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(From Old Corral image collection)

Above, Tom Keene is battlin' Rocky Camron (Gene Alsace), and Betty is shown on the right side of this lobby card from RIDING THE SUNSET TRAIL (Monogram, 1941).



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is the title lobby card from SONORA STAGECOACH (Monogram, 1944), the eighth and last of the Monogram Trail Blazers series. On the left is Betty Miles riding her horse Sonny. On the right are Chief Thunder Cloud, Hoot Gibson and Bob Steele (helping Bud Osborne off the stage).


Betty also found work at PRC (Producers Releasing Corporation) and Republic. She was the heroine for the Lone Rider series entry, LAW OF THE SADDLE (PRC, 1943) with Bob Livingston. Betty landed a job doubling Louise Currie in the Republic serial, THE MASKED MARVEL (Republic, 1943). Currie, the feminine lead in the serial, has no real memories of Betty except she was a nice lady. She added, "I was routinely on another part of the set whenever Betty came 'to do her thing' ".

Betty's last western feature found her cast as the second femme lead to Patti McCarty in the Texas Rangers western saga, GANGSTERS OF THE FRONTIER (PRC, 1944) with Tex Ritter and Dave O'Brien. In this film, Betty was character actor Harry Harvey's wife/widow. An action scene near the end of the film in which Ritter, O'Brien and Betty ride hell-bent-for-leather into town leading the territorial Rangers to battle the bad guys would later be used in a montage sequence in the Red Ryder television pilot, Whiplash (Flying A Production, 1950). In this story, the narrator, Jim Bannon as Red Ryder, describes the riders as "rip roarin' cowboys who sometime get ornery".

With this, Betty left Hollywood and turned to the sawdust trails of the circus. Betty first worked with the S. L. Cronin Circus in 1944 where fellow western actress and good friend, Evelyn Finley, joined her. Betty had a couple of spots working with her horse, Sonny, and was featured in Mark Smith's all-girl bareback riding act. Evelyn Finley, Tina Harrington and Skeeter Knudson were featured in straight roles. Betty was allowed to handle the comedy routines.

Circus historians remember that the Cronin Circus folded quickly. In any event, she next signed on with Al Dean's Circus. Again, Betty had a spot with her horse, Sonny. In addition, she assisted Slim Wiseman in an act with his elephant, Bunny.

By August, 1945, Betty was working with C. R. Montgomery's Wild Animal Circus. Betty was featured in a riding act assisted by Pete Smith. Betty did the riding with Smith standing by to assist her.



(Courtesy of Gene Blottner)

Wearing Indian dress are Evelyn Finley (left) and Betty Miles (right) during their brief time working on the S. L. Cronin Circus circa 1944.



(Courtesy of Gene Blottner)

Dean of Girls, Turlock High School, Turlock California, around 1967.
Some radio historians list a Betty Miles in the role of Mildred (Millie) Anderson on Dennis Day's radio show, A Day in the Life of Dennis Day, in 1946. The show aired on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. on the NBC radio network. The author cannot substantiate this fact. A few knowledgeable radio buffs have tried to assist me and all the currently available 1946 radio tapes of the show have Sharon Douglas in the role.

At this point Betty Miles' show business career ended. Betty changed to a career in education. In 1946, she became a substitute teacher in the Fresno City School system. From 1947 to 1964, she performed various responsibilities in the California school system. She was a seventh and eighth grade teacher; she undertook double duty as both teacher and principal; and then she taught Social Studies at the eighth grade level.

From 1965 through 1967 Betty attained the position of Dean of Girls with the Simi Valley schools. She then took a similar position with Turlock High School (Turlock, California) in September 1967. In Betty's resume for the Turlock position, her date of birth became 1914. After one year at Turlock High School, Betty accepted a position with the Los Angeles County School System.

After being involved with various educational positions for thirty years, Betty retired around 1976. She had begun living in Hughson, California around 1966. In her last years, she made her residence with her son, Lynn Miles, also of Hughson.

Betty passed away on June 9, 1992 at the age of 82. She was survived by her son, Lynn Miles and two grandchildren. It is a major disappointment that Betty could not have been located prior to her death. How wonderful it would have been to have Betty and her friend Evelyn Finley appear at film festivals together during the eighties!

In a different time and a different age, Betty, with her acting and athletic abilities in addition to being very attractive, could have been featured as the lead in her own western series. In films like RIDING THE SUNSET TRAIL (Monogram, 1941), THE DRIFTIN' KID (Monogram, 1941) and SONORA STAGECOACH (Monogram, 1944), her stunting ability was very much in evidence. Her grittiness was apparent in LONE STAR LAW MAN (Monogram, 1941). Tom Keene wants Betty and child actress Sugar Dawn to go up on a hill out of harm's way. As he begins to make this suggestion, Betty levers a shell in her rifle, ending all doubts of whether or not she'll join in the fight with the men. Truly, Betty was a woman of whom any of her male costars could say: "She'll do to ride the river with."

Acknowledgements: First to Sherman Pippen, a good friend, who gave me the impetus to start my journey to find Betty Miles. Then to Larry Floyd, a close friend, and Janet McCord, Turlock School System, who illuminated the path when it started to grow dim. And finally to Frances Kavanaugh, screenwriter, who gave me much needed information to finish my journey and write my story. Also, without the help and patience of the following this article could not have been completed: Cheryl Adams, Commissioner, Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce; Kimberly Balcom, Librarian, Autry Museum of Western Heritage; Jack Bennett, Oklahoma Library Service; Chuck Burnes, Periwinkle Productions; Lee Diebold, Stuntman and actor; Linda and Ron Downey, Editors and Publishers, Under Western Skies; Louise Currie Good, actress; Dave Hawkes, Clerk, Turlock Library; Will "Sugarfoot" Hutchins, Actor; Bill Jackson, Archivist, Circus World Museum; Kristine Krueger, Librarian, Margaret Herrick Library; Boyd Magers, Editor and Publisher, Western Clippings; Jack Mathis, Author and Publisher; K. Roberts, Modesto Bee; Danielle R. Routhier, Museum Researcher, National Cowgirl Hall of Fame; Charles K. Stumpf, Radio and Nostalgia Historian; Jay H. Wardell, Vice-President, National Cattleman's Beef Association; Mitch Weisberg, Radio Historian; Claude Zachary, Archivist, University of Southern California.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above, an interesting lobby card from RIDING THE SUNSET TRAIL (Monogram, 1941), and from L-to-R are: Betty Miles, Tom Keene, Kenne Duncan, Sherry Tansey (James Sheridan Tansey), Earl Douglas, and Tom London. Earl Douglas' real name was Lou Yaconelli, the brother of sidekick Frank Yaconelli. If you look close, you might make out the moustached Arkansas Slim Andrews behind Keene's face.  Can you spot the error on this lobby card - look at all the gunbelts and the holsters as they are on the left side. Apparently, the photo used in preparation of this card was reversed.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from L-to-R are Betty Miles, Tom Keene, moppet Sugar Dawn and Frank Yaconelli in a photo of a lobby card from LONE STAR LAW MEN (Monogram, 1941).



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from L-to-R are Forrest Taylor, Hoot Gibson, Bob Baker (wearing the badge), Betty Miles, Kenneth Harlan (at the desk), Ken Maynard and I. Stanford Jolley in WILD HORSE STAMPEDE (Monogram, 1943), the initial entry in the Trail Blazers series.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above, from L-to-R are Betty Miles, Bob Steele, John Bridges, and Hoot Gibson in SONORA STAGECOACH (Monogram, 1944), one of the Trail Blazers entries after Ken Maynard exited the series.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from left to right are Gene Alsace (now billed as Rocky Camron), Betty Miles, Hoot Gibson, Victor Daniels and Bob Steele in a scene from Monogram's SONORA STAGECOACH (Monogram, 1944).

You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral, and check the California Death Records database.  There you will find a record for: Elizabeth Harriet Miles, born 1/11/1910 in California, father's last name was Henninger, and she passed away on 6/9/1992.  There is also a corresponding record in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).  Both databases show her last residence as Turlock (Stanislaus), California. 

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Betty Miles: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0587062/



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