John 'Dusty' King

Real name:
Miller McLeod Everson


1909-1987

 
(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
The inscription reads:
Lucky trails to you
John 'Dusty' King



(Pressbook ad courtesy of Les Adams)
John King was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1909.

By the mid 1930s, he was in Hollywood, doing bit parts and supporting roles in such films as the Deanna Durbin musical THREE SMART GIRLS (Universal, 1937), CHARLIE CHAN IN HONOLULU (20th Century Fox, 1938), and THE HARDYS RIDE HIGH (MGM, 1939).  He was also the star of Universal's ACE DRUMMOND serial in 1936.  Les Adams, Shoot-Em-Ups co-author, reminded me that King had the lead in GENTLEMAN FROM ARIZONA (1939), a Natural Color (Cinecolor) offering from Monogram Pictures.

The Range Busters arrived on the silver screen in late Summer, 1940. Today, most fans recognize that film series as a lower budget and lesser quality copy of Republic's successful Three Mesquiteers.  King was there at the beginning, using a moniker of 'Dusty' and doing duty as the second lead.  Since singing westerns were very popular, one of his jobs was to warble a tune or two in each film.  But that was right down his alley, for at one time, he exercised his melodic baritone pipes as a singer with the Ben Bernie Orchestra.

Several cast changes occurred during the three year life span of the Range Busters.  Corrigan exited for a while because of a salary disagreement, and was replaced by stuntman/actor Dave Sharpe (and King was bumped up to the lead).  Then Sharpe departed for World War II service ... veteran Dennis 'Denny' Moore filled in ... Corrigan returned after settling his salary issues ... and John King was gone as he too left for military service.  King appeared in the first twenty adventures. (Max Terhune was the only member to appear in all twenty-four Range Busters adventures.)

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on John King: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0454878/



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above are the original Monogram Range Busters trio - from left to right are John "Dusty' King, Ray 'Crash' Corrigan and Max 'Alibi' Terhune. This team appeared in the initial sixteen of the Range Busters films which were released from 1940-1942.



(From Old Corral image collection)

When Ray Corrigan briefly exited the series, stuntman Dave Sharpe came in and did four films in the series before he left for World War II service. Soon afterwards, King left for military duty also. Above from left to right are King, Dave Sharpe and Max Terhune (with Elmer).


Like many Hollywood performers during World War II, John King entered the service and served about four years in the Air Corps. After returning from the military, he could no longer find film roles, so he joined CBS radio. If my memory is correct on this, I recall that he purchased a radio station in Arizona, but ultimately, the King family (John, wife and daughter Nancy Louise) relocated to California. In his later years, King managed or owned a restaurant in California.

Years ago, Larry Imber wrote about a visit with John King: "John King spent his last years running a waffle shop in San Diego. Had pictures all over from his acting days, in case people didn't recognize him, which they didn't. Very sweet guy, and enjoyed visiting with him."

From the mid 1930s through 1943, he appeared in 40+ films, and about half of these were the Range Busters.

I've mentioned this before, and will do it again here. I've always separated the singing cowboys into two groups. There were several that had a country/western/downhome singin' approach, and Autry, Ritter, Rogers, Eddie Dean and Jimmy Wakely are among that bunch.

The other bunch had styles and voices which just didn't seem to fit the western hero mold, and among these cowboys are Dick Foran, Fred Scott, Jack Randall, George Houston ... and John King. King had a powerful, booming voice which was fine for musicals and the stage, but just didn't seem appropriate for the lowly western programmer.

While King never achieved higher stardom in westerns or A grade films, many fans fondly remember him as one of the Range Busters and as Ace Drummond.

If you wish to see more photos and lobby cards with King, visit the Range Busters section on the Old Corral.




(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
Left is Miller McLeod Everson, AKA John King, in a 1977 photo.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above are Range Busters' Ray 'Crash' Corrigan and John 'Dusty' King. Corrigan is riding Silver/Silver Chief and King is atop his paint horse Lucky/Tex (which was also ridden by Jack Randall, Raymond Hatton, Jimmy Wakely, others).



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are John King, Gwen Gaze, Ray Corrigan, and Rudy Sooter on guitar in Range Busters number 11, UNDERGROUND RUSTLERS (Monogram, 1941).



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - John King versus Carl Mathews in a lobby card from TONTO BASIN OUTLAWS (Monogram, 1941).



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above - John King is pummeling prolific baddie John Merton in Range Busters adventure number 14, BOOT HILL BANDITS (Monogram, 1942).



(From Old Corral image collection)

In the above title lobby card from ARIZONA STAGECOACH (Monogram, 1942), John King has his arm around pretty Nell O'Day. Nell is best remembered for the batch of 1940-1942 Universal oaters she made with Johnny Mack Brown.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from left to right are stuntman Dave Sharpe, Evelyn Finley and John 'Dusty' King in a lobby card from TRAIL RIDERS (Monogram, 1942), one of the four Range Busters' films that would co-star Sharpe (who replaced Ray 'Crash' Corrigan).



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are Max Terhune, John King, Dave Sharpe, Forrest Taylor and Evelyn Finley in a still from the Range Busters THE TRAIL RIDERS (Monogram, 1942).



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