Back to prior page

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.

Above - Murdock in Bob Steele's HEADIN' NORTH (Tiffany, 1930).

Above - a crop of Murdock from the still below from John Wayne's PARADISE CANYON (Lone Star/Monogram, 1935).
Perry Murdock

Full name: Perry Harrison Murdock

1901 - 1988

Oklahoma born Perry Murdock was a close friend of Bob Steele, and they were together in about three dozen Steele films, beginning with Bob's FBO silents and continuing through Bob's mid 1930s sound westerns. Murdock sometimes portrayed Steele's sidekick as well as doing henchie/support roles. During this period, he dabbled in script writing and assistant directing, and also had roles in a few oaters starring Rex Bell, John Wayne, Tom Tyler and Bob Custer. At the time of the 1930 census, Steele and Murdock were bunking together at the Hollyview Apartments in Los Angeles.

Perry's acting and story/script writing period runs from about 1927-1937, and following are examples:

  • he's Bob Steele's buddy and both break into song in Steele's first talkie, NEAR THE RAINBOW'S END (Tiffany, 1930).
  • he had bit roles in Steele's BIG CALIBRE and TOMBSTONE TERROR (both Supreme, 1935). Perry also wrote the story and/or screenplay for both films.
  • Murdock's finale as an actor was portraying a nasty in the goofy/unconventional BORDER PHANTOM (A. W. Hackel/Republic, 1937), also with Steele.

By the late 1930s, Murdock quit acting and moved behind the camera. In the 1940s, he was a member of the Property/Set Decoration group at Republic Pictures.

Republic Studios expert Jack Mathis has a photo and a mention of Perry in his Republic Confidential, Volume 1, The Studio (Jack Mathis Advertising, 1999). Quote from page 160 of Jack's book follows (and a photo is on that page also):

"One of the studio's top set dressers, (Earl) Wooden was in the good company of Moe Braun, Otto Siegel, James Redd, Charles Thompson, George Milo, and Perry Murdock who always embellished Republic sets with scrupulous realism and detail."

After the demise of Republic, Murdock performed set decoration duties at Universal. He also appied his set decoration talents on television, and his many TV credits include WAGON TRAIN, THE TALL MAN, LARAMIE, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, ALFRED HITCHCOCK, THE RESTLESS GUN, lots more.

His profession as a property/set designer runs through the early 1970s and his final work was on THE VIRGINIAN and MARCUS WELBY, M.D. televison series.

Perry married Erma Purviance in 1932 and they bought a home in Studio City, California and resided there for over fifty years. At the time of their marriage, Erma was a singer - and there's a few trade publication mentions of her performing at Stark's Bohemian Cafe and the Roosevelt Patio Roof in 1932 Los Angeles.

Perry suffered with alzheimers and passed away April 19, 1988 from respiratory arrest at the Beverly Manor Convalescent Hospital, Van Nuys, California.

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Perry Murdock:

The Family Search website (free), (subscription), California Death Index, Social Security Death Index (SSDI), and death certificate provide more on Perry Murdock and family:

Above is a screen capture of Perry Murdock and Lafe McKee from Bob Steele's first sound film, NEAR THE RAINBOW'S END (Tiffany, 1930). In this, Steele and Murdock harmonize on a couple tunes including "Ragtime Cowboy Joe".

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are Perry Murdock (as Steele's helper 'Snicker'), Bob Steele and Barbara Luddy in a scene from Steele's HEADIN' NORTH (Tiffany, 1930). Luddy did other films and TV work, but is best remembered as the star of radio's "The First Nighter" program.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above - leading lady Rita Rey and lawman Perry Murdock in a crop from a still from the Bob Steele OKLAHOMA CYCLONE (Tiffany, 1930). The director was J. P. McCarthy and Murdock was assistant director.

(Courtesy of Dorothy Hack)

Above from left to right are lawman Earl Dwire (standing), Gordon Clifford (sitting), Perry Murdock, John Wayne, Herman Hack (as a Deputy) and Reed Howes in a scene from Wayne's PARADISE CANYON (Lone Star/Monogram, 1935). In this one, Murdock and Clifford are singers/entertainers working on the medicine show run by fast talking Earle Hodgins. Gordon Clifford was a witness to the marriage of Perry to Erma Purviance in 1932.

Back to prior page