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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.

(From Old Corral collection)
Bob Duncan

Full name:
Robert E. Duncan

1904 or 1906 - 1967

No one seems to know much about Bob Duncan except that he worked in 30+ movies during a period from about 1944 - 1957. Most were westerns for Monogram and PRC starring Jimmy Wakely, Lash LaRue, Eddie Dean, Johnny Mack Brown and the Tex Ritter / Dave O'Brien version of the Texas Rangers. Once in a while, he portrayed the brains heavy, but he generally was the second-in-command or gang member. In addition to his acting jobs, Duncan - sometimes with his wife Wanda - authored a few scripts for early TV and films. An example of a Duncan screenplay is THE MARSHAL'S DAUGHTER (United Artists/Ken Murray, 1953), an anemic mishmash starring Laurie Anders and Ken Murray with help from Hoot Gibson, Preston Foster, Jimmy Wakely, Johnny Mack Brown and others.

Duncan may have been in Hollywood circa 1940 and had a bit part in the Roy Rogers THE CARSON CITY KID (Republic, 1940). If he does appear in that oater, there was a break of several years until his next film appearance in late 1944 when he was about forty years of age. That time off may indicate that Duncan was doing World War II duty.

As with many B-western workers, his wages were meager ... and he certainly wasn't doing much film work. I would speculate that he had some other livelihood which helped pay the rent and put groceries on the table.

As the B-western faded away in the late 1940s - early 1950s, scores of familiar faces went to work on television westerns. I found it strange that Duncan was not among those who opted for TV work paydays.

In his later years, Duncan resided in North Hollywood, California. On the morning of March 13, 1967, he called the local police and told them he was about to commit suicide. Officers arrived a few minutes later and found the 62 year old Duncan on his couch, dead from a gunshot from a .22 rifle. (Old Corral contributor Lila Ashear located a newspaper clipping on Duncan's suicide, and the headline reads "Western Actor Takes Own Life". If anyone wants a copy of the article, e-mail the Old Corral webmaster.)

The California Death Index has dual records and both are identical except for the name: one is for "Bob Duncan" and the other is "Robert E. Duncan". Both records have him born December 7, 1906 in Kansas, Mother's maiden name of Spencer, and he passed away March 13, 1967 in the Los Angeles area. I found no record in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).

If anyone has further information on Bob Duncan, please e-mail the Old Corral webmeister.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Bob Duncan:

YouTube has THE MARSHAL'S DAUGHTER (Ken Murray Prod./United Artists, 1953) which you can stream or download. Duncan had a credited role and also wrote the screenplay:

As noted above, there are dual records in the California Death Index for Robert E. Duncan and Bob Duncan. He was born December 7, 1906 in Kansas, mother's maiden name of Spencer, and he passed away on March 13, 1967 in the Los Angeles area:
     Robert E. Duncan:
     Bob Duncan:

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - PRC's singing cowboy hero Eddie Dean does battle with Bob Duncan in a lobby card from CARAVAN TRAIL (PRC, 1946), one of Dean's Cinecolor adventures.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - in this lobby card from THE WESTWARD TRAIL (PRC, 1948), Carl Mathews has the drop on Eddie Dean and Phyllis Planchard. Bob Duncan is the crooked lawmen on the far right.

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