(From Old Corral collection)
Above - Buck and trusty steed Silver guard the trail circa 1934.
Real name: Charles Frederick Gebhart
Some biographies and records show Gebhard or Gebhardt
1891? - 1942
Buck's real name was Charles Frederick Gebhart, and his oft reported birth date and birth place is December 12, 1891 in a "small house on the outskirts of Vincennes, Indiana". Buck's parents are generally identified as Charles and Evelyn Showers Gebhart. However, on the 1915 marriage license to Odille 'Dell' Osborne (shown on a subsequent webpage), Buck lists his father as Fred Gebhart and mother as Eva Showers. Buck had a sister named Ada (1889 - 1980), who married and lived most of her adult life in the Indianapolis area.
Appears there is no birth certificate or other documentation to confirm Buck's real birth date. Communiques to the Knox County, Indiana Health Department (Vincennes, Indiana) resulted in a reply of 'no record found'. The Vincennes Chamber of Commerce replied that December 12, 1891 was the date they have. And in a later webpage, there's a mix of birth dates including some variations reported by Buck himself.
If you look back to days of the silent horse opera, the early stars included William S. Hart. In the 1920s, the 'big guns' were Hoot Gibson, Ken Maynard, Tom Mix, and the subject of this profile, Charles 'Buck' Jones. Jones did dozens of oaters at Fox in the 1920s. And it was at Fox that he built and perfected his screen persona doing films that were solid, respectable, and well received at the Saturday matinees ... though the productions were a step down from those of Fox's primary cowboy star, Tom Mix.
Initially billed as 'Charles Jones', he adopted the screen moniker of 'Buck Jones' by the mid 1920s. And he also acquired a white steed by the name of 'Silver'.
A quick review of the film credits of Jones' silents shows a veritable 'who's who' of directors that would make their mark in subsequent years doing both A and B grade movies. Included were John Ford, William Wellman, W. S. 'Woody' Van Dyke and Lambert Hillyer.
While at Fox, Buck met Scott R. Dunlap, who would produce and/or direct some of his pictures. The two would become lifelong friends and business associates. Their trails would cross again in the early 1940s at little Monogram Pictures ... and fate would also bring them together at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston on November 28, 1942.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. More on Buck's birth date and early years in subsequent webpages.