|Folks that had meaty roles and lots of dialog and often received billing credit in the opening titles. They were the 'brains' and 'action' heavies ... and the main players that portrayed fathers, ranch owners, lawmen, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc. And younger guys who sometimes assisted the hero ... and sometimes portrayed the maligned son or brother of the father or heroine.|
John James was born John Arthur James Jr. in 1913 in Sulpher Springs, Texas to James Arthur James Sr. and Mary Katharyne Gafford James.
In the 1930s through early 1940s, the family resided in Longview, Texas. They re-located to the Los Angeles area in the 1940s and John's father passed away there in 1945 from cancer. Mother Katharyne was a dramatics teacher and operated the "Katharyne James Playhouse" drama schools in Longview, Texas and Los Angeles and she later married a John Roberts.
Circa 1936, John James was in Los Angeles pursuing stage and movie work. His cinema career spanned from 1939 through the early 1950s, and he appeared in about 80 films.
These included about twenty Republic westerns and serials released during 1941 - 1947. From the mid 1940s through the early 1950s, he did about a dozen B westerns with Jimmy Wakely, Bill Elliott, Lash LaRue, a few others.
James also shows up in unbilled roles in many A grade movies ... and he's often wearing a military uniform. Examples: STAGE DOOR CANTEEN (Sol Lesser/United Artists, 1943), THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO (MGM, 1944), I'LL BE SEEING YOU (Selznick/United Artists, 1944), and SINCE YOU WENT AWAY (Selznick/United Artists, 1944).
He got to star in one film - in DEVIL BAT'S DAUGHTER (PRC, 1946), James and Rosemary La Planche, Miss America of 1941, had the lead roles. And Pamela Blake and John were billed third and forth behind radio's Lum and Abner in PARTNERS IN TIME (RKO, 1946).
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
In the mid to late 1940s, Monogram Pictures had Jimmy Wakely as their singin' cowboy, and Jimmy's first five oaters featured two helpers. In SONG OF THE RANGE (Monogram, 1944) and SPRINGTIME IN TEXAS (Monogram, 1945), Dennis 'Denny' Moore and Lee 'Lasses' White were his sidekicks. In the next three - SADDLE SERENADE (Monogram, 1945), LONESOME TRAIL (Monogram, 1945), and RIDERS OF THE DAWN (Monogram, 1945) - the trio was Lasses White and John James (as 'Dusty'). Then the three member team was dropped and Wakely's solo helper was Lasses White, and later, Dub 'Cannonball' Taylor. In the above duotone title lobby card, Wakely sidekick John James is on the left side. In the upper right, wearing the top hat, is 'Lasses' White. Musical assistance was from Wesley Tuttle and His Texas Stars. James also shows up in five other Wakely adventures, but not as saddle pal 'Dusty'.
(From Old Corral collection)
In the above lobby card from THE SOMBRERO KID (Republic, 1942), John James has his arms around Lynn Merrick and on the right are Don Barry and Bob McKenzie, father of western movie heroine Fay McKenzie.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above - John James with George 'Gabby' Hayes and Wild Bill Elliott in MAN FROM THUNDER RIVER (Republic, 1943).
James became buddies with actor Don DeFore, and was best man at DeFore's February 14, 1942 wedding to Marion Holmes. Judy Garland was matron of honor. James and DeFore met while both were in the 1938 New York play "Where Do We Go From Here?". They also worked together in a couple World War II themed movies, THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO (MGM, 1944) and YOU CAME ALONG (Hal Wallis/Paramount, 1945).
He enlisted in the Army in April, 1943 but received a medical discharge a few months later due to chronic tonsilitis and pes planus (flat feet / fallen arches).
Got lucky when I found many Longview, Texas newspaper articles and photos on his mother Katharyne and sister Rosamonde. That led to additional searches and more on John James and family.
Mother Katharyne (1893 - 1995) was a drama coach and operated the "Katharyne James Playhouse" in Longview, Texas, and later, in Hollywood.
His sister Rosamonde (1924 - 2001) was nicknamed "Boots/Bootsie" and had a very brief Hollywood career. Jack Mathis' Republic Confidential, Volume 2, The Players (Jack Mathis Advertising, 1992) has Rosamonde James as a one of Republic's "Dancing Girls", and under a term player contract from September 12, 1944 through September 11, 1945. She became a fashion model, fashion consultant, and a member and president of the "Mannequins Association of Los Angeles", a charitable group supporting needy families. Rosamonde was married to - and divorced from - actor Eldridge 'Kit' Carson ... and she was the mother of actor John David Carson (1952 - 2009).
Above - Jacqueline James circa 1957. Her birth name was Alice Jacquelin Hammette and she was born September 18, 1927 in Georgia and passed away May 31, 2002 in Hawaii.
"Accompanying her to England will be her husband, actor John James, who has British pix commitments."
July 4, 1955 article and photo on Jacqueline James in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper. She was starring in the musical "Guys and Dolls" at St. Louis' Municipal Opera. From the article:
"... the way she met her husband, movie actor John James, who is here, acting as her manager. In 1944, Jacqueline was an aircraft dispatcher in Alaska where her stepfather, an army man, was stationed. It was there that she saw a movie called Ladies Courageous and in it, John James."
Couple paragraphs describe how she met James while she vacationed in California in 1944, and they continued seeing each other off and on for a couple years.
"She and John were married in 1947 and he went to New York for a part in a play which turned out to be a flop."
(That flop was probably "Mr. Adam". The March 16, 1949 issue of Variety has John James in a new play titled "Mr. Adam" at the Curran Theater, San Francisco ... and the review was not very positive. Leads were Robert Hutton, Elizabeth Fraser and Frank Albertson. In May, 1949, the play opened at New York's Royale Theater ... and closed after three performances.)
August 8, 1957 article and photo on Jacqueline James in the Sacramento (California) Bee newspaper - Highlights and article quotes follow:
"She and her husband, former cowboy actor John (Dusty) James, like to entertain their friends at home ..." (and that 'Dusty' nickname refers to James playing Jimmy Wakely's sidekick 'Dusty' in three oaters at Monogram Pictures.)
"It was not until after her marriage to Dusty that she turned actress."
" 'My mother in law is a Hollywood dramatic coach', she said. 'She and Dusty throught I had the socalled spark to become an actress ...' "
"Her husband gave up his acting career to become her manager and agent."
June 1, 1960 issue of Variety had a death notice: "John James, legit-film actor, died May 20 in New York. His wife, actress Jacqueline James, survives."
The passing of hometown boy John James was covered in the May 24, 1960 Longview, Texas News-Journal newspaper, and some excerpts are further down this webpage.
The show must go on! About a month after John's death, Jacqueline starred in "Kismet" at the St. Louis MUNI with Gene Barry, TV's Bat Masterson.
Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on John, wife Jacqueline and John James' sister Rosamonde. Rosamonde was nicknamed "Boots/Bootsie" and did mostly uncredited roles in mid 1940s films at Republic Pictures. She was married and divorced from actor 'Kit' Carson, and the mother of actor John David Carson:
John James: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0416624/
Jacqueline James: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0416577/
John James' sister Rosamonde at Republic Pictures: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0416895/
Rosamonde James' husband, actor Eldridge 'Kit' Carson: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0141275/
The Internet Broadway Database has New York stage productions for John and Jacqueline James:
John James: https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/john-james-46797
Jacqueline James: https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/jacqueline-james-481500
YouTube has James and Pamela Blake in THE DEVIL BAT'S DAUGHTER (PRC, 1946): https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22devil+bats+daughter%22
The Janus Barfoed Collection at the Margaret Herrick Library has a lobby card with a closeup of Jimmy Wakely, 'Lasses' White, and John James from Wakely's RIDERS OF THE DAWN (Monogram, 1945): http://digitalcollections.oscars.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15759coll17/id/300/rec/3
1939 newspaper ad for John's mother, Katharyne James, and her "Katharyne James Playhouse" drama school in Longview, Texas: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/58128195/ad-for-the-katharyne-james-playhouse-in/
On the trail of John James
Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website:
Jacqueline James (1927 - 2002)
She was born Alice Jacquelin Hammette on September 18, 1927 in Atlanta, Georgia. She became fascinated with scuba diving and Hawaii, and in the mid 1960s, became a diving instructor and later opened the Aloha Dive Shop in Hawaii. Jacqueline occasionally returned to her musical roots in plays for the Honolulu Community Theater and others. And there was another marriage and a divorce. She passed away on May 31, 2002 in Hawaii.
In the 1950s through mid 1960s, this lady was super busy doing plays and was a regular at the St. Louis MUNI (Municipal) Theater. Following are a few clippings highlighting her MUNI starring roles:
1970 newspaper ad for Jacqueline's Aloha Dive Shop: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/58057462/the-honolulu-advertiser/
Info below from Family Search, Ancestry.com, and Hawaii newspapers: