Back to prior page            Go to next page

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - McCoy has a wrist lock on henchman Kit Guard.  Note the dark clothes, large bandana, and ornate gunbelt and holster on Tim --- this is the 'range costume' that is generally associated with him.  Lobby card from CODE OF THE RANGERS (Monogram, 1938), one of the better oaters done by McCoy during the second half of the 1930s.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - the title lobby card for McCoy's WEST OF RAINBOW'S END (Monogram, 1938).

(Image courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are Tim McCoy, Bob Terry, Dave O'Brien and bartender George Morrell in a crop from a lobby card from TEXAS WILDCATS (Victory, 1939) with McCoy as "Lightnin' Bill Carson".

In 1938, Monogram Pictures had Jack Randall (the brother of Three Mesquiteers star Bob Livingston) in the typical block of eight westerns.  And Tom Keene was also there but only for four pictures.  To fill out their release schedule, Monogram contracted with Tim for a quartet of films, with an option for more.

But McCoy's tour at Monogram would be short-lived as that company would soon obtain the services of Tex Ritter.  Ritter and his producer/director Ed Finney would be joining Monogram because of a better offer as well as the lingering financial problems at their current studio, Grand National Pictures (which would go belly-up by the end of the 1930s).

The era of the 'singing cowboy' had arrived a few years earlier with Gene Autry at Republic, and Monogram sorely needed a troubadour.  Their initial Jack Randall range yarns were of the musical variety, but those hadn't worked.  Randall's later Monogram films dropped the singing and converted to traditional western formula.  Thus, Tex Ritter was definitely a high priority to Monogram.  After the dust cleared, Tim McCoy and Tom Keene found themselves in search of work.

The 'musical chairs' continued as McCoy went to Sam Katzman's Victory Pictures for the 1938-1939 season.  He replaced Tom Tyler who had been Victory's cowboy star during the prior release period.

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Julie Sheldon and McCoy in STRAIGHT SHOOTER (Victory, 1939) ... again note the dark colored shirt and large bandana on McCoy.

(From Old Corral image collection)

Prolific director Sam Newfield was with Tim McCoy and producer Sam Katzman at Victory Pictures and he helmed all eight films in Tim's series, including SIX GUN TRAIL (Victory, 1939). On the right, Karl Hackett is harassing heroine Nora Lane.

The Victory series of 1938-39 for producer Sam Katzman resurrected the 'Lightning Bill Carson' character that McCoy had portrayed earlier at Puritan. All eight films were directed by Sam Newfield.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

After Sam Katzman and Victory, McCoy had one more solo starring series.  The B film production company that ultimately became PRC began life in 1938 when Ben Judell (1891 - 1974) formed Progressive Pictures Corporation. Over the next couple of years, the enterprise went through some financial turmoil as well as a management shakeup, including the exit of Judell and the arrival of producer Sigmund Neufeld. There were several name changes also - there was Producers Pictures ... then Producers Distributing Corporation (PDC) ... followed by Sigmund Neufeld Productions ... and lastly, Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) which became a subsidiary of Pathe Industries, Inc. The new company needed some well known cowboy talent to attract distributors and theater owners, and McCoy's name still had box office appeal.  Tim's PPC/PDC/PRC films were definitely low-budget, and a further step down for McCoy.  He did his best, often portraying a steely-eyed lawman named 'Trigger Tim' with a variety of last names.  Seven films were made and released during 1940-1941. The director on all was Sam Newfield (with a few director credits to Sam under his "Peter Stewart" alias). McCoy was definitely in the twilight of his career. 

A year or so later, he received what was to become his final job offer as a western film lead and hero --- to be second billed to Buck Jones in a new trio western series at Monogram called the "Rough Riders". Jones, along with Monogram production exec and friend Scott R. Dunlap, were involved in the financing and profits as they had formed the The Great Western Pictures Company to handle the Rough Riders' productions. Eight films were released during 1941-1942, and the overall quality was quite good.  But Army reserve officer McCoy was called back for World War II duty and Buck Jones was a casualty in the November, 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in Boston.

The October 1, 1942 issue of Film Daily carried a blurb on McCoy's return to military service. The headline read: "Recall Col. Tim McCoy To Active Army Duty." Excerpt: "... been recalled to active service with the U. S. Army and reports at Fort Washington, MD., today ..."

(From Old Corral image collection)

From L-to-R are Buck Jones, Tim McCoy and Raymond Hatton as Monogram's Rough Riders.  This series gave McCoy a needed boost with a good role, better scripting, and higher production quality than he had received since his days at Columbia Pictures

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from L-to-R are Monogram's Rough Riders: Buck Jones (on Silver), Raymond Hatton (on Lucky/Tex) and Tim McCoy (on Midnight?)

McCoy on his white horse during his late 1950s appearances with the Carson Barnes Circus.
With the demise of the Rough Riders, Tim McCoy's time as a screen hero was over.  In later years, he would do a few 'guest' appearance roles, such as playing the cavalry troop leader in the AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS (1956) epic.  He also hosted a TV series in the early 1950s where he commented about the Indians, sign language, the Old West, etc.

For several years around the late 1950s, McCoy was the star attraction with the Carson Barnes Circus, and you'll find more info later in these webpages.

And for many years (approximately 1962-1974), he was part owner and toured with the Tommy Scott Caravan and Wild West Show (Johnny Mack Brown, Sunset Carson and Al 'Fuzzy' St. John also headlined the Scott show).

In his later years, Tim suffered from heart problems and he passed away on January 29, 1978 at the Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center/Hospital, Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

McCoy had three children with his first wife, Agnes Miller (sons Gerald and D'arcy and daughter Rita (Margarita?)); and two with second wife Inga Arvad (sons Ronald and Terry). You'll find some further info on Inga Arvad in the links section at the end of this McCoy writeup.

McCoy (1891-1978) outlived Inga (1913-1973), and both are interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Saginaw, Michigan.

McCoy's starring career lasted a tad over fifteen years, from the mid 1920s through 1942.  Much of his work at Columbia, a couple of the Puritan films, and the Monogram Rough Riders group are fine examples of the B western genre and a good showcase for this talented range rider of the silver screen.

The Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice polls were conducted from about the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s.  In most cases, the winners were what you would expect --- Autry, Rogers, Holt, Starrett, Hoppy, etc.  However, it should be noted that these polls did not begin until 1936.  If they were done earlier, McCoy would probably have been on or near the top of the ratings.  McCoy was able to obtain a 'Top Ten' ranking during the following years:

Popularity Rankings of Tim McCoy
Year Motion Picture Herald
Poll Ranking
Poll Ranking
1936 8th .
1941 . 9th
1942 . 10th

Back to prior page            Go to next page