Robert Emmett 'Bob' Tansey
1897 - 1951
(Courtesy of Jerry Cristman)Bob Tansey - mid 1940s
Above and below are screen captures from several Tansey films with two of his name variations.
Bob Tansey was a jack-of-all-trades, working behind the camera as a producer, director, screenplay/script author, assistant director, production manager, et al. As youngsters, Bob and brother John did many Broadway plays. And in 1920s silents, Bob appeared in front of the camera. Youngest brother Sheridan did kid roles in many silent films and his film career continued with many henchman roles in B westerns.
In the mid 1930s, Robert Tansey was working for producer William Pizor's Imperial Pictures on the Wally Wales two- and three-reel shorts. His next stop was with producer Paul Malvern on the John Wayne Lone Star/Monogram oaters, followed by a stint with producer Ed Finney on the Tex Ritter westerns released through Grand National.
Then Tansey began a lengthy association with Monogram Pictures, initially doing stories and scripts, and later directing and producing. His credits at Monogram include westerns with Jack Randall, Tom Keene, Tim McCoy, the Range Busters, and Ritter.
Tansey then formed the Trail Blazers with oldtimers Hoot Gibson and Ken Maynard. He was also in charge of Ken Maynard's last starring film HARMONY TRAIL (Walt Mattox, 1944), which featured singin' cowboy Eddie Dean. Astor released that film in 1947 under the title of WHITE STALLION. There was another with Dean - WILDFIRE (Action Pictures/Screen Guild, 1945) had Eddie as a lawman helping Bob Steele in a Cinecolor adventure about ... a horse.
Tansey's next stop was at Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) where he initiated the Eddie Dean Cinecolor oaters, several of which featured a black-garbed Al LaRue before he became 'Lash'.
While some criticize Tansey's film output, he was able to stay alive (thrive) in an environment with miniscule budgets and production niceties ... and he did it longer than most, working up until his death in 1951. Tansey's finest film creation was the Dean and LaRue Cinecolor sagebrush adventure WILD WEST (PRC, 1946) (which was later released in a B&W version titled PRAIRIE OUTLAWS).
He utilized a variety of names during a sound film career that lasted about 25 years - over 40 years if you go back to the silent film period. He was Robert Emmett Tansey, Robert Tansey, Bob Tansey, Robert Emmett, Al Lane ... and probably a few more variations.
He was born June 8, 1897 in Brooklyn, New York to Harry and Emma (nee Purcell) Tansey. Bob Tansey suffered a heart attack and passed away June 17, 1951 in Glendale, California.
You may want to read some of Al 'Lash' LaRue's comments and quotes about his early meetings and involvement with Robert Tansey at PRC in the mid 1940s. Go to the Old Corral section on Lash.
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Robert Emmett 'Bob' Tansey: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0849806/
The Internet Broadway database has Master Robert Tansey appearing in eight Broadway plays during the years 1907-1909: https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/master-robert-tansey-61838
The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), California Death Index and the death certificate provide more on Robert Emmett Tansey and family:
- New York birth index record for Robert Tansey - he was born June 8, 1897 in Brooklyn, New York to Harry Tansey and Emma Purcell Tansey: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W7V-P8P
- 1920 census summary and census takers worksheet - renting in Palisades Park, Bergen County, New Jersey are 42 year old Emma Tansey (born Kentucky; no occupation), 18 year old son John (born New York; occupation "Actor - Moving Pictures"), and 13 year old son Sheridan (born New York; occupation "Actor - Moving Pictures"). Also living there are Emma's 22 year old son Robert Tansey (born New York; occupation "Actor - Moving Pictures"), his 19 year old wife Katie (born New York; occupation "Actress - Moving Pictures") and one year old son Robert (born New York): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M4PK-9R4
- 1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - renting in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills Township, Los Angeles County, California are 33 year old Robert E. Tansey (born New York; occupation "Director - Motion Pictures"), his 30 year old wife Catherine (born New York), their 11 year old son Robert E. Tansey Jr. (born New Jersey), and 8 year old daughter Jeanne (born New Jersey). Also living with them are Tansey's mother Emma Tansey (born Kentucky; widow; occupation "Actress - Motion Pictures") and Tansey's brother, 23 year old Sheridan Tansey (born New York; occupation "Actor - Motion Pictures"): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XCFL-1DV
- 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - renting in Los Angeles, California are 43 year old Robert Tansey (born New York; occupation "Free Lance - Writer"), his 36 year old wife Katherine N. (born New York) and 18 year old daughter Helen Jeanne (born New Jersey): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9HK-LLT
- Death certificate - 53 year old Robert Emmett Tansey was born June 29, 1897 in New York to Harry and Emma Purcell Tansey. His occupation was "Director - Motion Pictures", and he and wife Katherine Tansey lived in North Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California. He passed away from a heart attack on June 17, 1951 in Glendale, California. Death certificate was his daughter Jeanne Tansey. Utter-McKinley, Glendale, California was the funeral director and interment at Grandview.
- California Death Index mirrors the death certificate - Robert Emmett Tansey was born June 29, 1897 in New York, mother's maiden name was Purcell, and he passed away on June 17, 1951 in the Los Angeles area: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VPZM-DTK
Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website confirms that Bob Tansey is interred at Grand View Memorial Park and Crematory, Glendale, California: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=47550514
|(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Lots of Tansey family involvement in this one! Wally Wales (later Hal Taliaferro) and Merla Bratton are shown in left inset from THE LONE RIDER (William Pizor/Imperial, 1934). The "directed by Robert Emmett" was Bob Tansey, and the "Jim Sheridan" was an alias for his brother Sherry Tansey. Not mentioned above is the screenplay credit to "Al Lane" ... and that might be a Bob Tansey alias.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above - Wally Wales versus Sherry Tansey in this lobby card and crop/blowup from ARIZONA CYCLONE (William Pizor/Imperial, 1934). Directing was Sherry's brother Robert Emmett Tansey.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above is a pressbook cover for COURAGE OF THE NORTH. Note the mention of "ONE OF THE" and the large number 6 in the background ... meaning there were six Preston "Northwest Action Thriller" mountie films planned by Bob Tansey and company. That half dozen didn't happen.
John Preston starred in two, COURAGE OF THE NORTH (Empire/Stage & Screen, 1934) and TIMBER TERRORS (Empire/Stage & Screen, 1935). Then the "Morton of the Mounted" name was dropped and Kane Richmond took over the lead in a solo shot, THE SILENT CODE (International/Stage & Screen, 1935).
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above is the 1938 roster for Monogram Pictures which included Robert Tansey as one of the Production Supervisors (producers).
Above is the 1946 organization for Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC), and Robert Emmett Tansey is one of the producers.