(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
Above, Johnny Bond at one of the mid- 1970s film conventions
|Special thanks to "guest commentator" Ed Tabor for authoring the following narrative and background info on Johnny Bond.|
Cyrus Whitfield 'Johnny' Bond was born June 1, 1915 in Enville, Oklahoma, the fifth of six children. While growing up on a farm near Marietta, Johnny first heard the records of Vernon Dalhart and Jimmie Rodgers on the family Victrola. Johnny's sister Mary had bought a new radio and Johnny listened to Milton Brown, W. Lee O'Daniels and Carson Robison. In high school, Johnny was asked to join the brass band, borrowed an E flat alto brass horn, and learned to play that. Johnny bought a ukulele from Montgomery Ward for 98 cents and learned to play that. He then borrowed a guitar and a banjo and taught himself how to play them.
After graduating from high school in 1934, Johnny's brother, Howard, took Johnny to live with him in Oklahoma City. Johnny started knocking on the doors of the local radio stations and got hired for no pay at KFXR. He then played with Billy McGinty's Oklahoma Cowboys which later became Pop Moore and His Oklahomans. Johnny then joined Jimmy Wakely and Scotty Harrell as 'The Bell Boys', sponsored by the Bell Clothing Company on KVOO, Tulsa.
Gene Autry came to Okemah, OK and Lawrence, KS promoting his movie, RANCHO GRANDE. The Bell Boys went to both towns and talked their way into meeting Gene. This meeting resulted in Bond, Wakely and Dick Reinhart going to California to work for Gene Autry (Scotty Harrell came later). At about this time Johnny had been attempting to write his own songs. He saw the movie CIMARRON and he had crossed the Cimarron many times in his travels. This led him to write Cimarron (Roll On). On May 31, 1940, Johnny and Dorothy Bond, Dick Reinhart, Jimmy and Inez Wakely and their 2 daughters, Deanna and Carol, left Oklahoma City for California.
In California, The Bell Boys (now known as the Jimmy Wakely Trio) played on Foreman Phillips' County Barn Dances. Dick Reinhart recorded for the Okeh label under Art Satherly with Johnny Bond and Jimmy Wakely accompanying. Jimmy Wakely recorded for Decca with Johnny Bond accompanying. Art Satherly recorded Johnny Bond starting August 12, 1941. Johnny continued to record for Columbia through August, 1957. Bond also appeared on Gene Autry's MELODY RANCH radio program from 1940 through 1956, and he also toured with Gene during the same period.
Between 1939 and 1947, Johnny Bond appeared in 38 movies. He worked with Roy Rogers, Don Barry, Johnny Mack Brown, William Boyd, Gene Autry, Tex Ritter and Jimmy Wakely. After leaving Columbia Records, Johnny Bond continued to record, often on speculation, with releases on Starday, 20th Fox, Republic, Smash, Capitol, Lamb & Lion and lastly, Jimmy Wakely's Shasta label. Johnny had only one number one recording, Ten Little Bottles. Johnny Bond also made Standard transcriptions in 1944 and World transcriptions in the early 1950's (for radio broadcasts).
After suffering several strokes, Johnny Bond died on June 12, 1978 at the St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California. Burial was at sea.
|The Jimmy Wakely trio, which included Bond, added tunes to various sagebrush yarns such as the Johnny Mack Brown/Tex Ritter series|
(From Old Corral image collection)
Above are Jean Porter (cowboy hat and buckskin jacket), heroine Fay McKenzie (white blouse & green scarf), Edith Fellows (blue blouse), Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette. The tall galoot in the back row center is 'Cactus Mack' McPeters and a youthful singer/songwriter Johnny Bond is on the far right. Lobby card from HEART OF THE RIO GRANDE (Republic, 1942) which is among the last batch of films that Autry did at Republic prior to entering World War II service.
(Courtesy of Ed Tabor)
Above from L-to-R are Johnny Bond, Scotty Harrell and Jimmy Wakely. This is probably from one of their Universal films with Johnny Mack Brown and Tex Ritter which featured the 'Jimmy Wakely Trio'.
(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
Above, from L-to-R are unidentified player, Lee 'Lasses' White, Dennis 'Denny' Moore and Johnny Bond from one of the Jimmy Wakely westerns at Monogram in the 1940s. Les Adams added more details: the scene above is from Wakely's first starring film at Monogram, 1944's SONG OF THE RANGE, and the unidentified is Cedric Stevens as prissy, fussy Hotel Manager Chase. (Check the way he's handling Moore's gun.) Betty Burbridge dusted off her old Three Mesquiteers' PALS OF THE SADDLE script for this one and subbed Wakely, Moore and White for Wayne, Corrigan and Terhune. The main difference was this one had nine songs to PALS none. Johnny Bond's 'Red River Valley Boys' here were Wesley Tuttle, Jimmie Dean (Eddie Dean's brother) and Paul Sells. Coleen Sumners - who gained fame as Mary Ford on husband Les Paul's "How High the Moon" - was also on hand as one of the Sunshine Girls singing trio.
Johnny Bond's daughter Sherry Bond had a website on her Dad. But as of early 2006, the site was no longer working (http://www.johnnybond.com/).
The Nashville Songwriters Foundation Hall Of Fame includes Bond, Jimmy Wakely, Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Ray Whitley, Tex Ritter, Bob Nolan, Bob Wills, more. The link below will take you to their website and when you get there, click on 'Hall of Fame': http://www.nashvillesongwritersfoundation.com/
The Country Music Hall of Fame winners include Bond, Tex Ritter, Bob Wills, Gene Autry, the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers: http://www.countrymusichalloffame.org/full-list-of-inductees/
The Western Music Association Hall of Fame winners include Johnny Bond, Tex Ritter, Bob Wills, Gene Autry, the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers, Jimmy Wakely, Monte Hale, lots more: http://www.westernmusic.org/hall-of-fame
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Johnny Bond: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0093962/