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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.

Budd Buster - early 1940s
Budd Buster

Full name:
Budd Leland Buster
Leland Buster

1891 - 1967

Born in Colorado in 1891, there's scuttlebutt that Budd worked briefly in some early films on the east coast, long before Hollywood was created. And he also appeared in vaudeville and road shows.

But all of that is suspect. From birth through the 1930 census, he's living in Colorado Springs or Ivywild, Colorado, both communities located in El Paso County. He's a "liveryman", "driver" and "breeder - kennels" in the 1920 and 1930 census and his World War I draft registration. And Colorado Springs City Directories note that Budd, his father John and another gent are owners of the Colorado Springs Auto and Carriage Livery Company. And in 1930, Budd built a Pee-Wee football field in Colorado Springs. More on all of this is below.

There were a few articles on Budd at the Newspaper Archive:

It's 1930 and Budd is nearly forty years old. He's still in Colorado, operating a kennel and building a Pee-Wee football stadium. His film career begins late 1933 - early 1934. The reasoning behind that move to Tinseltown and the movie business is lost in Hollywood history.

Les Adams has him 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.

Perhaps Budd Buster's greatest talent was his ability to handle any kind of role by modifying his look via makeup or a costume change. And if the job required an older man or a younger man, Budd added a moustache or dark hair or grey hair, etc. That expertise with makeup - along with an extensive costume collection - allowed Budd to play multiple roles in a film. A few examples follow:

On a few occasions, Budd was the helper to the hero. Some examples: he sidekicked Tom Keene in DRUMS OF DESTINY (Crescent, 1937), assisted Bob Steele in FEUD OF THE RANGE (Metropolitan, 1939), and was Jack Randall's pal in COVERED WAGON TRAILS (Monogram, 1940).

I have several favorite Budd Buster roles: he's the old, grizzled and dirty "desert rat" in the Tim McCoy FIGHTING RENEGADE (Victory, 1939); and he portrays a crazed miner in WILD HORSE PHANTOM (PRC, 1944), the Buster Crabbe and Fuzzy St. John comedy western with the flying bat zoomin' around a mine shaft.

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

The Family Search website (free) and (subscription) have more on Budd Buster and family. An unanswered question is whether his real name was Budd ... or was that a nickname that he later adopted. He does report his full name as "Budd Leland Buster" on his World War I and World War II draft registrations.

Some Budd Buster tidbits:

  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:

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a photo of the marker for Budd L. Buster (1891-1965) who is interred at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California:

Find A Grave has info on Budd's son, U. S. Air Force veteran John L. Buster (1918-1974), who is interred at Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles, California:

The U. S. Veterans Administration gravesite locator website at has the following information on Budd's son, John L. Buster:
     PFC (Private First Class) US AIR FORCE
     DATE OF BIRTH: 06/29/1918
     DATE OF DEATH: 06/04/1974

(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)

Above - Budd Buster in an unidentified still.

(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 in another lobby card from WILD HORSE ROUND-UP (Ambassador/Conn, 1936). 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.

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Bill Cody and Gertrude Messinger (sometimes spelled Messenger) look worried as they examine the body of prolific western supporting player Budd Buster in BLAZING JUSTICE (Spectrum, 1936). Gertie's Hollywood career began when she was a youngster, and she co-starred in THE BOY FRIENDS series for producer Hal Roach. Future stuntman Dave Sharpe was also a member of that Roach series, and Gertie was once married to Sharpe.

(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)

Above from left to right are Budd Buster (as the Mayor), Steve Clark (sheriff), Max 'Alibi' Terhune, and John 'Dusty' King in a still from the Range Busters adventure BOOT HILL BANDITS (Monogram, 1942). This one is chock full of familiar villains - Ray Corrigan battles "the Maverick", the scar faced brute portrayed by big Glenn Strange. Other bad guys were John Merton, I. Stanford Jolley and George Chesebro. At the end, Budd Buster is revealed as the brains heavy.

(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. Note Budd Buster's height.

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