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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.


The man of many names ...



As "Rocky Camron", 1946
Buck Coburn
Gene Alsace
Gene Alces
Rocky Camron
Rockford G. Camron
Etc.

Real name may be:
Vivien/Vivian Gene Herzinger

1902 - 1967



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above, Tom Keene is wrestling a Winchester away from Gene Alsace in the title lobby card from RIDING THE SUNSET TRAIL (Monogram, 1941). Stuntwoman and great rider Betty Miles is shown in the bottom right corner.


Some sources have his real name as Gene Alsace, Rocky Camron, Rockford G. Camron (which is the name on his California Death Records database record). But there were many other name variations which are detailed further down on this webpage.

He came to Hollywood circa 1919, and there's a few tidbits on his early days:


Left is a 1939 newspaper ad for Gene Alsace's "Rancho Alamo" horse boarding and training facility in Van Nuys, California.

Gene, widowed mother Olive and widowed sister Helen were living at 14041 Moor Park at the time of 1940 census.

In the 1930s, you can spot him in westerns with Dick Foran, Reb Russell, others, and he generally was uncredited as a henchman, deputy, stage guard, etc. In the 1940s, he turns up often in Monogram and PRC oaters, many of which were produced and/or directed by Robert Emmett Tansey. The name change to "Rocky Camron" occurred circa 1944 when he was working for Tansey in Monogram's Trail Blazers. He continued using the Camron moniker in the PRC Eddie Dean oaters and later films. During this period, his range costume consisted of chaps and and a six-shooter tucked in his belt (rather than the traditional gunbelt). Most often he was a baddie, but in a few films, he wound up portraying one of the good guys. In the Eddie Dean SONG OF OLD WYOMING (PRC, 1945), Camron was henchman "Ringo" and had a great death scene (and stunt), tumbling down a flight of stairs after getting shot.

Thx to Les Adams for reminding me that the single starring oater for Alsace/Camron was GUNSMOKE ON THE GUADALUPE (Willis Kent, 1935), and at that time, he used the name "Buck Coburn" (Coburn was the maiden name of his wife, actress Dorothy Coburn - see 1930 marriage license info below).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is Gene Alsace (credited as "Buck Coburn") in his only starring role. He and burly Roger Williams have the drop on the saloon crowd in this scene from GUNSMOKE ON THE GUADALUPE (Willis Kent, 1935). Standing on the far right with his mouth covered is Bud Osborne. Willis Kent was also responsible for the series of oaters starring Reb Russell.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on:
Rocky Camron/Gene Alsace/Buck Coburn: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0022490/
and his second wife, actress Dorothy Montana Coburn (1905-1978): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0167997/

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a picture of the grave marker for "Rocky Camron" who is interred at Paradise Cemetery, Paradise, Butte County, California: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=91068511
Find A Grave notes that Rocky's mother, Olive Estelle Davison Alsace, is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=85337367

There's more on 1920s actress Dorothy Coburn, the daughter of actor/producer Wallace Coburn, who was one of his wives: http://www.lordheath.com/?p=1_158_Dorothy-Coburn

The Internet Archive and YouTube have three films with Alsace/Camron which you can stream or download. All were directed by Robert Emmett Tansey:


On the trail of ... what's his name?
There was data on Gene Alsace and family at the Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), California Death Index and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).

This is a mind numbing and confusing trail, chock full of last name variations which I've color coded as follows:
     Herzinger
     Alces
     Alsace

In addition to the last name variations, our Gene Alsace/Rocky Camron has a lot of first names - he's Vivian, Vivien, Jean, Gene, Rockford, etc.

He was married at least four times: Marguerite Hazel Roberts (May, 1922); Bonnie Brown Halverson (November, 1924); in the 1930 census, his wife is named Jeanne (born Kentucky); and actress Dorothy Montana Coburn (November, 1930).

I have yet to find any trace of how and why the Alces/Alsace name occurs. In the 1918 Los Angeles City Directory, Olive's last name is Herzinger. At the 1920 census, Olive Alces is listed as widowed, and I'm guessing she married someone named Alces/Alsace who passed away prior to 1920.

There is clarity in the identification of his mother Olive Estelle Davison/Davidson and daughter Helen.

As to the real name of our man of many names, I'm inclined to think his birth name was:

Vivien/Vivian Gene Herzinger

The early years in Colorado and Los Angeles - mother Olive Davidson/Davison is married to Fleming/Flemming Herzinger ... and a son named Vivian is born circa 1902:

  • 1880 census: 6 year old Olive S. Davidson (born Colorado) is living in Tomichi, Gunnison County, Colorado with her parents, S. W. and Mary C. Davidson and an older brother Lewis E. and sisters Cora D. and Susan F.: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MFDN-F97
  • March 4, 1897 marriage record (not the marriage license) of Thomas Hezinger [sic] to Olive Davison in Lake City, Hinsdale County, Colorado: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-25817-2669-52?cc=1932434
  • 1900 census: 33 year old Fleming Herzinger (born April, 1867 in Missouri), his 27 year old wife Olive (born September, 1873 in Colorado), and one year old daughter Helen (born Colorado) are living in Salida, Chaffee County, Colorado: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MQM7-KQS
    1900 census takers worksheet - the occupation of father Fleming Herzinger is "Cigar store": https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11838-179778-2?cc=1325221
  • 1910 census: living in Los Angeles with her 63 year old mother Celia Davison (and other family members) are 35 year old Olive Herginger [sic] (born Colorado), her 11 year old daughter Helen (born Colorado) and 7 year old son Vivian Herginger (born Colorado): https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MV2Y-C71
    Ancestry had the 1910 census takers worksheet: Olive has been married one time; she is still married and the duration of her current marriage is 13 years. Her husband is not present in this census.
  • Ancestry had the 1918 Los Angeles City Directory: Helen Herzinger and Olive S. Herzinger, listed as widow of Flemming, and they are living at 205 W 31st in Los Angeles.

The last name of Alces appears circa 1920. The last name of Alsace occurs circa 1930:

  • 1920 census with their last name spelled "Alces" - 42 year old Olive E. Alces (born Colorado; widowed), 20 year old daughter Helen H. Alces (born Colorado) and 18 year old son Jean Alces (born Colorado) are living in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MH77-Y6D
    Ancestry had the 1920 census takers worksheet - Olive E. Alces (widowed), daughter Helen H. (single) and son Jean Alces (single) are renting at 127 1/2 West 30th, Los Angeles. Olive's occupation is "Glove Manufacturing - Glove Factory"; Helen is "Operator - Telegraph Co."; and Jean is "Actor - Theater".
  • May 5, 1922 marriage license of 21 year old Vivian Gene Alces to 20 year old Marguerite Hazel Roberts in Los Angeles. This is the first marriage for both. Marguerite was born in Colorado and her occupation is "Stenographer". Gene was born in Colorado; occupation is "Actor - Vitagraph"; and his parents were Thomas Fleming (born Colorado) and Olive Davidson (born Colorado): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-29949-44665-62?cc=1804002
  • November 5, 1924 Los Angeles marriage license of 22 year old Vivien Gene Alces (born Colorado) to 23 year old Bonnie Brown Halverson (born Minnesota), and both reside in Los Angeles. Gene's occupation is "Dancer - Theatrical"; he was married previously; parents are Fleming T. Herzinger (born Missouri) and Olive F. Davidson (born Colorado). Bonnie is widowed and her occupation is "Dancer - Theatrical":
    https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-29942-15826-10?cc=1804002
    https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-29942-19964-2?cc=1804002
  • The May 1, 1930 Los Angeles Times newspaper had a listing of deaths in the month of April, 1930: 28 year old Bonnie Alces died April 2? in Los Angeles.
    A search of the Newspaper Archive found multiple reports on her death. Headline: "GLIDER CRASH KILLS WOMAN." Article excerpt: "Los Angeles ... April 26 (1930) ... Miss Bonnie Brown, 25, licensed air pilot, died tonight from injuries received ... when a glider she was flying crashed from an altitude of twenty feet."
  • 1930 census - residing in Los Angeles are 54 year old Olive E. Alsace (head of the household and divorced) along with 27 year old son Gene (widowed) and 28 year old daughter Helen (widowed). All three identify Colorado as their birth location: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XCJ1-57H
    Ancestry had the 1930 census takers worksheet dated April 3, 1930 - the Alsace family is renting at 2443 Gower Street, Los Angeles. Helen's occupation is "Operator - Telegraph Co." and Gene's occupation is "Actor - Motion Pictures", and he is a World War I veteran.
  • 1930 census: residing in Los Angeles are 27 year old Gene Alsace (born Colorado) and his 25 year old wife Jeanne (born Kentucky): https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCV9-C18
    Ancestry had the 1930 census takers worksheet dated April 5, 1930 - renting at 2425 Cheremoya Avenue, Los Angeles are Gene and Jeanne Alsace. His occupation is "Actor - Motion Pictures", and he is a World War I veteran. Her occupation is "Secretary - Motion Pictures".
  • November 29, 1930 Los Angeles county marriage license of 28 year old Gene Alsace (born Colorado) to 24 year old Dorothy Montana Coburn (born Montana). Alsace is widowed; claims this is his 2nd marriage, but is really the third; occupation is "Rancher"; and parents are F. T. Herzinger (born Missouri) and Olive Davison (born Colorado). Dorothy Montana Coburn was born in Montana; this is her first marriage; occupation is "Actress"; parents are Wallace D. Coburn (born Montana) and Ann Reifenrath (born Illinois):
    https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-29946-35855-75?cc=1804002&wc=M9MJ-737:960462664
    https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-29946-35599-62?cc=1804002
  • Ancestry had the 1932 Los Angeles City Directory: Actor Gene Alsace and his mother Olive live at 2443 Gower.
  • Ancestry had the 1937 Los Angeles City Directory: Actor Gene Alces, his wife Dorothy, and mother Olive are living at 1426 N. Edgemont.
  • 1940 census - 37 year old Gene Alsace (born Colorado), his 61 year old mother Olive Alsace (born Colorado), 39 year old sister Helen J. Alsace (born Colorado), and 48 year old boarder Lonnie L. Lowrance (born Texas) are living in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9HL-S2Y
    1940 census takers worksheet - Gene Alsace is divorced and occupation is "Proprietor - Boarding and training horses"; mother Olive is a widow; sister Helen is a widow and her occupation is "Supervisor - Telegraph", and boarder Lonnie L. Lowrance is "Ranch hand - Boarding and training horses". They are renting at 14041 Moor Park in Los Angeles county: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-27797-1939-84?cc=2000219&wc=MMYH-FDV:1765590322
  • 1940 census - 35 year old Dorothy Coburn (born Montana) is divorced and living in Los Angeles with her parents, 66 year old Wallace Coburn (born Montana) and 63 year old Ann Coburn (born Illinois): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9CZ-CW1
    1940 census takers worksheet - the Coburn family is renting at 198 South Hoover, Los Angeles. Dorothy completed four years of college and occupation is "Receptionist - Insurance Office": https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-27796-6707-65?cc=2000219
  • Ancestry had a 1954 Los Angeles County Voter Registration for Rockford G. Camron, 16135 Roscoe Boulevard.
  • You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then to the California Death index and Social Security Death Index (SSDI). There you will find records for: Rockford G. Camron, born 8/4/1902 in Colorado, Mother's maiden name of Davidson, he passed away on 6/16/1967, and his last residence was Paradise, California.
  • Bobby Copeland had a copy of the death certificate:
    64 year old Rockford G. Camron was born August 4, 1902 in Colorado. He passed away June 16, 1967 at the Feather River Hospital, Paradise, California and the cause of death was cerebral hemorrhage due to hypertension. His parents were Clem Hertzinger (born Missouri) and Olive Davidson (born Missouri). He was a "Self Employed Cattle Salesman" for 25 years; a veteran of World War I; married to Vera T. Camron and they lived at 6186 Greenwood Road, Paradise, Butte County, California. Funeral director was Rose Chapel, Inc. and cremation at Chico Crematory.
    There was some supplemental information: he was born in Salida, Colorado; his WW1 service was in the U.S. Navy; survivors included his sister, Mrs. Helen Hoover of Encino, California; his cremains to be placed in Paradise Cemetery.
  • The California Tombstone Project confirms that veteran Rocky Camron is interred at Paradise Cemetery, Paradise, Butte County, California: http://files.usgwarchives.net/ca/butte/cemeteries/paradise-vets.txt

As to Fleming Herzinger who was born circa 1867 in Missouri:

There is a F. T. Herzinger/Fleming Herzinger - but he's born circa 1876 in Missouri:

Mother Olive and daughter Helen:

  • California Death index has a record for Olive Estelle Alsace - she was born September 21, 1873 in Colorado; father's last name was Davison and mother's last name was McFarland; and she passed away on April 2, 1944 in the Los Angeles area: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VPQC-2T5
  • California Death Index has a record for Helen J. Hoover, born December 29, 1899 in Colorado; father's last name was Herzinger and mother's last name was Davidson; and she passed away in the Los Angeles area on March 29, 1983: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VG17-L88

I'm a tad skeptical about Gene Alsace/Rocky Camron, etc. being a World War I veteran:

In the 1930 census, he reports that he was a World War I veteran, and the death certificate notes WW1 duty in the U.S. Navy. There are two key dates - his August 4, 1902 birth and World War I ended on November 11, 1918 when the Armistice was signed. The duration between those two dates is: 16 years, 3 months, 7 days (excluding the end date). He could have lied about his age.




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Marion Shilling, Gene Alsace (as "Buck Coburn"), Roy Bucko, Ed Carey, Lew Meehan and Buck Bucko in another scene from GUNSMOKE OVER THE GUADALUPE (Willis Kent, 1935), Camron's only starring oater.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is B&W version of the title lobby card included in the pressbook for Tom Keene's WESTERN MAIL (Monogram, 1942) The owlhoots are, from L-to-R, Sherry Tansey, Rocky Camron (Gene Alsace), Karl Hackett and Fred Kohler, Jr.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from left to right are Alsace (now calling himself "Rocky Camron"), Betty Miles, Hoot Gibson, Victor Daniels and Bob Steele in a scene from Monogram's SONORA STAGECOACH (Monogram, 1944).



(From Old Corral image collection)

Takin' a break at Monogram during the filming of OUTLAW TRAIL (Monogram, 1944), one of the Trail Blazers trio westerns. Above from L-to-R are Hoot Gibson, Victor Daniels/Chief Thunder Cloud, Gene Alsace (Rocky Camron), Jennifer Holt and Bob Steele. Jennifer Holt was the sister of RKO cowboy Tim Holt, and a frequent leading lady to Johnny Mack Brown, Eddie Dean and Lash LaRue in the 1940s.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above left is stuntman Cliff Lyons (doubling for star Ken Maynard) in a crop from a lobby card from HARMONY TRAIL (Mattox, 1944; re-released in 1947 by Astor as WHITE STALLION). On the right is Rocky Camron.



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