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Whatever happened to ...

John Preston


Real name:
Andrew Jackson Rylee


Photo right: publicity still of John Preston as Canadian mountie "Sgt. Bruce Morton".

(Image courtesy of Cherryl Rylee Bacot)



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is John Preston as "Morton of the Mounted".
Special thanks to Cherryl Rylee Bacot for the photos and information on her Grandfather, Andrew Jackson Rylee. Rylee had a brief film career during the mid to late 1930s and used the screen name of "John Preston".

A half-dozen "Morton of the Mounted" films were planned and announced. The star of the series was a newcomer named John Preston who was born and raised in/around San Antonio, Texas. He was "Sergeant Bruce Morton", the redcoated Canadian lawman in charge of the Three Rivers Post of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police.

Preston wound up portraying RCMP Sgt. Morton in a pair, COURAGE OF THE NORTH (Empire/Stage & Screen, 1934) and TIMBER TERRORS (Empire/Stage & Screen, 1935). The Morton name was dropped and Kane Richmond took over the lead in a solo shot, THE SILENT CODE (International/Stage & Screen, 1935).

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on John Preston whose Hollywood career amounted to about a half-dozen film appearances in the mid to late 1930s: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0696440/

Whatever happened to John Preston?

Cherryl Rylee Bacot writes that sometime after his Hollywood days, Andrew Jackson Rylee (John Preston) disappeared, leaving his wife Nema and son Jack. For years, members of the family searched for him but found no trace - and that included a rumor that he settled out East. Cherryl is looking for any information on her Grandfather. If you have info, shoot the Old Corral webmaster an e-mail, and I'll forward to Cherryl.




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a pressbook cover from COURAGE OF THE NORTH. Note the mention of "ONE OF THE" and the large number 6 in the background ... meaning there were six Preston mountie films planned.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is John Preston, with "Dynamite, the Wonder Horse" and "Captain, the King of Dogs" during his two starring roles as "Morton of the Mounted".




(Image courtesy of Cherryl Rylee Bacot)

Above - portrait photo of Rylee/Preston, probably from the 1930s.




(Image courtesy of Cherryl Rylee Bacot)

From left to right in this August, 1924 photo are:
     Nema Rylee (Cherryl's Grandmother and Preston's wife)
     Andrew Jackson Rylee / John Preston (Cherryl's Grandfather)
     Cecile Rylee (Cherryl's Aunt and Preston's sister).

The California Death Records database has a record for Preston's sister:
Cecile G. Elliott, born 11/2/1901 in Texas, Mother's maiden name of Pierce, Father's last name of Rylee, and she passed away in the San Francisco area on 10/7/1981.




(Image courtesy of Cherryl Rylee Bacot)

Above - Andrew Jackson Rylee (John Preston) with new son Jack Rylee in Fresno, California, August 1924. Jack Rylee (1924-1985) was Cherryl's father.


Les Adams writes: "the Weiss Bros. provided partial or full financing on all three of the Mountie films in exchange for full distribution rights; those, in turn, were sold off to various states rights distributors, including distribution companies controlled/owned by Weiss and some that weren't."

The two John Preston mountie adventures were produced and directed by Robert Emmett "Bob" Tansey, the jack-of-all-trades who may be best remembered for the Monogram Trail Blazers and the early Eddie Dean films at PRC.

On the right is a late 1935 announcement from Stage & Screen Productions, Inc. which includes the continuation of their "NORTHWEST MOUNTED ACTION THRILLERS" along with Rex Lease westerns, the CUSTER'S LAST STAND serial, more.

The third and last film in the abbreviated series was produced by Louis Weiss and helmed by Stuart Paton. John Preston was gone and Kane Richmond was the new hero, but he was demoted from Sergeant to Corporal rank. And there was no longer any reference to "Morton of the Mounted".

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a pressbook ad for THE SILENT CODE (1935), the third and last of the mountie yarns.


Left - a John Preston COURAGE OF THE NORTH poster from a pressbook. One of the pressbook blurbs from Les Adams mentioned that Preston hailed from San Antonio, Texas.


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