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Riding Actors Association of Hollywood, Inc.
Fred and Bob were involved in the 1933 formation of the Riding Actors Association, Inc. of Hollywood. This was in response to the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, and the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) and National Recovery Administration (NRA). An NRA requirement was for business and industry - including Hollywood - to establish "codes" defining work rules, pay schedules, maximum work hours per week, etc. To meet NRA code requirements, a group of about 500 (mostly) western movie stunt men and "riding extras" formed the "Riding Actors Association, Inc. of Hollywood".

The first president of the Riding Actors Association was Fred Burns and he was elected in December, 1933 to that post. And he was re-elected as president the following year. Brother Bob served on the Riding Actors' Executive Board.

Couple blurbs on the formation of the group:

Early December, 1933 newspapers noted the new organization: "Hollywood's cowboys have formed a union and demand recognition under the movie code. They name themselves the Riding Actors' Association of Hollywood ..."

From the January 20, 1934 Motion Picture Daily: "Riding actors, comprising 95 per cent of the cowboy actors, want an individual code to meet their special, unique work, which, they claim, differs much from the general extras' work."



(Courtesy of May Bopp, Bob Burns' daughter)

Above are the Riding Actors Association officers for 1937.
Top row left to right are: George Sowards, Buck Bucko, Tommy Coats, Bud Rae, Henry Morris, Joe Balch and Bob Burns.
Bottom row left to right are: Lem Sowards (Treasurer), Cliff Smith (President), Ed Clay (Vice President) and John Judd (Secretary).
George and Lem/Len Sowards were brothers. Below is a crop/blowup with a closer view of their faces.


Bob Burns and daughter Joan with Gene Autry


(Courtesy of May Bopp, Bob Burns' daughter)

Bob Burns and daughter Joan were with Gene Autry in the early 1940s, and May Bopp indicated the above photo was 1942. On the prior webpage, note the World War II draft registration for Bob as his employer was "Gene Autrey [sic] - Flying 'A' Ranch - North Hollywood".

Left to right in the back row are: Jean Young, Eddie Dean, Gene Autry, unidentified performer, and Hank Worden.
Left to right in the front row are; Joan Burns (Bob Burns' daughter), Red Dawkins, unidentified performer, George Huggins, Betty Goodan, and Bob Burns.

May mentioned that she was only fifteen at the time, so she got left behind ... but "Thought it was so cool, tho, when I got to dance with them at the dress rehearsal."


Forest Galvin Burns (1914 - 1998)

His movie and television career spanned about forty years, from late 1930s westerns and serials at Republic Pictures through many TV shows in the 1950s through mid 1970s. Most all of his appearances were uncredited / unbilled roles as a townsman, cowhand, henchman, barfly, etc.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Art Dillard, Lee Reynolds and 2/3 of the face of Forest Burns in a scene from SANTA FE UPRISING (Republic, 1946), one of the Red Ryder yarns starring Allan Lane.



(Above two photos courtesy of Dorothy Hack)

During the filming of THE BISCUIT EATER (Disney/Buena Vista, 1972) - Dorothy Hack (daughter of prolific western henchie Herman Hack) is sandwiched between two B-western henchmen. On the left is Forest Burns and on the right is Joe Phillips. Fred Burns was Forest Burns' father.


  The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has a mix of correct and incorrect information on Fred's son, Forest Burns: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0122664/

IMDb has his correct birth info of January 15, 1914 in Los Angeles, California. But the death information is incorrect - IMDb has him passing away on November 13, 1994 (age 80) in Denver, Colorado. That's not our actor and son of Fred Burns. Ancestry.com has the Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for that Forrest G. Burns - he was born March 12, 1913 in Colorado and passed away November 13, 1994 in Denver, Colorado.

Family Search, Ancestry.com, and Fold3 Military Records provide more on Forest Galvin Burns:

  • California Birth Index and birth certificate for Forrest [sic] Galvin Burns. He was born January 15, 1914 in the Los Angeles area and mother's maiden name was Galvin:
    https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VGG7-1JX
    https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGL7-Z8MF
  • 1920 census summary and census takers worksheet - renting in Los Angeles, California are 41 year old Fred D. Burns (born Montana; occupation "Actor - Movie Studio"), his 29 year old wife Helen (born Minnesota), 7 year old son Richard (born California), 5 year old son Forrest [sic] (born California), and 46 year old mother-in-law May Galvin (born England): https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHQN-DQ1
  • 1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - owning their home at 4628 Forman Avenue, Los Angeles are 51 year old Frederick D. Burns (born Montana; occupation "Actor - Moving Pictures"), his 30 year old wife Helen (born Minnesota), 17 year old son Richard E. (born California), 15 year old son Forrest [sic] G. (born California), and 57 year old mother-in-law May G. Galvin (born England). Fred was not a military veteran: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XC83-QPR
  • 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - 61 year old Frederick D. Burns (born Montana; occupation "Actor - Motion Picture Production") is living with his son, 26 year old Forest G. Burns and his 24 year old wife Claire L. Burns. Forest is renting the home at 4226 Mary Ellen, Los Angeles, and his occupation is "Actor - Motion Picture Production": https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9H2-2ZQ
  • Fold3 Military Records had his World War II draft registration - 26 year old Forest Galvin Burns was born January 14, 1914 in Hollywood, California (error on that date - should be January 15, 1914). He and wife Claire Louise Burns live at 4226 Mary Ellen Avenue, North Hollywood, California. He's six feet tall and 185 pounds; and employer is "Republic Studio, Studio City, Los Angeles County, California".
  • Ancestry.com had the Social Security Applications and Claims Index - Forest Galvin Burns was born January 15, 1914 in Hollywood, California to Fredreck [sic] D. Burns and Helen L. Galvin. He passed away on April 25, 1998.
  • Ancestry.com had the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) - Forest G. Burns was born January 15, 1914 and passed away on April 25, 1998 in Palo Cedro, Shasta County, California.

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a photo of the grave marker for Forest Galvin Burns (1914 - 1998) at Kern River Valley Cemetery, Wofford Heights, Kern County, California: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/23245443/forest-galvin-burns


Fred, son Forest, and Bill Nestell
... and their gold mining claim.


(Courtesy of May Bopp, Bob Burns' daughter)

In the 1930s, Fred and his son Forest were involved with big, burly actor Bill Nestell in a gold mining venture. Left to right in the above photo are Fred Burns, unidentified man, Bill Nestell (bib overalls), Forest Burns (white hat and shirt), and unidentified man at their "Helen Galvin" mining location on the Kern River. The mine was named for Fred's wife, Helen Galvin.

The Old Corral biography on Bill Nestell includes more photos and details on the mine. Click HERE and a separate window / tab will open.


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