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(Courtesy of Les Adams)

There were lots of triple-hero oaters
that weren't "official" trios.

I do recognize and understand that some folks may feel that other 'groupings' might also be considered as 'Cowboy Trios'.

Many B westerns, during all or a portion of the series, included a hero and TWO helpers.  But these films were NOT produced or marketed as a trio series --- i.e., the films and billing did NOT include a unique trio name such as the Three Mesquiteers, Trail Blazers, or Range Busters.

Triple-hero combinations that come to mind are:  Whip Wilson had Fuzzy Knight and Jim Bannon ... Rod Cameron with Eddie Dew and Fuzzy Knight ... Dennis Moore and Fuzzy St. John were the range pals to both Bob Livingston and George Houston in the PRC Lone Rider films ... there was Moore and Lasses White with Jimmy Wakely ... Ray Whitley and Lasses White rode with Tim Holt at RKO ... Roy Rogers was often assisted by Gabby Hayes along with either Bob Nolan or Pat Brady ... Charles Starrett, Dub Taylor and Tex Harding were together at Columbia ... Bob Wills made it a trio with Russell Hayden, and also with Tex Ritter ... PRC's 'Billy the Kid' flicks had Bob Steele with Carleton Young and Al 'Fuzzy' St. John ... and when Buster Crabbe replaced Steele, he and 'Fuzzy' did a half-dozen or so using a third helper portrayed by Carleton Young or Bud McTaggart or Dave O'Brien.  And once upon a time, Tex Ritter rode the dusty cinema trails with a brace of clowns, Snub Pollard and Horace Murphy.

Some of our fav cowgirls are also represented:  Rex Bell, Ruth Mix and Buzz Barton were together in four at Resolute in the mid 1930s ... Betty Miles helped out Tom Keene and Frank Yaconelli at Monogram ... Nell O'Day was in thirteen films at Universal with Johnny Mack Brown and Fuzzy Knight ... and of course, there was Roy and Dale and someone pulling duty as the third leg.

Following are some examples.  There were a lot more.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is the title lobby card to BILLY THE KID'S FIGHTING PALS (PRC, 1941). In the inset at the bottom left, you can spot Fuzzy St. John, Curley Dresden (hands in the air), Sherry Tansey and Wally West (behind Steele), and moustached Carleton Young on the right with the six-shooter.

The Steele, and some of the later Buster Crabbe/Billy the Kid westerns, utilized a three member hero team. In the Steele films, it was Al 'Fuzzy' St. John and Carleton Young or Rex Lease. In the early Crabbe entries, it was St. John with Carleton Young or Dave O'Brien or 'Bud' McTaggart.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

From left to right are Art Jarrett (as "Lucky"), Lee Powell (as "Stormy") and Al St. John (as "Fuzzy") in TRIGGER PALS (Grand National, 1939), the first of six in a new trio series which was to be released through Grand National. But the financial problems at Grand National grew worse and the production company faltered and ultimately went belly up.  TRIGGER PALS was the only entry to be filmed.

Arthur Jarrett was a singer, guitar player, and the leader of his own 1930s big band.  For a time, he was married to Olympic swimming champ Eleanor Holm.  A few months after band leader Hal Kemp was killed in a 1940 California car accident, Jarrett took over the Kemp orchestra.  You'll find a profile on Jarrett at: http://www.parabrisas.com/d_jarretta.html
The tradepaper blurb on the right was from Friday, November 11, 1938.  The reference to Powell as Republic's "Lone Wolf" has to be a typo or error --- Powell was Republic's Lone Ranger in the 1938 serial.

The name of producer Philip Krasne may strike a bell --- among his work were the Renfrew mountie films for Grand National and Monogram.  But Krasne is best remembered as the man behind many of the later Cisco Kid films as well as the TV series starring Duncan Renaldo.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from L-to-R are James Ellison, George Hayes and William Boyd.


(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from L-to-R are Andy Clyde, William Boyd, and Russell Hayden.
During the period 1935-1948, there were 66 Hopalong Cassidy films released by Paramount and United Artists. Boyd also created a half-hour Hoppy TV series, with some episodes newly filmed and some being created from the United Artists films.  William Boyd's most remembered sidekicks are James Ellison, Russell Hayden, Gabby Hayes and Andy Clyde.

During the series, there were a variety of folks who played second lead and comedic helper to Boyd:

  • James Ellison portrayed Johnny Nelson
  • Brad King portrayed Johnny Nelson
  • George 'Gabby' Hayes portrayed Windy Halliday
  • Russell Hayden portrayed Lucky Jenkins
  • Rand Brooks portrayed Lucky Jenkins
  • William Janney portrayed Buddy Cassidy (Hoppy's brother)
  • Britt Wood portrayed Speedy McGinnis
  • Andy Clyde portrayed California Carlson
  • Jay Kirby portrayed Johnny Travers
  • George 'Superman' Reeves portrayed Lin Bradley
  • Jimmy Rogers portrayed Jimmy Rogers
  • Frank McGlynn, Jr. portrayed Red Connors
  • Edgar Buchanan portrayed Red Connors on the Hoppy TV show


One of the short-lived western groupings was the teaming of Johnny Mack Brown, Bob Baker and comedian Fuzzy Knight in the late 1930s at Universal Pictures.

After six films together, Baker was put out to pasture, and Johnny Mack was on his own, and he would remain at Universal for three years or so.

Brown would be a solo hero for a couple years, and then he would get screen help from Tex Ritter, who had been co-starring with Bill Elliott at Columbia.

(From Old Corral image collection)


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