|SUNSET'S FAN CLUB|
(Courtesy of Bill Sasser)
|During the mid 1940s, Sunset even had his own fan club and these are the front and back of the info sheet that was provided to entice prospective members. Notice that the club president was Nellie Walker. Nellie was a stuntwoman and double at Republic during the 1940s.|
(Courtesy of Bill Sasser)
|SUNSET 'KIT' CARSON SHARP SHOOTERS CLUB|
(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)
|Circa 1950, you could belong to Sunset's Sharp Shooters Club.|
Were you a member?
(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)
|SUNSET CARSON COMICS|
(From Old Corral collection)
Above - issue number 30.
SUNSET AND THE "SIX-GUN HEROES" TV SHOW ON PBS
Doug Nye was one of the folks who worked with Sunset on the "Six-Gun Heroes" PBS TV show for South Carolina Educational TV (SCETV). Doug mentioned that there were 78 episodes in all (26 in 1982, 26 in 1984, 26 in 1986).
(Courtesy of Donn & Nancy Moyer and Tommy Scott)
|WITH THE TOMMY SCOTT WILD WEST SHOW|
The last B western hero to work on the Tommy Scott Wild West Show was Sunset Carson, who at that time was being billed as Sunset 'Kit' Carson.
'Doc' Tommy Scott is pictured on the right, and recalls that Carson worked on the show for about 3 years.
(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
Above, Sunset Carson and Art Davis (1976 photo). Davis is best known as a country-western singer, but he appeared in some western films, including one of the three leads in the short-lived 'Frontier Marshals' trio series at PRC in the early 1940s.
(Image courtesy of Minard Coons)
Above from left to right are Sunset Carson, singer/musician Cal Shrum and Columbia western hero Bob Allen at one of the film/nostalgia conventions.
(Courtesy of Donn & Nancy Moyer)
Above, early 1980s photo of Sunset Carson.
(Courtesy of Donn & Nancy Moyer)
Above, Dave Twomey as 'Happy the Clown' with his special guest Sunset Carson circa 1982.
(Courtesy of Larry Blanks)
Above from L-to-R are Larry Blanks having dinner with Sunset Carson and his wife Jeannie Carson at the Lone Star Cafe in Fayetteville, Georgia in 1990. Less than two weeks after this photo was taken, Sunset Carson passed away (on May 1, 1990, in Reno, Nevada).
In early 2003, Virgil Johnson and ye Old Corral webmaster connected. Virgil grew up in the late 40s and early 50s in a small town in North Carolina that had two movie houses which were both owned by the same man. And he worked in those two theatres as a "general helper" during his senior year in high school (1954-55) when the B westerns were fading away. During that time, many of the B-western performers were still doing personal appearances, and Virgil had a chance to meet and work with some of them. Virgil writes:
"Of the many B-Western stars that made personal appearances in Murphy (North Carolina) during this period, the one that really stands out is Sunset Carson. I recall the manager calling me to the front of the theatre and telling me to go outside and show Sunset how to drive around the block to the rear of the movie house so he could unload. Doing as directed, I got into the back seat of the car and directed him accordingly. I kept staring at him, thinking to myself, this person really does not look like Sunset Carson, it must be an impersonator. Halfway around the block, I took my eye off the driver and glanced at the person riding on the passenger's side of the car and then realized I was looking at the real Sunset Carson! Somehow I expected to see him driving. I do not recall the name of the driver except that he looked very much like Paul Guilfoyle --- although I am relatively sure it was not him.
When we got out of the car, I was really surprised at how tall he was (I am 5' 11" and he towered over me). I was extremely excited because Sunset asked me if I wanted to appear in the show with him. Needless to say, I said yes. I recall he was very cordial, and was very "down to earth". He did not come across as a "big star" and was very helpful in unloading and preparing for the show. After helping with the unloading and preparation (this was in the afternoon), I went back to my duties to help prepare for the evening's performance. Since I was going to "appear in the show", I went home (we lived three stores away from the movie house over my father's meat and grocery store) and changed into my special black shirt and black trousers.
Sunset was introduced by his driver (assistant/manager?), and he essentially talked to the audience about his movie experiences. His act consisted of placing a safety background in front of the screen and then moving back about 20 rows in the aisle (there was only the middle aisle in this theatre) and having someone hold a piece of chalk between his fingers whereupon Sunset would shoot the chalk out of the holder's fingers with a .22 calibre rifle. I can assure the kind readers that this was not a trick shot of any kind. He actually shot a standard piece of chalk out of my hand --- the only negative aspect was that as the chalk exploded, my front of my "black outfit" was covered with chalk dust. There is no question that he was a "crack shot". The show was a success in that the people loved him and his act, and I still have all my fingers.
As an end note to this story, while in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1958 (3-4 years later), I saw Sunset on the island of Taiwan (then the Republic of Free China) where he was doing a personal appearance tour. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity of seeing his show, due to my military duties."
Mike Province e-mailed about his connection to Sunset. Mike writes:
"Around 1950-51 when I was 7-8 years old, Sunset Carson came to a Saturday Matinee for a showing of one of his movies in Flat River, Missouri. I don't even remember the name of the movie, but I sure remember him. Quite a guy.
He wore his white cowboy outfit and special boots. After the movie, he came on the stage (theaters still had stages back then) and talked about his movies. He picked me out of the audience because I was wearing a white cowboy hat that was much like his. He signed a picture for me and he signed an "autograph card" that would be used later. He went to the back of the theater and I stood up on the stage and held the autograph card flat against a large, thick block of wood. He had a nifty .22 caliber rifle and he shot six shots into the card from all the way back in the theater. I doubt they would let anyone do that today. The rifle he used was not the one shown in your picture (on the opening webpage on Sunset). This one was completely covered in plastic "mother of pearl" and it sparkled. I kept his picture and six-shot autograph for years and then when I went into the army. My grandmother threw out all my stuff, which included my Sunset Carson material."
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Sunset Carson and his brother, Dale Harrison:
Sunset Carson: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0141330/
Dale Harrison: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm1162176/
Dale Carson: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0141215/
Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a photo of the grave marker for Sunset Carson who is interrred at Highland Memorial Gardens, Madison County, Tennessee: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6359110
The Los Angeles Times newspaper website has an obituary on Sunset: http://articles.latimes.com/1990-05-03/news/mn-2_1_sunset-carson
The LIFE Magazine photo archives are available on Google. Included is a 1946 article (with lots of photos) about Sunset and the making of RIO GRANDE RAIDERS: http://books.google.com/books?id=hk0EAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA94&dq=%22sunset+carson%22&hl=en&ei=y-2GTv_3BKLh0QGI0KHPDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CEEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22sunset%20carson%22&f=false
Boyd Magers' Western Clippings website has a section on Sunset's westerns: http://www.westernclippings.com/westernsof/sunsetcarson_westernsof.shtml
Confused about Sunset's birth date, birth location, etc. Click HERE for the Old Corral webpage with "genealogy" and family info that may help ... or add to the confusion.
And there's a lot more details and images of Sunset, Tex Ritter and Ken Maynard in the Old Corral section about the making of the MARSHAL OF WINDY HOLLOW.
The Golden Boot Awards webpage on the Old Corral includes all the winners, and Sunset was among the recipients during the first Golden Boot ceremony in 1983.
The South Carolina ETV are selling DVDs of Sunset's "Six-Gun Heroes" PBS TV series. But the DVDs are very expensive - as of April, 2012, they were $34.95. The following link will take you to their DVD store. In the top left search box, type in 'Six-Gun Heroes' and run the search: http://etvstore.org/