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(From Old Corral image collection)
Ted Wells

Real name:
John Oscar Wells

1899 or 1900 - 1948


On the left is Ted Wells as the star of THE PHANTOM COWBOY (Aywon, 1935).


Ted Wells was a second echelon western hero at Universal during 1920s silents and he also made several low budget oaters for producers William Pizor and Robert J. Horner. During those silents, Wells used his own name as well as "Pawnee Bill, Jr.". When sound arrived, he found himself relegated to bit/support roles as well as doubling and stunt work.

Sadly, Wells re-connected with Robert J. Horner in the mid 1930s. The collaboration resulted in Wells doing hero duty in a pair of bottom-of-the-barrel sagebrush yarns, THE PHANTOM COWBOY (Aywon, 1935) and the lost/missing DEFYING THE LAW (Aywon, 1935). Appears that Wells was to star in eight (or more) westerns for Horner:

Too bad Wells had to attempt a return to stardom with Horner as THE PHANTOM COWBOY is a mess. Wells has a dual role and also plays the caped "phantom cowboy". Jimmy Aubrey is his overacting sidekick. This thing has rotten dialog, a stationary camera, and other issues. But the worse is when Wells and Aubrey decide to go swimming and strip down to their skivvies. The phantom steals their clothes, gunbelts and horses, and Ted and Jimmy spend about 10 minutes doing scenes in their underwear.

Ted Wells returned to bits and supporting roles in westerns and serials ... and he wound up as the frequent double for William Boyd in the Hopalong Cassidy films (stuntman Cliff Lyons doubled Boyd in the early Hoppy films).

Wells was born July 11, 1899 at Midlands, Texas, and passed away on June 7, 1948, in Arizona.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Ted Wells: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0920438/

You can download or stream the public domain THE PHANTOM COWBOY (Aywon, 1935) from the Internet Archive website: http://www.archive.org/details/phantom_cowboy

The Family Search website has information on Ted Wells. This is another example of why name variations - including possible spelling errors - might be important when doing searches. When these census records were digitized, Wells' first name of John became Johm:




(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - a lobby card from the Wells silent GRIT WINS (Universal, 1929).




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - a lobby card from Wells' THUNDER RIDERS (Universal, 1928). From left to right are an unidentified man, Charlotte Stevens and Ted Wells.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above is the pressbook cover for Horner/Aywon's THE PHANTOM COWBOY (Aywon, 1935) which starred Ted Wells ... but the sketch appears to be of Bill Cody and Andy Shuford.  Above right is a poster example included in the pressbook.

The pressbook contains a glowing description of the film (shown right), and includes another variation of the spelling on Nathan Hirsh (or Hirsch or Hirisch) who was the boss and owner of anemic Aywon (which is pronounced as "A-1").

Ted Wells had the lead in a second film for Horner/Aywon, DEFYING THE LAW (Aywon, 1935), which is among the lost/missing westerns.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a lobby card from Wells' second starring role for Robert J. Horner, the lost/missing DEFYING THE LAW (Aywon, 1935).

In the crop/blowup below from that lobby card, the cast of characters from left to right appear to be: Herman Hack (green shirt), Jimmy Aubrey (purple shirt), possibly Julian Rivero, Ted Wells, Dick Cramer, unidentified guy on desk, and George Chesebro.






(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a great shot of William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy doing some fisticuffs in RIDERS OF THE TIMBERLAND (Paramount, 1941). And observing in the right background are the doubles for Boyd and sidekick Brad King. Boyd's double could be either Cliff Lyons or Ted Wells (but is probably Wells) and a blowup of that photo section is below.  Note the grin on the face of Brad King's double.



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