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B westerns with three heroes were popular and examples include the Three Mesquiteers at Republic Pictures and Monogram's Rough Riders and Range Busters.

Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) wanted a triple threat also and decided to bring forth the Frontier Marshal series. The films would have been a lot more interesting and exciting if early plans had come to fruition. Tyler was originally slated to co-star with Lee Powell, the original cinema 'masked man of the plains' in Republic's 1938 THE LONE RANGER serial. But that didn't happen, and the trades from May - June, 1941 carried the news:

With CAPTAIN MARVEL receiving good reviews and box office acceptance - and his release from PRC - Tyler signed with Republic Pictures and his term player's contract(s) ran from July 8, 1941 through July 7, 1943. His initial salary was $150.00 per week with a raise to $200.00 weekly for year two.

As noted above, his new job was replacing Bob Livingston in the Three Mesquiteers. Bob Steele was moved up to first billing with Tyler billed second. Member three was PETTICOAT JUNCTION TV star Rufe Davis who was later replaced by Jimmie Dodd (of Disney Mouseketeer fame).

As to PRC's Frontier Marshal oaters, there were six films released in 1942, and the stars were Lee Powell and songsters Art Davis and Bill 'Cowboy Rambler' Boyd. Lackluster and mediocre describes those half dozen. PRC dropped the series and created a new one, the Texas Rangers with Dave O'Brien, James Newill and Guy Wilkerson.



(From Old Corral collection)

Above from left to right are Tom Tyler, Rufe Davis, Lois Collier and Bob Steele in a lobby card from the Three Mesquiteers adventure OUTLAWS OF THE CHEROKEE TRAIL (Republic, 1941). Rufe Davis (and Smiley Burnette) wound up as the train conductors on TV's PETTICOAT JUNCTION.



(From Old Corral collection)

Above from L-to-R are Helen Deverall, George J. Lewis and Tyler in a lobby card from THE BLOCKED TRAIL (Republic, 1943).



(From Old Corral collection)

The last Three Mesquiteers team - from top to bottom are Tom Tyler, Jimmie Dodd and Bob Steele.  Dodd went on to star in Disney's MICKEY MOUSE CLUB TV show.



(From Old Corral collection)

Above is a duotone B&W title lobby card from the 1950 re-release of THUNDERING TRAILS (Republic, 1943). From left to right are Tom Tyler, Jimmie Dodd, and Bob Steele. One-time Johnny Mack Brown heroine Nell O'Day is shown in the photo inset on the top right.



(From Old Corral collection)
Above from L-to-R are Bob Steele, Jimmie Dodd and Tyler.



(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Tom as 'Stony Brooke' and trusty steed Silver / Silver Chief.
Tall in the saddle atop the white hoss required for his role as Mesquiteer Stony Brooke, Tom galloped through thirteen well-done trio sagas, six of which were directed by veteran Republic serial wizard John English.

However, thirteen proved to be an unlucky number as Republic ended the series with Mesquiteers adventure fifty-one, RIDERS OF THE RIO GRANDE (Republic, 1943).

Republic, who had a stable of solo heroes including Roy Rogers and Wild Bill Elliott, had no reason to exercise the $350 a week option and extend Tom's contract.

Bob Steele was released also, but was quickly picked up by Monogram to add some young blood to the Ken Maynard / Hoot Gibson Trail Blazers adventures.



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