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The Texas Rangers
(The KMBC Texas Rangers)


Special thanks to Brett Miller, the grandson of Texas Rangers' member Roderick May, for providing several of the photos shown below, and to Ed Crawford, the son of Robert 'Captain Bob' Crawford and Karla Cool, the daughter-in-law of Gomer Cool.

May, 2010: Glenn McAnarney and Brett Miller: your old e-mail addresses are no longer working. Please shoot an e-mail to the Old Corral webmaster.

September, 2011: Ryan Ellett and Old Corral contributor Kevin Coffey are planning a book on the Texas Rangers. If anyone has biographical info, photos or whatever, please shoot an e-mail to the Old Corral webmeister and we'll get you in touch with Ryan and Kevin.



(Courtesy of Brett Miller)

Above - the members of the Texas Rangers:
Francis 'Fran' 'Irish' Mahaney (sometimes incorrectly spelled as Mahoney) (top left)
Roderick 'Dave' May (bottom left)
Robert 'Captain Bob' Crawford (top right)
Edward 'Tookie' Cronenbold (bottom right).


While the above were the primary Texas Rangers' members, there were other members which expanded the foursome to eight: Herby 'Arizona' Kratoska (guitar), Paul 'Monty' Sells (accordion), Clarince (or Clarence) 'Idaho' Hartman (bass fiddle), and Gomer Cool (fiddle).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)


There were a variety of singin' groups that supported Gene Autry during his years at Republic --- those groups included the Cass County Boys as well as the Sons of the Pioneers.  Above, Gene and leading lady June Storey are being assisted by a group of nine musicians in this scene from COLORADO SUNSET (Republic, 1939), one of Gene's better Republic adventures.  It appears that there was a 'basic' Texas Rangers quartet consisting of Crawford, Cronenbold, May and Mahaney (quartet photo at the top of this page).  But it was frequently expanded to eight with the addition of Gomer Cool, Paul Sells, Clarince/Clarence Hartman, and Herby Kratoska.  Thus, the musical group supporting Gene in COLORADO SUNSET was the 'expanded' Texas Rangers group of eight ... plus Republic Pictures regular Frankie Marvin (who is on the far left, sitting).

Blowups/crops of the photo are shown below with the names of the members of the Texas Rangers.


Top row L-to-R: Francis 'Irish' Mahaney, Clarence/Clarince Hartman (on bass fiddle), Roderick 'Dave' May.

Bottom row L-to-R: Frankie Marvin (Republic Pictures 'regular', not a member of the Texas Rangers), Paul 'Monty' Sells (on accordion).


Top row L-to-R: Robert 'Captain Bob' Crawford, Edward 'Tookie' Cronenbold.

Bottom row L-to-R: Gomer Cool (on fiddle), Herby Kratoska.


In addition to their appearances in several B-westerns, the Texas Rangers did a bunch of West Coast radio shows. Some sources mention that they were on Gene Autry's MELODY RANCH (long before The Cass County Boys settled in as Autry's musical backup).  They, along with Andy Parker and the Plainsmen, are credited with musical support on a western radio program named HAWK LARABEE which ran from 1946-1948 over CBS.  This show was originally titled HAWK DURANGO, and the stars were Elliott Lewis followed by Barton Yarborough.

Les Adams adds a few tidbits on Paul Sells and Gomer Cool: Paul Sells was also a member of Johnny Bond's Red River Valley Boys. And he, Bond, Jimmy Dean (Eddie Dean's brother) and Wesley Tuttle are in ARIZONA TRAIL, MARSHAL OF GUNSMOKE and OKLAHOMA RAIDERS with Tex Ritter, FRONTIER LAW with Russell Hayden and SONG OF THE RANGE with Jimmy Wakely. Bond, Art Wenzel, Sells and Scotty Harrell backed up Jimmie Davis in Starrett's FRONTIER FURY as the 'Singing Buckaroos'. And Paul Sells and Ken Card worked together in JESSE JAMES AT BAY. Gomer Cool wrote two of the songs in Johnny Mack Brown's RAWHIDE RANGERS: "A Cowboy Is Happy" and "It's a Ranger's Life".

There's some great photos of the Texas Rangers, as well as other KMBC performers and groups, at the Arthur B. Church - KMBC Radio Collection, Department of Special Collections - Marr Sound Archives, Miller Nichols Library, University of Missouri - Kansas City: http://library.umkc.edu/spec-col/follies/favorites.htm#h2

Their collection includes an autographed photo of the Texas Rangers, and this photo 1) confirms the spelling of member 'Irish' Mahaney (not Mahoney); and 2) includes the four regular Texas Rangers members as well as bass player Clarince (Clarence or Clairence) Hartman and guitar player Herby Kratoska. There are two people in that photo without autographs/signatures --- the accordion player looks like Paul 'Monty' Sells. The archives webpage does mention that "Gomer Cool, who played fiddle, wrote many Rangers tunes, and scripted dozens of KMBC programs". The photo is at: http://library.umkc.edu/spec-col/follies/jpgs/texas-rangers.jpg

"Red Horse Ranch" was a syndicated show distributed by World Broadcasting System Inc. circa 1935 and was created by KMBC. The program featured many of the Texas Rangers members and about 65 episodes were recorded at World Broadcasting's Chicago facilities: http://randsesotericotr.podbean.com/2011/03/05/red-horse-ranch-pgm-1/

The Arthur B. Church - KMBC Radio Collection at the University of Missouri-Kansas City has several pdf files available with photos and details on the Texas Rangers and the "Red Horse Ranch" radio show:
http://library.umkc.edu/sites/default/files/images/spec-col/col-church-kmbc-folio-gentlemen.pdf
http://library.umkc.edu/sites/default/files/images/spec-col/col-church-kmbc-folio-red-horse.pdf

The Authentic History Center website has OKeh record label images and mp3 audio files of the December, 1941 Texas Rangers recordings of:
"The Air Corps of Uncle Sam" (vocal by Fran Mahaney): http://www.authentichistory.com/1939-1945/3-music/06-Services/19411204_The_Air_Corps_of_Uncle_Sam-Texas_Rangers.html
"I've Changed My Penthouse For a Pup Tent" (vocal by Bob Crawford): http://www.authentichistory.com/1939-1945/3-music/03-Defense/19411204_Ive_Changed_My_Penthouse_For_a_Pup_Tent-Texas_Rangers.html

Ryan Ellett wrote a profile on Gomer Cool for the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club website: http://www.mwotrc.com/rr2011_02/gomer.htm



(Courtesy of Brett Miller)

Above is a scene still and crop/blowup showing a half dozen of the Texas Rangers providing musical support to Johnny Mack Brown and Bob Baker in OKLAHOMA FRONTIER (Universal, 1939). From L-to-R are: Mahaney, Cool (w/ moustache), Johnny Mack Brown, Crawford, Bob Baker, Cronenbold, May. Playing the jug is Clairence Hartman.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is the title lobby card from OKLAHOMA FRONTIER (Universal, 1939), one of the entries in Johnny Mack Brown's first season at Universal. The Texas Rangers were featured --- note the mention as "Famed Cowboy Troubadours of Radio".  Bob Baker is shown bottom center, and Fuzzy Knight is on the left.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is the duotone title lobby card from the 1947 re-release of CHIP OF THE FLYING U (Universal, 1939). Johnny Mack Brown is on the left. On the top right is Bob Baker, and below him are comic sidekick Fuzzy Knight and heroine Doris Weston. This was another of the films featuring the Texas Rangers.



Filmography - The Texas Rangers
(aka the CBS-KMBC Texas Rangers)

Filmography provided by Les Adams

Release
Date
Film Title Company Star
5/1/39 OREGON TRAIL, THE (Serial) Universal Johnny Mack Brown
7/31/39 COLORADO SUNSET Republic Gene Autry
10/10/39 OKLAHOMA FRONTIER Universal Johnny Mack Brown
11/29/39 CHIP OF THE FLYING U Universal Johnny Mack Brown
2/14/40 BULLETS AND BALLADS (Short) Universal Armida
7/20/40 SCATTERBRAIN Republic Judy Canova
7/26/40 SON OF ROARING DAN Universal Johnny Mack Brown
9/20/40 RAGTIME COWBOY JOE Universal Johnny Mack Brown
6/20/41 LAW OF THE RANGE Universal Johnny Mack Brown
7/18/41 RAWHIDE RANGERS Universal Johnny Mack Brown
11/5/47 LAST ROUND-UP, THE Columbia Gene Autry
5/1/49 ARKANSAS SWING, THE
(Filming title-Texas Sandman )
Columbia Hoosier Hot Shots


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