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(From Old Corral image collection)

(From Old Corral image collection)


SUNSET'S FILM CAREER

His first four westerns at Republic Pictures.
Smiley Burnette is billed as the lead/star.
Date Title Company Star Director Leading
Lady
Sidekick Sunset's Role
1944 CALL OF THE ROCKIES Republic Smiley Burnette Lesley Selander Ellen Hall Sunset Carson Sunset Carson
1944 BORDERTOWN TRAIL Republic Smiley Burnette Lesley Selander Ellen Lowe Sunset Carson Sunset Carson
1944 CODE OF THE PRAIRIE Republic Smiley Burnette Spencer Gordon Bennet Peggy Stewart Sunset Carson Sunset Carson
1944 FIREBRANDS OF ARIZONA Republic Smiley Burnette Lesley Selander Peggy Stewart Sunset Carson Sunset Carson
Smiley Burnette exits Republic for Columbia and the Charles Starrett westerns.
Sunset gets his own westerns series and begins his solo starring career at Republic.
Date Title Company Star Director Leading
Lady
Sidekick Sunset's Role
1945 SHERIFF OF CIMARRON Republic Sunset Carson Yakima Canutt Linda Stirling Olin Howland Sunset Carson
1945 SANTA FE SADDLEMATES Republic Sunset Carson Thomas Carr Linda Stirling Olin Howland Sunset Carson
1945 BELLS OF ROSARITA Republic Roy Rogers Frank McDonald Dale Evans George 'Gabby' Hayes Sunset Carson ("guest star")
1945 OREGON TRAIL Republic Sunset Carson Thomas Carr Peggy Stewart no sidekick Sunset Carson/Jim Parker
1945 BANDITS OF THE BADLANDS Republic Sunset Carson Thomas Carr Peggy Stewart Si Jenks Sunset Carson
1945 ROUGH RIDERS OF CHEYENNE Republic Sunset Carson Thomas Carr Peggy Stewart N/A Sunset Carson
1945 THE CHEROKEE FLASH Republic Sunset Carson Thomas Carr Linda Stirling Tom London Sunset Carson
1945 DAYS OF BUFFALO BILL Republic Sunset Carson Thomas Carr Peggy Stewart Tom London Sunset Carson
1946 ALIAS BILLY THE KID Republic Sunset Carson Thomas Carr Peggy Stewart Tom London Sunset Carson
1946 THE EL PASO KID Republic Sunset Carson Thomas Carr Marie Harmon Hank Patterson Sunset Carson
1946 RED RIVER RENEGADES Republic Sunset Carson Thomas Carr Peggy Stewart Tom London Sunset Carson
1946 RIO GRANDE RAIDERS Republic Sunset Carson Thomas Carr Linda Stirling Tom London Sunset Carson
Sunset stars in five more westerns, all ultra low budget efforts and released through Astor.
Date Title Company Star Director Leading
Lady
Sidekick Sunset's Role
1948 SUNSET CARSON RIDES AGAIN Yucca/Astor Sunset Carson Oliver Drake Pat Starling N/A Sunset Carson
1948 FIGHTING MUSTANG Yucca/Astor Sunset Carson Oliver Drake Pat Starling N/A Sunset Carson
1948 DEADLINE Yucca/Astor Sunset Carson Oliver Drake Pat Starling N/A Sunset Carson
1949 RIO GRANDE Lautem/Astor Sunset Carson Norman Sheldon Evohn Keyes N/A Sunset Carson
1950 BATTLING MARSHAL Yucca/Astor Sunset Carson Oliver Drake Pat Starling N/A Sunset Carson


Sunset's other films/film appearances
Date Title Company Star Director Sunset's Role
1943 STAGE DOOR CANTEEN Sol Lesser Productions Various Frank Borzage Tex (a serviceman)
1944 JANIE Warner Bros. Joyce Reynolds
Robert Hutton
Michael Curtiz Sgt. Carl Brooks
1972 THE MARSHAL OF WINDY HOLLOW Unreleased film Sunset Carson Jerry Whittington Marshal
1978 BUCKSTONE COUNTY PRISON (aka SEABO) Film Ventures Earl Owensby Jimmy Huston Sheriff Deese
1985 ALIEN OUTLAW ??? Stephen Winegard Phil Smoot Sunset
Note: Sunset is sometimes credited with a circa 1971 film named OUTLAW GRIZZLY, but that film was never made.



SUNSET'S SALARY/CONTRACTS AND POPULARITY RANKING

Most of the info on the Old Corral about the contracts and salaries at Republic Pictures has been gleaned from Jack Mathis' excellent Republic Confidential, Volume 2, The Players (Jack Mathis Advertising, 1992), and I've given Jack credit in the Acknowledgements & Thanks page.  The Mathis book includes information on Sunset's term player agreements with Republic, and following are the highlights:

  • Was under a term player contract(s), guaranteeing 40 weeks of employment, and the agreement(s) ran from March 18, 1944 through July 15, 1946.
  • Salary was $150 per week for year one, escalating to $200/week for year two and $250/weekly in year three.

The Motion Picture Herald and Boxoffice polls were conducted from about the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s.  With a few exceptions, the annual poll results would list the 'Top Ten' (or 'Top Five') cowboy film stars.  In most cases, the winners were what you would expect --- Autry, Rogers, Holt, Starrett, Hoppy, etc.  Sunset Carson was ranked among the 'Top Ten' western film stars in 1946.


Popularity Rankings of Sunset Carson
Year Motion Picture Herald
Poll Ranking
Boxoffice
Poll Ranking
1946 8th -



SUNSET'S UNIFORM AND GUNBELTS AT REPUBLIC



(From Old Corral image collection)

(From Old Corral image collection)

Carson tried lots of gunbelt variations - from a twin rig with butts facing forward, a twin holster belt with butts facing rearward, and a single holster with the gun butt facing to the rear. There's images on this webpage showing those variations.

In the photo on the left, Sunset is wearing Republic Pictures uniform number 1 - a light colored shirt with a twin holster rig with the gun butts facing forward (just like Wild Bill Elliott).

Above is Sunset with Peggy Stewart, and he's wearing the light colored shirt and gunbelt with the butt facing rearward.

Below is Sunset and his Republic Pictures uniform number 2 - a dark shirt with striping.

There was one consistency - at least in his Republic oaters - he always wore a white/light colored hat. When he did his later Astor films, he sometimes wore a dark/black hat.




(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - George Chesebro and Sunset.



SUNSET'S HORSES - SILVER, CACTUS AND CACTUS JR.



(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)

Above is Sunset and the horse with "dots around its right eye" as well as the mark on the neck which can be seen directly under Sunset's right hand. This is Silver (Silver Chief) from the Hudkins Brothers stables. You'll find more on this horse - and Sunset's white hoss named Cactus - in the Trusty Steeds section of the Old Corral.

 

Above is a crop from the FIGHTING MUSTANG (Yucca/Astor, 1948) lobby card shown below with Sunset and his new horse, Cactus Jr.



SUNSET'S PRIMARY LEADING LADIES:
PEGGY STEWART, LINDA STIRLING AND PAT STARLING


(From Old Corral image collection)
 
(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Sunset with Peggy Stewart.

Left - Sunset and Linda Stirling.


During Sunset's brief starring career, there were seven leading ladies in his films. But it was Peggy Stewart, Linda Stirling and Pat Starling that were the dominant heroines, appearing in sixteen of his westerns.

Peggy Stewart had the female lead in eight. Linda Stirling was the heroine in four. And in Sunset's later Astor films, Pat Starling was in four of the five.


On the right are Sunset Carson and Pat Starling in a lobby card and crop/blowup from FIGHTING MUSTANG (Yucca/Astor, 1948).

Sunset was no longer riding a white horse - see the photo inset on the right. His new horse was named Cactus Jr.

In his five for Astor release, Sunset wore a fringed buckskin shirt or a dark colored shirt, and he most often wore a dark colored hat.

(Courtesy of Boyd Magers)


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