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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.


Warner Richmond

Sometimes billed as:
Warner P. Richmond

Real name:
Werner Paul Otto Raetzman

1886 - 1948

(Image courtesy of Les Adams)

Closeup of Warner Richmond from a still shown below. This is how ye Old Corral webmaster remembers him - wearing that trademarked, flat-brimmed cowboy hat.


Born in Wisconsin in 1886, Werner Paul Raetzman became stage and movie performer Warner P. Richmond. Family trees indicate his full name was Werner Paul Otto Raetzman.

The Early Years - stage plays, New York/New Jersey films, Canadian films ... and on to Hollywood.

During the early 1900s, he learned his craft and alternated between theater/stage work and film jobs on the East Coast. By the 1920s, he was playing leads, second leads and heavies in films done on the East Coast as well as Hollywood. Newspapers, theater/film trade publications, census, marriage, and draft registration info provide a timeline on Richmond's early years and career:

His silent era career consisted of films for most all of the East and West Coast production companies including Triangle, Selig, Lubin, Vitagraph, MGM, Fox, Paramount, First National, more. Richmond's peak period - meaning his most prestigious film roles - occurred in the early to mid 1920s when he was 35-40 years of age. A few examples are highlighted below:


 

Above are screen captures from the Henry King production of TOL'ABLE DAVID (Inspiration Pictures/First National, 1921). The star was Richard Barthelmess, and Richmond portrayed one of his brothers. My understanding that the exteriors on this were shot in Virginia. TOL'ABLE DAVID is considered a significant film and was selected in 2007 for inclusion in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. It is available for download/streaming at the Internet Archive (link at the bottom of this page).



Above is a full page ad from the May 27, 1922 issue of Exhibitors Trade Review magazine (available at the Internet Archive) for the James Oliver Curwood northwoods adventure, JAN OF THE BIG SNOWS (American Releasing Co., 1922). The stars were Richmond (on the left) and Louise Prussing (in the round photo inset).


Above is a photo of Warner Richmond that was cropped from a two-page ad spread for THE MAN FROM GLENGARRY (Ernest Shipman, 1923) in the April 23, 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review magazine (available at the Internet Archive). Richmond was the star in this Ernest Shipman film which was filmed in Canada. The director was Henry MacRae whose sound era career would include the producer function on many Universal serials.



(Image courtesy of Jack Tillmany)
Left - Warner Richmond, circa 1926 and about forty years of age.

This still is probably from his role as star Charles Ray's brother in THE FIRE BRIGADE (MGM, 1926).


Talking Pictures ... and Richmond's transition to villain roles.

Circa 1930, Richmond was about 45 years old and major film roles were no longer offered. He transitioned to mostly B grade films, and seemed to find a niche as a villain in programmer westerns and cliffhangers. He appeared in oaters with Johnny Mack Brown, George O'Brien, Ken Maynard, James Newill (Renfrew series), Tex Ritter, Dorothy Page, Hoot Gibson, John Wayne, Gene Autry, Jack Randall, Tom Keene and Bob Steele.

His career was cut short at about 54 years of age, due to a fall from his horse while filming a 1940 Tex Ritter adventure for Monogram.

Les Adams has him identified in about 85 sound films, and that number includes about three dozen westerns and a half dozen serials.

Sometimes he portrayed the boss baddie, sometimes the "dog henchie" (second in command), and sometimes a gang member. A few good Richmond roles come to mind:

It wasn't unusual for once-stars of Hollywood to pick up a payday or two by working in 1930s exploitation films ... and Richmond was among that group. In the dreadful CHILD BRIDE (1938), he's the crazed, conniving, evil guy out to marry a really young gal (played by Shirley Mills).



(From Old Corral image collection)

In this duotone lobby card from SMOKEY SMITH (Hackel/Supreme, 1935), Bob Steele is on the roof, ready to spring into action, and below is an unbearded George Hayes. In front of Hayes and wearing the flat brimmed hat is Warner Richmond and to the right is Tex Phelps. This oater showed Richmond at his nastiest - to get his hands on a ring, he shoots off the finger of Steele's father (kindly ol' Horace Carpenter). And Richmond also throws lye in George Hayes' face.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are an unidentified bartender (possibly Charles Kemper), Warner Richmond, Steve Clark, James Mason, Dave Sharpe, Archie Ricks and Bud Osborne in a scene from the Tom Keene oater, WHERE TRAILS DIVIDE (Monogram, 1937). This is a good one with lawyer Keene finding his brother - portrayed by the youthful Dave Sharpe - working in a gang run by Warner Richmond.


In Best Of The Badmen (Empire Publishing, 2005), authors Boyd Magers, Bob Nareau and Bobby Copeland had more on the injury that ended his career. Richmond suffered a head injury when he fell off his horse during the filming of the Tex Ritter RAINBOW OVER THE RANGE (Monogram, 1940); he was hospitalized for eight months and had facial paralysis for several years. After recovering from all his medical problems, Richmond made his final film appearances in three westerns in the mid 1940s: the Trail Blazers' OUTLAW TRAIL (Monogram, 1944) and singin' cowboy Eddie Dean's COLORADO SERENADE (PRC, 1946) and WILD WEST (PRC, 1946). Producer, director, and jack-of-all trades Robert Emmett "Bob" Tansey was involved in the production of all three. Soon after, Richmond retired to the Motion Picture Home and he passed away on June 19, 1948 due to heart/coronary problems.

Years ago - before I started the Old Corral - I recall watching several of Eddie Dean's Cinecolor oaters, including COLORADO SERENADE (PRC, 1946). Took a while for me to recognize that Warner Richmond was portraying baddie "Dad Dillon". He was about 60 years old when that western was filmed. And he was thin, gaunt, without a moustache, grey haired ... and very old and warn. I re-looked at COLORADO SERENADE as I was preparing this writeup. There was an old Warner Richmond in the closing gun battle ... and he still had that characteristic facial grimace where he tightened his upper lip and flashed that remarkably even row of pearly teeth.


Warner's enhanced biography

Hollywood biographies were often enhanced ... and the above on Warner Richmond is a prime example. These profiles were included in various trade publications such as the Motion Picture Almanac and the Motion Picture News Bluebook. The above is the beginning of his bio from 1931 and includes many "enhancements". He's become a lot younger via an 1895 birth year; his parents, William and Emilie Raetzman have been re-named to William and Emilie Richmond; born in Culpeper County, Virginia (and Culpepper is misspelled); and Warner has added lots of college time at VMI (Virginia Military Institute) and the University of Virginia. He was using this basic biography about a dozen years prior as there was a similar profile in the 1920 Motion Picture Studio Directory.


On the trail of Warner Richmond.

The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), the California Death Records database, and the Newspaper Archive (subscription) have information on Richmond. However, the trail does include several last name variations I've highlighted in red - there's Raetzmann, Raetzman, Raelzmann, Ratzman.

For those of you with an Ancestry.com subscription, there are several Family Trees related to Warner Richmond and the Raetzman family. Included are photos and other info. They have Warner's real name as Werner Paul Otto Raetzman. Look for the Ollila Family Tree and Clark Family Tree.


Warner's younger brother Al Richmond (Alfred Louis Raetzman) was also in Hollywood ... and he starrred in a few silent westerns.

Alfred Louis Raetzman was a couple years younger than brother Warner. Born in 1888 in Wisconsin, he wound up in Hollywood around 1919, and over the next ten years or so, he did stunt work and doubling. And as "Al Richmond", he starred in a few low budget silent westerns. Circa 1934, Al and wife Ruth moved to Billings, Montana where he operated Al's Saddle Horse Service. He passed away in 1966.

There's more on Al in a later webpage, including a photo of him with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. during the filming of ROBIN HOOD (Douglas Fairbanks Pictures/United Artists, 1922).


Links

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Warner Richmond and his wife Felice:
     Warner Richmond: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0725173/
     Felice Richmond: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0725098/
     Al Richmond (1888-1966): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0725069/

The Internet Broadway Database lists one credit for Warner P. Richmond - the 1913 play "Indian Summer": http://www.ibdb.com/person.asp?ID=57758

Old Corral contributors Jim Sorensen and Dale Crawford mentioned that Richmond is interred at Chapel Of The Pines Crematory, Los Angeles, California but in vaultage which can't be viewed. Info on Richmond at Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=33952214

Boyd Magers' Western Clippings website has a profile on Warner Richmond: http://www.westernclippings.com/heavies/warnerrichmond_charactersheavies.shtml

You can download/stream TOL'ABLE DAVID (1921) as well as CHILD BRIDE (1938; aka CHILD BRIDE OF THE OZARKS from the Internet Archive:
     CHILD BRIDE Trailer: https://archive.org/details/child_bride
     CHILD BRIDE: https://archive.org/details/ChildBride
     TOL'ABLE DAVID: https://archive.org/details/TolableDavid

In 2007, TOL'ABLE DAVID was selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/film/registry_titles.php



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