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Iris Lancaster

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above are prolific baddie Jack Ingram and Iris Lancaster in a scene from RIDIN' THE TRAIL (1940), one of the singing cowboy adventures starring Fred Scott.

I ran the above photo during December 98 through early January 99, asking for help on identifying who this mystery lady is/was.  There was a suggestion that this picture might be from RIDIN' THE TRAIL, a Fred Scott / Spectrum film ... and that wound up being correct.

Boyd Magers had the RIDIN' THE TRAIL epic, and he ran it for me to confirm or deny the identity of this range heroine. Boyd's e-mail reads: "A match. It is Iris Lancaster. Same girl, same outfit. Awful movie."

As to Iris Lancaster, she appears to have made less than a dozen films over a ten year period from 1933-1944, and then disappeared.  She and Jack Ingram (pictured above) appeared with Fred Scott in RIDIN' THE TRAIL, one of the Spectrum films that Scott made in the late 1930s. It wound up being released by independent distributor Arthur Ziehm in 1940, which was a year or so after Spectrum folded.  Lancaster is a very pretty lady ... and I wonder why she didn't make any more films ... and what happened to her.  That mystery we probably won't be able to solve.

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


Sheila Darcy / Rebecca Wassem

Real name: Rebecca Benedict Heffener

1914 - 2004

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are Max 'Alibi' Terhune, John Elliott, John 'Dusty' King, Sheila Darcy and Ray 'Crash' Corrigan in a scene from TUMBLEDOWN RANCH IN ARIZONA (Monogram, 1941), one of the Range Busters' series.

For fans of serials and westerns, Sheila Darcy (1914 - 2004) is best remembered because of her work in two cliffhangers: she was "Volita", the female lead in ZORRO'S FIGHTING LEGION (Republic, 1939); and she portrayed the "Dragon Lady" in TERRY AND THE PIRATES (Columbia, 1940).

Darcy, whose real name was Rebecca Benedict Heffener, did about thirty films from the mid 1930s to the early 1940s. In her early film work, she was known as Rebecca Wassem. She married movie star Preston Foster (1900-1970) in 1946, and they were together until his death in 1970.

Les Adams has Darcy identified in 31 sound films - that includes 6 westerns and 2 cliffhangers.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Sheila Darcy/Rebecca Wassem:

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a photo of the markers for Darcy and husband Preston Foster who are interred at El Camino Memorial Park, San Diego, California:

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - a lobby card from TUMBLEDOWN RANCH IN ARIZONA (Monogram, 1941) showing John Elliott, John King, Sheila Darcy and Ray Corrigan. Appears that King isn't happy with Corrigan's interest in Sheila.

Here's a mystery for you - there's a bunch of these type lobby cards in circulation. But there is no Monogram brand name or logo. They have a common layout showing Corrigan and his twin six-shooters on the left side, and the only variation is the colors that are used (black plus a couple other colors). An approximate 6 1/2 inch x 8 1/2 inch scene still is glued on the card stock. Les Adams recalled that a company in Oklahoma circa 1935-1942 made up their own posters and cards and rented/leased them to theatres cheaper than the exhibitors could get them from National Screen Service or the company exchanges.

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