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The 'brains' and 'action' heavies who had meaty roles and lots of dialog ... and the players who were fathers, ranch owners, lawman, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc.

(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)
Budd Buster

Full name:
Budd Leland Buster

1891 - 1967

Born in Colorado, Budd Buster may have worked briefly in some early films on the east coast, long before Hollywood was created. But his primary occupation was vaudeville and road show performer (and based on the census and draft registration, he was also a "liveryman" and "driver").

He re-entered the film business circa 1933. Les Adams has Budd identified in about 300 sound films - of those, 254 are westerns and 18 are serials. He played all kinds of parts - henchie, old codger, townsman, father of the heroine, military officer, lawman, ranch owner, bank clerk, newspaper editor, wagon train scout ... you name it. He could also handle a team of horses, and you'd occasionally see him driving a buckboard, wagon or stage. While Budd seemed to be a 1940s fixture in sagebrush adventures at Monogram and PRC, he did about 65 films for Republic Pictures during the years 1936-1954 - and these were mostly cliffhangers and westerns.

Several folks have commented that one of Budd Buster's greatest talents was his ability to apply makeup ... and appear in just about any kind of role. And if the job required an older man or a younger man, Budd opened up his makeup kit and added a moustache or dark hair or grey hair, etc. That expertise with makeup allowed Budd to do multiple roles in a few films, and some examples follow:

• In Bob Steele's CAVALRY (A. W. Hackel/Republic, 1936), Budd Buster played the wagon train boss as well as Abraham Lincoln.
• In Montie Montana's CIRCLE OF DEATH (Kent, 1935), Budd plays the wagon train scout as well as a storekeeper.
• In the Hoot Gibson CAVALCADE OF THE WEST (Diversion, 1936), Buster is a stage guard and an Indian.
• He was a townsman and a member of the rustler gang in the Johnny Mack Brown BETWEEN MEN (Supreme, 1935).

He also was the helper to the hero a few times. Some examples: he sidekicked in DRUMS OF DESTINY (Crescent, 1937) with Tom Keene, FEUD OF THE RANGE (Metropolitan, 1939) with Bob Steele, and COVERED WAGON TRAILS (Monogram, 1940) with Jack Randall.

Several of my favorite Budd Buster roles: he was the old, grizzled and dirty "desert rat" in the Tim McCoy FIGHTING RENEGADE (Victory, 1939); he was the crazed miner in WILD HORSE PHANTOM (PRC, 1944) which is the Buster Crabbe and Fuzzy St. John comedy western with the mine and the flying bat zoomin' around.

You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then to the California Death Records database. There you will find a record for: Budd L. Buster, born 6/14/1891 in Colorado, Mother's maiden name of Moore, passed away on 12/22/1965. There is a corresponding record in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).

The Family Search website has more info on Budd Buster and family:

Some Budd Buster tidbits:

• There is an error in some Budd Buster biographies and filmographies, including the IMDb - Budd Buster is not actor George Selk. George W. Selk was born May 15, 1893 in Nebraska and passed away on January 22, 1967. Selk's most remembered role was as stableman "Moss Grimmick" on TV's GUNSMOKE.

• There's a John L. Buster who appears in a few mid 1940s Buster Crabbe PRC westerns and he has a large role in the Buster Crabbe PRAIRIE BADMEN (PRC, 1946). He is probably Budd Buster's son. The California Death Records database has a record on: John Buster, born 7/29/1918 in Colorado and he passed away 6/4/1974 in the Los Angeles area.

• If ol' Budd got listed on the ad/artwork or in the film's cast listing, his first name was often misspelled as "Bud" (with one D).

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Budd Buster (as of June, 2006, Budd's film work has been erroneously combined with actor George Selk):
and the IMDb record for Budd's son John L. Buster:

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above are Budd Buster (left) and Stanley Blystone (right) in a scene from the Hoot Gibson THE RIDING AVENGER (Diversion, 1936). Budd was about 45 years old and Blystone was around 42 when they did this oater.

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from L-to-R are Budd Buster, Jack Perrin, Phil Dunham and Ed Cassidy (without his customary moustache) in HAIR-TRIGGER CASEY (Atlantic, 1936). Ed Cassidy and Victor Wong are pictured in the left side inset.

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Kermit Maynard gives Budd Buster an overhead toss while Frank Hagney looks on from the left in a lobby card from WILD HORSE ROUND-UP (Ambassador/Conn, 1936).

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from L-to-R are young Dickie Jones, Frank Hagney, Kermit Maynard, Dick Curtis, and an unidentified player trying to restrain Curtis. Budd Buster is laying on the floor, holding his jaw. As an adult, Dick Jones was TV's BUFFALO BILL JR. and the helper to Jock Mahoney in THE RANGE RIDER TV show.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Bob Steele, Bob Livingston, William Farnum, Budd Buster, Hal Price and Wally West in a crop from a lobby card from the Three Mesquiteers' GANGS OF SONORA (1941).

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

During the filming of the Range Busters adventure THE HAUNTED RANCH (Monogram, 1943), trio member Dave Sharpe got the call for World War II duty. Rex Lease came in at about the mid-point of this film as the sub for Sharpe.  Above from L-to-R are: Bud Osborne, Carl Mathews, Glenn Strange, Budd Buster, Max Terhune and Rex Lease.

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