package, owner Tracy Layne contracted for their services as well as his own in the bit part of Larkin, a Black Chamber decoder. Aside from the 11 days work guaranteed his animals ..." (Based on my reviews of a decent DVD of the serial, Ye Old Corral webmaster has to disagree with old friend Jack Mathis on this. Toward the bottom of this webpage, you will find screen captures showing at least three different horses used in ROBINSON CRUSOE, one of which is Rex.)

Rex often ended the life of the movie villain. As mentioned above, Oliver Hardy was doomed by Rex in NO MAN'S LAW. Kindly old Lafe McKee occasionally stepped out of character and portrayed the brains heavy. In THE VANISHING LEGION serial, McKee is revealed as master villain "the Voice" and Rex dispatches him in Chapter 12 which is appropriately titled "The Hoofs Of Horror".

We do know that Jack "Swede" Lindell was Rex's trainer and he's occasionally listed in pressbooks and film credits. His full name was Jacob Walfred Lindell (1898 - 1952), and he was born in Sweden and migrated to the United States when he was a teenager. Lindell initially settled in Texas but wound up training horses with a traveling circus. During a circus tour stop in California, he opted to remain there and got a job as a horse wrangler and trainer in early silent films. Below, you will find photos and more info on Jack Lindell.

The 1938 KING OF THE SIERRAS was originally a M. H. Hoffman film project, but it got lost during the merger of Hoffman's Liberty Company into the newly-formed Republic Pictures company in mid 1935. A few years later, the film was resurrected by producer George A. Hirliman who added more footage (with different actors) and released it through Grand National in 1938.

Lee Doyle was 79 years of age when he passed away in 1960 at a Flagstaff hospital. The Flagstaff, Arizona Public Library Oral History Project includes interviews with various citizens circa 1976, and there's some brief comments about Lee Doyle, Rex, and Doyle's relationship with author Zane Grey. When you get to any of these webpages, use your web browser search function to locate the comments on Doyle and Rex:

          http://archive.library.nau.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/cpa&CISOPTR=24605&CISOBOX=1&REC=9
          http://archive.library.nau.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/cpa&CISOPTR=24651&CISOBOX=1&REC=2
          http://archive.library.nau.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/cpa&CISOPTR=64388&CISOBOX=1&REC=9

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Rex, Jack Lindell, and 'Chick' Morrison. Note that there are two IMDb entries for Rex. A few corrections are needed and the two separate entries should be combined:

          Rex: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm1211065/
          More Rex: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1345121/

          Jack Lindell: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0511521/
          Charles 'Chick' Morrison (1878 - 1924): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0607104/

If you have a high speed cable or DSL connection, you can download or stream KING OF THE SIERRAS (Grand National, 1938) from the Internet Archive website. This is the version re-titled BLACK STALLION, and although the story and content isn't great, the print quality is quite good ... and you get plenty of stock horse footage including the battle of Rex vs. the paint from THE DEVIL HORSE (1926). Go to: http://www.archive.org/details/black_stallion
The film is also available to view or download on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y50rCEV-KHw

There was a horse named Rex that was owned by Jack Case. However, this was not the movie Rex. Jack Case's Rex had a white face blaze, and apparently, they did shows and performances. You can read more at: http://jackcase.com/jack-case/
There's an ad from a Hastings, Minnesota movie theater for a Saturday-Sunday, July 30-31 performance by "Jack Case and his Bar 20 Ranch Cowboys and Cowgirls". That webpage also has a photo of Jack Case's Rex. An internet calendar check indicates that Saturday-Sunday, July 30-31 occurred in 1938. Go to: http://jackcase.com/jack-case/rex-flyer/




Rex Confusion

There's confusion about who discovered and owned Rex. Some references/biographies mention silent screen stuntman, hoss trainer and silent western movie hero Charles "Chick" Morrison (1878-1924) as the one who discovered Rex ("Chick" was the lesser-known brother of cowboy star Pete Morrison). Others credit horse trainer Jack Lindell (and that info is in the KING OF THE SIERRAS pressbook clipping toward the bottom of this webpage). There is also mention of stable owner Clarence Y. Jones, whose nickname was "Fat". He owned the Fat Jones stable and supplied horses, wagons, etc. to the movie industry. Apparently, Rex was housed at the Fat Jones stables when he was owned by producer Hal Roach.

Morgan horse historian Susan Graf authored an article on several Morgan horses including Rex. A pdf of that article was available for viewing and download, but the website that hosted that article is no longer working (www.2wfmorganclub.com). However, many years ago, I downloaded Graf's writeup and have excerpted her first few sentences on Rex:

"In Classic Morgan Admirers, Issue #18, editor Laura Algranti published a story about Rex written by Anthony Amaral. The article tells the story of Rex, the first horse to star in motion pictures whose career extended into the 1930s in over nineteen films and serials. Rex's real name was CASEY JONES, and Laura identified him as #6255 by Headlight Morgan and out of Nannie L by The Admiral, 2nd dam-Peggy A by Major Gordon, 3rd dam-Brown Gordon by Major Gordon. The article states that Rex was born in Texas in 1915 and sold to the Colorado Detention Home for husbandry purposes ..."

Note the mention that Rex was sold to the Colorado Detention Home. Other stories have Rex being found in a stall at a ranch in Golden, Colorado. Another variation is that Rex was foaled at the Morgan Farm in Texas. And as a colt, he was sold to the Colorado State Boys Reformatory ... or a Colorado military school. Wherever he was originally located, Rex had been beaten and/or abused, and ultimately wound up at a ranch in Colorado or Texas.

And just about every newspaper article and biography on Rex describes the horse with one or more of the following descriptors: mean ... ornery ... dangerous ... vicious ... a killer. Am unsure how much of that is true vs. plain ol' exaggerated studio publicity.

There are some consistencies in all the stories. Rex was a Morgan stallion named "Casey Jones", was born circa 1915 - 1916, and was about 8 years old when he began doing movies for Hal Roach (his first film was 1924). Appears that 'Chick' Morrison (and perhaps his brother Carl) were involved in Rex's discovery and early training. Though he may have been involved in the initial work with Rex, Jack Lindell took over full training reponsibilites sometime after the June, 1924 death of Chick Morrison. Other truths include Rex being owned by Hal Roach who later sold him to Universal circa 1927. Lee Doyle acquired Rex in the early 1930s and Rex continued appearing in a few films (such as the Mascot cliffhangers). The horse was later retired on Doyle's ranch which was located in or near Flagstaff, Arizona.

Rex's life and owners prior to to his mid 1920s Hal Roach films are a maze of confusion with conflicting dates, stories and people involvement.

In a wrap, I don't have EXACT dates on when Rex came to Hollywood ... or when Hal Roach acquired Rex ... or when Roach sold Rex to Universal ... or when Lee Doyle became Rex's owner. But I do have newspaper articles which mention those events. Following is a timeline based on those articles.


Newspaper article/date Comments and Quotes from the articles (some or a lot of this could be Hollywood puffery/publicity)
December, 1923 "Chick Morrison, veteran cowboy and horseman of filmdom, was sent out to scout the western states. Finally, chained in a stall at the Colorado State Reformatory - appropriate fate for a bad horse - Morrison found 'Casey' ..."
2 articles from April, 1924 Mentions 'Casey Jones' as the horse star of THE KING OF WILD HORSES.
"'Chick' Morrison, the well-known horse trainer, found Casey in the State reformatory at Colorado. The horse had killed several and maimed many more."
"Rex is a registered Morgan stallion, 8 years old."
September, 1924 Article relates to the new Hal Roach film KING OF WILD HORSES (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1924) which marked the screen debut of Rex.
"(Hal) Roach had sent Fred Jackman, his director, and 'Chick' Morrison, veteran horse trainer, scouting for an equine leading man."
1 article from August, 1925 and another from January, 1926 Both are near duplicates which suggest they came from publicity material/press books. They refer to BLACK CYCLONE (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1925) which stars Rex and Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams.
"Hal Roach heard of a horse named 'Casey Jones', the terror of a section of Colorado, who had been put in chains in a locked stall. A death sentence hung over him. His location was near the birthplace of 'Chick' Morrison, now dead, but at that time, active with his brother, Carl Morrison, in training horses for the pictures."
"Carl Morrison now is training him, taking the place of his brother."
3 articles from February, 1927 Hal Roach has sold Rex to Carl Laemmle and Universal. One article mentions that "Casey Jones' screen name is Rex ...".
"The late Chick Morrison broke Rex in and Jack Lindell has taken over the task of working him for motion pictures."
May, 1928 Article is about the film WILD BEAUTY (Universal, 1927).
"The first to attempt to ride Rex was the late Chick Morrison, his original trainer."
"Jack Lindell, Rex's present trainer, has successfully ridden the horse, although he doesn't relish the sport."
December, 1929 Rex is "In a corral on the Universal lot ...".
"Rex can be directed only by Jack Lindell, a cowboy who captured him on the plains of Texas."
"Lindell ... sold him to the state of Colorado for breeding purposes."
"Later Hal Roach bought him and starred him in 'King of Wild Horses'."
November, 1932 Mentions that Jack Lindell has been the sole trainer of Rex for the past ten years and "This information came straight from Lee Doyle, the owner of Rex."



Jack "Swede" Lindell
Full name: Jacob Walfred Lindell
1898 - 1952


(Courtesy of Peter Lindell)

Above is Jacob Walfred 'Jack' Lindell (1898 - 1952). Peter Lindell's grandfather and Jack Lindell were brothers. Peter writes that Jack left Sweden for the United States around 1915 (when he was about 17 years old). He was married twice, first to Georgia Lindell (1897-1981) and then to Jean Lorraine Lindell.

Lindell's later "equine supervisor" credits include MY FRIEND FLICKA (20th Century Fox, 1943), THUNDERHEAD - SON OF FLICKA (20th Century Fox, 1945), SMOKY (20th Century Fox, 1946), and GREEN GRASS OF WYOMING (20th Century Fox, 1948).

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on ack Lindell: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0511521/



(Courtesy of Peter Lindell)

Above is Jack Lindell training Rex.



(Courtesy of Peter Lindell)

Above - on the left is trainer Jack Lindell with Rex and Charles 'Chick' Morrison. This photo would be from 1924 or earlier as Morrison was killed in a horse mishap on June 24, 1924 during the filming of a Hal Roach movie.
Note the markings on Rex's blanket in the above photo:

H.E.R.
REX

The H.E.R. stands for movie producer Hal Roach (1892 - 1992) whose full name was Harry Eugene Roach. The Hal Roach films with Rex began with THE KING OF WILD HORSES (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1924).



Above - the fight between Rex and the paint hoss which was originally filmed for the silent THE DEVIL HORSE (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1926). Do you have the serial THE PAINTED STALLION (Republic, 1937) - take a look at Chapter 12 for the complete battle. Other films that include this equine brawl are the Kermit Maynard starrer WILD HORSE ROUND-UP (Ambassador, 1936), Gene Autry's COMIN' ROUND THE MOUNTAIN (Republic, 1936), the Three Mesquiteers adventure HIT THE SADDLE (Republic, 1937), KING OF THE SIERRAS (Grand National, 1938), and the twelve chapter serials THE DEVIL HORSE (Mascot, 1932) and THE LAW OF THE WILD (Mascot, 1934).



(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)

Above are Jack Perrin with his white horse Starlight, and on the far right is Rex. Scene from GUARDIANS OF THE WILD (Universal, 1928), one of the Perrin and Rex Universal silents.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a lobby card from the silent TWO OUTLAWS (Universal, 1928), with Jack Perrin's "Starlight the Wonder Horse" working on undoing the ropes on Jack's wrist. Note that Rex got first billed over Perrin.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - a lobby card from KING OF THE WILD HORSES (Columbia, 1933) showing Rex leading a band of wild mustangs. About ten years earlier, Rex made his screen debut in the similarly titled THE KING OF WILD HORSES (Hal Roach/Pathe, 1924).



(Courtesy of Boyd Magers)

Above is the title lobby card from Chapter 4 of ROBINSON CRUSOE OF CLIPPER ISLAND (Republic, 1936).


Above are DVD screen captures which confirm at least three different horses were used in the ROBINSON CRUSOE OF CLIPPER ISLAND (Republic, 1936), including the authentic Rex. The other two horses may be Tracy Layne's Zane (and the double for Zane) as referenced by Jack Mathis in his Valley of the Cliffhangers (Jack Mathis Advertising, 1975).

1. The opening titles show the authentic Rex with the smallish white splotch on the forehead.
2. Ray Mala and the authentic Rex in a screen capture from Chapter 2.
3. The authentic Rex in a screen capture from Chapter 2.
4. In Chapter 1, the horse is being loaded onto a cargo ship. This is a substitute Rex with a larger face blaze.
5. Ray Mala riding another substitute Rex next to the cargo ship in Chapter 1. This horse has a very small, thin mark on the face.
6. Screen capture from Chapter 3 with the same substitute Rex as our number 4.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Left is a biography on Rex from the pressbook for KING OF THE SIERRAS (Grand National, 1938). There's mention of horse trainer Jack Lindell as the person who discovered Rex ... and Rex's early years at the Colorado State Boys Reformatory ... and Rex being the "World's Most Vicious Equine", an "equine outlaw" and "savage animal" and having killed two people.


(Courtesy of Les Adams)


Image on the right is from the pressbook for KING OF THE SIERRAS (Grand National, 1938).

Salome Milstead was working on a video/film about her famous grandfather, horse trainer and stable owner Clarence "Fat" Jones. Am unsure of the current status of that project.

Salome e-mailed me with a tidbit regarding this pressbook photo of Rex - which may not be Rex: "... I think it was probably Missed-A-Shot, Fat's (Fat Jones) famous rearing horse. I could definitely be mistaken, but Misty was known for pinning his ears flat back with every rear, and had doubled for Rex for a time."

(Courtesy of Les Adams)


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