Back to prior page            Go to next page



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Bell and heroine Frances Rich enjoy a tender moment in DIAMOND TRAIL (Monogram, 1932). Frances was the daughter of silent screen actress Irene Rich who did some talkies as well as radio. Frances Rich (1910-2007) did a few mid 1930s films and then changed careers and became an artist and noted sculptor.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - Bell and heroine Betty Mack (1901-1980) play telephone tag in a scene from THE FIGHTING TEXAN (Monogram, 1933).


The plight of the lower echelon sagebrush hero was fragile, and Trem Carr and a producer named Paul Malvern opted to make a change in Monogram's sagebrush series.  They hired an actor who had previously been the lead in a trio of Mascot cliffhangers as well as a brief series of oaters for Warners-First National.  Rex Bell and Bob Steele were sent packing - and their replacement was John Wayne.  Steele immediately signed up with producer A. W. Hackel (Supreme Pictures), and that relationship would continue for four years and 32 westerns.

Bill Russell reminded me of some other wranglings regarding Carr, Malvern and Monogram:

"One wonders why Carr/Malvern didn't renew Bell's contract, but guess they were looking for a new star. Of course they selected Wayne to replace Bell, but he was their second choice.  Buddy Roosevelt, whom Carr had previously produced, was originally selected for the series but because of a dispute over money between Buddy's wife and Paul Malvern, Roosevelt was dropped and Wayne selected.  One wonders what would have happened if Roosevelt's wife had kept her mouth shut!"

Bell, however, was out of work for a year or so, and during that period, son number one was born --- Rex Anthony Beldam, would become better known as Rex Bell, Jr., and at one time was Assistant District Attorney and District Attorney in Las Vegas (Clarke County).  Rex Jr. was born on December 16, 1934 and passed away on July 9, 2011. Second son George Robert Bell arrived on June 14, 1938.

Bell's next job was with Resolute Pictures Corporation which was run by producer Alfred T. Mannon.  Tentative plans were for a series of six oaters.  Scuttlebutt is that Bell was also to star in a cliffhanger titled SKY FIGHTERS, a World War I aviation adventure which was promoted as "the greatest air serial ever filmed".  That chapterplay was never made, and only four of the six sagebrushers were completed.  Resolute came and went rather quickly, disappearing into Hollywood obscurity after only a year or two in operation.

Joining Bell in the Resolute quartet were Buzz Barton, a talented but minor silent star reduced to saddle pal work, and a good horsewoman named Ruth Mix, the real life daughter of Tom Mix. THE TONTO KID (1935) has Ruth portraying a bad gal that reforms and is probably the best of the bunch; FIGHTING PIONEERS (1935) has Rex as a cavalry officer searching for the gang that's peddling guns to the Indians and Ruth is a buckskin-clad head of the Indian tribe; in SADDLE ACES (1935), the trio overcome land grabbers; GUNFIRE (1935) is a yarn about warring families and a gang led by Philo McCullough. Director Harry Fraser was in charge of all four Resolutes.

Overall, the Resolutes are quite entertaining and in retrospect, are an early attempt at a trio series. Additionally, Ruth Mix did not play the standard oater ingenue, but had a more meaty and meaningful role.



(From Old Corral image collection)


(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is a photo of the title lobby card for GUNFIRE (Resolute, 1935).  In the blowup of the circular inset are from left to right, Buzz Barton, Ruth Mix and Bell.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Ruth Mix with Rex Bell in a still from SADDLE ACES (Resolute, 1935).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Left is the cover of the pressbook for FIGHTING PIONEERS (Resolute, 1935), one of the quartet of trio westerns featuring Ruth Mix and Buzz Barton and starring Rex Bell.

Note the proclaimation at the top of the pressbook: "The Three Aces of the Saddle Ride Again !" and the round photo insets from left to right are Ruth Mix, Bell and Buzz Barton.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

The Resolute serial SKY FIGHTERS was announced in the tradepapers ... but never made.



Back to prior page            Go to next page