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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 image 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 a 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 if anyone wants a copy, e-mail the Old Corral webmaster.

You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral, and check the California Death Index. The California Death Index has two records for our Bob Duncan and both are identical except for the name: one is for "Bob Duncan" and the other is "Robert E. Duncan". Both records show he was born 12/7/1906 in Kansas, Mother's maiden name of Spencer, and he passed away 3/13/1967 in the Los Angeles area. I could find 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:

(From Old Corral image 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 image 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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